march 2014


7-11Oh thank heaven

If McDonalds is the international symbol of the USA, I guess 7-11 will soon be the world’s image of Japan. Sure 7-11 started in the States, but the Japanese franchise bought out the US parent company some years ago and hasn’t looked back. Now 7-11 is everywhere. I guess that business model works for Starbucks (I once went to a really big Starbucks that had a Starbucks in it.) but do we really need a convenience store on every block? Does the world really need that much burnt coffee and overpriced beer? More


IMG_1660Nobody likes garden cleaning

I live is a large complex on the edge of Nagoya. It was built in the early days of the bubble when buildings were built fast and cheap, but the apartments cost more than a decade’s salary for most Japanese families at the time. Now buildings like mine are considered old, out of favor, and cheap to buy into. More



MonkeysSanzaru – the three musketeers of evil

You can’t get far in life without encountering the wisdom of the three wise monkeys, hear no evil, see no evil, and the often shunned, speak no evil. Maybe what you didn’t know is that these hairy faced guys come from Japan. More



2013-05-26 20.55.05The business of business hours

Decisions made by business are not random whims. They are solutions designed to bring about tangible results. Business decisions are considered long and hard, motivated by passion and centered on success. More




No Marron is not English (Immortality through divine ice cream)ena

It’s chestnut season in the mountains north of Nagoya. Back home in California, I knew chestnuts were things that other people roasted over an open fire at Christmas. I knew that because I heard about it from Nat King Cole. I wonder if the Coles roasted chestnuts. In France they roasted Marrons, if they roasted anything, because marron is French for chestnut. More



ShirakabeStorefrontThe Empty Shop in Fujigaoka

This week, without any notice, without a liquidation sale or tacky yellow banner announcing “Going Out of Business,” the Shirakabe bookshop disappeared. It’s not a particularly earth-shattering event. Bookstores are closing everyday, all over the globe. Last year eight thousand bookstores closed in Japan alone. More



 yakuzen1Yakuzen, a healthy alternative to health food

I hadn’t heard of yakuzen cuisine until today. As usual I’m late to the party. For those of you scoffing at my ignorance, I can only say I’m old and I don’t get out much anymore. If, like me, you live under a rock, you may not yet know that yakuzen is “medicine food.” If that sounds delicious don’t stop reading! There’s more to it than that. Oh yes, much more.



…all about chopsticks

chopsticks by writer



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