Shirasaki-sensei, the head of our writing course, has published a book titled ”
10 Basic Rules for Writing Business Documents for Foreigners.
January 25, 2021
In accordance with gender-free policy, we have decided to remove gender information from the course participant information and will not collect it in the future.
In relation to this matter, we will use “They” as the third person singular, rather than He or She, in the English title on the completion report.
We will take the same measures for hiring lecturers in the future as well.
It is said that the productivity of Japanese companies is lower than that of non-Japanese companies. In fact, the companies and organizations I’ve worked for have had wasteful or inefficient operations. Three of the most commonly cited wasteful things are
(2) HANKO Culture
(3) Face to face sales
So, in this newsletter, let’s examine whether or not these will be changed by the coronavirus.
The main characteristics of a useless meeting are
“I have to attend a meeting that has nothing to do with my work.”
“It ends with just a sharing of information.”
“We got together to talk about it, but it didn’t come to a decision.”
But these are separate issues from working remotely, so even if the meeting held online, it won’t change much if the purpose of the meeting and the way to work doesn’t change.
(2) HANKO Culture
Not a few people say they want to work remotely, but have to come to the office to stamp documents. “The HANKO Culture is a major cause of the difficulty of working remotely,” some said. In June, the Japanese government announced that “a seal on a contract is not necessarily required. (FYI, it wasn’t originally required by Japanese law to put a seal on the contract, but the government announced it because many people misunderstood.)
Now there’s a greater awareness that other means of authentication, such as electronic authentication, are acceptable. So while many people think the HANKO Culture will change, I expect it to be about halfway there. The reason for this is that there are system costs associated with implementing alternative methods such as electronic authentication. However, 99.7% of Japanese companies are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and many of them cannot afford to invest in systems, so they continue to do things the way they used to. First, large companies that can afford it will be the first to adopt e-authentication. Second, it will be popular in companies that do business with such large companies. So I think it will take some time.
(3) Face to face sales
At the company I used to work for, we had a tradition of visiting clients at the end of the year to present them with calendars made by our company. I knew that it was useless to give them a calendar because it wouldn’t affect our work, and that we could just mail it instead of visiting, but I followed the previous custom.
But nowadays, most companies refrain from meeting with outsiders as much as possible. This is a good excuse to stop wasting time on face-to-face sales if the client side is willing to STOP. And since older people, who used to be reluctant to do online meetings, are now using ZOOM and the like, there will be less face-to-face sales and more business meetings over the phone and online.
These are my predictions. What do you think??
Forty-four people died on July 4, 2020 due to the heavy rains that fell mainly in the Kyushu region. The damage is especially severe in Kumamoto Prefecture. Fourteen people died at a nursing home in Kuma Village.
Recently, it is not uncommon to see the heaviest rainfall in recorded history, probably due to extreme weather conditions. In addition, there are rivers all over Japan, so there is a risk of flooding all over the country. Japan is about to enter the typhoon season, so this is a good time to take precautions to prevent flooding in your area. It is strongly recommended that you check your flood risk.
The risk of flooding can be checked on the hazard maps operated by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.
This site will provide you with information on “flood risk,” “landslide risk,” and “tsunami risk” for your area. Just open the map and hover over your area to see how much of the above risk you are at.
And the accuracy of this hazard map is said to be extremely high.
Flooding in Nagano Prefecture, caused by a large typhoon in October 2019, has also been shown to have a high flood risk. And the floods that occurred in Kumamoto this time were also shown as dangerous on the hazard map.
The red point on the Google map on the left is where the nursing home where 14 people died is located. And the image on the right is a hazard map showing the flood risk at the same location. The area where the nursing home is located is pink, indicating the possibility of 10-20 meters of flooding.
And this image also shows a Google map on the left and a hazard map on the right. You can see that there are many places near Tokyo that are at high risk of flooding.
(The blue point on the right is the location of the flooding in Ibaraki Prefecture in 2015, which was also marked as high risk.).
We urge you to check out the hazard map to save yourself and your family’s lives.
With an indirect method, the learner receives explanations using an intermediate language (such as his or her native language) so that he or she can understand.
With a direct method, the learner receives explanations in Japanese only.
If your native language is English, you may worry about whether it’s better to temporarily get explanations in English or to get explanations in Japanese. In this article, I will explain the pros and cons of both methods.
Indirect Method – Pros
-Explanations are definitely easier to understand.
-Learners can understand in a short amount of time.
Indirect Method – Cons
– It’s easy for learners to develop a habit of always thinking in their native language.
-It’s hard for learners to develop a habit of reasoning based on the Japanese they know.
-There may be many instances of not understanding when having an actual conversation in Japanese.
Direct Method – Pros
-Learners will develop a habit of reasoning based on words they do know even if there are words they do not understand.
-Lessons can be taken in a form that closely resembles an actual conversation in Japanese.
Direct Method – Cons
– Learners will sometimes misunderstand.
-It may take a while before the learner can understand.
The indirect method is less stressful because beginners cannot understand explanations in Japanese. However, the advantage of studying using the direct method from the beginning is that learners are better prepared for a real conversation because they have been listening to actual conversations in Japanese only. In other words, the difference is whether you consider speaking only in Japanese as “stressful” or “good training.”
I recommend the following approach for people who want to become used to Japanese as quickly as possible, but who also want to use their lesson time efficiently.
・First, tell your instructor ahead of time not to use an intermediate language unless you request otherwise, and basically use Japanese only.
・Then, ask your instructor for explanations in an intermediate language only when you can’t understand no matter how hard you try.
However, make an agreement with your instructor not to use an intermediate language more than three times per lesson.
(It doesn’t matter if you agree to five times or ten times, it’s just seems best to use an intermediate language as little as possible.)
・Then, do not use an intermediate language more than the agreed number of times no matter how frustrating it becomes.
I recommend this approach because, by sticking to these rules, you will develop a habit of thinking for yourself as much as possible even when you don’t understand and you can enjoy your lessons like a game.
May 16, 2020
It’s difficult to travel right now, but when the coronavirus is over, I hope that many people will enjoy their trip to Japan. In this article, we’ll introduce eight points to help you plan your trip to Japan and make it even more fun.
First of all, there are five points to make a plan for your trip to Japan.
- Decide on a theme for your trip.
- decide on a budget and number of days
- Decide where you want to go.
- make a list of things you want to do
- try to make a real schedule
Let’s take a closer look. The order of 1 to 4 may be back and forth. You may have to rework your plan a few times, but it’s still a process of making a better plan, so enjoy it.
- Decide on a theme for your trip.
If you’re new to Japan or have never traveled to Japan before, you can use “Tokyo and Osaka” as a theme for the cities you want to visit. If you are a repeater, for example, you may want to have a specific theme such as “I want to compare delicious sushi,” “I want to go to many hot springs,” or “I want to take a good looking photo for Instagram. Once you’ve listed a few, think about those priorities.
- decide on a budget and number of days
Deciding on a budget and number of days is a necessary step to make it a realistic plan.
- Decide where you want to go.
It’s normal to want to go to as many places as possible. Decide where you can realistically go with your purpose, budget and days.
- make a list of things you want to do
Decide specifically where and what you want to do and make a list. If there are too many to list, consider those priorities as well.
- try to make a real schedule
Find out where to stay, how to get there, how long it will take, and how long it will take to do the things you want to do. In Japan, trains and planes often go as planned, but make sure you have plenty of time on your schedule.
These are the basic points.
Next, I’ll give you three tips to make your trip to Japan more enjoyable.
６．Look up not only on the web but also in guidebooks.
Research can be done on the web, but it can be time consuming to look up each site one by one. So I buy a guidebook that allows me to look up information efficiently. Looking through guidebooks with my family and thinking, “Oh, I want to go to this store too! The price is also cheap at around 1,000 yen per book.
FYI, “Rurubu” and “Mappuru” are the most famous guidebooks in Japan. Both are designed for Japanese people traveling in Japan, so there is only a Japanese version, but it has detailed information on it. There are a lot of photos, so even those who are not confident in their Japanese will find it helpful.
Rurubu Tokyo https://amzn.to/2WlcdDU
Rurubu Osaka https://amzn.to/35SP8vt
Rurubu Hokkaido https://amzn.to/3bjnvwE
Rurubu Okinawa https://amzn.to/3cvfYwk
７．Ask a travel planning professional.
If you’re not good at planning or don’t have the time for it, you might want to hire a travel planning professional. COCONALA is a site that deals with the skill sharing economy business and there are also people who can help you plan your trip.
This person will make a plan for 2 nights and 3 days for 1,500 yen anywhere in Japan.
This person will plan a trip to Hokkaido for 3 nights and 4 days for 3,000 yen.
８．Make an album after the trip.
When we travel abroad, we make an album for each trip. Photo data taken with a digital camera or mobile phone is a rare opportunity for the whole family to look back at it. It’s a great way to keep an album to enjoy your family’s time together and memories of your trip.
If you are a Japanese language learner, try to look up information in Japanese as much as possible.Talking to your Japanese teacher about your travel plans will be a good practice for you too!
April 15, 2020
Do you write Japanese?
There are many people who say, “I have a chance to speak Japanese, but I don’t have a chance to write. There are also many people who say, “I’m practicing speaking Japanese but not writing.
So, today I would like to tell you about the benefits of writing practice. You will be able to write for the first time if you have what you want to say organized in your mind and know the vocabulary and expressions. This means, conversely, that if you can write, you can say.
However, there is one point to note. hat is to write the amount and theme sentences that fits your level. It’s hard for a beginner to write long sentences on a complex topic. The target number of characters for each level is shown in the following table, so please refer to it.
10 700 letters（3 mins）
9 600 letters（2 mins）
8 500 letters（2 mins）
7 400 letters（2 mins）
6 350 letters（1 mins）
5 300 letters（1 mins）
4 250 letters（1 mins）
3 200 letters（1 mins）
2 150 letters（1 mins）
1 100 letters（30sec）
*Level is based on J-OS’s ten-level.
*Time is the target speed to read the sentences you wrote and it almost same as the speed of the Japanese announcer.
It’s hard to practice writing, but that’s why it works. Please give it a try.
March 16, 2020
Many people are looking forward to eating delicious food in Japan. However, as the coronavirus is rampant (as of March 10, 2020 at the time of writing this article), gourmet travel is difficult. Here are some ways to enjoy delicious meals from all over Japan without going out.
Have you ever heard the word ”お取り寄せ(otoriyose)”? The act of obtaining a product from another location when there is no product you want to buy at the store is the origin of the word ”お取り寄せ(otoriyose)”. The word ”取り寄せ(toriyose)” is a noun form of ”取り寄せる(toriyoseru)”, and “お(o)” has been added to the top to say it more elegantly, and the word ”お取り寄せ(otoriyose)” has come to be used more often. And now, it is increasingly used in the sense of “purchasing popular groceries online.”
Here are five popular Japanese Gourmet Online Shopping Sites
Operated by the popular gourmet magazine “dancyu”.
Otona no shumatsu otoriyose club
Operated by the popular gourmet magazine “Otona no shumatsu”.
FUJINGAHO no otoriyose
Operated by women’s magazine “FUJINGAHO”.
“dancyu.com” and “Otona no shumatsu otoriyose club” are a little for male, but this one is a little for female. There are many sweets.
Main products are local specialties, specialty products, and local gourmet.
Local newspapers in each region carefully select and introduce delicious products from 47 prefectures in Japan.
Nippon no takaramono (Japan’s treasure)
Most of the producers are small businesses, so mass production is not possible, but the products on this site are all highly valued.
Although the number of products is small compared to other sites, it is recommended for those who want to find hidden local specialties.
Rakuten is the largest e-commerce company in Japan.
Popular products from all over the country are gathered widely.
Every site is full of delicious dishes and ingredients, and it will be fun just to look at it.
Please enjoy delicious Japanese foods by “otoriyose”.
In Japan, there are many adults who read manga, but it seems that in some countries it is embarrassing for adults to read manga. Most J-OS users are business people, so there may not be many people who read manga, but there are many Japanese manga that even adults can enjoy. Therefore, this time we have collected business-themed manga so that business people can enjoy it.
Kacho(Manager) Kosaku Shima https://amzn.to/2uGyG35
Speaking of manga whose leading role is a business person, many Japanese will probably mention this. It has also been turned into a TV drama. The main character is Kosaku Shima, who works for a major electronics manufacturer in Japan, and there are many current events and situations that are likely to happen, such as mergers of competitors and measures to take over from overseas companies. Kosaku Shima, who was the manager at the start of the manga, became a division chief, a director, and was promoted to the president. When his title changes, the title of the work will also change, such as “Division chief Kosaku Shima” ” Director Kosaku Shima” and “President Kosaku Shima”
Salaryman Kintaro https://amzn.to/2w3S22v
This Manga is also popular and has been turned into a TV drama. Kintaro Yajima, the main character, is a salaryman working for a construction company, and his work and growth are drawn. There is also a series that has changed jobs to a foreign investment bank.
Investor Z https://amzn.to/2Hkekj8
A manga that allows you to deepen your understanding of investment and has a reputation for nurturing your mind as an investor while enjoying the story.
Kaisha Shikiho, a company that provides corporate information, describes this as “a manga that gives both beginners and experienced investors a” notice “to win.” Also, many real Japanese entrepreneurs have appeared, and there are many collaboration projects with real companies.
A story that uses the hotel’s concierge as the main character and solves various problems and requests that guests and staff cause. Not only people working in hotels, but everyone who serves customers will enjoy it.
Yamikin(Illegal high interest lenders) Ushijima-kun https://amzn.to/2vo5NJg
This work has been turned into a drama and a movie.
Although the main character is an illegal high-interest lender, the content is dark, but it is a work that reminds you not to get involved in money troubles, and many entrepreneurs recommend this. Recommended for those who want to know about Japan’s dark society.
There seems to be a lot of Kindle versions recently, so please try it. And if you like, please see this article I wrote earlier.
Japanese business magazine TOP 10 recommended for business Japanese learners!
Popular 18 Business Japanese Dramas recommended for business Japanese learners!
January 17, 2020
Where do you stay when traveling in Japan? I think that many people stay at hotels and inns, but recently it more and more people rent camper vans.
If you are traveling to Japan for the first time, you will most likely choose the so-called golden route: Tokyo, Mt. Fuji, Kyoto, Osaka. However, many repeaters want to go to places other than the Golden Route, especially the countryside in Japan, and people who are not satisfied with ordinary tours often use a camper van.
Therefore, this time I will write about traveling in Japan using a camper van that is becoming a popular new travel style.
Benefits of traveling in Japan using a camper van
(1) good cost performance
Normally, hotels and inns in Japan have a price per person. On the other hand, camping cars are set at the price per car. Therefore, as the number of users increases, the price per person decreases. In addition, transportation costs can be reduced by dividing gasoline and highway charges by all passengers.
(2) 3 or more people can stay together
There are not many rooms where 3 or more adults can stay in Japanese hotels. If it is a camper, there are many cars that four adults can stay with.
(3) Free travel plan
Trains and buses have a fixed schedule of operation, but you can create a free travel plan if you are a camper. In addition, you will be able to go to places where trains and buses cannot. Tours are only available in popular places. You can also go to your special places that other foreign travelers can not go to.
Recommended service for people traveling to Japan using a camper van
I’ve checked companies that have a good explanation of foreign languages, so I’ll introduce them to you.
(1) Camper van rental ： Japan Campingcar Rental Center
(2) Camper van sharing service ： CarStay
Points to note when traveling to Japan using a camper van
A convenient and cost effective camper trip, but there are some caveats.
(1) Driving qualification
Driving a car in Japan naturally requires a valid driver’s license in Japan.
The requirements vary by country, so check this site.
(2) different traffic rules
There may be traffic rules different from your country, so please enjoy safe driving so that there are no accidents or troubles. Japan is on the left. Please note that the highways running in the center of the city(Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, etc.) have many exits and entrances so that even Japanese people get lost.
(3) Car size
Campers are bigger than ordinary cars, and the height is high, so the stability is poor. Therefore, be careful because contact accidents and rollover accidents occur more easily than other vehicles. There are many narrow roads in Japan.
(4) Spots where you can stay in the car are limited
There are not many RV parks where you can stay in a car like in the US. In recent years, the number of people who occupy a parking lot for a long time while staying in a car has increased, and there have been cases where trouble has occurred. When planning your travel plan, look for places where you can stay in the car. The CarStay site mentioned above introduces good spots.
If you are bored on a regular trip, why not try this new style?
I hope your trip to Japan will be fun.
- New book: “How to Write Business Documents for Foreigners with 10 Basic Rules”
- Our Response to the Gender Free Policy
- Will the coronavirus change the productivity of Japanese companies?
- To everyone living in Japan, if you don’t want to die, look at the hazard map
- Is an indirect or direct method of learning better for mastering Japanese?
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