TT-906 -- Something You Never Knew About Jean Pearce (1921-2017)

An Insider's comments on Japan's high tech business world
* * * * * * * * TERRIE'S TAKE - BY TERRIE LLOYD * * * * * *
A weekly roundup of news & information from Terrie Lloyd, a long-term
technology and media entrepreneur living in Japan.

General Edition Sunday, July 23, 2017, Issue No. 906

- What's New -- Something You Never Knew About Jean Pearce (1921-2017)
- News -- Japan's new ramjet missiles serious threat to China
- Upcoming Events
- Corrections/Feedback
- Travel Picks -- Artist's home in Ueno, Niigata food bar in Ebisu
- News Credits

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I was surprised and saddened to see a tribute for Jean Pearce on the
Japan Times website several weeks ago. Perhaps I shouldn't have been
surprised. At 96 years old she'd had a very full and fulfilling life,
venturing far from her birthplace of South Bend, Indiana. Married twice,
she moved post-war to various exotic locations around the world before
settling down in Tokyo, where she was to become a famous author and
journalist. Jean was nothing if not dedicated to helping others and
during her more than 40 years in Japan, 36 of them were spent writing
regular, meaning weekly, reader advice columns (1964-2000) for the Japan

A tribute by one of her two sons, Laer Pearce, can be found here:

Through sheer stamina and diligence, I believe that Jean Pearce probably
helped more foreign residents in Japan to get things done in their lives
than any other single person in the last 50 years. She understood very
well the power of the media and used it wisely and consistently to share
otherwise hard-to-find information on how to get things done here. Be it
the courts, special schools, babysitters, home repairs, NPOs, you name
it, she ferreted them out and wrote about them. Remember that much of
her work was pre-Internet, and finding stuff out meant painstaking phone
calls and personal visits to unravel fact from fiction.

Unlike some other community journalists who own a soapbox but who want
to separate themselves from the "grubby" world of business, Jean was a
pragmatist. If she saw someone doing something interesting that might
help the community, even though it was commercial, she didn't hesitate
to say so. It was because of this open attitude that I had a close and
fruitful relationship with Jean in her third decade in Japan.

Although Jean's career started in 1964 at the Japan Times, she was no
"old fogie" when it came to technology, and in the early 1980's was
quick to buy a computer and eventually to use the Internet. Indeed, as I
recall, her first computer was an IBM clone which she had shipped from
the USA sometime around 1987. She had a standard word processing
program, WordPerfect maybe, and was receiving and sending her writing
assignments by 5.25-inch floppy disk through the postal service. Email
on the Internet wouldn't arrive in Japan for another 4 years, in the
form of Roger Boisvert's Intercon International KK in 1993.

I had entered the PC import and servicing business a couple of years
earlier, and in 1987 became the first Japanese business to import PCs
from China. Although we started out by only servicing the PCs we
imported and sold, by 1988, there were enough people importing their own
IBM-clone PCs, like Jean, that we decided to form a company called LINC
Computer, and start a PC servicing business. In late 1988 I got a phone
call from Jean, saying, "Hi, I know I didn't buy my PC from you, but I'm
a journalist and I have a deadline tomorrow. The problem is that my PC
isn't working..."

Well, actually, it was working, as we determined over the next 5 minutes
over the phone, but it was behaving strangely, shutting down shortly
after the Windows screen came up. I agreed to come over to her
apartment, and jammed in my bag some tools and a couple of diagnostic
programs (Norton Utilities and such) that I'd bought at a trade show in
the U.S. a few weeks earlier.

As I recall, Jean lived around the back of Roppongi, and it didn't take
long to get there from our Shibuya office. We were still a 3-4 person
company back then, so I had to go by bus/foot and couldn't carry many
spare parts with me, just screwdrivers, a video card, and a power
supply. She greeted me at the door and seemed very nice, and led me in
to her study where the offending PC was located.

I didn't realize it then but she was about to change my life.

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[...Article continues]

Sure enough, as she said over the phone, the PC would boot up, but right
after the Windows screen showed up it would go blank and give me the
blue screen of death. I rebooted the machine on a new boot disk we'd
prepared in the office, and was able to get DOS. So this was strange:
the machine was working, but not loading Windows. This was something I'd
never seen before and after scratching my head I decided to try out a
new program, put out by a brand new firm called McAfee, and let ViruScan
version 1.0 grind away.

To my amazement a few minutes later, a message came up saying "You have
a virus, would you like to remove it?" I asked Jean if she'd done a
backup of her recent data, which she hadn't, and asked her for
permission to run the cleaning tool, which may or may not kill her
recent work. She said, "OK" and I pressed the ENTER key. Again, to our
combined amazement, a few minutes later the program reported that the
virus had been eliminated and I could do a normal re-boot. I did this
and the machine came back to life.

So as far as I know, given that all Japanese PCs at that time were
locally-made and thus software incompatible with foreign ones, Jean had
caught the first PC virus infection in Japan. I can't remember which
virus it was, but we thought at the time it had came from a diskette
mailed from a friend overseas. Viruses were still so rare in Tokyo in
those days that I saw no more infections in client machines until some
years later, once people started using e-mail and could send/receive
attachments. And so that copy of McAfee gathered dust in the top drawer
of my desk - having paid for itself at Jean's place.

The whole episode took just 20 minutes, and although I had my
screwdrivers out ready to crack the PC case open, I didn't need to take
any further action. Jean of course thought I was a genius. I tried to
explain that we had got lucky, thanks in part to my curiosity about
viruses at the time. I bid my farewell and charged her an hour for time
traveled and using the software. It was a busy day and after getting
back to the office some other pressing problems stole my attention and I
forgot about the encounter.

But Jean didn't forget. She was so grateful that a few weeks later she
wrote about me in the Japan Times, a story about this Kiwi/Australian
computer "wizard" running a small company in Shibuya. At first I was
just flattered (and embarrassed), but she was about to teach me an
important lesson about the power of the media. Over the following days I
received a deluge of phone calls from people wanting their PCs fixed,
and suddenly our little 3-person office became really busy. We'd been
discovered. Then, to cap it all off, in early 1989 several months after
Jean's article and some rapid growth, I received a call from the IT
Manager at Morgan Stanley Securities (Japan), Carl Sundberg, who began
his call with something like, "I heard you're a computer guy and we need
some help..."

This was the springboard to my company LINC Computer becoming a LAN and
services powerhouse in the early 1990's, and eventually leading to a
buyout of the business by EDS in 1995.

So, while there have been many people who have helped me in my career in
Japan over the years, Jean ranks right up there as one of the most
pivotal. We stayed in frequent contact in the decade after that
adventure, and whenever she had a problem my staff knew to route the
call directly to me - they knew that she was one of our most important

Jean, you're gone now, 96 years was a great innings (cricket talk), but
if you're out there in the stars somewhere, from the bottom of my heart,
a huge "thank you" for making that fateful call to me that day and for
your follow up afterwards.

...The information janitors/


********** SENIOR EDITOR Position at Metropolis ***********

Japan Partnership Inc., the publisher of Japan's best-known English
magazine, Metropolis, is seeking a talented, experienced senior editor
to assist in the realignment of company's print media business to a
stronger online direction. The position calls for someone with strong
dual backgrounds in print and web/mobile, and who is able to think
strategically while also maintaining production of content and budget
control. The overall goal of the position is to extend Metropolis'
influence and services among the international community in Japan.

For more details on the position, go to:



+++ NEWS

- Japan's new ramjet missiles serious threat to China
- Tokyo recruiting 90,000 volunteers for 2020
- US Navy to blame for destroyer crash near Izu
- Hakuho sets record for wins
- Driver shortage so severe, sea freight becomes viable again

=> Japan's new ramjet missiles serious threat to China

Extremely interesting analysis of how Japan's Self Defence forces have
commissioned a new "super missile" that travels up to Mach 3, much
faster than the Harpoon and Exocet missiles from the US and France
respectively, which travel at less than the speed of sound. The new
missile comes in two variants, the XASM-3 and the XSSM, and is powered
by a ramjet versus rocket motor or turbojet engine. Yet despite its
speed it also has the "sudden-surprise" wave-skimming capabilities of
the Harpoon and Exocet. The article writer reckons that this new missile
neutralizes the need for Japan to build new ships in competition to
China's naval build up, saying that with batteries located strategically
on the nation's perimeter islands the SDF stands a good chance of
sinking transgressing Chinese vessels in short order. ***Ed: China has
to be thinking to build something similar as soon as possible." (Source:
TT commentary from, Jul 22, 2017)

=> Tokyo recruiting 90,000 volunteers for 2020

In preparation for the upcoming 2020 Olympics, the Tokyo Metropolitan
Government (TMG) is working with the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic
committees to recruit up to 90,000 volunteers to help out foreign
visitors during the Games. Currently the program has about 2,500 people
signed up, with the average age being 50 and women accounting for 70% of
the total. To improve the demographics and significantly increase
take-up, the TMG is making a JPY200,000 subsidy available to companies
that allow their staff to participate in the program, doing initial
training and working for at least ten days during the Olympics. ***Ed:
They are expecting about 500 companies to sign up. Personally we think
they will get many more than 500...** (Source: TT commentary from, Jul 20, 2017)

=> US Navy to blame for destroyer crash near Izu

In an embarrassing initial statement, a high-level military panel in the
U.S. investigating the Izu-area collision between the U.S. destroyer the
USS Fitzgerald and the Philippines-registered (but Japanese-owned) cargo
ship the ACX Crystal, says that the Fitzgerald staff did nothing even as
they saw the other ship approach, and furthermore that the Fitzgerald
may have been traveling at a higher than usual speed. The ship's
commander, Bryce Benson, was never notified by staff of the danger and
was badly injured as the collision directly struck his cabin as he was
sleeping. (Source: TT commentary from, Jul 21, 2017)

=> Hakuho sets record for wins

Mongolian-born sumo champion Hakuho may have temporarily lost the
limelight to a younger Japanese wrestler, but he showed that it's too
soon to count the Yokozuna out, as he won the Nagoya Grand Sumo
Tournament on July 21st, with two days to spare. This is his 1,048th
win, a record for any wrestler. Hakuho is still 32 and the previous
record holder, former Ozeki Kaio, said that he thought Hakuho was good
for at least another 100-200 wins. Kaio's record came from a 17-year
career, versus Hakuho's 16 years. Hakuho is also trying to become a
stable owner, and in order to do that is taking up Japanese citizenship,
one of the prerequisites to manage new fighters.** (Source: TT
commentary from, Jul 21, 2017)

=> Driver shortage so severe, sea freight becomes viable again

You know that Japan's truck driver shortage is pretty bad when big
retailers start to come up with shipping strategies as an alternative to
trucks. Aeon is apparently working with Sapporo (Beer) to move soft
drinks from the point of manufacturing in Shizuoka to Oita, Kyushu for
distribution there. The company expects to ship about 110K cases of
drinks annually by this method, about 30% of their private-brand
beverages in Kyushu. Cost savings are supposed to be around 15% for Aeon
and 6% for Sapporo. ***Ed: What we don't get is why transferring from
truck to ship to truck is cheaper than rail, for example.** (Source: TT
commentary from, Jul 21, 2017)

NOTE: Broken links
Some online news sources remove their articles after just a few days of
posting them, thus breaking our links -- we apologize for the inconvenience.


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Discover the charm of Japanese spirits! On Sep 4 at Togo Kinenkan, a
variety of Japanese craft liquors will be presented, with information,
at a special event. Tasting opportunities available. Free attendance;
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---------- ICA Event - Thursday 27th July -----------------

Speaker: John Kirch - Regional Director North Asia of Darktrace
Title: "Leveraging Artificial Intelligence to detect New, Emerging Cyber
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Details: Complete event details at
Date: Thursday 27th July, 2017
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RSVP: By 5pm on Monday 24th July 2017, Venue: Room F, 9F, Sumitomo
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No corrections today.



=> Yokoyama Taikan Memorial Hall, Tokyo
A historical artist's residence by Ueno Park

Tokyo's Ueno Park is home to a number of the city's best art museums,
among them Tokyo National Museum, the National Museum of Western Art,
and Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, which rightly draw crowds with
quality exhibitions. However, on the western side of the park, there are
a couple of other sights which are more intimate, less well known, but
definitely worth visiting. Kyu-Iwasaki Tei Garden is the elegant former
home of a founder of Japanese industry; Yokoyama Taikan Memorial Hall is
a charming Japanese-style residence, the house and studio of the artist
for whom it's named.

Step through the gate from the street, and immediately you're in a
different age; this small garden at the front, with its stone path
leading through another gate to the house, hasn't changed for scores of
years, possibly centuries. Then, once you take off your shoes and enter
the house itself, you get to leave the modern world behind completely.
The house is preserved exactly as it was when Taikan's widow passed
away. The tatami mats and worn carpets are soft and cool underfoot, the
design very traditional, all paper screens, wooden paneling, carved
ventilation grilles.

=> Tashinami, Ebisu (Tokyo)
Standing bar specializing in Niigata fare

This side street standing bar in Tokyo's Ebisu district serves up
Niigata sake favorites alongside Japanese sake-friendly tapas plates,
with the cooking here influenced by a 120 year authentic Niigata
heritage. Tashinami collaborates with two Niigata food powerhouses in
Tokyo, Joetsu Yasuda (Ebisu and Shimbashi) and Ginza-based Joetsu Megumi

Both venues are evolved from a famed Niigata ryotei restaurant, Yasune,
meaning visitors know they are in for a unique experience at Tashinami,
which brings this quality food along with Yasune's 120 year heritage to
a standing bar (tachinomi) setting in Tokyo for the first time. Guests
can drop by this standing bar to try a few Niigata-inspired dishes with
an authentic sake pairing to match.

The sake selection is rotates around 90 sake varieties over the course
of the year to match with the season, including Musashino Shuzo, Niigata
Daiichi Shuzo, Maruyama Shuzojo, Takeda Shuzo, Kiminoi Brewery,
Yoshikawa Toji, Ikedaya Brewery, Myoko Brewery and Ayu Masamune Brewery



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