Galapagos – Darwin’s Natural Laboratory of Japanese Mobile Phone, K-car, and Beer

Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of islands in the Pacific Ocean, a unique biosphere for many endemic species like Galapagos Tortoise, Galapagos Land Iguana and Blue-footed Booby. Known as Darwin’s natural laboratory, the isolated islands helped them evolve off the main trunk of the evolution tree – further to the evolutionary dead-end.

Today, Galapagos is very popular in Japan, not as a vacation destination, but as a buzz word to describe the evolution dead-end of Japanese industry self-mockingly. Some endemic species that you can find in Japanese Islands are: mobile phone, K-car, and beer.

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‘Steve Jobs’ by Walter Isaacson

I guess I’ve missed the hype, but finally I finished this world-wide bestseller ‘Steve Jobs‘ by Walter Isaacson. Actually I had already added this book to the shopping list of my Amazon account, when the sad news spread all over the world on October 5, 2011. My slow reading took almost three months to finish this 600+ page biography. Since most of the readers of this blog should have already known his charismatic yet eccentric personality as well as the ‘dent’ he made in the universe, I won’t comment on his leadership or achievements. Rather, I will pick up the three cultural influences in his early life – Yogi, Ashram, and 1984.

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TOTO to Come to India – A Toilet-Bike Maker with Noritake Quality

A week ago, TOTO announced to build a plant in Gujarat for sanitary ware by 2014. TOTO, the top sanitary ware manufacturer in Japan, has an ambitious mid-term plan (like Kokuyo does) to expand its overseas sales threefold by 2017, when the company will celebrate its 100 year anniversary (again, like Kokuyo.) India is one of their focus markets, along with Brazil and Russia.

Although their products seem boring white, TOTO is a quite interesting company. Here are some facts about them:

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How Much is 50,000?

As recently wrote in the article “Japanese Gov’t to Export a ‘City’ to Chennai,” Japanese government, partnered with its private sector, is building an industrial complex with a capability to accommodate 50,000 residents. This sounds a huge opportunity to Chennai, but how big is a township of 50,000 people really?

Here are two cities and one country with a similar size for your comparison: Palo Alto, California, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, and Cayman Islands.

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The Economic Times on Sunday – January 8-14, 2012

On my flight from Delhi to Chennai, I picked up a local news paper called “Economic Times” which I never read before. Maybe because it was a Sunday issue, the paper contained less serious news on business and economics and more light articles about the work life, which you would normally find in a weekly magazine targeting for young business professionals. The selection of the topics, I thought however, symbolized unique characteristics of the Indian workforce very well. Here are some that I found interesting:

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Japanese Gov’t to Export a ‘City’ to Chennai

Yesterday (January 6th, 2012,) the Japanese government announced their plan to export a city to Chennai suburb. They plan to initiate a public-private urban development project that includes an industrial complex, a residential area for 50,000, a shopping center, a golf course, a hospital and so on – at the Japanese quality standard.

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Celebrating New Year – on Motorcycle

“A Happy New Year!” shouted a young man riding on the third seat of a motorcycle at us driving behind them on the highway from the Chennai airport. The year of 2012 started with fireworks on the drizzly and humid night sky. We stopped at a gas station at 0:05 am, where the staff were celebrating a new year with each other and with customers. The cashier shook my hand when I paid with a big smile. I liked the way Indians celebrate a New Year.

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