Friday, September 23, 2011

Hakone has made a comeback

I went to Hakone last weekend. Hakone is one of the popular tourist spots around Kanto area. Actually, it is the place of a memory for me, because it is the place where I presented my partner with an engagement ring 4 years ago.


After the 3.11 earthquake, it was reported that the number of tourists to resort destinations like Hakone has significantly dropped. It seems that the number is gradually getting back normal. I could confirm that there were a lot of visitors in Hakone this time.


In Hakone, we can go around a lot of sights while getting on mountain railways, cable cars and sightseeing boats. We can enjoy various aspects of Japanese nature, mountains, lake, vegetation and hot springs.

It only takes one and a half hour to get Hakone from Shinjuku using limited express called Romancecar. It is a convenient place for Tokyo residents to have a short trip. Buying Hakone Freepass, you can use various transportation unlimitedly while the trip.


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Friday, May 27, 2011

Software AG Process Forum 2011

I went to a BPM seminar held by Software AG this week. The location held was at Roppongi Hills, Tokyo. This experience was quite satisfying because some sessions offered so much useful information, especially considering the seminar was free.

The most impressive session I thought was NEC's case presentation. It explained real life example of how they launched BPM project and successfully executed. There was a good balance between concept and methodology. This presentation was the best BPM case study I have ever seen.

Until now, it seems that published BPM case studies are very few. It is true that some cases are presented in past seminars and journals. The companies like Nissan and CASIO are picked up as such examples. I got an impression that NEC presentation this time was the most detailed, concrete and convincing. They hired ARIS consultants in that project, so the methodology is based on former IDS Scheer's.

Following are the points intrigued me through this seminar.

  • definition of KPIs is one of the most essential part of BPM projects
  • BPM tool only accounts for 10% in KSF of BPM. Organization and culture issue is much more important (which is responsible for 60%), and Methodology comes next (30%).

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Monday, April 18, 2011

The Next Global Stage

I have read The next global stage written by Kenichi Ohmae. What I read was a Japanese translated version, though. It describes the overview of globalization and presents a lot of cases and contributing factors behind it. He points out that  four attributes characterizes the global economy, which are Borderless, Invisible, Cyber-Connected, Measured in Multiples.

It shows that old notion of nation-states is losing its strength and burgeoning region-states are becoming mainstream. Especially, regions in China are picked up as examples in various pages. It also describes the conventional economy and the role of governments has changed, and now the regions which have the ability to attract foreign investments are thriving. BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) is one of the trends that bringing wealth to regions like India as cross-border workforce to the world.

What is intriguing is that Ohmae mentions to the importance of courage and intellectual creativity in the later part of the book. We are living in the new era that old knowledge and logic is not necessarily applicable and sometimes misleading. There is no one absolute answer. So we have to think flexibly and have courage to execute the plan which may contradict to old mindset.

This book gave me a broader point of view. We sometimes tend to think narrow-minded, though this writing reminded me that the world is connected, we breeze the same air in this planet. We do not have to restrict our business or market inside a country. These day, I am quite interested in the notion of globalization. I am going to read Friedman's The world is flat next.

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Create business from scratch

I have just watched a DVD titled 'Project X', which is the TV program broadcasted about ten years ago. The program presented the process of how some products or services were developed and successfully delivered in the end.

Once I saw the story of Sony's early days, it was impressing. They struggled to sell the transistor radios. Those people's efforts finally led to Sony’s success. This spirits of challenge and persistence have recovered Japan from the devastation of the world war.

This time I watched the story of a convenience store chain (Seven-Eleven Japan). It was around 1973, there were no convenience stores in Japan. The story depicts the struggle of the businessmen who launched the new business. They came up with new distribution and inventory management system, and it led to expansion of the new business in Japan. This innovation began with their persistent efforts in the field.

I think there is a factor those two stories have in common. It is the wholehearted commitment and persistence. It also can be said as 'never-say-die spirit'. This is the spirit we tend to forget in these days. Sometimes, I am inclined to find the reasons why we cannot do this and that in business. Though, nothing new is accomplished in this mentality. Creating new services and providing new values to the world, there are many things I can learn from the past stories.

Links to the DVDs (Japanese editions only)
Project X - The story of Seven-Eleven Japan (Japanese editions only)

Project X - The story of Sony (Japanese editions only)


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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cherry-blossom viewing

It is the season of cherry-blossom viewing, so my partner and I headed for Ueno Park after the voting. Entering the park, we were amazed that tens of thouthands of people were there. The main street inside was so crouded that we can hardly move.

Many people gather and have flower parties around this season, so it is a usual scene (past report written in Japanese). Though, the park seemed to be much more crouded than usual year. One reason is probably that the previous day (Saturday) was rainy.

Because of the refraining mood which lasts since the earthquake, we expected much less people were there. It was surprising so many people were taking place under the trees and drinking.


Sakura (cherry blossoms) were in full bloom, and cherry blossom petals were already dispersed by strong wind like snows. Sakura is beautiful, but at the same time it reminds us that the life changes and nothing remains the same. Since old times, maybe Japanese have sensed this transition in nature.

Below is a picture taken at Sumida Park. Left part of the picture is the Tokyo Sky Tree under construction.


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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tokyo gubernatorial election, 2011

Today is the voting day of Tokyo governor race. I went to the nearby polling station. Tokyo is a big city with a population of more than 13 million. Its population surpasses the one of some nations. Who will be the next governor will more or less affect our region's future.

There are eleven candidates. Some of them are Shintaro Ishihara (Current governor, fourth term if elected), Miki Watanabe (ex CEO of a restaurant chain), Dr. Nakamatsu (inventor), Akira Koike (a nominee of Japanese Communist Party), Hideo Higashikokubaru (ex governor of Miyazaki prefecture).

I thought quite hard who should I vote, though it seemed to be a difficult question. Who will be able to handle the Tokyo Metropolitan Government best? Who is best suited to the next governor? Every candidate seems to be a little bit far from the ideal. In the end, I selected a person according to my inner voice. The election outcome will possibly be declared until midnight.

edit (4.11)
The final result of the vote was announced. Ishihara has won a race by a wide margin. He won about 2.6 million ballots compared with Higashikokubaru's 1.6 million who finished second.

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Thursday, April 07, 2011

Restart blog entry

I resume posting of this blog. Actually, I have not written this blog for about two years. One of the reasons is that I was a little bit too busy working to write the blog entry. Though, it is only an excuse after all, because a lot of people keep on updating their blogs even when they are busy. Anyway, I decided to update the blog again.

The main reason why I decided to restart the blog posting is the earthquake which has happened in North-East area of Japan at March 11, 2011. That earthquake caused much damage to Japan. It will probably continue to make an impact on our daily lives and Japanese economy. This catastrophe we suffered will change our values consciously or unconsciously. We will encounter some difficulties, but I am quite optimistic in this point. In the past, Japan has overcame several adversities like the great kanto earthquake (1923), defeat in the war (1945), Japanese has recovered and prospered from there.

As an IT engineer, the one thing I can contribute to this country is accomplished through my job. Providing good services and innovation, keeping this nation grow. Another thing I can do is sending information, I think. There are a lot of information on the internet. Some of them are right, some of them are wrong, sometimes false information brings bad impression on Japan and mislead people. So I would like to write down some firsthand information about Japan's current situation and everyday life.

Also, I am going to write what I think and do in my daily life. If someone in the world happens to read this blog and notice that Japanese people are doing well and continue to thrive, it would be great. For this purpose, I am going to write this blog in English from now on. As restarting my blog, I also changed the title of this blog to English.

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