The Japanese yen is on fire.
There’s a reason why the same parents who encourage their kids to become doctors or lawyers don’t try to steer them into becoming anime studio employees.
Who doesn’t love debating hypothetical scenarios about the future of a country, especially in the anonymity of the internet?
In fact, a recent Japanese Twitter exchange has led to such an economic debate. One Twitter user with a large following sparked the initial discussion by posing the question “What would happen if everyone in Japan learned how to speak English?” That post has now been retweeted thousands of times, with hundreds of people eager to share their own opinions on the topic.
To many anime fans, working in the industry itself seems like a dream job. The chance to spend all day immersed in the medium they love, helping to add to the collective body of work from which they’ve drawn so much enthusiasm and enjoyment obviously holds more appeal than some bland corporate or service sector profession. Being a professional animator also means you get paid for your passion, to the tune of roughly a cool million a year!
Except, that’s yen we’re talking about, which means the average animator’s annual salary is well under US$10,000.
We’ve talked before about handy Japanese words and phrases we wish we could toss around in English. This kind of linguistic jealousy doesn’t flow in just one direction, though. Japanese businesspeople regularly make use of a number of English phrases, either because they’re more concise, precise, or just sound cooler to their ears than their Japanese counterparts.
Sometimes, though, knowing English isn’t enough to understand these loanwords, since their pronunciations can get pretty garbled in the transition from English to Japanese speakers. Feeling confident in your ability to translate English translated into Japanese back into English? Read on and see how many you can decipher.
Uniqlo, the hugely popular Japanese chain store that stocks a variety of simple, practical and affordable clothing, has expanded into a world-wide venture, with stores in Singapore, Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, France, Russia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and, well, you get the picture. In the West in particular, Uniqlo has a pretty cool image thanks to its simple, pared-down designs and celebrity approval (for example, Pharrell Williams designed a range for them in April 2014), so it might surprise some of you to hear that there are people in Japan who tend to be a bit snobby about Uniqlo, looking down on its regular clientele for lacking in fashion sense.
It’s been a pretty rough year for McDonald’s in Japan, in the same way that getting hit by a bus on your way to work would make for a rough morning. Following a widely reported scandal in which the chain had been supplied with expired chicken by a meat processing facility in China, McDonald’s has been trying everything it can think of to lure diners back, such as giving away Chicken McNuggets for free, replacing the meat with tofu, and trying to take our mind off the incident entirely by pulling our attention towards pork cutlets instead.
After all, a restaurant chain can’t survive without customers, right? There’s one other thing you need to run a business though: employees, and these days McDonald’s is finding itself losing those, too.
Spend much time talking to people in Japan, and you’re sure to hear the phrases “gambaru” and “shou ga nai” over and over again. The fact that they both come up so often in conversation is kind of ironic actually, since their meaning are complete opposites.
Gambaru means “I’ll do my best,” and gets used for any topic that requires effort, including school, sports, work, and even finding a boyfriend or girlfriend. Shou ga nai, on the other hand, translates out as “it can’t be helped,” showing that you’ve already given up.
Unfortunately, a recent poll suggests that an increasing number of people in Japan are saying shou ga nai, with roughly a third of young adults saying they feel like their efforts in life won’t be rewarded.
As Japan continues its long in-vain search for a way to recapture the glory years of the Bubble Economy of the 1980s, politicians and pundits have proposed a plethora of projects. But amid all the talk of privatizing the postal system, making the expressways free, and devaluing the yen, there’s one outside the box solution no one happened on until now: unleash supernatural entities into the stock market.
Maybe it’s something they should have tried earlier, considering how the supernatural characters of hit multimedia franchise Yo-Kai Watch are leading a mini stock rally all by themselves.
China is fearful of becoming the world’s leading economic power and does not want to overtake the US. That’s the argument Kai He, Associate Professor of Political Science at Utah State University, has put forward in an article for the RSIS Commentaries on June 2, in which he suggests three reasons why China “doesn’t want to be number one”.
A major report back in May that suggested that China’s economy will overtake that of the US this year was met with opposition from an unlikely source: Beijing itself. A message published by China’s state media questioned the accuracy of the report, which was based on World Bank figures, and discouraged people from “reading too much into it”.
But why would Beijing refute the suggestion that it will be the world’s leading economic power before the year is out?
Tokyo’s two most compelling yet conflicting traits, the energy from its sheer number of residents and the solitude of its back alleys, are both best appreciated from ground level. The metropolis’ scale can only truly be appreciated from high above, though, which is why Tokyo has no fewer than five major observation decks within the city limits.
As the newest and tallest of the group, the Tokyo Skytree, which opened in the spring of 2012, is by far the most prestigious of the group, and it has quickly become a more vibrant symbol of Japan’s capital than Tokyo Tower itself. But even with the millions of visitors the Skytree saw last year, the attendance was still below what was expected.
When you live in a country for long enough, it’s easy to forget the things that set it apart and really make it special. In largely homogenous societies, like that of Japan, it’s easy to take daily amenities for granted without ever stopping to consider that commonplace objects are unique to the culture and perhaps novel to people of other nations.
A recent book released by Earth Star Entertainment aims to give the people of Japan a fresh perspective on their island nation, as well as celebrate the many things that it has to offer to the world. The book’s title translates to What if Japan Disappeared: Japan’s Ability to Support the World, and from the few short excerpts we’ve seen, it’s obvious that Japan thinks quite highly of its contributions to the world’s economy, entertainment, and food options.
But in the grand scheme of things, how much would the country really be missed if it suddenly disappeared from this world?
For foreign companies, one of the more frustrating aspects of doing business in Japan is the painfully slow process by decisions are made. Thanks to a complicated bureaucracy, a heavily ingrained hierarchical society and an overall tendency to avoid risk at all costs, sometimes it seems like Japanese workers are the most inefficient decision-makers in the world. But what is behind this habit of everyone taking their sweet time to make up their minds? We have compiled a list of eight reasons behind this seemingly common Japanese practice of being incredibly indecisive.
On 9 April the Cool Japan Promotion Conference and Pop Culture Subcommittee was assembled to discuss and strategize ways to encourage growth in Japan’s popular culture sector. The session dealt with all of Japan’s notable influences around the world from Gundams to soccer.
Risk Monster, a credit management outsourcing service that calculates bankruptcy risk, recently announced the results of its first survey asking, “Which Japanese Companies Do You Expect to Still Exist in 50 Years.” The survey was conducted over the Internet on Feb. 25 and 26, and received 1,000 valid responses from influential individuals between the ages of 20 and 69.
Coming in third was Honda, second place went to the East Japan Railway Company, and grabbing the top spot was…
The New South China Mall, situated in Dongguan City, is considered to be the largest shopping mall in the world. According to an Emporis in 2012 it has 600,153 m2 of gross leasable area.
It boasts a hotel, an indoor/outdoor roller coaster which spans the complex, a canal with gondolas, and various replicas including the Arc de Triomphe, and Sphinx. It’s an impressive feat of design and engineering.
The only problem with the New South China Mall is that it’s almost completely empty and unused. The Emporis’ report also refers to it as a “dead mall” and, according to a CNN Japan report, the escalators are covered in tarps and the passages are dusty and lined with shutters.
So what went wrong?
A major flaw of Japanese currency is the 10,000 yen bill ceiling of banknotes.
For daily life, having a system of bills which max out at around 100 bucks US is not a problem. But for those special times when you want to buy something high-end like a computer or melons, your wallet suddenly swells to the size of a baseball. In country that largely shuns checks or debit cards, cash is still king – a thick, hard to fit in your back pocket king.
Rumors are swirling about financial reforms in the works by Shinzo Abe’s recently elected Liberal Democratic Party involving, among other things, the issuing of 50,000 yen bills. Yes, it looks like – for once – a politician is looking out for the needs of people with too much money.
During an interview at his Kyoto headquarters this week, Nidec Corporation CEO Shigenobu Nagamori was quoted as saying, “Due to Japan’s strict labor laws, we cannot compete with enterprises in Korea and China.” He intends to lobby the government to relax labor regulations to allow for more flexible working conditions.
He additionally said that the government and the Bank of Japan need to weaken and maintain the yen to around a 90-100 yen to the dollar exchange rate in order for Japanese export companies to compete with booming exports from China and Korea. Read More