Feb 22, 2011

The Motto in Business

Recently I've recovered from depression, and I get to be able to work like other people. I have energy enough to think of important things on business.

I tell myself two mottos on business.

The first one is as follows.
I tighten up on my boss and go easy on subordinates. And I tighten up on myself, but don't do it too much.
When I began to manage a project, I found that a project manager was lonely. When I worked under someone, my boss and colleagues gave me some advises at lease. But more promotion I'm getting, less advice people around me give me. I should think and make a decision by myself.

It's not good for a project manager. It's a manager that should correct more information and make a decision based on it. So I tell my boss frankly things, which even if he doesn't like to know. If he does nothing about it, that's fine. That's his decision. It's important for him to make a decision considering enough information, which he likes to know and doesn't like to know. So I tighten up on my boss.

To gather information from my subordinates, I have to open my mind to them and make them open their mind to me. I listen to what they say in earnest and I do good things of them as soon as possible. I tell them my appreciation of their advices. Basically subordinates are cautious about their boss and they never give me, as their boss, bad news. So I go easy on subordinates.

Of course I should tighten up on myself in order to have persuasion to someone. But it's hard for me to tighten up on myself and sometimes I drive myself too hard. So I tighten up on myself, but don't do it too much.

The second one is as follows.
Tell hard words in gentle manner with soft voice.
Telling frankly each other truth is vitally important in order to succeed in business. If people tell lies or things to defend their own interests, business will fail. So I try to tell frankly what I think of truth.

But the truth sometimes sounds quite hard, and makes someone angry. It makes business fail to be too emotional. So I tell hard words in gentle manner with soft voice.

Of course motto is different from what I actually do.

Feb 20, 2011

Trapped Underground

I had a dream.

In it, I take the Keio line and get off at a station in Suginami-ku.

There is a huge cube made of brown rocks, which look like an ancient ruin, in front of the station.

I'm a member of the investigation team that researches the cube.

We find an entrance behind the cube. This entrance is so narrow that a parson can only fit through it sideway.
We go through the narrow passage and come into a square. There are stairways on the other side.

There's a spiral staircase. The members of our team go down in a line.

After we have been going down for some time, we come to a wide space. There is nothing left now, but we talk about how there used to be a body of an aristocrat.

We research there, and are come back up to ground level. I’m ordered to be at the top of our team, although I don’t know the reason.

I go up the stairways until I realize that the stairway is getting smaller. After a while my head won’t fit through.

Finally I stop and the members of our team are in a line behind me. I wonder what I should do.

Most of my dreams end with the situation that I’m confused and don’t know what to do.

Feb 16, 2011

Making Progress Step by Step

My wife and I have been going to golf school for 14 months. At first our golf was terrible, but now we can play a round of golf by ourselves. One of the reasons we were able to make good progress is that our coach might have taught us in an appropriate way.

He doesn't teach a lot of things in one lesson. He walks around the driving range where students are practicing golf, and sometimes he stops at me and watches me hitting the ball for a while, and then he points out just one thing that will change my swing once.

I think that his good point is that he doesn't point out too many things. I may have many problems with my swing, but I can only care about one or two things at once. If he pointed out too many things for me to do, I would be confused and forget how to swing properly.

I can make a concentrated effort to improve the problem which he pointed out. When I resolve that problem, he will stop at me again and point out another thing.

I can make steady progress in golf step by step. I think I'll try to train people who work under me using his method.

Feb 15, 2011

Pleasures in Water

In my childhood I went to swimming school every Sunday. I don't remember that I loved swimming. But I might not hate going to swimming school. Maybe I thought nothing of that, and I just went swimming in habit.

After I've grown up, I thought that I should do exercise for my health. So I had tried to do some of exercises; jogging, weight training, aerobic dancing and so on. In the end I can keep up only swimming. For more than one year my wife and I have been to golf school every Saturday, and I would go to a public swimming pool nearby if I don't have any schedule on Sunday.

When I get out of home, I often feel bored with going to a swimming pool. But once I start swimming, such a feeling is gone. When I finish swimming, I feel tired but invigorated.

When I took a long vacation suffering from depression, I was hanging around home almost all day long. Sometimes I wanted to take exercise, but I got quite tired when I walked in a crowd or talked with someone, so I walked alone taking pictures of alley cats in the neighborhood and went swimming.

There were few people in the public swimming pool on a weekday. I swam three kilometers alone. I usually don't like to be in touch with people, and it was quite tough for me to meet people still much more when I suffered from depression, so I felt free and relaxed to swim alone.

When I make a turn at the end of pool, I kick the wall, stretch my arms and body straight and go into the water. It's the instance when I feel pressure. It's completely silent and gravity is gone. I feel that I'm the only one all over this world. I don't go up to the surface of water and stay going into water forever.

I'll go to swimming pool again, because I want to experience such an instant.

Feb 13, 2011

When My English Was Improved

I've read Katsuya Sugawara's "Between English and Japanese".

An international survey discovered that the competency of Japanese people in English language was lower than most other countries, so English education in Japanese public schools has been criticized for a long time. Responding to this criticism, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology represented a new policy where that English education in high school would change from lessons focused on reading and writing to lessons focused on oral communication by direct method.

Katsuya Sugawara demurs this policy. Since I don't know about the actual condition of English education in high school nowadays, I can't judge his opinion, but I agree with the precondition of his discussion.

He said that when discussing English education in Japanese schools, it must be taken into account that almost all students were living in a Japanese language environment and had almost no chance to communicate in English. Since English lessons in school are limited, it's quite difficult for students to gain practical ability in English. He insisted that the goal of English education in school should be getting a basic ability in order to be able to learn English by yourself when you have to communicate in English. I agree with that considering my experience.

When I was a high school student, I had no chance to communicate with foreigners in English. The English, which I learned in school, was not practical but just bookish. I remember that I had four chances to make progress in English after I graduated from high school, and in any chance I put myself into English environment and leaned English by myself.

The first chance was the time when I entered a university and majored in cultural anthropology. Anthropology is a minor discipline in Japan, so all of the major books in anthropology were not translated into Japanese. I took classes to read thick academic books in English in turn. I had read just short fragments of English in high school and I had not read a whole book in English. So it was quite hard for me to read such thick books. I was frustrated when a professor pointed out my poor English with sarcasm. But I made great progress in my ability of reading English at that time.

The next chance was the time when I had been to a language school in America for three months. I could move up to the highest class in grammar, reading and writing, because I had learned English grammar in high school and read English books in university. At first I could not speak English well, but I was getting used to communication in English just for three months. When I was in America, I tried to keep away from other Japanese and live just in an English environment. I think that one could master oral communication by living in an English environment for a short period, if one has the basic knowledge of grammar and the basic English reading abilities.

The third chance was the time when I began to use English for business. In my company I use mainly Japanese, but I sometimes read English documents, interview with foreigners and negotiate with business partners overseas in English. And then I was getting used to communication in English. At the time I have frequently communicated with non-English native speakers in English. I became able to communicate with someone in English for business, but I couldn't have a chat with foreigners at lunch until now.

The last chance is now. I began to communicate in English on the internet. At this time I'm writing a lot of journals and tweets in English.

According to my history of learning English, if you are willing to master English, you have to get into an English environment in some way and read, write and talk a large amount of English. So it's impossible for students to master English just learning in the classroom. I agree that the goal of English education in school is bringing up the basic ability of English, which will help students to learn English by themselves, as Katsuya Sugawara insists.

My English education is useful for promoting my English ability, isn't it? In conclusion, yes, it is. The knowledge of formal English grammar, which I learned in high school, is indispensable to read academic books in university or communicate precisely for business in English.

On the other hand I’m worse at having a chat than communicating for business. I don't have enough experience of casual communication in English. In this regard English education in high school isn't useful for me.

In the end I think that the goal of English education in school depends on what kind of English communication each student is aiming for. If you want to have a chat fluently in English, you should have more oral communication with native speakers. If you want to communicate precisely for business or to collect large amounts of information in English, it’s important to master formal English grammar and vocabulary.

For myself the latter is more important, so I guess that English education is somehow useful.

Feb 12, 2011

The Japan Sumo Association and the Problem of Fixed Fights

The Japan Sumo Association is shaken by the problem of fixed fights. The president Hanaregoma declared that the Japan Sumo Association would not hold a grand sumo tournament before it makes the suspicion of fixed fights clear. It is said that the tournaments in spring and summer will not be held.

The press has been reported that there were fixed fights in the grand sumo tournaments. These reports are persuasive for me, so I have thought that some of fights are fixed. I am not surprised by this problem and I don't think that fixed fights are not a serious problem, because I am not a big fun of sumo, maybe.

I think that the problem is that the Japan Sumo Association is too dirty to be a public corporation, which is given special privileges. In addition to fixed fights, relationships with the Mobs, illegal gambles and drugs abuse in the sumo society are appeared. Because a lot of underground money must circulate in the sumo community (it has not been public until now), if tax investigation for the Japan Sumo Association is done, a big scandal, which would ruin the Japan Sumo Association, would break. If a private company holds a grand sumo tournament, fixed fights will not be a problem same as professional wrestling. But the Japan Sumo Association as a public corporation declared that there was no fixed fight, but in fact many fights were fixed.

I wrote that fixed fights are not a problem in professional wrestling, but WWE, which is the biggest professional wrestling promotion, declared that professional wrestling was not a sport but an entertainment. Because WWE is a company which offers stocks to public, they have a responsibility to explain their business to stockholders. Even a private company has such accountability, so a public corporation like the Japan Sumo Association has a more serious accountability.

Quite old characteristics of the Japan Sumo Association have caused many problems. In these ten years the awareness of compliance is rising in Japanese society. The problems of illegal collusion in the construction industry and relationships with the Mobs in the business world and political world had been appeared, and reforms were carried out. But the Japan Sumo Association could not reform itself. The problems would not be solved without a complete reform of the Japan Sumo Association, including a sumo gym system. But it might be difficult for the board of the Japan Sumo Association, whose members are retired sumo wrestlers, to carry out a reform. In the worst case the Japan Sumo Association would breakup.

The problem of fixed fights will give the grand sumo tournaments bad effects. Most of funs of sumo had been vaguely aware of fixed fights in sumo, but it is quite different between vague awareness and clear awareness.

I'm a fun of professional wrestling and had a same experience. Rickson Gracie, who was a Jujutsu fighter, beat perfectly twice Nobuhiko Takada, who was a top professional wrestler in real fights. I had not believed that professional wrestling was a real fight, but I had an illusion that professional wrestlers exercised a real fight in their gyms and they were strong. These fights denied this illusion completely.

These fights made professional wrestling in Japan decline. I should enjoy professional wrestling as just an entertainment, but I can't watch professional wrestling with feelings for it before.

The audience of sumo would decline extremely, if the Japan Sumo Association can not eradicate the problem of fixed fight, (I think that it's impossible). The press will not treat sumo as a sport and broadcast on TV. The promotion of sumo will reduce itself and the audience will be limited just to enthusiast.

Sumo had been ambiguous between sport, traditional performance and entertainment until now. In the future I will be just a traditional performance like Kabuki. I think that the identity of sumo will be conserved better.

Feb 9, 2011

I Like Tense in English

RRecently I enjoy writing in English on my weblog and Twitter. Although I've written it before, trying to express what I mean in English is fun like solving a puzzle.

It's fun to think work out which word best conveys what I mean and which expression is easy to understand, by looking in a dictionary and a thesaurus.

I especially like tense in English. Tense in English has more variations and is stricter than in Japanese. I can express myself simply by using tense well. Of course I can express the same thing in Japanese, but the meaning becomes diffuse.

For example I tweeted as follows.
I felt that spring was coming, but I now realize that spring has already come.
In Japanese I can say it as follows.
I'm making sense in Japanese, but in English I can express what I mean more strictly and precisely. It's delightful that I can write such things.

Feb 8, 2011

My Religion Is Animism

There is a column of religious views in a profile on Facebook. I filled Animism in that column. Of course it's kind of a joke, but a little bit serious.

My parents, who don't have strong faith, are sponsors of Buddhist temple of Honganji sect in Jodoshinshu party at least and our family's funerals are done with Buddhist rites, as usual as most families in Japan.

I often visit to Buddhist temples of any parties. Especially My wife and I are going on a pilgrimage of Kamakura 33 Kannons now, so we had been to many Buddhist temples in Kamakura. I feel great awe in front of a Buddhist statue.

I have an affinity with the thought of Buddhism and my view of life is influenced by it. I feel closer to Theravada Buddhism, which transmits original thought of Buddha, than Jodoshinsyu, which was established by Shinran.

But I'm not sure that I’m a Buddhist. I myself don't belong to any society of Buddhist, and don't believe in reincarnation or Buddhist paradise. I have a great respect for Buddha as a human being, but I don't believe in the existence of Amitaabha or Mahaavairocana.

On the other hand I often pray for Shinto Shrine. When I clap my hands in front of the shrine, I feel spiritual purity.

But I don't think of myself as a Shinto follower. I don't belong to any society of modern Shinto. I like Japanese traditional and folk faith, but I’m not interested in modern Shinto as a religious society at all. I refuge modern Shinto, because it is related closely to the jingoism before World War Two in Japan.

I might be an agnostic, because I don't believe in Buddha and God. But an agnostic is the person who gets suspicious about the existence of God in the society where monotheistic religion, for example Christianity, is dominant. In Japan I have no chance to think of monotheistic God, so I've never think of the problem whether God exist. I might not be an agnostic.

Many of my friends say that they don’t believe in Buddha or God but feel the power of universe. I asked one of my friends, who are a Christian, if such existence is like God, and he denied that completely. Christian God has a character, and is different from the abstract existence of universe.

It's said that most Japanese people don't have any religion. It's true that they don't belong to any religious society, but they have religious sense. For example recently going to sacred places, named as "power spot", is in fashion now. This is a kind of religious sense of Japanese people.

If I express the faith for the power of universe or nature, which is common in Japanese, I find only the word "Animism".

It's a kind of self-deprecating joke that I filled Animism in the column of religion on Facebook. It's true that we don't a civilized religion like Christianity and Islam, but I can't express the religious sense as any other word but "Animism".

Feb 6, 2011

A Duty of a Volunteer Activity

I had a dream.

In it I'm an American student.

The Congress is discussing the insertion a new provision into the Constitution of the United States of America, which requires U.S. citizen to do volunteer activities. I tell my friends that it isn't a volunteer activity, if it is a duty.

My friends and I go to a square to hear a speech given by a Democrat Congressman, who supports this amendment. I hear gunshot and he is shot. I'm quite surprised and turn around. I find a middle-aged man armed with a gun standing still with a smirk on his face. We run away from the square in fear.

In the next day we go to hear a speech given by a Republican Congressman, who opposes this amendment. He is famous for his extreme remarks.

When we arrive at the site where he will give a speech, we lean that his speech is canceled for his safety. I'm disappointed that he ran away in a pinch, although he usually makes extreme remarks.


In the Constitution of Japan there is a provision, which prescribes that Japanese national have a right and duty of working. There might not be such a provision in the Constitution of the United States of America. I think that a constitution basically prescribes authority and duties of a government. I wonder why the Constitution of Japan has such a meddling provision, which prescribes a duty of working.

Feb 2, 2011

"Studenting" with all one's might

My wife and I watched the film "The Social Network".

I had made a reservation of tickets of the day before and they didn't refund my money, so I had to pay twice as much. But this film was worth 3,600 yen.

The story of "The Social Network" is that Facebook had been developed for a communication tool in Harvard University and as it was spreading all over the world, the main character in this film, Mark Zuckerberg, was involved in many troubles. I was impressed with a lot of rapid conversations in this film.

I think that it is a quite all American story. I can understand the culture of American universities by this film.

Although Zuckerberg's origin isn't descried in this film, he might be an ordinary student, who is quite excellent but doesn't have any special connections. He wears a Gap's hoodie and a backpack. He wants to be a member of the final club (like a fraternity), but he doesn’t have any connections with the final club.

On the other hand the Winklevoss brothers, who are enemy roles with Zuckerberg in this film, are typical and conservative Ivy Leaguers. They are rowers. The president of Harvard told cynically that they looked like salesmen of Brooks Brothers.

Of course Zuckerberg desires to be rich, but wants to be recognized by other people more, I guess. His friend, who is a co-founder of Facebook, advised him to put advertisements on Facebook, but Zuckerberg refused it because advertisements are not cool. He has been wearing a Gap hoodie, after he became a millionaire. I think that he likes and hates the establishments, who belong to the final club in Harvard University.

It is quite interesting that the Winklevoss brothers, who are born rich men, persist in business success by their own idea more than Zuckerberg.

Anyway I think that it is great for Zuckerberg and the Winklevoss brothers to do put their all into what they can do things only in their school days. I heard that recently Japanese university students start to find their jobs wearing business suits in the second grade. But companies might not appreciate such students' efforts to find their jobs. A student, who does things like student, gets higher evaluation.

I guess that a student life in America is tough and conflicted and students distress themselves. But I envy the culture of American universities in which a student can be "Studenting" with all one's might.