Monthly Archives

December 2023

The Charm of Traditional Japanese Timber in Kyoto’s Kiyomizu-dera

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Today, while exploring the historic slopes of Sannenzaka near Kyoto’s Kiyomizu-dera Temple, I captured this charming sight.

Japanese timber, as seen here in the signage of a local tea shop, possesses a unique allure. It radiates a sense of vitality and tranquility, inviting passersby to pause and enjoy a relaxing cup of tea.

This particular sign, crafted through DIY efforts, showcases the cost-effectiveness of using natural materials over store-bought options. Its aesthetic appeal not only catches the eye but also tempts visitors to step in for a refreshing break.

Today, the streets of Kyoto were bustling with tourists from all around the world, drawn in part by the undeniable charm of Japanese woodcraft.

The seamless blend of tradition and nature in woodworking and architecture captures the hearts of visitors globally, making Kyoto’s cultural streetscape a cherished destination.

#JapaneseTimber #KyotoTravel #TraditionalCrafts #Woodworking #CulturalHeritage #DIYProjects #SustainableDesign #TourismJapan #KiyomizuTemple #ArtisanalCharm

Celebrating the Impact of Anime: The “アルプスの少女ハイジHeidi, Girl of the Alps” Exhibition

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Currently, the Hankyu Department Store in Umeda, Osaka, is hosting an exhibition titled “Heidi, Girl of the Alpsアルプスの少女ハイジ”. Visiting this exhibition profoundly reminded me of the immense power of Japanese anime.

This particular anime was broadcast weekly in Japan in 1974, achieving a staggering 23% viewership rate. It’s common to hear about young people from abroad being drawn to study in Japan, inspired by Japanese anime.

However, what struck me about “Heidi” was how it must have introduced many Japanese girls to the lifestyle and culture of people living in the mountainous regions of Europe, particularly Switzerland and Germany.

Though based on a Swiss novel by Johanna Spyri, the anime adaptation by Japanese creators, especially the genius animator Hayao Miyazaki宮崎駿, brought Heidi to life in a way that perhaps even surpassed the original.

Through the lens of Japanese anime technology, not only is Japan showcased to the world, but European culture is also conveyed to Japan. Anime, with its ability to transcend language barriers, serves as an excellent medium to introduce various cultures to people worldwide.

#HeidiExhibition #OsakaEvents #MiyazakiHayao #SwissCulture #GermanCulture #CulturalAppreciation #AnimeAsABridge #WorldCultures #CreativeStorytelling #HankyuDepartmentStore
#AnimeImpact #CulturalExchange #Heidi #JapanAnimation #GlobalInfluence #Storytelling

Embracing the Essence of Japanese Forests and Japanese Philosophies

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I recently ventured into the deep forests of Wakayama Prefecture, capturing this image during my quest for the finest cedar and cypress wood. At Dios, we’re committed to offering unparalleled service to diplomats and expatriates residing in Osaka, by providing them with the best in furnishings and decor.

Our approach at Dios is multifaceted. While we meticulously select furniture from various interior stores, we also delve deep into nature, personally sourcing materials for our custom-made furnishings and decorative items. We place a special focus on the quality of Japanese timber. After comparing various types of wood from around the world, we are convinced that Japanese wood stands superior on the global stage.

Using natural, solid wood slabs to create stylish dining tables or transforming small wooden pieces into charming signage, we significantly enhance the value of real estate properties. Modern homes often feel impersonal due to synthetic materials; however, incorporating authentic Japanese wood dramatically transforms these spaces.

Interestingly, the same timber we select was once used in the former Italian Embassy Villa in Tochigi Prefecture(See Photos) . This suggests that Europeans with a discerning eye have long recognized the value of our Wakayama’s timber.

Japan’s land is 70% covered in forests, a testament to the generations of Japanese who have painstakingly preserved these woodlands. The Japanese philosophy of forest conservation not only honors this legacy but also contributes to a sustainable and eco-friendly future for humanity. Japanese forests are a global treasure, enriching lives and fostering a sustainable future.

#JapaneseForests #WoodworkCraftsmanship #EcoFriendlyLiving #ExpatLifeInJapan #HeritageConservation #InteriorDesign #WoodenWonder #LivingWithNature #OsakaLiving #GreenFuture #GlobalTreasures
#JapaneseTimber #SustainableDesign #FurnitureArtistry #DiosInteriors #CulturalHeritage #EnvironmentalConservation #OsakaExpats #RealEstateValue #NaturalAesthetics

Recognizing the Craftsmanship Behind the Osaka Expo’s Ring Structure

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Amidst the rising criticism from Japanese citizens towards the Osaka Expo’s Ring structure, I, drawing from my own experiences in interior construction, believe the construction of this ring is an extremely challenging feat.

The technical skill and effort of those involved in this construction should be more highly appreciated. It’s crucial to distinguish between the political leaders of the Osaka Expo and the skilled technicians and workers on the ground.

Working with wood, which often warps and bends due to moisture and other factors, requires significant skill to correct these deviations on-site. Creating a circular structure like the Ring involves considerable difficulty and material waste.

Likely under constant pressure from political leaders to expedite the process, the workers face immense challenges. Precisely carving joints and ensuring perfect alignment within millimeters is no small task. Moreover, ensuring level flooring, especially over a body of water, raises questions about the methods employed in this process.

With multiple contractors involved, the integration of the Ring’s segments is a point of intrigue.

Based on my carpentry experience, I view the construction of this Ring as an extraordinary achievement, showcasing remarkable craftsmanship and engineering prowess.

#ArchitecturalInnovation #ProjectManagement #SustainableConstruction #WoodworkingArtistry #Osaka2025 #ExpoConstruction #EngineeringExcellence #BuildingTheFuture
#OsakaExpo #ConstructionExcellence #EngineeringMarvels #Craftsmanship #InnovationInConstruction

(Photo) From Radio Kansai, November 2023

Addressing Accommodation Challenges for Expo Osaka

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In this photo, you can see an apartment in Osaka, fully furnished which my company purchased  and rented out by our company as a turnkey solution for foreign tenants.

During Dubai Expo, the host country impressively built housing near the Expo site for foreign staff. This well-planned accommodation boasted excellent location, spacious rooms, well-arranged furniture, functional design, and high-grade balancing. Post-Expo, these residences transitioned into profitable rental apartments, also sometimes serving as convenient accommodations for large conferences, as I was informed by UAE contacts.

Regrettably, the Japanese government has not made similar preparations at all for Expo Osaka. The responsibility to devise housing solutions for the expected influx of foreign visitors, a challenging task indeed, seems to fall on private entities like ours.

Furnished rental options are scarce in Japan, and those available often suffer from inconvenient locations, poor furniture quality, or are unsuitable for the large numbers of foreigners expected during the Expo.

Our company is adept at procuring and tastefully arranging furniture, we can offer flexibility in location. However, the process of arranging, accounting, transporting, assembling, cleaning, and eventually removing furniture is far more labor-intensive than one might expect, inevitably driving up rental costs.

Hotels, lacking kitchens, are not suitable for long-term stays. Furthermore, there are no companies in Osaka capable of providing high-quality services to foreign expats because Osaka is not a metropolitan.

I think that this housing issue might become one of the biggest challenges for Expo Osaka.

#GlobalEvents #HospitalityManagement #RealEstateDevelopment #UrbanPlanning #CulturalExchange #BusinessTourism #JapanHospitality
#ExpoOsaka #InternationalEvents #HousingSolutions #FurnishedRentals #JapanRealEstate #ServiceApartments #HospitalityInnovation

Rethinking Osaka Expo 2025: The Strategic Use of Osaka’s Parks

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I have long believed that hosting the World Expo at Osaka Castle Park would be an excellent choice. The park’s accessibility from various locations, coupled with its sturdy, disaster-resistant terrain, makes it one of the safest and most practical sites. Moreover, it’s a popular park, loved by many.

Beyond Osaka Castle Park, Osaka boasts numerous other parks. If the Expo venues were distributed among these parks, it would offer several advantages:

1. Reduction in Construction Costs: Spreading out the Expo across various parks can significantly cut down on the overall construction expenses.

2. Lower Infrastructure Development Costs: Utilizing existing parks reduces the need for extensive new infrastructure development.

3. Revitalization of Central Osaka and Beyond: Decentralizing the Expo venues can invigorate different areas of Osaka. Easier access to various Expo sites would likely increase visitor numbers, boosting the local economy and bringing a vibrant energy to the entire city.

4. No Need for Massive Tree Relocation: There would be no need to transplant 1500 trees. Additionally, the mature trees and the majestic feel of Osaka’s parks can provide a more authentic and beautiful experience of Japan’s natural forests.

5. Accessible Roads for Construction: The wide roads surrounding Osaka Castle Park facilitate easy access for construction vehicles.

6. Abundant Nearby Accommodations: Proximity to quality hotels like the New Otani enhances convenience for visitors.

7. Boost for Local Businesses: The abundance of restaurants and shops in Kyobashi and throughout the city promises increased sales and economic growth.

8. Facilities for International Guests: The Expo Park in Suita City has excellent facilities for hosting international dignitaries.

9. Safe Environment for Educational Trips: The absence of soil contamination concerns makes these parks safe destinations for school trips.

10. No Disadvantages for the Public: The only parties potentially inconvenienced by dispersing the Expo venues across Osaka’s parks would be the political party Osaka Ishin no Kai and its affiliates. For everyone else, this approach offers only advantages.

#OsakaExpo2025 #GreenExpo #SustainableExpo #UrbanParks #OsakaCastlePark #EconomicGrowth #CommunityEngagement #InnovativeUrbanPlanning #EnvironmentalSustainability #PublicSpaces
#UrbanRenewal #OsakaExpo2025 #CityParks #EconomicGrowth #CulturalTourism #InnovativeCities #GreenSpaces #CommunityEngagement #GlobalEvents
#Expo2025 #Osaka #UrbanPlanning #SustainableDevelopment #PublicParks
#OsakaExpo2025 #GreenExpo #SustainableExpo #UrbanParks #OsakaCastlePark #EconomicGrowth #CommunityEngagement #InnovativeUrbanPlanning #EnvironmentalSustainability #PublicSpaces

Experiencing German Christmas Charm at Osaka’s Hankyu Department Store

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Today, while visiting the Hankyu Department Store in Osaka, I was delighted to find a charming German store named Käthe Wohlfahrt. Browsing through the adorable wooden crafts, I was pleasantly surprised to see a piece that matched one I had received from a German friend in the past.

Käthe Wohlfahrt is based in Rothenburg, a town on Germany’s Romantic Road. The traditional German Christmas decorations and the warmth of German Christmas traditions from yesteryears are palpably felt through their exquisite wooden crafts.

In Osaka, the German Christmas Market event is held annually, and this year, Käthe Wohlfahrt has made its first appearance in Japan. Such events, steadily gaining popularity in Japan, have the potential to deeply root German Christmas culture in the Japanese market, bridging cultural gaps and bringing a slice of German holiday spirit to Japan.

#ChristmasMarket #OsakaEvents #GermanCultureInJapan #TraditionalGermanCrafts #CulturalBridges #KätheWohlfahrtJapan #HolidaySeason #InternationalRetail #CulturalAppreciation #OsakaDiscoveries
#GermanChristmas #CulturalExchange #Osaka #KätheWohlfahrt #TraditionalCrafts

Reflecting on Political Leadership and the Use of Money in Japan

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Currently, Japan is abuzz with discussions about politics and money. Whenever I visit Osaka Castle and behold its magnificent stone walls, I ponder over Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s leadership from 400 years ago.

Max Weber, a German sociologist from over a century ago, distinguished between two types of politicians:

1. Politicians who engage in politics for money.
2. Politicians who use money for politics.

Politicians of the first kind are merely opportunists. When they hand out money, they command, “Do this!” This is bribery, reducing workers and citizens to mere tools.

In contrast, the second type of politicians humbly say, “Please accept this money,” without issuing any orders. This is a ‘gift’ or ‘donation,’ which in German also means a ‘burden’—implying a sense of obligation. Workers feel energized to do anything for such leaders, exclaiming, “This person is incredible!” and “Let’s follow this leader!”

So, what is the nature of the money used by today’s Japanese politicians?

Each time I look at the grand stone walls of Osaka Castle, I feel Hideyoshi’s approach to money and his leadership style resonate deeply within me.

#PoliticalEthics #HistoricalWisdom #MaxWeber #OsakaCastle #PoliticalLeadership #ToyotomiHideyoshi #MoneyInPolitics #PublicService #LeadershipValues

Critical Analysis of Kishida Administration’s “Unique Approach to Combating Declining Birthrate

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In what seems to be an “unprecedented measure” to counter the declining birthrate, the Kishida administration announced tuition-free college education for households supporting three or more children. This declaration, made by the Minister of Children’s Policies, a female appointee of Prime Minister Kishida, has been met with a barrage of criticism.

Labelled as a de facto tax increase, this policy mirrors the confusion of low-amount tax reductions, making it an obscure form of taxation. This move almost certainly dashes any hopes of revival for the Kishida administration.

Why such a policy? The answer is simple: opposition from the Ministry of Finance in Japan. The Ministry, clinging to the fallacious theory of fiscal austerity (which prohibits spending beyond income), restricts policy flexibility. It appears unconcerned with safeguarding the national finances, focusing instead on enhancing its political clout.

The Ministry’s sole preoccupation seems to be expanding its amakudari (descent from heaven) post-retirement positions, ignoring the financial health of the nation, the well-being of its citizens, and the growth of the Japanese economy.

Moreover, without increased revenues, political donations to politicians do not rise. Budget allocations appear to serve two primary purposes: increasing political donations and expanding post-retirement opportunities for bureaucrats.

Under the Kishida administration, substantial subsidies were distributed to the medical and tourism sectors. Unfortunately, the taxes paid by Japanese citizens are being used solely for political and bureaucratic self-interests. Yet, most Japanese remain blissfully unaware of being deceived by the Ministry of Finance and the Japanese media.

This represents the current state of politics under Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party: a solidified collusion between politics, bureaucracy, and business.

#JapanGovernment #PublicPolicy #GovernmentSpending #FiscalReform #SocialAwareness #PublicDebate #GovernmentAccountability #TaxPolicy #CitizenAwareness #LDPJapan #PoliticalCritiqu
#JapanesePolitics #EconomicPolicy #FiscalChallenges #KishidaAdministration #EducationReform

Reflections on Japan’s Economic Challenges as the Year Ends

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As the year draws to a close, Europe enters the Christmas holiday, while in Japan, December is known as “Shiwasu” (師走), literally translating to ‘the month of running around.’ It’s a busy time for everyone, including business owners like myself, who are inclined to generously reward their employees for a year of hard work.

However, the Japanese system of consumption tax and social insurance premiums imposes certain constraints on this goodwill gesture.

For instance, for an employee earning a monthly salary of 200,000 yen, the company must pay approximately 70,000 yen in social insurance premiums. If the salary is about 300,000 yen, this payment rises to nearly 100,000 yen.

Furthermore, the calculation of consumption tax doesn’t allow for salary expenses to be deducted. This means that as salaries increase, so does the consumption tax burden on the company.

The hefty social insurance premiums and consumption tax are significantly hindering Japan’s economic growth. While the Japanese government imposes economic sanctions on Russia, ironically, it’s also inadvertently applying a form of economic sanction on its own people.

Despite the renowned diligence, honesty, excellence, sincerity, earnestness, kindness, cleanliness, and hardworking nature of the Japanese people, these policies cast a shadow over the future outlook of Japan’s economy. I fear that the current economic policies may lead to a bleak future for Japan’s economy.

#EconomicInsights #JapaneseWorkCulture #BusinessInJapan #FiscalPolicy #SocialInsurance #Taxation #EmployeeRewards #EndOfYearEconomy #EconomicOutlookJapan #BusinessLeadershipInJapan
#JapanEconomy #BusinessChallenges #YearEndReflections #EconomicPolicy #JapaneseCulture