Saturday, December 31, 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012!

It's the Year of the Dragon! Specifically speaking, 2012 is the Year of the Water Dragon. It is going to be a good year for those with entrepreneurial spirit. Be one!
Famous people born in the Year of the Dragon

Joan of Arc, Susan B. Anthony, Florence Nightingale, Sigmund Freud, Mae West, John Lennon, Bruce Lee, Keanu Reeves, Orlando Bloom, Colin Farrell, and Sandra Bullock.
The year of the dragon has always been traditionally associated with new beginnings and good fortune. It is a lucky year.
Dragons, and those born under compatible signs with the dragon (Rat & Snake), will especially benefit from luck or good fortune during a Dragon year Dragons were born in 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, and 2012.
Those with entrepreneurial spirit are particularly favored to see much success in the coming year. They merely must dedicate themselves and stay focused.

Generally, it's predicted that any new business venture or relationship might benefit from the outstanding luck often associated with the dragon. Therefore, 2012 will be a very good year to get married (if there could be anything like that!), have children, or start a new business... Or to even win the lottery! Of course, I only jest as any time is a good time to win the lottery.
As the world suffers through one of the worst economic calamities in recent memory, supposedly bold new leadership will help ease the circumstances of those suffering most from recent financial setbacks. (So maybe that does mean Ron Paul can win! Oh I hope so!)
Since 2012 is the year of the Water Dragon, the liquid element to this is said to calm the dragon's usually tempestuous nature, and will give a thoughtful perspective to the plight of the less fortunate.
Dragons who can pursue their own passionate ambitions while meeting the needs of others are best suited to navigating the year ahead. Those compatible with the Dragon — the Rat and the Snake in particular — will also find 2012's circumstances inspiring them to greater personal happiness and professional success. 


Seven Gods of luck


If you wish for more good luck, you can help yourself by cleaning your home windows (so you can "see clearer" and make a clear path from the North East corner of your abode through to the South West corner. This allows the dragon to glide effortlessly through your abode bringing good luck. Placing clean water outside your abode at the South West corner as a reward for the dragon will also tempt him to pass through your house and bring you good fortune.*


* Seriously, I learned this from a famous professional Feng Shui instructor in Japan!


For more on your specific birthdate and the Chinese Zodiac, click here. http://chinesehoroscopeonline.com/
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Remember, whatever the omens portend, for better or worse, you are the final master of your own fate.




Wishing you and your family a year of health and prosperity! Gung Hay Fat Choy!


Happy New Year to you and yours and may 2012 see you all in health and prosperity! 

Friday, December 30, 2011

Don't Create Your Life's Regrets: Having an Affair

Usually, at this time of year, I'd make my predictions for the next year. But, as baseball legend Yogi Berra once said, "It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future." Of my top ten predictions for 2011, incredibly all of them were exactly correct excepting eighty percent of them....I predicted Kim Jong Il's death and Manny Pacquiaou kicking butt correctly, but the rest were way off. So I won't be doing predictions this year. 


Instead of predictions, let me state some facts. Such as, "If you do so-and-so, you will regret it" I have much experience with that, so I have confidence in that area.


I am an expert at doing stupid things and then regretting them later. So let me warn you about one thing that far too many people do that they later regret... Sometimes they regret it for the rest of their lives.... And that is having an extra-marital affair.




Guys do stupid things. I don't know an honest guy who won't admit it. I've done lots of them in my life.

One of the really stupid things we do is get married or engaged while still young and then go out an have affairs with other women.

They might be so-called, "One-night stands" but, if they are, that's usually only because the woman wasn't satisfied and is no longer interested in having sex with a dud. Yep. Been there. Done that.

Why we get a fiancee or get married and then still want to go out and screw around with other women is really a head scratcher. Oh sure, I can say that now that I am to be 55-years-old next year, but when I was 16 ~ 25, I, like 97% of all guys who will admit it (the other 3% are liars), would have sex with just about any girl on the planet at any time any place.

Oh, don't think I was so sexually active at 16. I wasn't. I only dated "Handrietta and her five sisters" back then. I didn't actually have sex with a girl until I was 20 or 21.



But I digress. Where was I? 

Oh yeah. Doing stupid things like having affairs. Why do guys do that? Well, it's definitely a problem of not being able to control hormones. That's for sure. Guys have a hormone problem when they are young and it makes us unable to think with our brains and only with our, er, family treasure. 


But when it comes to having an affair that means breaking a bond of trust.  When we make a bond of trust to some wonderful girl (and trust that all women have a little girl inside of them as all guys have a little boy inside of us) as well as her family, why do we have an affair and want to hurt their feelings? Many girls have some childhood fantasy that they carry through life that they will meet some white knight on a steed and we are going to take them away. I think they call it a "Cinderella Complex." We meet this wonderful girl that we fall in love with. Then we meet her family and father and mother who are kind to us; we marry. Then, we screw around with other women and mess things up for them and ourselves!? Why do we do that? What have they done to us that was so bad? Why do we want to hurt them so?


Especially if we have children. Do we hate our partners and children (and ourselves) so much that we want to mess it up so badly just for 2 hours of sex and then weeks and months of whispering, lying and sneaking around? What, are we stupid?



Ninety nine percent of young guys have an excuse for doing stupid things; if they are under twenty five, they can't control their hormones.  But when we are older, have kids and a meaningful job, why do we risk all of that? I mean, think about it. When a guy is married or has a steady girlfriend or fiancee, then why would they want another girl? 


To be totally flippant about it, isn't one girl enough trouble as it is? 

Go figure.

But even more confusing than men having affairs is married women having affairs, I think. OK, call me sexist, but, from what I have read and understand, women don't go around thinking about sex for seven or eight hours straight a day, everyday like men do. Women don't go to bed at night and dream about sex all night and wake up in a puddle.

Nope. From the literature I've read, they don't do that. 


There is a woman who lives in my neighborhood that we've know for at least six years, named Linda (not her real name) who I think is having an affair. Linda has two kids and is somewhere around 35-years-old. I have no solid proof, like photographs, that she is having an affair, but, like I said, "Been there. Done that." I could surmise from what she was doing, how she was dressed and how she has been acting, that she is indeed having an affair. 


I used to see Linda walking around in the neighborhood sometimes, like I see all the neighbors. I am a friendly guy so I always greet the locals. Linda would be walking around with her small children and I'd say, "Hi!" My wife and son would also say hi to Linda and her family.


Because of my job, I don't usually have to go sit in an office from 9 - 5 everyday. I often get to work from home or have very unusual hours. Often times I go to the local Starbucks for meetings with friends and clients and possible business partners. It was at the Starbucks that I saw Linda and knew immediately that she was having an affair. I felt sorry for her. But mostly I felt sorry for her children.


By the way, near the Starbucks, across the street, and a 4 minute walk on the back road, is also what we call a "Love Hotel." A Love Hotel is a hotel that rents out rooms for two-hour trysts. They are quite popular for young people and those having affairs... So the Starbucks is probably a convenient (but stupid) "meeting place." 


Anyway, my meeting with my client was at 10 am sharp inside the Starbucks which is on the seventh floor of this huge department store near my house. Ten am is opening time for the department store and Starbucks. I was one of the first customers in the Starbucks. I bought my coffee and sat down at a table near the door so that my client and I could catch each other easily. I don't usually pay attention to other people in coffee shops and certainly don't look around for other people that I might know so I sat down and opened my computer. After a few seconds, the lady at the table next to me abruptly stood up and almost ran out of the coffee shop. I noticed her because of the way she was dressed; She had on dark sunglasses (inside of a coffee shop on a cloudy day? Hmmm?) and was wearing a head scarf like some woman who was hiding from the police in an old detective movie. It was Linda. She didn't say, "Good morning" or anything to me and she swiftly left the coffee shop.


A tad bit odd, wouldn't you say?


See? This is how women dress (Jacqueline Kennedy) when they don't want to be recognized. If a person is dressed like this, they are ashamed of what they are doing or they are outside on a windy day. Dressed like this inside a coffee shop? 


Now, let's review this situation. It's just past 10 am. The coffee shop just opened. I am one of the first customers in the shop. I buy my coffee and sit down. This woman, who I've seen in the neighborhood (and who has even been to our house with husband and children for a BBQ party before), dressed in an obvious fashion to disguise herself, ups and abruptly leaves the premises without saying "Hello" and she's wearing dark sunglasses inside a building?!


What's that say to you? Circumstantial for sure, but it says to me that she's having an affair with someone.


As Shakespeare would say, "Oh what a tangled web we weave when we first practice to deceive."


Like I said, I feel sorry for her. I feel sorry for her husband and I certainly feel sorry for her kids. Hopefully she has stopped but probably not.


I suspect that she knows that I saw her (and I could "read her mind") as I have seen her around the neighborhood over these last few months but she definitely tries to avoid greeting us and avoids having eye contact with me anymore.... When I do see her, she has that "deer caught in the headlights"  look. Oh well. Poor woman.


It's hard enough in life to obtain this as it is, why ruin your chances by your own stupid and foolish actions?


If my guess is correct, and I am quite confident that it is, now, what does she have? She is living in guilt. She has betrayed her family and children. Did the kids deserve this? Make no mistake about it, no matter how you slice or rearrange it, it is betrayal. Now, she has to live with that guilt and regret all her life. Like I said, I know what I am talking about. I've experienced this.


Maybe it is a sickness of the heart and soul? 


Some will say that it takes three to have an affair: two people to have the affair and a cold, mean or uncaring spouse to create the situation whereby the other spouse wishes to have an escape. This might be true. But it still doesn't erase the guilt that someone like Linda must feel when she looks into her children's eyes.


Life is too short to live if it is full of regrets. Of course, we should live life fully, but we should never betray the trust of those we love and who love us.






I hope that, in 2012, my friends, you can live a wonderful year without misfortune and regrets.


Happy New Year 2012. May the New Year see you and yours happy, healthy and prosperous. Live without regrets


NOTE: For you bilingual folks (or those who know about Google Translation), my wife has written a pretty funny commentary and take on this story. She thinks I am imagining things. It's hilarious: 男の勘、男の想像力
http://ameblo.jp/yukarogers/entry-11122144496.html 

TV Really Going Down the Drain in Japan

I've written extensively on the fall of television in Japan. In July of 2011, all terrestrial television stations in Japan stopped analogue broadcasting and switched to digital. That cost all the stations 20% of their viewership. Japanese major TV stations were losing money before the switch to digital, how shall they make money when they spent a cumulative $5 billion dollars on the switchover and then lost 20% of their audience?




I can't figure that out no matter the size of my abacus.


While on vacation to Guam the other day, I saw a sign along the road that made me chuckle. In Guam, there are a very many people who are quite a bit overweight... No! Make that quite obese. The sign along the road said,


"You need more fiber in your diet and less cable TV"






Yep. Sitting around and watching TV while munching on chips and junk has seriously fallen out of favor with the active and young crowd.


Another sign that TV viewership is collapsing in Japan is the fact that, after initial fanfare and many years of positive spin on poor sales, Sony has decided to get out of flat TV manufacturing. The sales projections do not make up for poor sales ( and high manufacturing costs) which have lead to wide price dumping across the board. 


Bloomberg reports:



Sony Corp. sold its stake in the venture with Samsung Electronics Co. to make liquid-crystal displays to the South Korean company after predicting an eighth consecutive year of losses from TVs amid sluggish demand.
Samsung will pay 1.08 trillion won ($935 million) in cash for Sony’s stake in S-LCD Corp., a venture formed in 2004, the Suwon, South Korea-based company said in a statement today. Sony, which invested 1.65 trillion won in the venture, will take a charge of about 66 billion yen ($846 million) in the quarter ending Dec. 31 after the deal, Japan’s biggest consumer- electronics exporter said in its statement.
The stake sale enables Sony Chief Executive Officer Howard Stringer, 69, to shed the responsibility of panel manufacturing amid losses in the TV business, where Samsung is the world’s biggest. To turn around Sony, which has forecast a fourth consecutive annual loss this year, Stringer has teamed up with partners to announce acquisitions worth a combined $8.4 billion in 2011. The purchases are designed to bolster the profitable phones and music divisions and introduced tablet computers to challenge Apple Inc.’s iPad.
Catch that? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what Sony has figured out: There's no future in TV sales; they're best off investing in the future of hand-held devices... Hand-held devices and tablet computers are generally not used to watch TV.


Tissue Time was a famous Japanese TV show in the mid-80's... No more.
How much clearer could the writing on the wall be? 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Big Government is Not the Answer... Government is Our Enemy

I often get complaints from people about my anti-government stance on just about, no make that ALL, everything.


The Roman empire had Caesar, Caligula, Nero, Augustus, etc...
Different presidents, but it was still ultimately the Roman Empire.
The USA has had many presidents.... (Get it?)


Judge Napolitano has written a brilliant expose simple stating why government is the root of our problems and not the solution...


Like I have always said, "If government were benevolent and the answer to all out problems than a big government country like the Soviet Union would have been hugely successful. But they weren't."


The good judge sums it all up in one great sentence: 


"Unlike an individual or a well-run corporation, government is not motivated by how efficient it can be, but rather by how lucrative it can be for those associated with it, and how those who run the government can stay in power." (emphasis mine).


The above is exactly correct. No matter the problem, the government's answer is always to expand upon itself. That is the nature of all government.


Who was in charge when the Twin Towers were attacked? The Bush Administration. Did anyone lose their jobs? No. The government's powers and reach were expanded.


Some will say that the government is here to protect the little guy. Oh really? How's that working out for the now nearly 46 million Americans on Food Stamps? Or the now 25% of all American children in poverty? Has the government cut the Pentagon budget to help pay for these poor people? Nah.


Here's another good one that never ceases to amaze me: "The Civil War: The North went to war with the South to end slavery." Ha! Oh really? Is that why some Northern States still allowed slavery for two years after the war started? And, think about this, since when has the USA ever gone to war to protect the rights of dark-skinned people? Never! Get real if you think we have.... Or do you think we are bringing democracy to those people in the Middle East too? 


Have you never read "War is a Racket"? The USA only goes to war for economic aims. Never to protect minorities.




Here are some more great bits from Judge Napolitano's article:  


Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney don't want to shrink government. They love government. They just want to manage it better. The problem with that approach is that government by its very design is always mismanaged. The centralization of decision-making amplifies the effects of poor decisions while disincentivizing prudent ones.
Unlike an individual or a well-run corporation, government is not motivated by how efficient it can be, but rather by how lucrative it can be for those associated with it, and how those who run the government can stay in power. Someone who was philosophically opposed to government domination of the housing market wouldn't perpetuate it by taking one red penny of taxpayer money from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, like the former Speaker did, whether he calls himself a historian or a lobbyist. Someone philosophically opposed to government domination of the health care market would never offer up government as the solution to the problem of the uninsured, like the former governor of Massachusetts did, since the problem of the uninsured was created by government's involvement in the health care market in the first place.
The federal government does not need an efficient manager. That's a pipe dream based on the noble but flawed premise that government can be made to operate as a business. It cannot. Business is subject to the forces of free choice, supply and demand, and competition. Can you imagine government subjecting itself to the forces of competition? Can you imagine government permitting us to ignore it?.... (Read the rest at Lew Rockwell...)   http://lewrockwell.com/napolitano/napolitano34.1.html

NOTE: See this big news just in: 

Michele Bachmann campaign chair and Iowa state senator defects to Ron Paul







Tokyo's Top Morning FM Radio Show Returns For One Day: Jan. 3, 2012

Win a state-of-the art Dyson dc36 vacuum cleaner! Or an Antelope Zodiac DAC converter that converts MP3 to mighty digital audio! How about romantic helicopter tours for two around Tokyo! 2 people will win iPod iTouch! Over 40 pairs of ski lift tickets to Japan's top ski resorts and much more! All for free! All you have to do is listen! InterFM Special: 


Tuesday January 3, 2012 from 7:00 am ~ 11:00 am on 76.1 InterFM. 
"InterFM New Year's Holiday Special 2012 - Bam!" 


新春初笑い 2012年1月3日奴等が朝に帰って来る!76.1mhzインターFM朝7時~ GMTの3人が沢山のお年玉をプレゼント!!日本においでの方、関東においでの方は是非お聞きくださいませ。


From April of 2006 to October of 2009, the highest rated and most popular radio show at the time was "Good Morning Garage." "GMG" as it was called was the flagship morning show of 76.1 InterFM and was the first time in that station's history to be #1 in ratings in the extremely competitive Tokyo Morning FM radio drive time competitive slot.


L to R: George, Taro, Mike


GMG was the first time that 76.1 InterFM beat the dominant Tokyo FM radio station, J-Wave, in ratings. It was the last time also.


On Tuesday January 3, 2012 the GMG gang with Wakana san will be back for a four hour special that will also feature Feng Shui trainer Shiuma san. It's going to be a blast.


Not only that, there's tons of presents too!


One lucky winner will get a chance to win an Antelope Zodiac DAC converter. This fantastic device converts your crappy sounding MP3 sound files into awesome sounding digital music the way it's supposed to sound.






Another lucky winner will also win the world's best vacuum cleaner, a Dyson DC36!


A lucky pair will win a romantic helicopter tour around Tokyo (just like Tom Cruise had) courtesy of Excel Airport!






Two lucky people will win an iPod Touch!




Three people will win ¥5000 coupons for flower arrangements from "Hana Boukujyo"






And five people will win "Boardsmart face masks" and forty lucky couples will win free ski-lift tickets for Japan's top ski and snow board resorts courtesy of Boardsmart.




And there's much more!


The show is entitled "InterFM New Year's Holiday Special 2012 - Bam!" (featuring George Williams, Taro Furukawa, Wakana san, Feng shui trainer  Shiuma san and finally, me, Mike Rogers)


Left: Wakana san Right: Shiuma san




That's Tuesday January 3, 2012 from 7:00 am ~ 11:00 am on 76.1 InterFM.


Click here to see all the great prizes lined up.


*some images above are not exact 

Holidays and In-Laws Driving You Crazy? "Find Your Center"

Just came back from a vacation and wanted to relate a story that happened when I just arrived on a southern Pacific island. 


Buddha on Tumon in Guam


From past experience, and my feelings of irritation, I knew that at the moment when we arrived on the island, my in-laws might drive me crazy. You know, it was the typical story with old people; forgetting things; worrying about unimportant nonsense; taking 15 minutes to do something that most people could do in 20 seconds....


We arrived at the island airport after midnight. Everyone was tired and sleepy. We checked into to the hotel bus service which would drive us all to the hotel for free. 


We had two luggage carriers with three pieces of luggage on each. I received the six luggage tags from the limousine service to put on our bags for the bus.  I started putting the luggage tags on the three pieces of luggage on my cart and handed three luggage tags to them to put on the three bags on their cart. I finished attaching the tags. I stood up and, of course, there was some confusion at their cart. The tag numbers were wrong (?) or were they? No! There weren't enough tags.




Oh Lordy! I thought, "How hard could it be to properly attach three tags to three pieces of luggage." I walked over to calmly investigate. Sure enough, they were two tags short. 


"What happened to the three tags I just gave you?" I asked.


"Oh? We put two of them on your luggage." I rolled my eyes. I looked at my cart and sure enough, they had put two of their tags on my cart's luggage. Why? Hell if I know. For 1/2 a second steam came out my ears.... I caught myself and I smiled. Then I removed the tags from my luggage and put them on theirs... I won't go into details of how they started using a pen to alter the numbers on the tags for some reason. Once again a simple 30 second process took over fifteen minutes of time.


I turned back to the nice young man at the service counter. He said, "First time in Guam?"


"Nope!" I answered. Smiling I said, "First time with the in-laws and the entire family so all I have to do is try to be patient and keep calm...." I scrunched up my face and whispered to the guy like I was going nuts and said, "BECAUSE, BLESS THEIR HEARTS, SOMETIMES THEY DRIVE ME CRAZY!"




It was then and there, the Great Buddha who lived within the heart and soul of that young man came out and spread wisdom to me he put his hands together and smiled knowingly at me and said,


"Find your center, man!"


I really laughed. What wisdom. That's right. "Find your center, man!" All I had to do was to find my center and take it easy. I couldn't allow these things to irritate me... Oh, and trust that there were many things they did that irritated me. But, by remembering what that young man said,  I was able to stay cool (for the most part) and chill out. I was able to expect these things would happen and so, when they did, they didn't bother me.


Fifteen minutes to decide whether or not it is cold or hot enough so that they need to take a sweater with them when we are driving in our own car anyway? No problem. Calling a hotel to make special dinner reservations for a dinner that always gets sold out yet calling the wrong restaurant? No sweat (I knew I should have called myself anyway). Wanting to take a hour to shop in a clothes store that doesn't seem to have 50 pieces of wardrobe in the entire store that is the size of 1/2 a convenience store? Sure. Knock yourselves out.


Hell, I wasn't going anywhere.


Another thing that helped me to have a better and more relaxing time was to write in my notes as my daily goals every day as my number one priority was:


1) I am relaxed & patient & having fun 12/23/11


I wrote that as my #1 priority goal first thing when I woke up every morning while on vacation. It helped my subconscious to remember it and it helped me to forget about work and problems at the office.  


  


I also wrote at the top of my notes every morning,


"In Guam. Find your center." It helped me to relieve stress and have more fun. I think whether you  re in a south Pacific island or not, writing your goals and finding your center can help you to be happier and more productive and stress-free. Try it everyday in 2012.


NOTE: Write down your goals everyday for a better, more successful and happier you. http://modernmarketingjapan.blogspot.com/2011/06/pocket-notebooks-secret-of-millionaires.html

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Quality Over Quantity, Especially as You Get Older

I recently went to Guam with the wife and kid to spend Christmas on the island. It was a wonderful one week. I will write about the actual vacation later on probably this week.

Left: No. Right: Yes!


When the vacation ended, on the flight back to Japan, on a US carrier that claims to be "a premium airlines"... I noticed that all the flight attendants were male and, well, unattractive... They were all older men, as a matter of fact. I'd guess our main cabin attendant was at least 55-years-old, had all white hair and a beard and was about 50 pounds overweight. It wasn't pleasant at all and, pardon my sexist tendencies, but I'd prefer to see a charming young lady or even a charming young man as our cabin attendant. (Caveat: I don't think seeing overweight older women attendants is pleasant either - we had those on the flight to Guam.)


I don't want to see a fat old man, especially several of them, servicing our flight. I know that idiotic US labor laws and unionization of the work place have made an environment whereby older people are "protected" but I actually think that, in many ways, this is bad for business. And when it's bad for business, it's bad for all employees, not just one. I wonder how making the user experience less satisfying helps with sales? Follow that train of thought with how decreasing sales can be good for anyone.



Like I said, these kinds of labor laws and unionization have greatly helped to hurt western businesses. Protecting people due to seniority is a very bad idea (Japan used to do this at the office place - bad enough. But when dealing with the public do you hire beautiful people or old and fat people?) When people feel protected by a group, rather than their own good efforts at being their best, then their work quality drops, and they become lazy. Do you need proof of this?  Just go to any US Postal Service office anywhere in America anytime of the day and you can see a prime example of this.


Image is everything in business today. There isn't a person alive who would prefer flying an airline that has old and overweight flight attendants over an airline that has young and beautiful people handing customer service. Because that's what flight attendants are: customer service. When union rules or protecting the rights of the individual take precedence over the total welfare of the company (read: all employees) then there is a definite problem.


This girl is a real stewardess for a China based carrier
Her name is Sun Qing.
That's what they're supposed to look like.


That, for example, Asian carriers do not have to deal with this sort of union rules and can hire pretty stewardesses or handsome stewards shows that they understand that image and perceptions are crucially important and that those perceptions of the customer and customer comfort comes first. That's one of the big reasons for the success of these airlines.


Some western airlines still "get it"


But I digress. This is not a post about idiotic labor rules in the west. It is a post about committing yourself to quality over quantity as you get older (that includes looks too if you are a flight attendant, stewardess, waitress, in customer relations at a private firm, on TV, etc. etc.)


I used to ride the very early morning train into Tokyo a few years back. There, everyday, I met an older German gentleman. His name was Karl, he was 65-years-old, and he was the head chef for all the Westin Hotels in all of Asia. He was in Japan at the time to help set up the in-house restaurants and catering for the new Westin Hotel just built near Ebisu station in Tokyo. Even though Karl was 65, he was an extremely friendly and energetic guy. Karl was running up the stairs full speed to catch the connecting train every morning until I showed him an easier way. I'm a nice guy like that!




Karl and I would ride the train together and he had many good stories to tell about his job. I love talking with people and by letting them talk, I get to learn many things. Karl was so enthusiastic about his job. Even though he was head chef, his area of true expertise was in making pastries. He'd often tell me about having to make several hundred pies, tarts or cakes... The part that always surprised me was how he would go into details about costs and time spent per unit of pie. I'd ask about making soups or roasting large birds, and Karl would always say the same thing,


"We have to carefully calculate the costs of gas and electricity for cooking and preparation time in order to judge if it is economical to create the dish for several hundred guests. Everything must be calculated down to the last penny to make sure that we don't run over costs."


Hell, that really surprised me. Whenever I roast a turkey at home, I just open a bottle of wine, start drinking and fire up the oven without a care in the world. Calculating the cost of the gas and electricity in order to roast the bird?! I wouldn't even know where to begin.


Karl had cooking down to a science.




Karl also had great advice for work as he mentioned to me that he was about to retire. He said, 


"Mike, as you get older, you must always be concerned with these costs, but you must mostly be concerned with having your name associated with quality. When we are young, there are many in our same field of work. But as we get older, the field of people doing our job narrows down to just a few..."


I asked him how many people in the world there were like him and he told me that there were only three like him who knew how to go into a country and set up a large hotel and organize the entire kitchen, room, service, restaurants, bars and train the staff and set up the accounting procedures for all food and drink related services. Wow! Think about that! Only three guys in the entire world and, of course, they all know each other...


Karl continued,


"That's is why, Mike, as you get older, you must concentrate on quality and delivering the best. If you decide to concentrate on quantity, you will lose. Because when it comes to a quantity issue, then you start dealing with lower quality... You will not be able to beat a younger competitor... You will not be able to beat a McDonald's."


I've always remembered what Karl told me. That's why I want to do quality work and not half-assed work.


Now, think about that. How does this relate to our 55-year-old flight attendant? Who is happy with that? I'm sure the customers aren't. And if the customers aren't, then I imagine that translates into a lower repeat and customer loyalty and return customer base... Hell, think about that poor guy too. Do you think he is happy being a flight attendant for 30 some years? I don't.


He should have moved up to management of flight attendants long ago. But he didn't... His just so-so service also gave me a hint as to why he didn't climb the ladder long ago. To give an example, I was wearing a headband made from the leaf of a palm tree given to me by a local and I was on a flight from Guam and the guy said to me,


"What's that? Is that headband some sort of religious item?" I smiled and  said, "no!" but thought, 


"Duh! What's it look like? We're on a flight from Guam. You know; Guam. It's a south seas tropical Pacific island. As in palm and banana trees, beaches, sand, sunsets, local people... This isn't rocket science. If we were returning from Hawaii would he ask me what the flowers around my neck were?"




Anyway, the point is clear: As we get older the thing that sets us apart from the rest is our experience gained. If we do not use this experience to better our game all the while doing as energetic a job as a youngster would do, then we are setting ourselves up for a bad situation.


Remember folks, when it comes to your personal branding: Quality beats quantity any day.


--------

EXTRA: Rory Sutherland: Life lessons from an ad man - Thanks to diego.a

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Japanese Titanic: Japan's Public Debt Will Surpass ¥1 Quadrillion Yen Any Day Now

How much is a quadrillion? That's a thousand trillion....


Recently, I've been getting my daily money market news fix from the usual suspects: Mish Shedlock, Karl Denninger and Mad Max Keiser but there's another blog that I've found that hits the mark consistently and updates more than several times a day. It's called Zerohedge. I highly recommend it because the guy that runs it seems to get the scoops on what's going on days and even weeks faster than all the rest.




The latest one rings the alarm bells for Japan once again. Japan's Public Debt is about to surpass ¥1 Quadrillion any day now. Jeez! How many zeroes are there in a quadrillion? I didn't even know without having to look it up.


Let's see that's a one with fifteen zeroes after it. Like this: 1,000,000,000,000,000.


Zero hedge reports in Japan Will Raise More Cash From Debt Issuance Than Taxes For Forth Year in a Row


Japan's marketable public debt, already the largest in the world at $11.2 trillion compared to America's $10 trillion (of course this assumes the whole SSN sleight of hand is funded, which it isn't), is due to surpass ¥1 quadrillion any month now (aka the exponential phase). And that's just the beginning. As Bloomberg reports, "Bond sales to the market will climb to a record 149.7 trillion yen ($1.9 trillion), while the national budget’s reliance on debt for funding will rise to an unprecedented 49 percent in the year starting April 1, Japan’s government said Dec. 24.


The article goes on to stomp on these Keynesian "economists" (read: clowns) who claim that the government should increase spending to pick up on falling consumer spending and loosen monetary restraints (read: print like hell) in order to pump up the economy before a recovery starts:


In other news, and to all the neo-Keynesians out there, we post the following thought experiment: according to the head priest economic growth derives from debt issuance. And since apparently every country (yes, yes, that has its own currency) can issue infinite amounts of debt, why doesn't the US and Japan (and the EU post Eurobonds), simply announce it will monetize, aka print, an infinite amount of debt tomorrow? Shouldn't that lead to global GDP promptly rising by infinity %? Or is there an actual problem with this hypothetical scenario which takes current debt trends to their ludicrous extreme.


Want to see what a quadrillion pennies look like? Here ya go!



Here we have buildings (in front) used for scale at a trillion. They're now dwarfed by the large cube of pennies in back (quadrillion). The large cube is a quadrillion, or a thousand times one trillion. This cube is roughly a half-mile wide and would weigh an astonishing three billion tons.



Translation: Japan is doomed. 2012 and beyond are going to be rough ones.


Happy New Year! If you are in Japan, may I suggest drinking as much as you can, while you can. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Japanese Politicians Bizarre? Nah! Unbelievable But True Hilarious TV Speeches!

Readers of this blog know that I am a solid Ron Paul fan and have been writing for Lew Rockwell (LRC) since 2004. I remember years ago, when my book was released, I was savaged by some critics in Japan because of being a columnist for LRC. One woman wrote something along the lines of, "Mike writing for Lew Rockwell proves that he is amongst the lunatic fringe."


Ha! That's a laugh. (But, seriously, if you need a laugh, read on and watch these videos. They are hilarious.)

Zero Income Tax - Zero Wars - Zero Federal Reserve. Who could possibly have a problem with that?


Getting those negative comments was in 2005. I don't think people consider us the lunatic fringe anymore. Freedom, no taxation, no wars is now mainstream thinking (and just plain common sense - We've been doing it the opposite way all these years and how has that worked out?) 


Gee, I wonder what is so lunatic about being against wars, foreign entanglements and being for freedom and pro-constitution and anti-police state. If that is lunatic, then I am it.


Yesterday, I was inspired to write to Lew and sent him these great videos of some real Japanese who ran for political office. I think these guys are funny crazy. Are these guys really lunatics? You be the judge.... Frankly speaking compared to any US politician running for the US presidency, excepting Dr. Ron Paul, these guys are probably much saner than the rest. 


Here's what I wrote to Lew:


Dear Lew,


Happy Holidays to you and your readers. 

I think you'll be happy to watch these videos of some Japanese politicians. You guys only have Ron Paul to tell the truth.

We have several.... The problem with ours is that, as opposed to Dr. Paul, these Japanese politicians have nothing positive nor constructive to offer.

First up, Rock and Roller, Uchida Yuya as described by Keith Cahoon (extremely well known and regarded music industry beast):



"Yuya Uchida, who long aspired to be a rock'n'roller, decided to run for mayor of Tokyo in 1991.


This is his official alloted TV campaign speech. In 2011 he wrote a book about himself (including recent nude photos) and of course, rock 'n' roll. He was also arrested for various charges related to stalking a former girlfriend."


Yuya Uchida lost the election but still received over 54,000 votes.

And, please witness the glorious wisdom of Toyama Koichi. Scary like Hitler at first, this guy starts to make more and more sense as he goes along (actually when he says that nothing will be changed by elections, I find myself agreeing with him):


The best part is that he got over 15,000 votes. Who says that there's no hope for politics? (The middle finger at the end of the speech is awesome.)

And, now, going from a pissed off revolutionary to a really nice guy, who could forget Mack Akasaka? Mack always smiles and he founded and ran the "Smile Party" whose basic platform only held that people need to smile more to fix all the nations problems. This guy really does seem like a nice guy. He's pretty nutty though. Probably would make a great next door neighbor. 


Even though he lost in this election, he got 6,408 votes.

And, finally, what political and social commentary about Japan could be complete without a word from Yoko Ono? And I do mean, "Without a word." 


Japan has the best politicians (though they never get elected). In America, you have all these scum and liars, at least these Japanese people are sincere in their beliefs.... Perhaps Ron Paul can change the idea that good honest and sincere men cannot get elected in today's America.

Happy New Year's to you all!

NOTE: You can read my archives at Lew Rockwell here.


Thanks to Keith Cahoon, Lew Rockwell