Tips for Western professional women working in Japan posted on “culture 99”.

I presented in Webinar organised by Culture 99 “Tips for Western professional women working in Japan”. The recorded version is just posted on web site of “culture 99″.

先日のウェビナーが、culture 99 で広報されました。「ベアテの贈り物」と、ベアテさんの功績も紹介されています。日本女性の人権の歴史が、こういう機会に広く世界に紹介されて、とても嬉しく思いました。

Beate S. Gordon, who established”The Gift from Beate”, a story and history of the establishment of Japanese women’s human rights, is also posted.
Thank you very much for good comments, Matthew!

  • “Yoshiko combines her cultural and experience in Japan with her many years in Europe to deliver a unique view of Western / Japanese difference – These 5 short film highlights give a context and background to the women working in Japan with ideas and strategies for success. A big thank you goes to Yoshiko from the ITC and its followers.
  • Culture Film – Women’s Human Rights in Japan A candid film about an extraordinary woman Beate Sirota Gordon and her contribution to the Japanese Constitution and specifically to her efforts concerning Women’s Human Rights after WWII..”


Fresh & hot from Japan, 18 to 24 Feb. 2016

Please enjoy fresh & hot news from Japan with comments by Europe-Japan Dynamics.

18 Feb.  No more loss of food, Yahoo Auction Japan to sell leftover food at discount price

Yahoo Japan announced that the company will start selling the food close to the limit of the date of the sale or out of the season, using its auction site “Yahuoku!”. The company will sell the food at the discount price by 30 to 90% , thus contributing to reduce the volume of the loss of food. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries estimates the annual food loss would be five to eight million tons in Japan.

Comment: This business is possible thanks to very efficient delivery systems all over Japan. Otherwise, it could be a risky business, as Yahoo can’t deliver the food that has gone over the limit of the sales date.

19 Feb.   Daytime flights between Haneda and NYC will start, while reduced services from Narita anticipated

The Governments of Japan and the US agreed to increase the flights from Haneda to the US on 18 February. The agreement included permission of daytime flights (departing and arriving between 6:00 and 23:00) . Consequently, it is expected that daytime flights between Haneda and the East Coast of the US, namely NYC, will start from the autumn. While this will improve convenience of business passengers, decrease of services from Narita, another major international airport serving to Tokyo, is anticipated.

Comment: It is natural that demand to improve convenience of Haneda Airport is high, due to  a good access to downtown Tokyo. Airports are in competition with each other, domestically and internationally. Narita airport needs strategy to improve its importance in the airport systems in all over East Asia.

22 Feb.  Learning English at Elementary School, during the break or summer holidays?, according to MEXT

Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (MEXT) released examples to include English in the school calendar. This is to demonstrate possible ways for elementary schools to include two school hours of English (one school hour is 45 minutes) every week. English will become compulsory for the 5th and 6th grade schoolchildren from 2020.

Comment: While it’s good to start learning English from the elementary school, a major problem is that school calendar is already full due to other compulsory subjects. Revisiting of the necessity of present volume of  existing subjects may be needed.

23 Feb.  Spike for prosthetic legs developed by a manufacturer jointly with Mizuno, the first Made in Japan

Imasen Engineering Corporation (, a manufacturer specialised in prosthetic legs (Kakamigahara-shi, Gifu), has developed spikes that may be attached to prosthetic legs, jointly with Mizuno Corporation (sports equipment and sportswear company, of Osaka). The spikes may be attached to the prosthetic legs manufacturer by other companies. Imagine also developed a special cover for the spike so that the athletes may not be obliged to remove the spike to walk in areas where spikes are prohibited, such as toilets in arenas. The company aims that the spikes will be adopted at the forthcoming Paralympic in Rio de Janeiro.

The spike has been developed upon advice by Mr. Atsuhi Yamamoto, a silver medalist of the long jump at Beijing Paralympic in 2008.

Comment: The core competence of Imasen is mechatronics to support human beings. For example, its group company produces various device for automobile seats. It is an excellent example that a good technology helps the handicapped, when user’s experience is fully taken into account.

24 Feb. The US, UK and French Ministers of Foreign Affairs, visiting the Peace Memorial Park, Hiroshima

The ministers of Foreign Affairs of the countries that own nuclear weapons, the US, the UK and France, would be visiting the Peace Memorial Park located in Hiroshima city. They are visiting Hiroshima to attend the meeting for Ministers of Foreign Affairs to be held prior to the G7 Ise Shima Summit. If the plan comes true, it will be the first visit by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the countries that own nuclear weapons.

Comment: It is always good for anyone to see in reality the consequences of the nuclear weapons on people and the city.


  • All the news items are picked up from “Asahi Digital”, and summarized and translated by Europe-Japan Dynamics. The articles are not an official translation by the Asahi Newspaper.

How about diving into Japanese life & culture without going to Japan? – A new bilingual course at Ecole BER, Geneva


Interested in what’s inside Japan?

Want to know more about Japan?

Want to know more than a traveler?

Wish to understand the values behind the polite behavior of people and beauty of the arts in Japan?

Want to understand the Japanese customers?

If you say, “YES” to one of the questions above, the course is for you!

Let’s go into Japan with interesting videos, exercise of Origami and discussion with a senior Japanese expert!

Who should attend?

  • People who said “YES!” to any one of the questions above.

Your benefits 

  • To learn much about the Japanese society and way of thinking with fun!
  • To have deeper insights of Japanese culture, while enjoying interaction with other participants and a senior Japanese expert
  • To better manage business with the Japanese
  • To drive knowledge acquired at the course to action, adjusted to individual work and issues with Japan.

Course contents

  • Ice breaking exercise
  • Japanese values
  • Let’s experience — Origami exercise
  • Five clues of Japanese communication
  • From Knowledge to practice

Date & Time: Two sessions from 18:30 to 20:00

  • April course: Wed. 20 and 27 April, 2016
  • June course: Wed. 15 and 22, June, 2016

Fee CHF 120 (If one session only, CHF 80)

BER’s students will enjoy 10% discount.

Course language —  English with French translation

Information & Registration


Rue de Lyon 87


Tel. 022 340 12 81


What are clues for Western Professional women doing business in Japan?

Here are seven clues for you! Please enjoy.

These are highlights of the Intercultural Training Channel organised by Mr. Matthew Hill, intercultural author, trainer & coach.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Fresh & hot from Japan, 11 to 17 Feb. 2016

Please enjoy fresh & hot news from Japan with comments by Europe-Japan Dynamics.

11 Feb.  Operation of four major airports in Hokkaido to private hands from 2019, MLIT

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) has set out a plan to assign a private company to operate the four major state-owned airports in Hokkaido. The MLIT will start negotiation with local municipalities aiming at the start of the privatization in 2019. It will be the first time for the MLIT to privatize the operation of national airports altogether at the same time.

The airports concerned are; Shin Chitose, Hakodate, Kushiro and Wakkanai.

Comment: Privatization of an airport operation has been increasing in Japan. A major issue has been reduction of rent of the airport building as well as landing fees. It is worth monitoring if the privatisation of airport operation will lead to cost reduction.

13 Feb.  Rakuten, leader of e-commerce in Japan, shows slow-down of the growth, while Yahoo and Amazon are catching up

Rakuten, the largest e-commerce company in Japan, announced that the total of the domestic circulation for December, 2015 period was 2,675 billion yen, the highest record for the company. Although Rakuten remains to be the number one in e-commerce, its growth rate has been decreasing, allowing its rivals, such as Yahoo and Amazon, to come closer.

Comment: This may signal the time for innovation in sales for Rakuten.

15 Feb.  Flight map for the Drone, Zenrin started a user experiment

Zenrin Co. Ltd.,  a major  Japanese map publisher, has started a user experiment of an online map service that displays areas where a small pilotless plane (Drone) may fly. The company will make the map available to the public on the dedicated web site ( till mid-March to seek opinions of users. The market launch of the map service will be in April.

Comment: Zenrin has spotted a business opportunity arising from the enactment of the amendments of the Aviation Act. Drones are required to obtain permission before flying, according to the amendment.

16 Feb.  Fast reading of e-books, reading 1.3 times faster assisted by an IT system

Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. (DNP), the largest printing company in Japan has been developing a system to enable readers to read the electronic books faster than average speed. While the key of a fast-reading technic of paper books lies in the training of eye movement, it is an information technology (IT) that help readers. DNP has been testing the system in cooperation with the Future University Hakodate (Hokkaido) since 2012. DNP says that the system will allow to read 1.3 times faster than usual by moving and relocating the letters and words on the e-books.

Comment: Letters moves on a page of an e-book, as seen in a video clip attached to the original article. Letters are not fixed on the paper any more. They dance and help busy readers to read fast!

17 Feb.  Despite economic slow-down, visitors from China doubled in January year on year

The Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) has announced that the number of visitors from People’s Republic of China (PRC) had reached to 475,000 in January, 2.1 times more than a year ago. Compared with the number of visitors in December last year, this number was an increase by about 40% . The rapid growth thus continues, despite a decreased economic growth in China.

Comment: No surprise that Chinese speaking sellers are in every tourist spots, such as mobile phone rental shops at airports, electrical appliance shops in Akihabara, Tokyo, etc.

  • All the news items are picked up from “Asahi Digital”, and summarized and translated by Europe-Japan Dynamics. The articles are not an official translation by the Asahi Newspaper.


Fresh & hot from Japan, 4 to 10 Feb. 2016

Please enjoy fresh & hot news from Japan with comments by Europe-Japan Dynamics.

4 Feb. “Needing Nursing Care-Level 4” to be eligible for postal voting from this year,  740,000 more voters by post

The Japanese Government plans to include in the voters who are eligible for the postal vote those persons, mainly elderly ones, who may not be able to go out by him/herself. The new regulation will be applied from the election of the Upper House planned in July. Presently, only those certified as the “Needing Nursing Care-Level 5”, the level applied to people with heaviest difficulty in mobility and needing a long-term care, are allowed to vote by post. The Government plans to amend the government ordinance to include those at “Needing Nursing Care-Level 4”. This change will allow about 740,000 more voters to become eligible for postal voting.

Comments: This amendment is a good start. Why not allowing the voting by post to other people who may not be able to go to the voting sites on the day of voting for a variety of other reasons?

5 Feb. “Will sign the agreement”, Chaiman of Hon Hai visiting Sharp, Osaka

Mr. Terry Gou, Chaiman of Hon Hai Precision Industry (Taiwan) started on 5 February the final stage of negotiations for the acquisition of Sharp at the its headquarters in Osaka, Japan. Mr. Gou left Taiwan on 4 February, saying, “I’ll sign the agreement.”, according to a source from Hon Hai.

Comment: Sharp is strong in technology while weak in finance. Hon Hai’s stake is to strengthen its technology using its large financial resource. How will the companies manage this opportunity for their interests?

8 Feb.  Amazon has started sommelier service by phone, exclusively for Japan

Amazon, a specialist of online shopping services, has started a free information service by phone for consumers to consult with sommeliers when buying wine. The sommelier recommends up to three wines out of over 8,000 wines sold by Amazon, that would match with the consumer’s preference and budget. This service is the first consultation service by telephone for Amazon and is available in Japan only.

Those consumers interested in the sommelier service input their phone numbers in the Amazon’s web site. An expert of wine calls them back between noon and 5 PM on weekdays to advise which wine to buy. The service is addressed to a wide range of consumers from beginners to advanced wine lovers.

Comment: It is interesting that an IT savvy company like Amazon uses an old media, such as phone calls, for an information service. This may be because selection of wine is so personal in nature that computer-based service can’t meet consumer needs.

9 Feb. Alleviating child poverty, bipartisan Diet member league to start for policy recommendations this month

A league of bipartisan Diet member is to start this month to alleviate poverty of children. Nine members of the Diet from seven parties, including the Liberal Democratic Party, the New Komeito and the Democratic Party, announced the prospectus on 8 February. The league plans to recommend policies for the poverty alleviation to the Government so that they would be taken into account in the “Dynamic action plan for 100 million Japanese” ( a police framework for revitalizing the economy) which the Government plans to announce in the Spring or the national budget from the fiscal year 2017 onwards.

Comment: Alleviation of the increasing child poverty is a national challenge in Japan, because child poverty will reproduce poor population for generations in the future.   Politicians are responsible for creating fundamental changes to improve income distribution in society.

10 Feb.  Reading Japanese announcements in your language by smart phone, Yamaha testing secret sound for language translation

Yamaha, a well known vendor of musical instruments (Hamamatsu, Japan), is developing technologies that enables us to read in-house announcements broadcasted in railway stations, shopping centers, airports, etc. translated in many languages by an application of a smart phone. Yamaha is currently testing the system in the field, e.g. shopping centers, boarding gates of domestic departures, and local buses that serves areas where there are many foreign residents.

The key of the system is to integrate “the secret sound” that human beings cannot catch in announcements. The system does not require the Internet connection or an additional equipment.

The languages being tested include English, Thai, Chinese and Korean.

It is expected that the system will largely help foreign visitors and residents, and people with hearing disabilities.

Comment: This system is an excellent example of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) taken by a specialist company of the sound.


  • All the news items are picked up from “Asahi Digital”, and summarized and translated by Europe-Japan Dynamics. The articles are not an official translation by the Asahi Newspaper.

Meeting highlights from Amazing Japanese!, “Moshi moshi, Japan?”, Geneva, 29 January, 2016

We had great food for thoughts watching a video of amazing Japanese.

Please take a minute to look at the video from the link below. You’d enjoy the reading this article even more. –>

What did you think?

The video is taken in the first morning of the Tokyo Comic Market in 2012.

Here you are, major point of our discussion.

Why do this voluntarily? 

B thought it happens only in Japan, not possible in Europe. P and S said what to see here is that the people in the video are not military solders. They are doing it voluntarily. This makes the Japanese unique and sometimes amaze the Europeans.

P said that whats behind this behavior may be a strong social punishment to those people who don’t keep rules.

Creativity vs Social rules

Y asked why people keep rules, though they are enthusiastic comic lovers, who’d have creative spirits. Why people didn’t show creativity or originality in queing?

S thought it because of fear to take risks. The people in the que thought it better to be submissive, even though they are creators in one way or another. He saw the same attitude of risk avoidance in doing business with the Japanese. S went on to say that harmony had a great value in Japan and that the Japanese harmony meant an agreement by everyone. This value may underly even in the mindset of creators.

Risk of being original and unique

You won’t be accepted by CEO if you reach him/her by skipping hierarchy in a Japanese organisation. In contrat, you’d be accepted in Switzerland.

“KO” between the West and Japan

Y explained a fundamental difference of “KO” between the Westners and Japanese. “個 (self)” and “孤 (being alone)” are pronounced “KO” in Japanese. The Japanese are afraid of, or don’t want to be alone, or “孤”, while the Westners stick to “個”, not being afraid of being alone.

Rules govern

We reached a kind of conclusion that the Japanese nee rules all the time. Without rules, people don’t know how to behave. That’s why even the young people with artist in mind seem to have no problem to follow guidance provided by the organiser of the show, as we observed in the video.

Naturally, neat & tidy. Ningyo-cho, Tokyo
“No question about it”