Japan’s new State Secrets Protection law Falling Exports and What Comes Next The Finance Ministry came out with some negative data this week, showing that the nation's exports fell 2% in June, and that the trade balance was in deficit, again, to the tune of -JPY822.2trn. Terrie's Take Creative Invention is Alive and Well It's companies which understand innovation and the international markets -- although it's somewhat ironic that the world leader for patent applications was turn-around challenged Panasonic corporation. Terrie's Take
The view from the Osaka Sky Observatory at night How to get free Wi-Fi in Osaka The best way to get free Wi-Fi in Osaka is to stay in a Wi-Fi enabled hostel or hotel. Surprisingly, you are more likely to get free Wi-Fi at the cheaper accommodation providers, like Hana Hostel or J Hoppers. Kombu-wrapped kamaboko from Iki Iki Toyamakan A Taste of Japan By Joan Bailey Melon-flavored ice cream from Hokkaido. Natamame (sword bean) tea from Hyogo. Mikan juice from Wakayama. Usually such unique regional items can only be savored by visiting the prefecture or city they are from. Gold and the Punchbowl Gold and the Punchbowl I have used the metaphor of Japan as a bumblebee before and while I believe that the story on Japanese savings may just be a little more complicated than many believe...

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A Matter of Trust

By Todd Wojnowski

“Trust me.” -- It’s perhaps the least-trustworthy sentence in existence—even children know to put their guards up when they hear it. There’s something diabolical in it that we connect with Hollywood villains and used car salesmen. Directly asking people to trust you is a sure way to tip off that they probably have no reason to, probably shouldn’t.

Kishiwada Castle

By Bonson Lam

The Stone Garden in Kishiwada Castle brings together the present and the past in a symbolic way. It was designed by Mirei Shigemori; a famous architect and designer who also built the Kokuan tea house in Kyoto.

The Customer Is God Delusion

By Philip Patrick

As an agnostic, I have never really felt comfortable with the whole “customer is God” philosophy. I know I’m supposed to feel charmed, but I can’t help experiencing mild embarrassment as I am showered with “welcomes” and “thank yous” and “I’ll be waiting for your next visits” by shop staff in Japan, often when I have only dropped into their store to get out of the rain. Basically, I don’t think I’ve really earned it.

Kyoto Adashino Nenbutsu-ji Temple

By Tomoko Kamishima

More than 800 stone statues sit close together at Adashino Nenbutsu-ji Temple. Splendid autumn leaves put their arms around the statues and give them a comforting hug. The location of today’s Adashino Nenbutsu-ji Temple (northwest outskirts of Kyoto) was once a location used for open-air burial.

Crowdsourcing Just Getting Started in Japan, e-biz news from Japan

Last week we had the good fortune to be invited to participate in an expert panel for crowdsourcing alongside two major players in the crowdsourcing industry in Japan.

Trade Shows Best Way to Get Connections, ebiz news from Japan

Through our sister company Japan Inc Holdings we have been involved in market entry for foreign firms since the 1990's, and one of the most common questions we are asked is how to find partners, resellers and clients.

The Race to Free WiFi, e-biz news from Japan

Although there is a massive wifi grid throughout Japan (more than 600,000 access points), the ability for international visitors to access it easily is limited.

What's Wrong with the LDP's New "Japan Revival Vision" Manifesto? Ebiz news from Japan.

If you read the media, you would think that Japan is turning the corner. But when you talk to other business people in the street about business here and now, the story is not so bright.

Crowdfunding Kids Through Foreign College, ebiz news from Japan.

A professor suggested that student loans be structured in a crowdfunding approach, where investors "buy" a share of the students earnings for a specific time at a defined and mutually agreed rate of revenue share.