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Why do you like Japan?

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Mon 2012/03/26 14:46 JST
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Back in December I gave a talk at the My Japan Conference - an event supported by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Japanese tourism agency.
The theme of the conference was "How to make Japan into a country that foreigners want to visit." The theme of the event came about from the amount of foreigners who left Japan (and staying away) due to the nuclear situation after the 201103 earthquake and tsunami.

Many Japanese and foreign speakers attended and talked about how they were doing their bit to share Japanese culture with the aim to inspire others to think of ideas to bring back foreigners to Japan. My talk can be seen in the video below.

I previously talked about how I discovered and became to love Japanese culture. If I wrote down all the things I loved about Japan, the list would probably go on forever! I particularly enjoy Japanese Pop Culture - the anime, games, manga, cute 2D girlies, figures, dolls and so on - it was this culture that helped me discover more about Japan - the traditional and the modern.

Just a few things that come to mind about Japan that I really appreciate from the viewpoint of actually living here.

  • Transportation - trains, busses run frequently and on time - you can set your watch by the train arrival times!
  • Non tipping country - folks over here do not need to be motivated by tips.
  • Diligent and thorough with work. You never see folks with such passion sweeping the streets - its just incredible.
  • Attention to detail - the Japanese like to pay attention to detail and have a determination to make things perfect - this is known as Kodawari [こだわり]. Many foreigners dont understand the fuss to make things perfect which is one of the reasons why some of them dont get on over here.
  • Service sector - the service in Japan is just spot on - and thats because everybody just expects it to be. I order something from amazon and it arrives the same day. I can have folks from the post office come to pickup parcels to be delivered, in the event that trains are late, the station will issue proof that the trains were late so that you can show them to your boss.
  • Honesty - the honesty of Japanese folk is just astounding. I lost my Lumix DSLR at Narita airport just before I got onto the plane (panic!). When I arrived in Singapore, I was approached by staff saying that they found my camera and that I could just pick it up when I arrived back in Japan.
  • I left 2 new mobile phones on a train (panic!) and after telling a member of staff, he called the next station where they got on to the carriage and retrieved it for me - I went to the next station to pick up the phones. My intern left is wallet on his chair in a restaurant - went back after 30 mins and managed to get it back. And so far Japan is the only place where I have seen unmanned stores.
  • Endless supply of work - but only once you have built a network of connections. As previously mentioned, Folks in Japan generally do business with folks who they know or through an introduction. Once you have built a network for yourself, you pretty much have an endless supply of work - you then just need to continue cultivating new relationships to build your career or business.

As I said - these are just some aspects of Japanese society that I love which some folks around the world may not be able to appreciate just through consuming content online. I've been living in Japan for 13 years now and everyday is always a fresh new experience.

I would love to hear what you love about Japanese culture and why. Have you visited Japan before? Have you been learning about the culture with Japanese friends?

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Anyway - going back to the beginning of the day. The event was held at Miraikan - The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation.

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This is Sato Dai - he wrote the scenario for anime titles such as Ghost in the Shell SAC, Samurai Champloo, Cowboy Bebop and many more.

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Emi Kusano - fashion type who takes and shares a load of photos.

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Off to grab a quick lunch before the audience arrive.

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Its one big round monitor.

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Caption this photo.

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Lotteria for lunch. Hardly go to Lotteria because there are not that many around.

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Back in the auditorium getting ready for the conference to start.

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A list of todays speakers.

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Slowly starting to fill up - many students.

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Students in Japan generally spend a lot of time in appearances - fashion, hairdo and wot not. How much time do you spend on your appearance before you step out the door?

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This is our MC for today.

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The organizer opens with a keynote asking us what are the unique points of Japan. What in your mind makes Japan unique?

What in your mind makes Japan unique?

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Mizohata Hiroshi - commissioner for the Japan Tourism Agency. He tried to get you free tickets to Japan but it didn't quite work out.

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Kawajiri-san works in advertising and talks about the various ways we can use it to promote Japan.

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Caption this photo.

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With METI discussing the up and coming government projects that I was going to work on like the Creative Director role.

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Justin Potts - American chap who works in the food, lifestyle and travel business.

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Mika-san is a government officer who works at METI. I've been working with the government on various projects ever since I met her.

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MisaMisa talks about how she shares Japanese culture through cosplay.

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This is what fundamentally drives my business - sharing my passion. Once you have discovered your passion - start to live and share it and the rest will just follow - it always does.

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Sato Dai talks about some of the anime titles that he's worked on in the past. Even way back then, a large portion of the drawing has been farmed out to foreigners outside of Japan - mainly in Asia.

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Eureka Seven - I loved the music for that show.

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Group photo with all the speakers.

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Talking to Dai-san about Mirai Millennium...

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Networking time after the conference.

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Everybody is prepared with a business card and I recommend that you have one too. It does not matter if you are student or unemployed - a business card is a tool that you need to build your career and life. Actually - being unemployed is probably the main reason why you *need* a business card.
More about building your career in the How to write a resume post.

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Its easy to make new connections at events because everybody attending has a common interest which makes it easy to network. Everybody is generally trusted which makes it easier to cultivate new relationships and business.
No mater what you are doing in life, its very important for you to mingle with folks who share the same interests.

Anyway, going back to the main topic of today - would love to hear all the reasons why you like Japan and feel free to list the things that you dont like Japan. How did you discover Japan?
The government is reading my site too so if you want to get yourself heard then this would be the chance to do so!

Tokyo · CEO Mirai Inc
http://www.dannychoo.com/profile

Director for Culture Japan. Creator of Mirai Suenaga. Member of the Japanese governments METI CIIC.
経済産業省クリエイティブ産業国際展開懇談会委員。
テレビ番組カルチャージャパンのディレクターと司会。
twitter.com/dannychoo
facebook.com/dannychoodotcom

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