How is the Job Market in Japan?

Hi Everyone, 

Yesterday, I wrote that the Japanese try to live economically and are not very interested in earning money. It is encouraged to work hard and not to talk about money.

Some people say it is because we are not educated about money at school.

Japanese also have a very unique idea of a job.

Today,  I want to talk a little bit about the job market.

Japanese don’t change a job or company often. It is called ‘lifetime employment’ and still highly respected.

These days, only 5% of people change a job on average, which may be much lower than that of the rest of the world.

This is what I think. 

I changed my job several times. I don’t belong to the typical Japanese group, I guess..

I started my career at Canon. There were two people I worked with. One guy was one year older than I, and the other was one year younger than I in accounting. I recently found that both became the executives of Canon.

I wonder what would happen if I stayed with Canon. Sometimes..

Well, it means

working in Shinjuku HeadQuarters for long (this is Shinjuku now)

taking crowded trains every day…

And being relocated to oversea branches for five years as other accounting people are.

And I chose a different career. No right or wrong.

I respect life-time employment as well. It was just my personal preference to change a job when I like.

I also had a chance to work for foreign companies and learned a lot from them. This is a summary of my career if you are interested.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/toshiyafukuma

People have a perfect job in mind, but often it ends up in a so-so job. Any job has a good and bad aspects. Any work place has people easy to talk to and difficult to talk to.

But, how do you know it is good or bad if you know only one job?

I lived in the USA and stayed in Finland for several months.

With those experiences, I was able to develop my opinion on what is good about Japan and what is not.  If I only lived in Japan, I would not get it.

The same applies to the job market. You can see many aspects of different jobs or companies when you change a job.

That is what I loved.

I will talk about Fude Japan work in my next blog.

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

Japanese people prefer to live poorly?

Hi Everyone, 

I read an interesting article about why the Japanese don’t talk about money in public. 

Japanese don’t tend to talk about money. That is true.

Money is not a subject that good people want to talk about. It is ethically believed.

In Japan, the school doesn’t teach kids what money is. 

It is a beauty that people work hard even though they don’t get rich. 

You may know ‘Oshin.’  It is a TV program of NHK that a poor girl works so hard, lives her life vigorously and gets over all kinds of difficulties.

That has been a good role model in Japan. 

This mentality dates back to 400 years ago, according to one source.

It was the Warrior era where many samurai’s fought to govern Japan. 

All kinds of people could be a ruler. Toyotomi, the winner, was a farmer before being a disciple of Nobunaga Oda. 

In 1584, Nobunaga, a revolution fighter, was killed in Kyoto by his disciple, called Akechi.

Ieyasu Tokugawa, a Nobunaga’s alliance, was staying in Osaka with only a few people so he needed to run from the Akechi army. He gave up on surviving once. This picture is from a TV drama where Tokugawa decided to die.

but, he miraculously managed to go back from Osaka to his town near Nagoya, going through mountains.

On his way back,  Tokugawa was attempted to kill by not only his enemy but farmers who wanted money. 

This experience became the basis of how he governed Japan. 

He wanted Japanese people to have little money and live poorly ( or frugally )!

He closed the country to the world for 300 years. 

He divided the society into 4 classes (samurai, farmer, artisan, and merchant ) and prohibited them from moving. 

He made other lords live poorly to establish a system called Sankin Kotai. Sankin Kotai (参勤交代) makes lords come and see Shogun in Edo(Tokyo) every other year. 

Those lords got poor by spending a big money on bringing many people to Tokyo. This spending was a strategy to get rid of money from lords who might decide to fight against Tokugawa.

So,

This is the basis for the mentality to work and live poorly. 

It still works under the contemporary Japan. 

This theory makes sense to me. 

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

Are Japanese students spoiled?

(the featured picture is Kihtisu animal year brush)

Hi Everyone, 

It is December.

And it will be an entrance exam season soon. 

In this blog, 

I want to talk about the Japanese school system. 

It is 

6 (elementary school)

3 (junior high)

3 (high)

4 (university)

It is compulsory to graduate from Junior High school.

Inevitably, a student needs to take an entrance exam for High school and University.

It is January, February and March when students take an exam.

It is once a year, therefore, students study hard under a huge pressure. 

And if they fail in the exam, they will have a

‘Ronin’ 浪人 year.

Ronin is originally a samurai who lost his job.

In the Tokugawa era,  Tokugawa Shogun often gave a hard time to a lord who did not obey the Shogun and sometimes deprived him of the territory. 

Especially, early in the 1600’s, many lords who supported Toyotomi, the rival of Tokugawa, were broken by the shogun. 

A samurai who lost his lord had nowhere to go.

They wandered around a town and did nothing. 

The Ronin word comes from the Edo Period.

Students, who fail the exam, spend an entire year to prepare for an entrance exam.

Very hard year and needs self-discipline, but they can only study for a whole year. 

It is hard. And big pressure,

but 

I like what a teacher of one preparation school said, 

‘How many students are allowed only to study in the world?’

Yes it is the privilege of those Ronin students  that they don’t have to work, earn money and help their parents. 

Many children in the world have to work and earn money to support their parents. 

What those Japanese students do: 

Only to study. 

In fact, I had one year of Ronin, and I am still thankful to my parents. 

I still feel I was spoiled.

And many Japanese students are spoiled. 

They need to know this .

And the same can be said to many adults in Japan who always complain about living in Japan.

I am spoiled! I recall this word for myself all the time.

One of my motivations to work.

Thank you for reading, 

Toshiya

What do you think favorite dishes are among Japanese?

What do you think favorite dishes are among Japanese?

Maybe these TV survey results are not very different from what you think. 

If you travel to Japan, I want you to enjoy Japanese dishes of many kinds.

Food here is not so expensive as you might be imagining. You will not regret travelling to Japan for food)

These are rankings of the dishes Japanese like:

No. 5 Grilled fish (Yakizakana)

This is daily food, we eat more fish than meat.

Japan consists of many islands, and fish has been always main dishes. We still eat it almost every day.

Well, Unagi is my favorite though it gets expensive year by year. Unagi is not daily food now, but we eat it on a special occasion. Still good! I bought this Unagi at supermaket)

Grilled Mackerel is a typical breakfast for Japanese. It is not so expensive but healthy.

No 4 Miso soup

At breakfast for most families. 

We are raised by miso soup so kids remember it as mother’s taste.  Married men still like ‘mothers’ tastes’ more than their wives’,

and women call them マザコン Mother’s boys, and want them to change but…

Mothers are strong! Maybe everywhere in the world?

No.3 ramen

No.2 sashimi 

No.1 sushi 

These three are known to most of you and I would recommend you to try them in Japan, and compare them with those in your home country. 

Sushi has been expensive, but ramen is not. Especially we have cup ramen which also tastes well. 

But Conveyor Belt sushi makes sushi not special anymore these days. Sushi bento(last pictures) can bought at less than 1000 yen for lunch.

Oh Natto is not here, it was ranked 20th, so even for Japanese, Natto is difficult to eat at first.

Personally, I try to eat more miso, natto, tsukemono (Japanese pickles ) these days as those fermented dishes work well inside a body.

Sake is aslo fermented, but I am so weak at it that I drink Amazake !

Please try)

Thank you for reading,

Toshiya


Have you tried this ramen in Tokyo?

Hi Everyone, 

I recognize that some of you have been to Japan. 

Some are repeaters, and you know Japanese food very well. 

I am often surprised that you know places I have never been to) 

Living in Tokyo, Japan,  I can tell you that the restaurant prices are in general not too expensive. Most of lunch is provided at less than 1000 yen, and dinner is not as expensive as you imagine. 

And they have good service. 

Actually, the restaurant business is very competitive, and employees work hard, but not get paid well. Yet, most employees provide good service, which I am proud of as a Japanese. 

Most competitive may be the ramen business.

I want to introduce ‘Ramen Jiro’ in this blog.

It is located next to Keio University, which I graduated from, so I was walking to school while looking at a long line every day. 

The portion size is large with bean sprouts/cabbage and pork. It is what students love. Shoyu, soy sauce, is special.

Menu is simple with only two kinds -しょう(Shou)  and だい(Dai). Shou is small and Dai is big, lol. Simple is good)

There is a story that one American student, who came from Stanford and studied at Keio. He wasn’t able to read Kanji but was able to speak Japanese.

He came to Ramen Jiro every day to see the owner.

He came back to USA, and  often comes back to Japan for travel.

He eats ramen everywhere in Japan, but he says Ramen Jiro is best. 

If you worked for Ramen Jiro for three to four years, you can open your ramen Jiro shop on your own.

Actually, there is one in Boston,

I would not highly recommend this place LOL, as you need to wait in a long line, but if you are fond of ramen, and want to find a different ramen shop. 

This may be it. 

Thank you for reading,

Toshiya

Working for a big company in Japan is respected?

Hi Everyone,

I read an interesting blog by a foreigner living in Japan.

‘Entrepreneurs in Japan complain it is difficult to find a girlfriend. One reason is parents want their daughters to marry a man who works for a big respected Japanese company. If a boyfriend works for a small unknown startup, parental approval is usually denied.’

Interesting, right?

Personally, it not safe anymore to work for a big company. Yet, this is still a mentality of parents, and maybe daughters as well.

Another foreigner disagreed: 

‘This is hardly representative of all Japan. Actually Japan is a much more fragmented country than one would initially assume. Besides, let us not forget this is a country of small companies and artisans, and historically a country of entrepreneurs. Hard work in small companies is highly regarded.’

This is also true.  How about Kumano brush companies? Most of them are still operated by family members. (An artisan working for Koyomo)

Hiroshima’s most international company is Mazda, but I cannot name another big one easily.   A local city is full of small companies, artisans, startups.

Both represent Japan well. 

Knowing this fact, parents still want a daughter to marry a man working for a big company.

Working for a big company means ‘stability’ and small companies means ‘risk’ in Japan.

Maybe true now but I wonder how long this idea will last. 

Also, I wrote about Konkatsu ( activity to seek for a marriage partner) before and received interesting feedback!

I will write more about it in coming newsletters)

Thank you for reading,

Toshiya

Japan's best Judo player lost in the 1964 Tokyo Olympic

Hi Everyone,  

As you might know, Tokyo will have the Olympic in 2020. The last Tokyo Olympic was held in 1964, and maybe, for me, it will be the first time to watch it in my life.

I might be lucky to watch some of them, but I expect that people from overseas watch more and enjoy the rest of Japan.  

I want to talk about one story. It is about Judo competition in 1964. It was the first time Judo was competed in Olympics, and Japan, as the Judo country at that time, was supposed to win all the 4 classes.

I mean Judo was not so international as now, especially now European countries are so good. Japan won three gold medals in a row, and the last day was the heaviest, where the match would decide the strongest Judo player in the world. 

The opponent was a Dutch Judo player, called Geesink. He was good and he had  been improving himself by staying in Japan many times before the Olympic to practice with Japanese.

Moreover, his personality and discipline were highly spoken of among Japanese players. 

And he beat the Japanese finalist.

The auditorium became quiet, and the Japanese finalist seemed to be crying.  

It was the next moment : when the Dutch coach tried to hug Geesink on the tatami, Geesink stopped him from coming.(the picture below) And he came back to the original position to bow to his opponent.

Judo as a Budo, which begins with Rei and ends with Rei, where everything begins and ends with a bow. A bow represents ‘courtesy’ or ‘respect’ to others.

 He shocked many Japanese by his victory, but impressed Japanese more with his courtesy. His behavior is still highly spoken as a Judo sprit. 

Maybe this was the moment, when Judo began to be international from a local sport. 

Thank you for reading again!

Toshiya

Japanese students wear uniform?

Hi Everyone, 
I woke up early today at 5 am. This time, I did not go back to sleep,  LOL. Instead, I went to a gym, where many people were doing excercies before work. I was surprised!

Anyway, it is not what I want to talk about. 

When I came back, I saw many high school students walking to school. 

In Japan, most schools have uniforms, As a matter of fact, uniforms are important to students, and some students consider how attractive uniforms are when they select a school to go to. 

Personally, I was not interested in school uniform, and I wore a typical black uniform with a stand-up collar for six years. Actually, the high school I went to did not have any school uniform. However, It was a boys’ school, and they did not care much and most of students wore black ones. 

Years later, I read an essay Haruki Murakami, a novelist,  wrote. I don’t remember it exactly but it was like this :

‘My (Murakami’s) high school had a vote whether students should wear a uniform or can wear anything we like.  The result was that we should wear a uniform. I was disappointed at the result as we did not choose ‘freedom.’ We did throw away the right of having freedom.’

I am not sure if this is an issue of ‘freedom’ but rather Japanese don’t want to stand out from colleagues. Maybe most people feel comfortable when they belong to a community where they feel ‘same.’

At the same time, freedom is not something that is given free, history proves.

Well, when I see students wearing school uniforms, I recall that essay that Murakami wrote, and I think of ‘freedom’ or ‘culture.’ 

Thank you for reading again,
Toshiya

American soldier and Japanese boy after the War

Hi Everyone,

I want to talk about one story right after Word War II.
I get some good feedback on writing about Japan itself. I am going to learn makeup and brushes more to give you more useful information!

In Japan, we are supposed to respect old people. We help senior people. We have seats in all trains for old people, pregnant women, and others but any kind of seats would (should ) be given to old people by younger people.

I was always spending time with my grandmother when I was a kid as my mother owned a stationery shop and was seldom at home. So even now I like watching happy grandmothers with their grandkids on the street. Not grandfathers, lol. They seem to be happy but I am sure they have many experiences, good and bad. Especially during and after the war.

I asked many questions about the war of my grandmother – she did not tell me much .. She was in Taiwan and the ship she took was wrecked by a storm on her way back to Japan in 1945. She thought she would die but survived. That may have been the only thing she talked about. She had a painting in her room which looked like so wet. 

This is the story of an American soldier and a Japanese boy at that time.

In 1946, after Japan surrendered, the Allied forces came to Japan from USA and the British Common Wealth. My father told me he spoke with an Australian soldier in Hiroshima, where those from British Common Wealth stayed. He somehow acknowledged Australian accents)

USA occupied Tokyo.

There was a 20 year -old soldier who came to Tokyo. His name was George. George worked at GHQ, General HeadQuarters in Tokyo, as an interpreter.

George met a Japanese boy, who polished shoes of American soldiers at GHQ. The boy looked so hungry that George made a sandwich with jam and butter and give it to him. He bowed and thanked to him, but did not eat it and instead put it into a box.

George said, ‘you can eat it here, you must be hungry’
The boy said, ‘Yes. I am hungry, but my 3 -year old sister is waiting at home. She is the only family member. I am going to eat it with her. Thank you very much’ He bowed politely. ’Her name is Mariko.’

George, a Japanese American, at the time of the war, felt inferior to his American colleagues. He met this boy, was actually encouraged by this boy, who lived in a dignified manner in the devastated land and poverty. 

George helped him for two months, but he decided to come back to USA to study law. 

Later, he came back to Japan and looked for the boy and his sister Mariko, but was not able to find them. Those brother and sister would be around 80 years old now if they were alive.

His last name is Ariyoshi. 
George Ariyoshi became a lawyer and politician after he studied law and later became Governor of Hawaii in 1974.

Those were tough times, not only in Japan, but everywhere in the world, and I remember this story when I see old ladies ( and men) who must have had a hard time.  Hard times that I cannot imagine. But they look happy now.

Thank you for reading again!
Toshiya

Calligraphy and paiting brushes

Hi Everyone, 

It is getting cold even in Japan, now we need a coat to go outside.  It gets warm (rather hot) in Japan these days and winter always arrives late.

Yesterday, I went to Isetan : the makeup floors have been completely renewed.  Skincare  brands are now at 2F. Makeup at 1F. 

Sensai, Albion, IPSA, Refa, etc . moved to 2F.

Decorte and SUQQU  are divided into two floors -1F for Makeup, and 2F floor for skincare. 

SUQQU gives you face massage at 2F.  It is free, but I think you need to register information to a client card to get the massage. You need to be careful as you buy more than you budget after the massage, lol. 

————-

By the way,  as most of my orders come by emails,  instagram messages,  facebook messages,  during an order process, I get questions about brushes. Many of them are very detailed – I can tell that you love brushes. 

And it is good for me to learn more about makeup and brushes, and also gives me subjects to write blogs about. 

Today, I had a question regarding kolinsky water painting brush that could be used for face. As you know, kolinsky is out of stock or in short supply for most brush makers, so this might be an idea.

Traditionally, brush companies produce brushes for calligraphy and paintings. Makeup brushes have been relatively new to most companies. 

This is Koyomo, known for very soft goat hair. 

Koyomo (古羊毛), 古  (Ko) means ‘old’ or ‘ancient’, 羊毛(yomo) means goat hair.  This kind of goat is very special to a certain region in China.  The hair is softer than others. 

The Koyomo company bought a lot of hair in the 90’s and they now use them for brushes.

Here is more information, written by Sonia.

Koyomo also makes brushes for painting and calligraphies. Here is a digital catalog you might find interesting.

http://www.tsukinoura.biz/pamphlet/pc/index.php

Please let me know should you have any questions.

Thank you !

Toshiya