Making Rice Burgers out of Hamburgers
Do you know 99% of Japanese companies are small- to medium-sized businesses? Without the technologies and skill of these smaller companies, Japan's big corporations would not exist. And yet these companies, with their high level of technological skill, are being bought up by foreign interests. The lack of skilled successors to take over these businesses is already a serious problem, and the draining off of talented technicians to foreign lands does not help matters. While this shadow hangs over Japan’s future as an artisanal nation, the skilled Japanese that have already washed out to other shores are definitely having an impact.
Working with Japan
By Patricia Pringle
Charlie, who had been working at a Japanese manufacturing company for just over a year, did not feel appreciated. His company had just delivered their product to the market, after a race to rescue the schedule from some unforeseen setbacks. Everyone had pulled together as a team, including working many late nights and weekends. The product was delivered on time, and was doing well with consumers. During the project evaluation meeting, the Japanese management had pointed out the shortcomings and defects of the project and its execution, but they did not show their appreciation of the extra time and effort of the employees to bring the project together on schedule. They also did not praise the quality of the product itself. “We must work harder next time,” was all they said. His Japanese boss did not come to him and thank him for all the extra work he had put in, or his contribution to the success of the project. Charlie thought to himself, “Didn’t I do anything right?”
Products Of The Month
U-mate, a subsidiary of toy maker TAKARA TOMY, recently launched sales of “Genso Kukan” (fantasy space), a compact kaleidoscope that projects images onto ceilings, walls or other surfaces. The spherical unit, which measures 18cm high by 30cm wide, features controls that enable adjustment of the projection angle and variation of the speed. Users will be able to remove and change the colored beads that create images; the product also comes equipped with “software” that enables changing of patterns according to the four seasons, with autumn, for instance, utilizing leaves from the gingko tree, while cherry blossoms represent spring.
What is the best place in Japan you can be proud of?