Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Coolest Summer Concert in Tokyo of 2014? And It's Free!

I hadn't blogged in three weeks. Didn't realize it had been so long until an anonymous writer sent this comment: "21 days with no blogging. Sure hope your life is alright."

Thanks Anonymous. I appreciate it.

My life is alright. I hope yours is too.

I've been working 14 ~ 16 hours a day, everyday for the last 5 weeks or so. Then, during that time, I had a hellacious gout attack! I don't know why, I hadn't been drinking and have been basically doing the raw food thingy. Maybe it is stress... At least, that's what the doctor said.

Then, as soon as my gout went away, I went back to my exercise routine: 90 minutes speed walking.

That was a mistake.

Because of the gout, I had been walking funny for a week and my left knee hurt from that. So, while my knee was out of whack, I went for a 90 minute walk again. On the way back, darn if my knee didn't start burning. Uh, oh... Felt like I was getting water under my left kneecap.

It was.

Within a day, my knee had swollen up and hurt like heck, but I kept working.

That was another mistake.

By the third day, I couldn't walk and was in bed with my knee under ice packs and elevated. Still was doing work from the computer.

In the meantime, I completed several important tasks and nearly completed or completed a few videos.


Video screen capture of Neatbeats, "Snakey Baby"

One of the ones that was finished was for a really awesome Japanese Beat Group called, "The Neatbeats." It stars Japan's best authentic beat music group, Mina Shirakawa, Japan's Sexy and Hot New Pinup girl and a funny sumo wrestler. I have my "Hitchcock style cameo" right at the very start (I'm the guy in the red sweater). For some reason, I can't link that video but you can view that video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1L3leqBg-8

Besides these things, I've been doing my regular jobs and trying to get stuff done.

I have also organized another free concert for people to enjoy. I think these summer festivals whereby people spend $500 to $1000 to go to a festival to see bands with crappy sound, bad food and stand in long lines to go to the toilet are way over priced.

On June 23, 2014, I have set up another killer show that is "invitation only" limited to 250 guests. 

The show features the above mentioned Neatbeats. Here's a different video of theirs



The Neatbeats can easily sell out 500 ~ 600 people venues at $60 a ticket. Think people will wanna see. 

Also Japan's power drum and bass duo, Moja will perform. 



Julie will perform...



and also Mz. Moxy from London in her Japan debut.



It's a killer show and I hope that you can attend. I think it will be one of the best and most memorable shows of summer 2014.



So, besides trying to be a father and husband, that's what I have been doing...

I hope to blog again because there's so much nonsense going on right now: Ukraine, stock market, Abenomics, Justin Beiber that the world's a ripe grape ready for the picking for some blogger...

But for now, I've got to get back to work.

See you soon.




Thursday, April 10, 2014

World's #1 Video Crowd-Sourcing platform needs you!




90 Seconds TV! World's #1 Video Crowd-Sourcing platform needs you! 



Several positions in Japan need to be filled immediately!

1) Need experienced project(s) manager in Japan. Perfect business level Japanese a must. Bi-lingual English. Knows how to handle schedules and write Japanese business letters. Experienced in secretarial duties. Understands internet. Working in video production. Work at home too! Very high pay (¥450,000 ~ ¥550,000 yen per month). Apply at: www.90seconds.tv

プロジェクトマネージャー募集 業務はビデオプロダクションでのマネージメント。経験者優遇 その他、日本語英語のバイリンガル、スケジュール管理能力及び日本語のビジネスレター作成技能のあるインターネットに詳しい方を求む 年齢35才位まで 応相談在宅勤務 給与月額45−55万(税込)程度


2) Video editors, camera person, lighting, experts in video production, production managers, all aspects of video production, etc. needed for world's leading online video crowd sourcing platform. We have offices around the world and setting up Japan. Excellent pay and conditions.

ビデオ編集・カメラマン・照明・ビデオプロダクション経験者・プロダクションマネージャー 募集 オンラインビデオクラウドサーチプラットフォーム業務 ニュージーランド他各国にある企業の日本支社立ち上げスタッフです。給与条件等、経験により優遇いたします。オンラインで応募受付 www.90seconds.tv 

Sign up easy! Apply at: www.90seconds.tv

Japan site: www.90seconds.jp


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Yen Strengthens 1.25% Overnight - Rough Day for Nikkei 225 Coming?


Now this is a real head-scratcher. The Japanese yen skyrocketed in price over night 1.25%.


The last time something like this happened, the Nikkei 225 had a 500 point drop later that day. But looking at the Nikkei Futures, it shows a 7-point increase.



I would have expected a futures price dropping 200 ~ 300 points for the day....

But, as my wife would say, "If you're so smart, why ain't you rich?"

Can't believe that the Nikkei 225 won't drop at least 200 today. We'll see.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

If you want to understand what a Japanese wants to say, listen to their hearts and not their words.


There's a very old Japanese saying that goes like this; "If you want to understand what a Japanese wants to say, listen to their hearts and not their words."



When I first came to live in Japan, I was told this by many of my close Japanese friends. I couldn't understand it at all. I mean, as a westerner, and a male, it made no sense to me... It didn't make any sense to me for the first 15 or 20 years of my living in Japan. 

My reasoning went like this: How was I to understand what someone is thinking when their words tell me one thing, but they really mean the exact opposite? I am not Houdini or some sort of clairvoyant mind reader! 

I think I got upset about this happening so much in Japan. I think all foreigners who live here do also.

In fact, I remember many years ago, a very close friend of mine in Japan having much troubles because he always took what Japanese people said at face-value and considered them "liars" because they would often say one thing, but mean another. They would rarely "speak their hearts." We had long discussions about this and he would often be angry and demand to me, 

"If they think that, why don't they just say so?!"

It is often said that Japanese people never say, "No!" Also they never say what they really mean. Their true meaning is not in words spoken from their mouths, but from their hearts. 

I used to think I needed a stethoscope to get around Japan and understand what the Japanese were saying!

My very close friend left Japan many years ago and never returned.


This doctor won't need that stethoscope to know what I'm thinking when she examines me

Now, after working in and with big companies as a lackey foreigner or gaijin advisor to high ranking executives; after seeing grown Japanese men crying at meetings; after dismissing several dozen Japanese staff from their duties when I was the only foreigner dumb enough to accept a general manager position at a Japanese company; after serving drinks (and inhaling them) at many corporate parties; after two divorces, and finally one happy marriage (today nearly 20 years); this saying makes perfect sense to me:

"If you want to understand what a Japanese wants to say, listen to their hearts and not their words."

Recently, I've had two dear friends visiting from overseas for work. I witnessed this saying in action yesterday twice within the span of a few hours.

The first example was when one of my friends (who doesn't speak Japanese) asked a nice Japanese gentleman to make a short speech in English for a promotional video. The Japanese man said something like,

"Oh, yes. I can do that."

But as soon as my foreign friend was out of earshot, the Japanese gentlemen leaned to me and said, "Mike! What should I do?"

Now, most people would think that the, "What should I do?" means, "Help me with my English." Or, "How shall I say this?" But that's not what he means. Those are his words, but by listening to his heart, I could tell what he was really saying was, "I do not have confidence in my English to make a speech. Isn't there anything you can do for me?"

I looked him right in the eye and said, "I understand. How about we do just a little comment in English and the rest in Japanese?"

His eyes grew bright and he smiled and shook my hand with a sigh or great relief, "Oh yes. That would be best. Thank you."

We held almost all the speech in Japanese. It went well. A success.

The second case was when we went to a different company to organize a project that had been ordered by the big boss. We met two sections chiefs and one of their marketing staff. We did the Japanese business card exchange ritual and sat down. The first thing out of the section chief's mouth was,

"Thank you for coming. We were ordered by our boss to make a video and told we don't have any time except today..."

Once again, any rationally thinking westerner would hear that and shake their heads in agreement.

But that isn't what the guy's heart was saying was, I knew exactly what his heart was saying, and it was this,

"Thank you for coming. We were ordered by our boss to make a video and told we don't have any time except today. This is worrisome as we just found out about it. We have absolutely no plan on what we want and how to do it. Do we have to do it today?"

They had no idea what was going on but couldn't defy the bosses orders... They were hinting to us that they wanted time to make a plan. It was plainly obvious to me. I said,

"Oh? Well, dear sirs, we are merely here to help you and it isn't necessary at all to make this video today. We are here to show you what we can do and when you folks are ready, we're here to help you. We can even attend your planning meetings, if you like."

It was like a huge balloon filled with the hot air of tension deflated right there on the spot. Our Japanese hosts suddenly allowed their backs to relax and they slightly sank back into their seats knowing the "Sword of Damocles" wasn't hanging over their heads at that very moment.

I felt good that I could understand what these two cases really wanted to say when they spoke. It was very satisfying. 

From understanding their hearts, I immediately built a bond of great trust and a sort of acceptance and intimate understanding with these good folks just like the Japanese have with each other. (Or so thinks foolish foreigner? - Me)

It was wonderful that my two foreign friends could witness this first hand when they were here.

If all of us foreigners living and working in Japan remember this, it makes working and living with the Japanese all that much easier.

"If you want to understand what a Japanese wants to say, listen to their hearts and not their words."

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Propaganda and Russia


The propaganda coming out of the mass media is ridiculous. Recent news stories appearing on all major US news sites continually speak of "Putin's global territorial ambitions." So, suddenly, Putin is the new "Hitler" is he?

Here's a funny one from ABC

Hillary Clinton told the audience that "if this sounds familiar, it's what Hitler did back in the '30s".

Really? Total bombast. This stuff would be laughable if these people wrote for Mad Magazine... But, no! Alas, they have a government to feed and an agenda (and you are not part of it!)

For another example, here's a recent Washington Post article


Vladimir Putin’s speech Tuesday — disavowing Russia’s Soviet past, glorifying its Orthodox roots, decrying the unjust price paid by Russians when the Soviet Union collapsed and condemning the West’s hypocrisy — upended the foundations of the post-Cold War narrative. The widespread idea that Crimea could be ceded without cascading consequences arose from the erroneous belief that Putin is reconstituting the Soviet Union. The Soviet past was never his frame of reference. 

Putin’s expeditionary wars are fueled by Russian exceptionalism: a vision for a renewed union based on a common Russo-Orthodox destiny. In other words, Putin’s ambitions range beyond the boundaries of the former U.S.S.R. and into Europe.

"Putin’s ambitions range beyond the boundaries of the former U.S.S.R. and into Europe!!!" Horrors! I guess if we don't stop him now; if we don't fight them over there; we'll all be speaking Russian... Ha! Half of all of today's American high school grads can't even speak proper English!

What a bunch of self-serving selective memory recall! Right! At least they did get the one part about "west's hypocrisy" correct. I'd like to point out that this article was written by Molly K. McKew and Gregory A. Maniatis who were advisers to Georgia’s president, Mikheil Saakashvili, and his national security adviser during and after the 2008 war with Russia.... As if they don't have an agenda! Ha!) Please refer to: The Real Aggressor by Justin Raimondo

"Putin's territorial ambitions"? Let's not mention US and NATO breaking the deal and pushing a territorial expansionist policy in Eastern Europe right on Russia's doorstep as that would be 'inconvenient!'

The USA and NATO are the true root cause of all of what is going on. 

When the Soviet Union fell, then US president Reagan promised then Soviet leader Gorbachev that NATO would never move into Eastern European countries. But, that was Reagan, every US president since then has pushed the envelope and driven NATO (an alliance against Russia and the former Soviet Union) all the way up to the very borders of Russia.

Gee, who'd a thunk the Russians wouldn't like that?

Of course the Russians don't like it when we talk about a military alliance AGAINST them (NATO) coming to Georgia, Ukraine, etc... Militarist right wing military-industrial complex morons in USA.

It's obvious that Russia is going to lash out when we surround them with a military alliance that goes right to their borders. This isn't rocket science. 


The USA and NATO are nothing but bad news for everyone. What business it it of ours if people on the other side of the world want to be a part of this country or that? 

Who cares? Let them decide by themselves.

Before WWII, the Brits and the French guaranteed the Polish government that they'd go to war to protect them if the Germans invaded. So the Polish government became intransigent in negotiations with Hitler (see: Churchill, Hitler and the Uneccessary War by Patrick Buchanan) and wouldn't deal with Hitler on the return of former German territories. This lead to World War II. (And the loss of Poland anyway!)

If the people of eastern Ukraine want to be a part of Ukraine, or Russia, or Disneyland, let them vote and decide (I hate voting too, but that's a different story). There is absolutely NO NEED for the military to decide this. 

Remember when Vaclav Havel allowed Czechoslovakia to be dived by peaceful secession? That was smart. 

Think about it, folks, we don't care if, say, Texas wants to be a part of Mexico or USA or an independent nation. Let those people decide by themselves. It is their land. It is none of our business!

Peace! No military. Why is it our business what those people wish to do or what abstract national boundaries they want to live in? If they have peaceful relations, then they can live their lives as they wish and go where they want to go.

As for me, I am only concerned with keeping peace and what goes on in my own neighborhood!

We should have dismantled the US and NATO war machine in 1991. That we didn't and the going's on today just go to show that the US empire and the military machine needs war to survive. War is truly the health of the state.

We have zero business in this mess. We never had any business in this European mess. Even in World War I! What business of ours was it if Europe is run by a king or a kaiser? (Of course, yes, I know, big western banks don't like it - they lose money.)

The people do not want this war. The government's do. Government is an abstract, so are national boundaries.

We should try to make peaceful relations and free trade with everyone. 


-------------------

Inevitably, some statist will complain about what I wrote here as "unrealistic" and ask what I would do.

Here's what I would do and how I see the situation:

I think those people in the Ukrainian government might be a bit more friendly and smarter in negotiations with Russia if they didn't think NATO or the EU or USA was going to back them up (see above).

If they are not careful, the Russians might invade them and kill a bunch of people (as well as killing those in the Ukraine government).

So, if the Ukrainian government were smart (and wanted to save their lives), they'd do like Vaclav Havel did in the former Czechoslovakia and allow the people in all regions decide - not globalist expansionary countries who are actually run by big international banks and monetary systems. 

That's EXACTLY what I would do. 

Half a loaf of bread is better than war or no bread.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Professionalism is Craftsmanship: Years of Effort, Dedication and Experience


Professionalism is the same as craftsmanship: work on it and strive for it everyday and, one day, those specialized skills will reward you handsomely. 

As we get older, we must strive for perfection in particular skills as we will never be able to beat mass production like McDonald's. 

I remember when I was a junior high school student. I loved wood shop class and would later go on, with the help of great teachers in high school, to build furniture that won awards at the State Fair (twice in fact! - yes, I was a geek, why do you ask?) 


In 1973, when other kids were making napkin holders in wood shop class, I was making stuff like this French Provincial end table. I won a Blue Ribbon (whatever that means!) at the State fair for this one when I was a sophomore in high school. This table still sits in my living room as sturdy as the day it was built (plus a few nicks and scratches). I'm expecting that this will be an antique in my son's living room someday.


One day, when I was in seventh grade, I asked my wood shop teacher (forget his name) how to make a brace for a table leg that had a dovetail. 

The instructor grabbed the piece of wood I had and said, "You make a 3/8 inch cut along this line." He took a pencil and instantly drew a straight line along the piece of wood, without a ruler or without checking size, or anything; he just scratched it off, just like that, in the blink of an eye, with the pencil right then and there. Then he handed the piece of wood back to me. 

I looked at the wood in confusion. I wondered why he drew a pencil line on my piece of wood? I said, 

"Why did you draw this line?" 

He replied, "I said, 3/8 of an inch." 

"How do you know this is straight and it is 3/8 of an inch?" I asked incredulously. 

He looked at me straight in the eye and said, "Years of experience, young man." Then he walked away. 

I went to my workspace and used a ruler to check the line he had drawn: I was awestruck! It was perfectly straight and 3/8 of an inch all along the breadth of the piece of wood in which he shot off that line seemingly without a thought. 

I was astounded!

Truly, professionalism comes with years of dedication, effort and experience. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

US Government Hypocrisy: Rejects Crimea Voter Turnout at 79% - US Presidential Turnout Much Less But OK!


Even though the people of Crimea have turned out in massive numbers and, reportedly, voted overwhelmingly to join Russia tomorrow, the US Mass Media reports in US rejects Crimea vote, says Russian actions 'dangerous':

Washington (AFP) - The United States strongly rejected Crimea's vote Sunday on breaking away from Ukraine, and called Russian actions in the crisis "dangerous and destabilizing."

Voter turnout in Crimea was 79% and 95% of the votes were favorable to joining Russia. AFP reports in: Crimea votes 95.5% to join Russia in referendum: preliminary results

Simferopol — Crimeans voted 95.5 percent in favour of joining Russia in a disputed referendum on Sunday, according to preliminary results with 50 percent of ballots counted, local authorities said. Referendum commission chairman Mykhaylo Malyshev said 3.5 percent had voted to remain in Ukraine with wider autonomous powers and 1.0 percent were "spoiled ballots".

Why is this funny and why is the US government remarks such hypocrisy?

Well, according to Wikipedia: ‪Voter turnout in the United States presidential elections‬, did you know that a 79% turnout is higher than every voter turnout in the United States for US presidential elections in over 114 years? That's right. The turnout in the Crimea for this election surpasses the turnout for every US presidential election since 1900...



What's the excuse for the US government to say that they will not recognize a popular vote that far surpasses the percentage of the people who vote for the US president in presidential elections? 

The US government says they will "not recognize the results" because of "intimidation by the Russian military"?

From AFP:

"This referendum is contrary to Ukraine's constitution, and the international community will not recognize the results of a poll administered under threats of violence and intimidation from a Russian military intervention that violates international law," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Ha! Ha! Ha! Right... And elections held in Iraq and Afghanistan while under the US military boot and with hundreds of thousands of US troops in their countries is different? 

Oh, yeah. I forgot; people LIKE having US soldiers point guns at them. They DON'T like Russian soldiers doing the same.

The only thing the US government can say about this business of not recognizing the will of the people in a popular vote is that in the USA, it's the same: the will of the people be damned.

Stinking hypocrites.

PS: You'll never hear me telling anyone that they should, "Get out and vote!" 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

‪Recent Ramblings: Anarchism, Death and Vacuum Cleaners


Lots of things I've been thinking about recently...

Yesterday, when I told a group of journalists visiting Japan that I am an anarchist, one of them said, 

"But if there were no government, who would build the roads?" 

I replied, "In Japan, all of the privately built trains and subways (and there are LOTS of them), are fast, clean, always on time and cheaper than the government run trains." 

The Journalist's eyes grew wide as the realization sank in and they all said, 

"Oh, yeah... That's right." 

The privately built train and subway stations are also immaculately clean, modern and are filled with shopping for commuters. They stand head and shoulders above the government run trains and stations that are dirty, broken down, and well, they look drab and poorly maintained; like everything else the government does. Not to mention that the government run train system is shoddy and massively in the red every year and a money drain. The private trains are profitable.

Read more about Japan's privately run transport system here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rail_transport_in_Japan#Major_private_railways 


------------------------------------

I haven't been blogging so much recently for many reasons and one of them is that my dear daughter's grandmother passed away after having a stroke. This fine woman was my mother-in-law from my first marriage. Usually, after a divorce, the in-laws experience a bad relation with the former spouse of their child. But this woman helped me greatly and I will miss her very much.

Komako Hiroki. Thanks Ba-chan. Thanks for everything. I will miss you.

What happens when the matriarch passes away? What happens to a family when the glue, the bond, that held the family together for 5 decades passes away? Read: What Happens When Grandmother Has a Stroke... modernmarketingjapan.blogspot.jp/2014/01/grandmother-had-stroke.html

---------------

Even though it is still quite cold in Japan, the plum blossoms herald the coming of spring. When I visited my daughter's grandmother at the wake, I was pleasantly surprised to find the first plum blossoms of spring had blossomed in front of her house.

In spite of the cold, these blossoms braved the weather. Thanks for the present Ba-chan!

Then yesterday, near my home, I saw many more plum trees in full blossom.



The seasons change. Time moves forward. Everything happens for a reason. 


2014 is still a young year. I am reminded of the writings of C.S. Lewis:

"Life is difficult, so let us be good to each other."

-----------


Finally, the readers of this blog won't get to see it, but I did the voice for a nationally broadcast TV commercial for Roomba vacuum cleaners. It was my first big TV commercial for the year. 


I'm pretty happy about how it came out (usually I am not).

Spring is almost here. Let's have a good year. For ourselves and for our loved ones and friends who have passed.

Remember to treat your loved ones well as:


Yesterday is gone. Today is almost over. Tomorrow isn't promised….

My Interview about Anarchy on Anarchast TV with Jeff Berwick


I was on "Anarchast" from Mexico. Subject is Anarchy with world-famous entreprenuer and talk-show host Jeff Berwick: http://bit.ly/MdB6tB



マイクがメキシコのTVに出演してます。アナーキーについて語るマイク。興味ある人もない人もとりあえず観てください〜!



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

"I am Not Dorian Nakamoto"


The idea that the 64-year-old Japanese guy living in California was the lone engineer that wrote the code for Bitcoin is ludicrous.

I work with some of the top engineers in Japan. The oldest ones are in their late 40s. In the world of the Internet, those are the old men. 

Anyone should ask themselves: 

"How many over 60-year-old engineers have I met?" (I've never met/heard of one.) Hell, I've never met one over 50-years-old! 

A 64-year-old guy, the savior of the world, fighting the evil banking system and he's the descendant of samurai no less? Ha! Ha! Ha! Ridiculous!

And now, the online social account for Satoshi Nakamoto had sprung back into life after a 5-year hibernation simply stating, “I am not Dorian Nakamoto.” 

From CNBC:

An online social account for the creator of bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, sprung back into life Friday morning after a five-year hibernation amid growing speculation about his identity. The username Satoshi Nakamoto used an online forum for the P2P Foundation - an organization that studies peer to peer technology - to introduce the virtual currency with a single post back in 2009. The same user returned on Friday morning in an attempt to deny a 4,500-word cover story in this week's Newsweek magazine. Newsweek claimed that the creator of bitcoin was a 64-year old Japanese-American living in California called Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto. But Friday's comment on the P2P Foundation website - using the Satoshi Nakamoto username - simply stated: "I am not Dorian Nakamoto." 

Of course not. 

What is it about Bitcoin that makes people throw clear thinking and common sense out the window?

I wrote: "The inventor of Bitcoin, being one guy, and actually Japanese with samurai ancestors is too fantastic to be true.... Hell, if he is a Japanese, he has a higher chance of being a relative to the inventor of Poke-Mon than having "samurai ancestors." Read all about why here: http://modernmarketingjapan.blogspot.jp/2014/03/newsweek-has-wrong-guy-with-this.html