Chess addict

I happened to talk about chess with my colleagues. It turned out that chess is fairly popular in their country (Bangladesh). I have a very nice chess board from Italy, which had been out of use since I bought. I brought it to the office last month, and now the lunch time chess is hot trend in our office.

As you might know, chess has a very long history spanning over 1500 years. Even though the game rule is very simple, the existing strategies and theories are just countless. I’ve started to read a book about the most famous opening theories. I’ve registered myself to some popular chess websites e.g. chess.com and chesscube.com, where I can play with online players and learn strategy: now I am truly chess addicted.

The inspiration that I have now resembles to the motivation to learn foreign languages. I found some similarities between them;
– I like to study something which has no end.
– The effort I give has a direct influence on the result.

But also, there are some unique features which I like in the game of chess:
– I need to use my brain a lot. On-going matches get stuck in my head all the time.
– The tense atmosphere cannot be experienced nowhere except playing chess against human.
– The theory is beautiful and perfect, which I admire a lot. (As I once studied NP problem at the university, I know how hard is it to find such perfect moves).

There are about 35 opening theories out of 40 left on me to learn. Very excited!

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Values matter

The borrowing books from the library today:

– The 30 Best Politics Books Politics
– The 100 Best Business Books of All Time
– Why People Get Tired?

“Oh my… I drew a business book on weekend…” But I made the choice, Junji Shimagaki on 27.November.2011. My values now matter. I want to read those books.

Your motivation toward one thing determines what you do next. I know that there are lot more fun places than the library, but I am leaning toward going there. I wanna understand the fundamentals of the world as much as I can do during my life. Quantum theory in physics taught me that the world is described by probability, not by a deterministic number. During my lately reading, economics is telling me the importance of opportunity costs and trade-off. Time and money that you spend losses another possibility that you might obtain. The work at Sony Ericsson now is a learning for me everyday: it is impossible to handle all the tasks existing, so prioritizing items is the important skill which I was not able to see in study. Study has no goal.

I would like to expand my world rather than wasting time, therefore I have an overwhelming preference over the library than a shopping centre. But, by no means am I blaming on people who are not in the library: your values matter!

Now I am turning around the 30 years old age (now 28 y/o and 2 months). Having kids in some years is inevitable (again, this is “my values”), and the time spending for kids is enormous. I will not be able to spend for myself like I am doing.

And, I am feeling fierce thankful to my parents that they raised me with so strong curiosity all the time.

A weekday post on 2011.August.3.

Some trivial facts about students

This morning in the microeconomics book I found an explicit description about the trade-offs between study and work. Your payment during student life is lower than that you will obtain after graduation. It also says the following; you can spend your 4 years of college life going around with friends in parties. But remember, study is some sort of investment in future income. If you spend time for playing, you will less get paid.

Those are so obvious facts but the interest thing is that, most of students in Japan do not understand that fact. I agree with them to the point that they enjoy life, but if they had wider view to future, they would not do the same. Ironically, economics students are known to be lazy.

A week post from 11.April-17.April

2011.April.11(Monday)

“Microeconomics”, Joseph E, Stiglitz

I bought a textbook in microeconomics last Saturday. You may know it or not, I’ve come to be interested in economics since I started to work two years ago. I would like to understand the mechanism of circulating money around the world simply with curiousity.
I have a friend who is a PhD student in Game Theory. For my goal to grasp the picture of economics, he suggested me to study microeconomics after finishing the basics of economics so I did it. Starting from the small thing will eventually heads to the big pictures -microeconomics to macroeconomics -, this is exactly the same relation of statistical mechanics and thermodynamics.

Now I’ve been reading it but I am almost falling asleep by this heavy book… interesting though… well, I won’t read it now but maybe tonight.

2011.April.12.(Tuesday)

Nothing special to write. It is a sunny day today. I’ve started to think about a weakened plan. By the way, this microeconomics book is a big one; it consists of 770 pages that has 16 chapters. Even though some chapters are recap for me from the last book, I am reading them as well shortly. Observing a same topic but from a different aspect must be important to grasp the concept of something better.

Now I am on the way home. There is breaking news: next week I may have a business trip to China, Beijing, where another development site locates. During that time period, I will ask Naoko to stay at her parent’s house since there’s no meaning to stay alone in Yokohama: She has already taken a vacation for the next week in case.

2011.April.15.(Friday)

“Ikigai – Treasure in Life” by GLAY

It’s a Friday night, my most loving day! I am on the way home and listening to this music. I recall memories in Switzerland and student life in Hokkaido when I listen to this music.

First of all, I won’t have a business trip next week. Half happy, happy sad feelings.

It was a terrible night last Wednesday. I don’t usually go to a company party since it is usually expensive (~40 Euro), and I like to eat supper at home. What made me go this time was that the party gathered higher responsible members in our project. I felt proud of myself that I am also involved such kind of members there.
However, I just simply drank too much. Next day I had a terrible headache, i.e. hand-over.

“Kitchen” by Yoshimoto Banana

The novel is a sweet love story starting from friendship. Their relationship is strange and the family structure is very awkward though, their common place kitchin is where the calm time flows.

I could not spend much time on reading novels but spent time on microeconomis books this week. Studying is interesting though, I think I am losing my artistic and literary sense.

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A week post from 4.April-10.April

2011.April.4.(Monday)

During the weekend, we watched 3 traveling guide programs on TV. The places are Genova in Italy, Hawaii islands, and Zurich in Switzerland. Both I and my wife have common good memories there so we were watching them happily. After finished them, however, I had some sort of nostalgic emotion. While we were living there, we missed Japan so much. But I now have noticed that we loved the places there, especially Zurich.

2011.April.5.(Tuesday)

“Kingdom – Andromeda heights vol.1” by Yoshimoto Banana

Yesterday I started to read a new novel. This novel depicts a love story of a girl working as an assistant by one blind fortuneteller with a special skill. She loves him.

I’ve already read 3 to 4 works by this author last one year but I myself did not choose to read them the books but my wife did it. We go to the library every month and borrow 6 new books each. My wife tends to pick novels, and I tend to pick up books from diverse topics. It is very interesting to read the books she chose because I can read many books that I wouldn’t have met if alone.

I wrote the upper part of this diary this morning. Now I am on the way to home and finished reading the book. The main character Kaede insisted to his lover man that “I like this vague but close relationship with her as if we were teenagers. I am comfortable to be with her”. I personaly experienced this feeling but I like it somehow. Anyway, this book was a typical mysterious love story. I admire her descriptive writing style that depicts character’s feeling and mind so well.

2011.April.6.(Wednesday)

flexibility: the ability to make changes or to deal with a situation that is changing
(Source: Macmillan English dictionary)

I like the concept of flexibility; nevertheless, to cope with a situation that you cannot deal with being flexible, you have to fit something into a frame. Well, I am gonna talking about the working circumstances in Japan from a flexibility aspect.

Fortunately our company is wise enough to enjoys a flexible working hours system. That is, it does not matter how long hours you have been present at office but does matter how productive you have been today. If every company and organization introduced this system, then everybody would be happy so that people can spend their time as they like. But this is not the case in Japan. Most companies would like to feel relief by working hours instead of productivity. Productivity is unseen but you can see working hours; easy to control. In my opinion, to make things better, each member must be capable of work independently towards a right direction and the management team also must be capable of controlling the members by establishing a good measurement system of productivity.

I believe this hypothesis: the wiser organizations are, the more flexible in anything they are.

2011.April.7.(Thursday)

“Hachi’s last girlfriend” by Yoshimoto Banana

Even though I am reading one of Banana’s novels again, this book has a completely different world. The main character is a teenager girl living together with a boy. They used to live with one another girl – his ex-girlfriend and also a good friend of her – but she died by a bike crush. They seem to be almost in a relationship but I cannot tell it precisely yet in this middle of the story.

Now it is already Thursday. My wife took a day off today in her oboe work. I really don’t like that I will have to attend a meeting from 7pm tonight.

2011.April.8.(Friday)

“Hachi’s last girlfriend” by Yoshimoto Banana

After I read the epilogue, I realized that the main theme of the book is a truth love in solely one person. I felt very closely when the main character let her boyfriend go to his home country. She cried bitterly, she could not do anything.

When I spend the last together moment with Naoko 2 years ago in Frankfurt airport, we both cried like that way. It was not like that we wouldn’t meet forever but for us that was the ending moment of our together life.

That hard time made our relationship stronger, that is a good point.

2011.April.10.(Sunday)

“THE LAKE HOUSE”, 2006, USA

We haven’t seen a film from the cable TV programs even though we are paying for it! This Saturday, my wife found this film from 9pm. Our favorite theatre night!

*****
The main character Alex moved to a lake house in Chicago. In front of the house, there exists a mailbox which turns out to be a connection to the world two years ahead of his world. The Kate, who lives in the future world, also realizes what is happening with this mailbox through the letters from Alex. Through the letter exchanges, they gradually fall in love each other…

Such kind of parallel world theme often leaves me unconvinced feelings by the story contradiction. However, this was not the case on this film. The film cut out just good moments so that the attention is not yanked by inconsistent details but could concentrate on the beautiful love story only.

I and my wife like this film very much. We wish the film is broadcasted again. In the beginning of the eipisode we could not get the story well for the complex settings.

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“Write down the directions” to be successful

A quote from the book "The 100 simple secrets of Successful People";

The Direction is meant be like a Google map which illustrates your future paths.

I found the message few days ago in the book.

I had happened to do the same thing; I asked myself about my future. SInce nothing had changed, I decided to quit these habits. Now, I picked up the notebook from the pile with anticipation. Then I realized I was young. I feel like my note is too unrealistic, too imaginary, etc.

What does it imply? Have I grown up since then?
I may be still too young to be sure my way.
When will I be matured? Well, I do not know. I hope, all the people see themselves as young when they look back.

So I decided to write down my Google map again to see what happens next.

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“Life plan for Japanese engineers”

I should have known the book earlier.
(Original title: Toudai de oshieta shakaijingaku)

This books describes what is the life picture of a Japanese engineer’s life. That says the following.

Typical example:
A student graduated from the bachelor degree at a good university:
22y/o: Join a company
22y/0 – 25y/o: OTJ period, no evaluation, no promotion
25y/o: Evaluation start
28y/o: Project leader; You are either "higher manager candidate" or "else".
35y/o: Moving onto management side, not anymore on technical side
42y/o: 5% of the same generation have chance to become an executive
56y/o: Retire or higher executive

This example of history is more or less ambiguous because it interests mostly "successful people", who could become a higher manager. This comes from the fact that getting old withouts a management skill is seen as unsuccessful, therefore this is not described. Additionally I will tell you that age is still a useful gauge in Japan to judge whether to give people promotion.
I would like to conclude that this life plan will be remained in the Japanese company’s mind for a while.  I know that the bigger the company is, the more difficult it is to change the system.

I also would like to emphasize that there is no successful career path exept the example above. Keeping the profession as technical expert is still very rare case in Japan.

Anyway, this book taught me a lot.

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Why the world keep developing?

I was always wondering why people are working but not sleeping all-day long. People do so because the food is not automatically generated but people are working on it. This is valid not only on food production but also on shoes companies, supermarkets, school, and any other types of institutes.

Ok, I agree with the non-automatic production system. However, why the company develop their products every 3 months (e.g. in Japanese mobile phone market)? This is because our society is competitive. The companies want their products to be bought more and more. If Sony develops 4D television, then Samsung will try to reach 5D television faster than Sony.

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A funny but REAL Japanese meeting

Why Japanese people work "hard" and long? This blog archive may unveil the mystery.

The meeting that I listened to next to my desk:

Telephone conference between a project management team in Japan (JPN) and the same team in Sweden (SWD). Japanese are on Japan site, Swedish are on Sweden site.

Character:
JPN1: coworker under JPN2
JPN2: Boss
SWD: people in Sweden

At 18:03
JPN1: “Sorry that we are late. (# 2-3 minutes, seemingly) The last meeting was extended to now…”
SWD: “Okay, let’s start the discussion quickly. JPN2, did you go through the document that I sent to you yesterday?”
At 18:06
JPN2: “Oh, to me?”
SWD: “Yes”
JPN1: “To me too?”
SWD: “Ah… yes I think so.”
The two men are searching for the Email.
JPN1: “Yes I found that”
JPN2: “Good job!”
At 18:13
SWD: “Now we can start. About the page 3,”
JPN1: “Wait wait wait please. I haven’t had time to go through the document. We are so busy.” He answered so very proudly.
SWD: “Okay, then let’s discuss this issue tomorrow instead.”
JPN1&2: “Wait wait wait, please! We are reading it right now!”
SWD: “JPN, I don’t want to stress you, push you. Sit back, and read it calmly please. The way you are doing won’t be so efficient.”
JPN1&2: “It’s okay, we can manage it! Well… what is this diagram explained?”
SWD: “… that is on page 5. Hey, JPN 1 and 2, please sit back and think deeply. Discuss it tomorrow. Please.”
JPN2: “Alright, do it so.”
SWD: “I’ll explain some remarks on the document. If you see the page 10,”
JPN1: “Sorry, we have to go cause another meeting is waiting for me! Bye!”
SWD: “Oh I see…”
End the meeting at 18:32

 
Nothing is made, nothing is determined! That is the Japanese unconstructive meeting, this is very typical.

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