There was a news article a couple of days ago on the Japanese news site that KOKUYO Co., Ltd., a Japanese leading stationery and office furniture company, is planning to build a plant for notebooks in India as early as in year 2012. KOKUYO is a national brand and any Japanese students have at least one of their notebooks. Their famous dotted ruled line notebook called “Campus” is sold 20 million units annually, which means every single student in Japan buys at least one Campus notebook every year. The KOKUYO brand is an icon for Japanese students.
Although the book seems little too thick, I would recommend it to anyone who are interested to understand today’s India. There are many good books teaching you the cultural aspect of this big and diverse country, but there are few providing a good overview to business professionals how India has come to the current successful position in the world economy.
The book is authored by Nandan Nilekani, a founder of Infosys Technologies. Infosys has a huge office campus at the outskirt of Chennai, right in front of the office I currently work at. Every time I visit there, I’m amazed with its size as well as the high standard of the facility. You would think your were in Palo Alto, until you leave the campus to the state highway and see countless of high-speed bikes and trucks honking and dodging a group of cows on the street. This is the scenery that Thomas Friedman portrayed as the modern India in his book “The World Is Flat.”
The Japanese word “hou-ren-sou” means spinach. Spinach is a vegetable you find at the authentic Japanese restaurant, as in “ohitashi” or boiled and chilled spinach with soy sauce and in “goma-ae” or spinach with sweet sesame paste. This “hou-ren-sou” is, however, a special term in the business management context and nothing to do with those delicious dishes. The three syllables of the word, “hou,” “ren,” and “sou” are abbreviation of the three management keywords regarding the Japanese style communication at the workplace. Almost all the Japanese freshmen are repeatedly taught, during on- and off-the-job training, the importance of the “hou-ren-sou.” Let’s see its recipe in more detail.
As I’m writing this review in 2011, it’s been already six years since this book was published. While the main theory of the book still holds unchanged, the world has changed a lot since then.
In 2005, the Americans were in the peak of the Subprime bubble, which was going to burst hard and crush the US economy, then the global economy inevitably, within a couple of years. Probably unrelated to the crisis, it was also 2005 when Steve Jobs gave a famous speech at Stanford University, telling the students to “stay hungry, stay foolish.”
Continue reading “‘The World Is Flat’ by Thomas L. Friedman”
I’m not talking about how to use Facebook and LinkedIn at workplace. I’m talking about the real life. Where and how do the office workers have a social conversation and network each other for professional and non-professional purposes? Here are my observations of the workplace social networking in the US, Japan, and India.
The Japanese employees take only 48.1% of the vacation days provided by the company, or 8.6 day out of 17.9 days. This interesting report has been just published by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan. Although the figure has improved by 1.4% for the past three years, it’s still far from the government’s target of 70% by 2020.
Another a little bit old research by Expedia shows that Japan is the worst among the developed countries, of which France led the race at the almost full score of 95% or 36 days out of 38 (!) days. The US, which some may claim as one of the hardest working countries, has 13 vacation days, much less than Japan, but they still use 10 days or 77%.
So you may ask why Japanese work so hard with no play. Here are 3 reasons why they don’t (or can’t, according to them) use up their vacation days:
Continue reading “Japanese Leave 9.3 Paid Vacation Days Unused Every Year – Why?”