Monthly Archives

December 2023

The Honesty of Japan: A Tale of Lost and Found

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As the temperatures in Osaka take a sudden dip today, signaling a colder season ahead, I’d like to remind everyone visiting or residing in Osaka to stay warm and be well-prepared for the chill.

About a month ago, one of our Canadian clients experienced a distressing situation. She lost her wallet, which contained cash, credit cards, her ID, and house keys. She believed that she had forgotten it in a restroom and was convinced that someone might have taken the cash and discarded the rest, possibly even posing a threat to her home security due to the keys and address being together.

Fast forward to a month later, she joyfully informed me, “My wallet has been returned!”

In major Japanese cities like Tokyo and Osaka, it’s incredibly rare to hear about theft, even when personal belongings are lost. While it might take some time for lost items to be returned, especially if left in public spaces like stores, trains, or buses, it’s not uncommon for these items to find their way back to their owners.

In situations where a store’s lost and found becomes overwhelmed, staff members often hand over the lost items to the local police station. This can delay the return process, particularly if the owner forgets where they lost the item.

While incidents like ‘snatching’ do exist, unless it’s a case of outright theft or robbery, Japanese people often go out of their way to ensure lost items are returned to their rightful owners. It’s a level of honesty and civic responsibility that continues to amaze and reassure, both for locals and expats alike.

#OsakaLife #CommunityCare #ResponsibleCitizens #JapaneseHospitality #ExpatSafety #LifeInJapan #CulturalAwareness #WinterInOsaka
#JapanCulture #HonestyInJapan #LostAndFound #SafetyInJapan #TravelTips #OsakaWeather #ExpatLife

Reflecting on Leadership and Political Dynamics in Japan

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As someone born and raised in Japan, living a typical Japanese life, I find myself reflecting on the state of political leadership in our country. Throughout my life, I’ve never been truly moved or inspired by a speech from any Japanese Prime Minister. It’s my hope that, at least once before I die, I’ll experience a truly inspiring oration from a leader.

Today, Prime Minister Kishida broke down in tears during his address. While it’s human to show emotion, as a leader, maintaining composure in public is often expected.

The bureaucrats in Japan have perceived a decrease in public support for the Kishida administration and have judged it as powerless. Consequently, it seems they are now releasing all unfavorable information they have been withholding. In this scenario, Kishida’s administration is completely underestimated and sidelined by its own bureaucrats.

Meanwhile, factions aiming for the next administration have utilized the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office to dismantle the Abe faction through party ticket scandals. This marks an intensification in the power struggles within the government.

However, Prime Minister Kishida cannot resign immediately due to the upcoming budget committee starting early next year. It appears that he is being kept in position during this period specifically to allow for more negative information to be released.

It seems likely that Kishida’s planned visit to the United States next spring could well become his final act as Prime Minister. A closing chapter for his tenure, amid the turbulent political landscape of Japan.

#JapanesePolitics #Leadership #KishidaAdministration #PoliticalChallenges #PublicSpeaking #FutureOfJapan

Navigating Complex Challenges at Expo 2025 Osaka

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Photo Caption: The year 2024 is known as the “Year of the Dragon” in Japan. It is a longstanding Japanese custom to send New Year’s greeting cards, called “Nengajo,” to those we are grateful to from the previous year.

The current challenges facing Expo 2025 Osaka seem to include the following:

① Significant Ground Stabilization Requirements at Yumeshima:
It appears that the need for soft ground stabilization at Yumeshima, the site of the Expo, is far greater than initially anticipated. While this was known from the start, the extent of the requirements has only recently become clear.

② Who Bears the Additional Ground Treatment Costs?:
The question of who should bear these additional costs is critical. Should it be the international pavilions or the Japanese side? The increased costs may necessitate a redesign of the pavilions or additional financial contributions. From the international perspective, the query, “Why should we bear the cost of ground stabilization?” is justified. Moreover, the suggestion to simplify designs can be deeply disheartening for those who have invested considerable effort and creativity in their plans. As a company involved in design work, we deeply empathize with the disappointment this can cause.

③Ongoing Disputes Over Cost and Design Changes Impeding Construction:
Given these continuous issues around additional financial burdens and design changes, it’s natural that construction progress is hampered.

#Expo2025 #YumeshimaDevelopment #ConstructionChallenges #GlobalCooperation #CulturalShowcase #InnovativeDesign #FiscalResponsibility #TeamworkForSuccess

Understanding Rental Housing Contracts in Japan: Challenges for Foreign Clients

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In my experience with foreign clients, a common request is to secure rental housing in Japan a year before their arrival. They often seek assistance with property searches and wish to finalize rental agreements well in advance.

However, in Japan, it’s not feasible to enter into a rental agreement a year prior due to the Tenant-Landlord Law借地借家法. Under Japanese law, for a landlord to terminate a rental agreement, a “just cause正当事由” is required.

Meeting the criteria for “just cause正当事由れ” is incredibly challenging, often requiring landlords to pay exorbitant sums to tenants to legally end the lease. Practically, it’s almost impossible for landlords to initiate a termination under normal circumstances.

Therefore, we can only finalize contracts for properties that are currently vacant. This limitation can be frustrating for those planning ahead, but it’s an essential aspect of the Japanese rental market to understand.

Navigating these challenges requires expertise and patience, and I strive to guide my clients through this process, ensuring they find a suitable home upon their arrival in Japan.

#RealEstateJapan #ExpatsInJapan #RentalHousing #JapaneseLaw #PropertyManagement #ExpatriateLiving #HousingInJapan #TenantRightsん

The Impact of Economic Policies

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(Photo) Japanese painting by Nagasawa Rosetsu (1892 – 1951)

Recently, news broke that baseball star Shohei Ohtani has finalized his move to the Los Angeles Dodgers. A shining talent in the Major League Baseball’s home run competitions, it’s hard to imagine him returning to Japanese professional baseball.

This reminds us of the case of Ichiro Suzuki, who moved from Kobe’s Orix to Major League Baseball and retired without returning to Japan. Such situations stem from the failure of the Japanese government’s economic policies, particularly the consumption tax policy, which has led to no increase in Japanese salaries for 30 years.

Talented individuals are high taxpayers. The outflow of such high-value individuals from Japan is a consequence of the government’s economic policies, a fact that the Japanese public needs to recognize. To reverse this trend and retain domestic talent, thus revitalizing the economy, a revision of these economic policies is urgently needed.

#ShoheiOhtani #TalentDrain #JapaneseEconomy #ConsumptionTaxIssue #EconomicPolicy #ProfessionalBaseball #MLB #IchiroSuzuki #PolicyRevision #EconomicRevitalization #DomesticTalentRetention #HighTaxPayers

Navigating Japan’s Tax Dilemma: The Implications for Businesses and the Future of Japanese Economy

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In the wake of increasing scrutiny on Prime Minister Kishida’s cabinet, it appears that an increase in consumption tax may be looming in Japan’s future. Interestingly, the term ‘消費税’ (shouhizei) in Japanese translates to two different terms in English: ‘Sales Tax’ and ‘Consumption Tax’. Despite common belief among Japanese citizens, finance officials, and even accounting experts that it’s a consumption tax, the reality is that Japan’s ‘消費税’ functions more like a sales tax.

A sales tax, unlike a consumption tax, is borne by businesses, not consumers. This means that Japan’s consumption tax is not merely a pass-through charge as widely believed. When companies prepare their tax filings, salaries paid to employees cannot be deducted from this tax, which limits the ability of businesses to increase wages.

Consequently, salaries in Japanese companies have not seen significant increases over the past 30 years. With the current political climate, it’s unlikely that this will change in the near future, largely due to a fundamental misunderstanding of the accounting principles behind the consumption tax. This misunderstanding and the resultant fiscal policies could continue to stifle wage growth and impact the Japanese economy.

#JapanEconomy #TaxPolicy #ConsumptionTax #SalesTax #JapanesePolitics #BusinessImpact #EconomicGrowth #FiscalPolicy #WageStagnation #FinancialAwareness

Expo 2025 and the Uncertain Future of Japanese Politics

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In recent times, there has been a noticeable increase in negative reporting surrounding Expo 2025. While some of these reports may be based on certain truths, it is believed that they are underpinned by the strategies of Japanese bureaucrats.

It appears that bureaucrats, perceiving Prime Minister Kishida’s influence as waning, are now intent on releasing all negative information at their disposal. By spring of next year, it is anticipated that a slew of unfavorable reports, including those pertaining to political corruption, will emerge.

In such a scenario, the prospects for salvaging Prime Minister Kishida’s position seem bleak. His scheduled visit to the United States in the spring of 2024 is likely to be the last highlight of his political career.

However, it is expected that following this visit, the negative press around the Osaka Expo will subside. From the spring of 2024, when the cherry blossoms bloom, we look forward to welcoming wonderful talented foreign individuals from around the world to Osaka, bringing new vigor and perspectives.

#Expo2025 #JapanesePolitics #KishidaAdministration #InternationalRelations #OsakaExpo #PoliticalShifts #InternationalCooperation #GlobalLeaders #NewHorizons

Cultural Insights: The Life of a Japanese Salaryman

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Yesterday, I had the opportunity to visit the home of an Indian client and engage in some work. The lady of the house, who has been in Japan for three months, shared her observations with me.

“Japanese people seem to work incredibly hard. I often see them in cafes, deeply engrossed in their work on laptops. I imagine Japanese companies must be quite strict.”

I took a moment to explain the nuances of Japanese work culture to her.

“What you’re observing are ‘salarymen.’ Indeed, Japanese corporate culture is known for its rigor. Interestingly, it’s not just the workplace that’s demanding – Japanese wives are known to be quite strict too. This makes the life of a Japanese man quite challenging.”

She listened intently, trying hard to suppress her laughter, clearly intrigued by my explanation.

“It’s this dual pressure from both work and home that makes the moments in between so crucial. That’s why, before heading home, Japanese salarymen often unwind by having drinks with colleagues. It’s a brief yet significant respite from their disciplined lives.”

#JapaneseCulture #SalarymanLife #WorkLifeBalance #CulturalInsights #JapanWorkEthic #CorporateCultureJapan #DailyLifeJapan

Exploring the Rich Artistic Heritage of Kyoto’s Shijo Street

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The Edo period (1603-1868) in Japan witnessed the rise of many remarkable artists, among whom Ito Jakuchu (1716-1800) holds a special place. Known for his unique style and rich use of color, Jakuchu’s works continue to inspire awe and admiration. Living on Kyoto’s Shijo Street, he might have crossed paths with another great painter of his era, Nagasawa Rosetsu, who also resided on the same street.

Today, Shijo Street, just a few hundred meters long, is lined with souvenir shops for foreign tourists. At first glance, these shops might appear ordinary and outdated, yet, upon closer inspection, one discovers stores with remarkable design and rich historical backgrounds. This blend of the old and the new, where history meets contemporary design, is what makes Shijo Street uniquely captivating.

In my quest to bring the essence of Japan’s rich cultural heritage into the homes of our foreign clients, I find myself drawn to these shops on Shijo Street. Here, amidst the bustling tourist trail, are treasures of interior decor that not only reflect the traditional artistry of Japan but also resonate with modern aesthetics. Each piece sourced from these stores carries with it a story, a piece of history, and a touch of the artistic genius that once roamed these streets. It’s in these artifacts that the spirit of Ito Jakuchu and the legacy of Shijo Street continue to live on, bringing timeless elegance to contemporary living spaces.

#ItoJakuchu #JapaneseArt #KyotoHeritage #CulturalExploration #InteriorDesign #ShijoStreet #ArtisticLegacy #EdoPeriodArt #TraditionMeetsModern #InspirationInEveryCorner

Celebrating the Thai King’s Birthday with Esteemed International Guests

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Last night, We had the honor of attending the reception for the birthday of the King of Thailand. It was a delightful experience to mingle with our foreign clients, all of whom I find to be truly exceptional individuals. They are well-educated and possess outstanding personal qualities.

One thing I noticed is the pride that Thai people have in being citizens of the Kingdom of Thailand. Additionally, they are extremely delighted when Japanese and other foreigners speak Thai, a gesture of respect and connection that transcends cultural barriers.

Representatives from various countries were present to pay their respects to the Thai Kingdom. Despite their busy schedules in Japan, I hope they take the time to immerse themselves in Japanese culture and history and enjoy some leisurely tourism. It’s a wonderful opportunity to deepen international relationships and understanding.

#ThaiKingdom #CulturalDiplomacy #InternationalRelations #CrossCulturalExchange #Respect #GlobalCommunity #Networking #CulturalAppreciation #Japan #ThaiCulture