Monday, December 17, 2007

Japan India tourism set to boom

The Telegraph repoorted today that Thomas Cook entered into a MoU with JTB of Japan for promoting tourism between the two countries. It in indeed heartening as quality standards are likely to be upped as a result. Editor


Mumbai, Dec. 16: Thomas Cook India has signed a memorandum of understanding with Japan’s largest travel company, JTB Corp.

The alliance will give Thomas Cook access to the Japanese firm’s network in 30 countries along with affiliates spread across 800 offices.

It will also allow JTB Corp a ready platform to enter the Indian market.

“We hope to increase the number of visitors between both countries to around 300,000 by 2010, which will be nearly double the numbers in 2005. Already, 2007 has been designated as the India-Japan tourism exchange year. We were looking at Japan as a target country for inbound and outbound tourism,” said Udayan Bose, chairman of Thomas Cook India.

The travel co-operation arrangements would be for inbound, outbound and corporate travel across markets such as Japan, China, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the US.

“India’s economic growth is driving travel and tourism industry strongly. India is an attractive market and we had been planning to enter this market for a while,” said Ken Hibino, executive director of JTB Corp.

Thomas Cook is expecting tremendous growth in its corporate travel business, as it would now have access to the global relationships of JTB Corp.

“With business travel growing at 20 per cent, this alliance will drive our corporate travel business,” said Thomas Cook (India) MD Madhavan Menon.

Thomas Cook India operates 170 offices across the country and was acquired by Dubai Financial Group LLC in 2006.

The company, which is celebrating 125 years in India, has been employing both inorganic and organic routes for expansion.

Last year, it merged with LKP Forex Ltd and bought Travel Corp Pvt Ltd.

JTB is present in over 1,000 locations across Japan. It also has 82 bases in 74 cities outside Japan.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Perceptions in Japan improve for India

PTI reported that India has significantly improved its mind share amongst Japanese businesses especially for the long term investments. This is an encouraging trend for businesses looking to diversify their market risks particularly the IT industry. Editor

Tokyo, Nov 30 (PTI) India has overtaken China for the first time as the most attractive business destination for long-term Japanese investments, results of a survey by Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) showed today.
According to the JBIC's annual survey, 70 per cent of surveyed Japanese manufacturers regarded India as an attractive country to do business in over the next 10 years or so, while 67 per cent preferred China. Russia came third, with a 37 per cent rating, followed by Vietnam at 28 per cent.

From a three-year or so prospect, China remains the most attractive base of production, marketing and other operations for Japanese manufacturers.

But China's popularity rate has declined for the fourth year in a row since it peaked in fiscal 2003, while India, Vietnam, and Russia have boosted their popularity, Kyodo news agency reported.

"Attention had been concentrated on China but it is increasingly being diversified to other emerging countries," said Susumu Ushida, senior economist at the JBIC's direct investment research division.

The survey which was conducted in July and August, covered 970 Japanese manufacturers with overseas production facilities. Valid replies came from 600 or 61.9 per cent of the respondents. PTI

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Indian IT companies set to capture challenging Japanese market

FInally Japan is getting the attention it deserves in the minds of Indian IT companies. This article from Economic Times talks of the focus that most of our customers' are placing on this sector. Editor.

NEW DELHI: Japan is the new battle ground for Indian IT companies, who have earlier been focussed on the US and Europe. With its language and culture placing hurdles on the information super highway, the world’s second-largest IT products and services market has been a challenge for Indian companies. However, as the Japanese outsourcing market comes of age and the need for geographic diversification assumes even greater importance, Indian IT majors are out to tap the opportunity.

Recently, Wipro acquired the wireless design arm of Tokyo-based Oki Electric Industry to help it expand in Japan and East Asia. “The acquisition would help us understand how to better our processes in Japan, apart from positioning ourselves capable of high level, complex works,” said Wipro Japan and Asia-Pacific vice president Venkatesh Hulikal. While Wipro has been present in Japan for over a decade, the revenue from the market was around 3-4%. “

We are enhancing our presence in product engineering, enterprise applications and financial solutions and hiring more local people. With the Japanese manufacturers’ growing interest in Indian market, the IT firms will also gain as there is always a natural inclination to do design with manufacturing,” Mr Hulikal said.

The Japanese IT services market is estimated about $95.3 billion and is expected to grow about $107 billion next year. “Traditionally, Indian IT firms have not focussed on the Japan market. One reason is that the market is very different — significant language and cultural barriers, nascent outsourcing market and proximity to China,” said Patni’s Asia Pacific senior vice president Deepak Khosla. For Patni, currently about 4.5% of its revenue comes from Japan, and the company plans to increase it to 8-9% in the next three years.

For HCL Technologies, Japan is gaining strategic importance. Recently, when founder CEO Shiv Nadar assumed the position of chairman and chief strategy officer, he named Japan as a key focus area. For Infosys, Japan figures among its growth markets. The company has formed the New Growth Engines unit to expand business in Japan, Australia, China, Middle-East, Canada, South America and Latin America.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Indian youth are simply unemployable: Report

This artice in the Economic Times is a reminder of what ails the Indian education system. Unless Public Private partnerships are allowed, it is unlikely that rot can be stemmed. Our youth today are simply "unemployable" as they do not have the necessary JobSkills. Editor

MUMBAI: If its jobs India's youth are looking for, there are many waiting to be snapped up. The problem, says the India Labour Report 2007, is that the Indian youth are simply ''unemployable''. ''90% of employment opportunities require vocational skills. But 90% of our college and school output has only bookish knowledge,'' says the study commissioned by TeamLease Services, a human resource and staffing agency.

While only 8% of the youth are unemployed, 53% have some kind of skill deprivation. This becomes critical, as nearly 90% of jobs in India are still skill based, with the bulk of employment coming from farming, fisheries and other related work.

''Youth unemployability is a bigger crisis than unemployment as poor quality of skills or education show up in low incomes rather than unemployment. 58% of graduates make less than Rs 75,000 per year,'' the report says. Little wonder then that India's per capita income continues to be among the lowest in the world, despite being the fastest growing economy in the world.

That is also the reason, economists say, while India will grow to be among the richest countries in the world, its citizens will not be as wealthy as the average American and European citizen. The math is fairly simple. Between a little over a billion people, even a marginal increase in their earnings can propel the country's GDP into a different league. For the people who put it there though, things will change only marginally.

The India Labour report estimates that repairing this skill deficit could cost Rs 4,90,000 crore, or 10% of our GDP over the next two years. While current budgets facilitate for 25% of this amount, merely allocating more funds is not the solution.

Failure in quality education and skills, lack of technical and vocational training and policy blunders make it imperative that our system needs a structural change, the report states. A negligible percentage of children who complete the primary level of education continue to the diploma level and even smaller ratios go on further.

The discontinuation of education leads to the accumulation of job seekers in the bottom of the education pyramid and the immediate fallout of this is the low skill levels among the working population

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Stone India ties up with Sumitomo Electric - air springs for Railways

Lately there has been a lot of action in tie ups and JVs. This is a good trend since Indo Japan trade has mostly been uni-dimensional with IT as a core focus! Finally some of the technology used in Bullet trains will make its way into India and hopefully passenger comfort will be increased. This is a reproduced article from "The Hindu" Business edition. Editor

KOLKATA: G P Goenka group company Stone India has entered into a technical collaboration agreement with the Japan based Sumitomo Electric Industries (Hybrid Products Division) for manufacturing air springs for the Indian Railways.

Air springs would be used for passenger as well as EMU and DMU coaches as part of the Railways’ technology upgradation plan, Stone India press release said. Air springs will support the pneumatic suspension system that will replace the existing mechanical suspension system. This will result in increased passenger comfort for trains running at higher speed. It may be mentioned that Sumitomo Electrical Industries is the leading supplier of this product to the Japanese Bullet Trains.

Referring to the recent tie-up, a senior company official told The Hindu that while Sumitomo was keen on a joint venture, Stone India wanted a technical tie-up only. The market for this product was seen to be huge since the Railways planned to fit all its new trains, especially the high speed ones, with this system. While this would open up a Rs. 175-crore market for air springs for new coaches, in case retrofitting on old coaches begin, then the market could double, the official said. Stone India, which closed the first half of the current fiscal with a turnover of Rs. 45 crore (with a net profit of about Rs. 7 crore), hopes to end the year with a turnover of Rs. 82 crore.

The company, which has three business groups — carriage, locomotive and train power —is implementing a greenfield project at Nalagarh in Himachal Pradesh which will make electronics item for the Railways. This unit is expected to roll out by next year, the official said.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Japan FDI to touch $5bn in 3 years

It seems that Japanese FDI is firmly set for a take off in India. A recent report from "The Telegraph" in Kolkata seems to further confirm this trend. Editor

(From right) Japanese consul-general Motoyoshi Noro, Ficci (eastern region) chairman C.K. Dhanuka, DIPP director Sanjay K. Thade and Jetro director-general N. Noguchi in Calcutta on Friday. Picture by Kishor Roy Chowdhury

Calcutta, Nov. 2: Japanese foreign direct investment in India is projected to reach $5 billion in the next three years. The target sectors are automobiles, auto components, chemicals and infrastructure.

Between July 1991 and July 2007, around 5 per cent of the $60-billion FDI to India has been from Japan.

“A closer look at the Japanese investment pattern over the last decade reveals that companies from that country have invested in Asean nations and China for re-exports to Japan. Trade and investments are interlinked. Export of products manufactured in India can substantially increase with the redistribution of Japanese FDI,” said Sanjay K. Thade, director of the department of industrial policy & promotion (DIPP).

Thade was speaking at a seminar on doing business in Japan organised by Ficci, DIPP and Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro).

Globally, Japanese FDI was $50 billion in 2006.

India received $15.7 billion of FDI last year, which is expected to double this fiscal to $30 billion.

“Bengal and Calcutta, being the gateway to the Asean countries, can play an important role in Japanese investments. The largest Japanese investment of $340 million by Mitsubishi is in Haldia, Bengal,” said N. Noguchi, director-general, Jetro, New Delhi.

However, Bengal needs to be more aggressive in promoting the state like its counterparts Gujarat and Rajasthan, Noguchi added.

The $100-billion IT market in Japan has also witnessed investments by 70 Indian companies.

Tata Consultancy Services has a centre of excellence in Calcutta that caters to the business from Japan.

Some Japanese consumer electronics companies that had closed operations in India and gone to other South Asian countries could be contemplating a return.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Advanced Japanization Programme Inauguration for Satyam

Konnichi wa!

It gives me great pleasure to share this news and pictures with you all.

The Advanced Japanization Programme for Satyam was inaugurated on 17th September 2007 at St. Josephs College , Chennai.

For the event we had Mr. Ramesh, Delivery head for Asia Pacific, from Satyam and our very own Karthik san from Singapore . The programme started at around 3 p.m in the college premises with Mr. Ramesh, Mr. Karthik and the Director of the college, Dr. Babu Manoharan in the dais.

Mr. Ramesh addressed his future employees of both Japanese and non-Japanese unit. The event however took an interesting turn when our Karthik san addressed the gathering. He made his extempore a very interactive one and the nett result was a positive sign.
After understanding the career oppurtunities in Japan from both Karthik san and Ramesh san s the students even from the non-Japanese unit showed great interest to join the Japanese language programme with Nihongo Bashi and the student number raised form 22 (originally) to 33.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Early earthquake warning systems

Indeed it is commendable that during the two recent quakes the agency was able to provide early warning signals which helped the public.

This is a very good development and everyone hopes Japan will lead the way in saving precious lives world over. Editor

Associated Press reports that Japan's Meteorological Agency and national broadcaster, NHK, are teaming up to alert the public of earthquakes, as much as 30 seconds before they hit, using television and radio.

The warnings, to begin in October, will be based on data provided by the Meteorological Agency, which maintains a network of sensors deep underground that estimate the intensity of a quake as soon as the ground ruptures.

The system works by detecting primary waves, which spread from the epicentre of a quake and travel faster than the destructive shear waves. When primary waves of a certain intensity are detected, the alarms are set off. NHK will relay them almost instantaneously to its television and radio audience.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Party Elder To Be Japan's New Premier

The politically uncertain terrain is finally stable in Tokyo. However cautious optimism reigns for Japan - India ties ahead in most quarters. This is the repoduction of an article from Washington Post below. Most Indian newspapers didn't seem to carry this in their online version at the time of publication of this blog!! - Editor

Moderate veteran Fukuda easily won election as president of Japan's struggling ruling party Sunday, assuring his selection as the new prime minister in a parliamentary vote later this week. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

By Blaine Harden;Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, September 24, 2007;

TOKYO, Sept. 23 -- Japan's troubled ruling party on Sunday chose as its leader an admittedly uncharismatic party elder known for his dovish foreign policy and quiet political know-how.

Yasuo Fukuda, 71, a longtime salaryman in the oil industry before serving as cabinet chief under two prime ministers, will formally become prime minister Tuesday.

Former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda, center, bows to lawmakers after being elected president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2007, in Tokyo. Moderate veteran Fukuda easily won election as president of Japan's struggling ruling party Sunday, assuring his selection as the new prime minister in a parliamentary vote later this week.

He will take over from Shinzo Abe, 53, the relatively youthful but corrosively unpopular prime minister who left his party in perhaps its worst political mess since World War II, when he abruptly announced his desire to quit 11 days ago and checked into a hospital for stress-related stomach trouble.

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which has monopolized postwar political power in Japan, badly lost its way during Abe's one year in power, as financial scandals and failure to address a fiasco involving 50 million misfiled pension records led to a crushing defeat in midsummer elections for the upper house of parliament.

"It has become clear that we have not won the trust of the Japanese people," Fukuda said after his selection as party leader. The LDP still controls the lower house, which selects the prime minister.

"There will be no sudden improvement" in the ruling party's popularity, he added. "In order to win back trust, one can only build one block at a time."

To that end, Fukuda is promising to tone down the nationalist rhetoric of his two most recent predecessors, strengthen ties with China, negotiate with North Korea and carefully cultivate Japan's strong relationship with the United States.

He has promised not to visit the Yasukuni war shrine in Tokyo, where Japanese war criminals are honored among the country's 2 million war dead.

After much-publicized visits by Junichiro Koizumi, the prime minister whom Fukuda served as cabinet chief, the shrine has become a potent symbol across Asia of Japan's seeming ambivalence about its wartime atrocities.

Abe exacerbated those concerns by backing away from his nation's previous apologies for its wartime policy of forcing women to become sex slaves for Japanese soldiers. Abe said there was no documentation proving that the military coerced women into sexual slavery, a statement contradicted by documents found by Japanese government researchers.

"The LDP can't afford to cause any more blunders," said Harumi Arima, a political analyst. "They want to wipe out the inexperienced, childish image of Abe, and they desperately want to win back trust from the Japanese people."

Fukuda conceded last week that he lacks charisma but argued that his party's problems -- a perception of incompetence and of being politically tone-deaf -- cannot be solved merely by a strong personality.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Evolution of music and dance in Japan through Indian history traced

This is an article that was featured in The Hindu last week marking a very interesting lecture by Inoue sensei. It seeks to showcase the ancient ties that the two cultures have enjoyed traditionally. Editor

Ancient connection: Takako Inoue, Professor, Faculty of International Relations in Daito Bunka University, Japan, delivering a lecture in Chennai on Monday.

CHENNAI: We have heard of Vedic chants and those who recite them for a living may have even heard their peers and teachers tell them to go slow to avoid mistakes. But in Japan, a group of Busan monks performs a fast chant from Buddhist scriptures and literally swings the huge copies of the scriptures like a fan. This entire exercise is called ‘quick chanting’.

Little wonder then that the gathering of largely Indian audience on Monday evening was delighted with the lecture delivered by Takako Inoue, Professor, Faculty of International Relations in Daito Bunka University, Japan. She spoke on the influence of Indian music on Japanese culture and traced the evolution of music and dance in Japan through Indian history as far back as 2 A.D.

Prof. Inoue said: “When Buddhism was adopted in Japan, several kinds of exotic performing arts were brought through China and Korea.” Though modified and transformed over the centuries, Indian elements, such as the notes and the tala, even a few musical instruments and depiction of a few characters in Indian dance dramas can still be found, she explained.

The Shomyo (the Buddhist chants and its name derived from sabda-vidya) is said to have originated from the Vedic Chants, she said, listing the various instruments found in the Ajanta panels and the Sanchi Stupa sculptures.

Gigaku, a dance drama form now extinct, used masks and showed distinct Indian characteristics such as the Brahman and Garuda. Answering questions from the audience, she regretted that the interest in researching the ancient art forms was limited to the government.

Japanese Consul General in Chennai Kazuo Minagawa said Prof. Inoue’s lecture was ninth in the series of 12 proposed for this year, marking the 50th anniversary of the Japan-India culture treaty. Prof. Inoue had earlier presented a lecture on ‘Indian ideas rooted in Japanese mind’ in May at Madras University.

Monday’s programme was organised by the Consulate and C.P. Ramaswamy Aiyar Foundation, whose director, Nanditha Krishna was present. Premeela Gurumurthy, head of Department of Indian Music, Madras University, and Yoshinori Yakabe, Japanese Consul (Culture, Information and Development Affairs) spoke.

Friday, September 07, 2007

JobSkills Program for SoftSkills

Nihongo Bashi recently launched a program for equipping Students with SoftSkills. This is aimed at Students preparing for a global career. More details on this are given below. Please note that this is an annoucement. Editor

Nihongo Bashi introduces JobSkills® English language training & soft skills development program in India

(openPR) - Bangalore, September 07, 2007: Linguistic services company Nihongo Bashi ( is expanding its portfolio of career-oriented education and training programs with the introduction of JobSkills®, English language training and soft skills development program in India.

The company is making its entry into this segment to help fulfill the huge demand for candidates with good English communication and soft skills to take on global opportunities, both from within India & overseas. In fact, the ITES industry has identified English skills amongst the workforce as a key requirement to continue the outsourcing/offshoring of jobs to India.

JobSkills® is a part-time Certificate program with a total of 60 contact hours per level of in-classroom training. Aptly titled JobSkills® , a leading management institute in Bangalore has already introduced this program to more than 120 students with a view to enhance job prospects in their final year. The program is based on the curriculum prescribed for various Cambridge ESOL examinations, the world's leading range of certificates for learners of English. It will be open to anyone with a minimum Bachelor’s degree in any discipline.

The focus of the JobSkills® program is on conversational English, mainly in a business context; the objective is to equip students with the confidence to converse in good English.

“The importance of good communication skills, particularly in English, cannot be overstated, particularly in today’s business environment as more global assignments get done out of India and more Indians travel overseas on work/ business,” says Karthik Tirupathi, President of Nihongo Bashi. “With JobSkills®, our aim is to equip students with the requisite career-oriented skills that will complement vocational skills they acquire within our mainstream education system. With the same rigor, commitment and professionalism that have made our Japanese education programs such a huge success in India, we expect to pave the way for rewarding global careers with the JobSkills® program.”

The JobSkills® program will be available through Nihongo Bashi’s offices in Bangalore, Chennai, NOIDA, Kolkata, Pune and Coimbatore

Typical customer service experience in India

To some this may be hilarious but ask anyone going through this...everytime it is hell. Hopefully Indians travelling overseas upon return will force vendors to provide a better level of service. Editor

Here is a real life conversation with a vendor in India that I just had this morning. As you will realize, service standards are appalling and accountability is a missing. Can you guess when the laptop eventually got delivered?

Time of conversation: 12.30 PM

Customer: I believe that laptop still hasn’t got delivered...

Vendor: sir there was a little delay as my person was going to another customer, he is nearby and any moment he will deliver it

Vendor: sorry sir, it was a delay by our driver

Customer: I told you from the beginning that we need it on Friday said sure sir, no problem

Customer: even this morning you confirmed

Customer: how can I depend on your other commitments if you can’t keep simple ones like this?

Vendor: yes sir he left in the morning itself

Customer: but I didn’t get the laptop right?

Vendor: but slight delay due to the traffic

Customer: his leaving doesn’t help me

Vendor: sorry for that sir

Eventual delivery of laptop: 4 PM !!


Key lesson from this scenario for every aspiring global citizen - Customer service means keeping smallest of commitments. Simple rules:

1. When you cannot deliver on commitments, you must anticipate it and let hem know well in advance. NEVER wait until the customer calls.

2.In case the customer calls you before you did, NEVER give silly excuses like the ones above. The customer can see through your excuses and that makes the customer even more angry because he/she thinks you are insulting his intelligence.

3. 1st Principles: NEVER commit what you are not sure of! Really simple isn't it or is it?

Chado and Tea Ceremony lecture/demo - New Delhi

Under the auspices of the Japanese embassy a tea ceremony has been organised at JNU in New Delhi. However what I found very interesting is a very nice write up and background about Chado reproduced below. This is a must for everyone at least once!

This is being presented by 15th Urasenke Grand Master Dr.Hounsai Genshitsu Sen of the renowned Urasenke Tea School of Japan. Editor

Tea is known to people worldwide, but nowhere has it contributed as much to the cultural milieu as in Japan, where the preparation and drinking of tea, in a special form called Matcha (powdered green tea blended with hot water), became the basis for a profound spiritual and aesthetic discipline that has had a pervasive impact on Japanese civilization.

In the 16th century, Sen Rikyu (1522-1591) transformed the activity of preparing, serving, and receiving tea into a comprehensive discipline, establishing the foundations for Chado, the Way of Tea. Chado is known as the most representative form of spiritual culture of Japan. The Urasenke Chado tradition has stood firmly by the principles of Harmony, Respect, Purity, and Tranquility for over four centuries since Sen Rikyu’s time. Dr. Hounsai Genshitsu Sen, the father of current Urasenke Grand Master, Zabosai Soshitsu Sen XVI, was Urasenke Grand Master for 38 years (1964-2002) and is widely known as a global-minded promoter of the culture embraced by Chado and of world peace. He has traveled abroad on more than 250 occasions to spread the peaceful ideals represented in Chado. Since September, 2005, he has been serving as Japan-U.N. Goodwill Ambassador, a position he was appointed to by the Japanese Government.


The underlying philosophy of chado is summarized in the four words, Wa, Kei, Sei, and Jaku.

Wa means “harmony”. This is a feeling of being in accord with nature and other people. At a tea gathering, there should be harmony between host and guest, guest and guest, mood and season, the food served and utensils used. Sensitivity to the changing rhythms of the seasons and harmony with these changes pervades the Way of Tea. This harmony with nature quietly leads one to an understanding of the evanescence of all things and the unchanging in the changing.

Kei means “respect”. Respect, resulting from a feeling of gratitude, is extended not only to people but also to objects. The etiquette observed in the tearoom helps one to learn to apply the principle of Kei in one’s daily life. The hospitality of the host, the concern of the guests for the host and for each other, and the careful handling of the utensils exemplify this Kei.

Sei means “purity” Cleanliness and orderliness, in both the physical and spiritual sense, are very important parts of the discipline of chado. In the practice of chado, when the host purifies the tea utensils, he is simultaneously purifying his heart and mind. The guests, before entering the tea house, rinse their hands and wash out their mouths at a low stone water-basin, thereby symbolically purifying themselves.

Jaku means “tranquility”. This can be said to refer to a state of imperturbability. Nobody has the power to foretell what circumstances the future will bring. What we all can and should do, however, is develop our inner resources so that we can meet any situation calmly. We should learn to prepare beforehand for whatever we can conceive may happen, and this will provide us with spiritual fortitude.

Constantly practicing these four principles, whether in the tearoom or not, will increase one’s spiritual awareness and help one to find inner peace.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The “serious” problem in Indo-Japan relations

This is an interesting article by Karthik Tirupathi, President, Nihongo Bashi. Definitely a time to shake it up a bit!! Editor

This week I was fortunate enough to be in India to gauge, first hand, the reaction to Japanese PM Shinzo Abe’s visit. Several significant announcements were made: a currency swap agreement, Delhi-Mumbai Industrial corridor, FDI by Dai-ichi and Nissin Brakes, amongst others. PM Abe reiterated his beliefs that Indo-Japan relations are "blessed with the largest potential" of any bilateral relationship in the world.

Despite all this, marrying sushi with curry continues to be a challenge. Personally speaking, as a self confessed “Japanophile”, things have been getting better in India in this regard, albeit slowly. People no longer view me as a contrarian, but a broader acceptance still continues to elude people of my tribe!

Over the weekend, I was with my friend in an upmarket pub-cum-karaoke run by a Goan. What I saw there was nothing short of inspirational. This pub was frequented by youth in their mid to late 20’s who had a great time singing English songs, predominantly by American artistes, while at the same time enjoying Goan cuisine. One could see clearly the best of both worlds at play here. It seemed quite clear that being American is “fun”.

I was just a tad envious wishing it was “J” pop and sushi/sake/tempura mix, instead. Japan and all things Japanese still seem to be perceived as “serious” stuff-- whether it be the punctuality or doing things in a pre-ordained fashion…almost as if there should not even be an iota of fun! Possibly, this (incorrect) perception turns the common man’s interest away from the Japanese sector. Moreover, historically the economic partnership between the two Asian giants has progressed at a glacial pace, further exacerbating this lack of interest.

However, the recent Japan Habba in Bangalore had an overwhelming response in terms of public participation. I believe this is a sign of warming of people-people ties between the two nations.

Opportunities for social changes: simple things that can be done
At a deeper level, the fascination for all-things European and American starts for most Indians immediately upon watching Swiss alps or Eiffel tower in Bollywood songs. Seeing the sheer beauty of the landscape creates a certain desire for visiting Europe.

Perhaps we could have Bollywood producers shoot songs with Mt. Fuji in the background. Even today, Asha Parekh singing “Sayounara Sayounara” in the ever green Love in Tokyo in 1966, is quoted in many Indo-Japan cultural events. Tourism promotion boards of Asian countries like Malaysia and Singapore use this strategy successfully to permeate the consciousness of a host country.

Given a chance I would include a J Pop section in MTV’s Indian broadcasts and have at least a few movies shot in Japan. Perhaps a song featuring Shah Rukh Khan during the Cherry Blossom season (Hanami season usually around March/April) would rekindle public interest.

Whatever it takes, let’s not saddle the Indo-Japan relationship with a “serious” tag. It’s time to show up the lighter side.

Karthik Tirupathi is President of Nihongo Bashi [],and an ardent Japanophile.

Nissan deepens its footprint in India with small trucks

It seems that Nissan is making aggressive moves and ready to give the leaders a run for their money. This also would signal increased Japanese FDI in India - hopefully. Editor
Source: Business Standard / Chennai August 30, 2007

Leyland & Nissan combine to produce 100,000 vehicles annually

Renault Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn, who said last April that his company had come to India to understand “frugal” engineering and marketing, today took on a third partner in the country, Ashok Leyland.

The Chennai-based commercial vehicles maker and Japan’s Nissan Motor, in which France’s Renault is the single-largest shareholder, today agreed to form three joint ventures to develop, manufacture and market light commercial vehicles (LCVs). The joint venture will produce 100,000 vehicles annually in the medium term.

Renault already has a joint venture with utility vehicles maker Mahindra & Mahindra, which is rolling out the Logan sedan, and has announced another one with two-wheeler maker Bajaj Auto for a low-cost car.

“This investment will broaden our coverage of this market in addition to providing new LCV products for emerging markets. Our LCV business and overall expansion into India represents two of the biggest growth opportunities for Nissan in the medium and long terms,” said Ghosn in a statement.

Nissan follows Navistar International Corp, MAN AG and other truck makers in forming ventures in India, where LCV sales rose 15 per cent to 59,959 in the first four months of this financial year.

The first of the three ventures will make Nissan commercial vehicles in India for the domestic market and overseas sales. Ashok Leyland will control a majority stake in the company.

A venture for assembling engines and related parts is also on the cards. It will be controlled by Nissan.

The third company, equally owned by the two partners, will develop LCVs and engines, and market them in India and overseas. The products developed will be sold under both the Ashok Leyland and Nissan brands.

The Nissan partnerships will allow us to expand into the fast-growing LCV segment in India,” said R Seshasayee, the company’s managing director.

The two companies are also thinking of collaborating in sales and distribution. This may include giving Nissan an access to Ashok Leyland’s vast dealer network. Ashok Leyland may use Nissan’s dealer network in identifying export markets.

Ashok Leyland expects to sign a final agreement with Nissan in October after completing a feasibility study.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Removing the ladder by Matsuki san

This is a second article in the series of highly appreciated essays by Matsuki san of Tata Consultancy.


Topic for Chapter 2 is “removing the ladder”.

A company works as an organization, but for the company to work more efficiently, empowerment is crucial. If there is no empowerment, then a lot of burden of work is concentrated on a few managers and a big organization cannot be run efficiently.

Empowerment means that a manager in the higher position transfers the authority to a person in lower position. However, if any one uses that given authority complacently and indiscreetly, it may cause a trouble. When the communication with the people who gave the authority isn’t enough, even when s/he negotiates with the third party as a plenary representative, his/her “ladder may be removed” at last.

“Remove the ladder” means that when someone is working on a high roof AND THE LADDER IS REMOVED, THEN S/HE CANT GET DOWN. It is one of the metaphoric expressions meaning that a person who came up to a high place such as a roof (in other words, a place where surrounding conditions differ) with supports and agreements from many people who backed him/her notices that there is no one who let him/her go there and even a ladder for going back to the original place has been removed. That is, s/he is left in a situation where only s/he cannot get back.

This means that without assessing all the surrounding conditions and circumstances (without consulting with others) and work according to old conditions/circumstances, we cannot judge the needs of the present condition/situation and when we notice that, even the supervisor and colleagues have changed the policy and then things become difficult. There may not be many cases where others do so ill-willingly. However, when you are working under circumstances where authority has been transferred to you, it becomes necessary for you to be careful about such a case. You must proceed the job by regularly communicating and reporting to your supervisor who transferred the authority and must not work by your self.

A fine and capable supervisor would not “remove the ladder” but protects and supports his men even when there are some mistakes. However, since your supervisor is also an employee, s/he might at times “remove the ladder” to defend him/herself. In Japan, we often hear that “hourensou (spinach)” is important. Here, "hourensou” does not mean “spinach”. It teaches the value of this communication. “Hou” is for “houkoku”, which means “reporting”, “ren” is for “renraku”, meaning “communication” and “sou” is for “soudan”, which means consultation. Reports of the present situation should be submitted without failure, and conditions should be understood well by your supervisor. They say that it is also very important that if any problem occurs, you should consult the issue with your supervisor so that you can “use” your supervisor in a smart manner. Always remember and follow the rules of “hourensou” so that your “ladder will not be removed”.

※ 尊敬できる人や信頼できる人を、人徳がある、とか人物ができている、等と表現します

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Japanese PM to address Indian parliament

This article from MSN highlights the highest honour for the visiting Japanese Prime Minister and underlines the growing strength in the Indo-Japan relationship


Thursday, July 19, 2007

New Delhi: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will address a joint session of the Indian parliament on Aug 22 - a special gesture that will underline warming ties between the two countries.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi made the announcement here recently.

In a way, India is reciprocating the Japanese gesture of letting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh address Diet during his visit to Tokyo last year.

The monsoon session of parliament is likely to begin on Aug 6.

Abe will come here on Aug 20 on a three-day state visit that is set to impart more economic and political substance to the growing ties between the two Asian powers.

India and Japan also held their first strategic dialogue on economic issues and discussed steps needed to conclude an economic partnership agreement before the end of next year.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Origami - over 350 designs!!!

Origami (Japanese: 折り紙 ori, to fold, and kami, paper lit. "folding paper") is the art of paper folding. The goal of this art is to create a given result using geometric folds and crease patterns. Origami refers to all types of paper folding, even those of non-Japanese origin.

Origami only uses a small number of different folds, but they can be combined in a variety of ways to make intricate designs. In general, these designs begin with a square sheet of paper, whose sides may be different colors, and usually proceed without cutting the paper.

ORIG1: Origami designs letters A-J
ORIG2: Origami designs letters J-Z
ORIG3: Extra origami designs (HTML and images)
ORIG4: Origami design books: John Montroll (Animals, Birds/Bugs), Origami Fun, Origami Theory and Rare origami design book: Robert Harbin

Links to Download the files

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Understanding English contracts

This is an interesting article that informs readers about the Japanese perspective on English contracts. This was published in JETRO TTPP - News Vol.40(6/2007)in June

Three Points in Understanding English Language Contracts == Culture of Contracts and Rights Differs - English Language Contracts Seek clarity and Based on Patterns

By - Mr. Tatsuya Oishi, President, Focus Business Produce, Inc..

The topic in the previous month's issue (May 2007) was the risks in specific international transactions and how to deal with them in contracts. This time, we will return to the basics and explain three points for correctly understanding English language contracts.

English language contracts are required in all sorts of occasions in international business and international transactions such as long-term sales agreements with overseas companies, appointment of sales agents overseas, and commissioning of subcontracted production. I personally negotiated business contracts with companies of various countries for 20 years and was involved in drafting the actual agreements. Further, when living in the U.S., I made use of my qualification as a U.S. certified public accountant and checked all written contracts concluded by my company from the viewpoint of American business law.
These contracts were all in English.

While a contract, note that an "English language contract" is not an English translation of a Japanese language contract used in Japan.

<> Assumptions in Japan Are Not Valid Elsewhere When handling English language contracts in practice, the most difficult thing for Japanese is of course that English is a foreign language. Not only are the actual expressions different, but also the contracts are based on the culture, customs, and contractual thinking of the home countries of the English language, Great Britain and the U.S., and are steeped in Anglo-American law.
That is, English language contracts are hard to understand by Japanese since they differ from Japanese language contracts in their very foundations.

As a typical example, Japanese contracts often include a clause like "any doubts arising over matters not provided for in this contract shall be resolved by deliberation between the parties of the first and second parts in good faith". English language contracts seldom include this. Instead, they set down detailed provisions covering all conceivable cases. They also provide arbitration clauses and jurisdictional clauses for the resolution of disputes.

<> Eliminate Vagueness and Find Clarity Another point which Japanese companies or individuals must bear in mind when checking or drafting English language contracts as contract parties is that even if an English language contract is not based on Anglo-American law, the English legal terminology is interpreted based on Anglo-American law. That is, whether the other country in the contract is the U.K., the U.S., or another English speaking country or a country not having English as an official language, insofar as a contract is in the English language, the English legal terminology is generally interpreted based on Anglo-American law.

Anglo-American law requires clear agreement between the contractual parties, that is, grounds enabling sufficient legal compulsory force to be given even when judged by the court. Antifraud laws etc. require that important contracts be in writing. Further, the usual practice is for individual matters agreed upon in the process of contract negotiations to be included as clauses in the final written contract.

<> Learn the Patterns of English Language Contracts Since English language contracts are drafted based on the thinking of points 1 and 2, the inevitably end up increased in number of pages and at first glance appear complicated in content. Therefore, most Japanese first tend to cringe at the thought of having to read them. However, there is a real handy point which one should learn. That is, English language contracts may be roughly broken down into two parts: principal terms and general terms.

The principal terms are terms which differ with each contract and form the heart of a contract. For example, in the case of usual business contracts, these are the parts identifying the goods and services covered by the contract, the price, the terms of transactions, terms of payment, and other terms unique to the contract. First, focus on and carefully check these principal terms.

On the other hand, general terms are terms set down in common in many contracts. Of course, "common" does not mean all the same in content. It means the terms frequently appear in English language contracts. The language is also similar. That is, English language contracts include many set patterns. Once studying and getting used to the general terms of English language contracts, it becomes possible to immediately judge where the key points are based on these patterns.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


The Japanese national anthem (kokka) is "Kimigayo." When the Meiji period began in 1868 and Japan made its start as a modern nation, there was no Japanese national anthem. In fact the person who emphasized the necessity of a national anthem was a British military band instructor, John William Fenton.
The words were taken from a tanka (31-syllable poem) found in the Kokin-wakashu, a 10th-century anthology of poems. The music was composed in 1880 by Hiromori Hayashi, an Imperial Court musician and was later harmonized according to the Gregorian mode by Franz Eckert, a German bandmaster. "Kimigayo (The Emperor's Reign)" became Japan's national anthem in 1888.
The word "kimi" refers to the Emperor and the words contain the prayer: "May the Emperor's reign last forever." The poem was composed in the era when the Emperor reigned over the people. During WWII, Japan was an absolute monarchy which moved the Emperor to the top. The Japanese Imperial Army invaded many Asian countries. The motivation was that they were fighting for the holy Emperor.
After WWII, the Emperor became the symbol of Japan by the Constitution, and has lost all political power. Since then various objections have been raised about singing "Kimigayo" as a national anthem. However, at present it remains sung at national festivals, international events, schools, and on national holidays.
The words of "Kimigayo":

Kimigayo wa

Chiyo ni yachiyo ni

Sazareishi no

Iwao to narite

Koke no musu made

English Translation:

May the reign of the Emperorcontinue for a thousand, nay, eight thousand generationsand for the eternity that it takesfor small pebbles to grow into a great rockand become covered with moss.

Monday, June 11, 2007


"Gei" means arts or performance in Japanese. "Sha" means people. Geisha are professional hostesses who entertain guests through various performing arts. Geisha girls and women are not ordinary hostesses and are not prostitutes. It's believed that the women who danced for warriers in the 11th century are the predecessors of geisha. Geisha girls and women are trained in a number of traditional skills; Japanese ancient dance, singing, playing instruments (a three stringed instrument called shamisen is an essential instrument), flower arrangement, wearing kimono, tea ceremony, calligraphy, conversation, alcohol serving manners, and more. Geisha girls and women are talented Japanese women who patiently go through extensive training. Even after becoming a geisha girl, they keep improving their skills by taking many lessons.

Nowadays, there are geisha girls and women who learn English conversation to serve English-speaking customers and learn computer skills. The work of geisha is expanding these days, including modeling or The districts where many geisha girls and women gather are called hanamachi (kagai). Some hanamachi were developed near temples and shrines where many o-chaya located. Geisha used to entertain visitors at o-chaya. The o-chaya type of teahouse is completely different from those shops that merely serve tea or coffee. It's a sort of banquet house, which rents rooms for dinner parties. An o-chaya is usually a small Japanese-style house with wooden doors and tatami floors or Japanese-style gardens. Some o-chaya also train geisha and are places for maiko (young geisha girls) to live and go to work. Those o-chaya are also called okiya.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

How to fold a T-Shirt

Hi Friends,

Check out this cool video. Its really amazing, how quickly the japanese are folding the T-Shirt....

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Miss Japan crowned Miss Universe 2007

A 20-year-old dancer from Japan who wants to someday open an international dance school, was crowned on Tuesday as Miss Universe 2007, while Miss India Puja Gupta failed to make it to the top five.

Riyo Mori nervously grabbed the hands of first runner-up Natalia Guimaraes of Brazil just before the winner was announced. She trembled in awe as the diamond-and-pearl-studded crown was placed on her head.

Miss India, Puja Gupta, who had made it to the last 10, however, failed to reach the top five.

Miss USA Rachel Smith, whose chances may have been dimmed when she slipped and fell to the floor during the evening gown competition, was the contest's fourth runner-up.

Also finishing in the top five were second runner-up Ly Jonaitis of Venezuela and third runner-up Honey Lee of Korea.

The winner travels the world for a year on behalf of charities and pageant sponsors. Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza of Puerto Rico crowned her successor at the end of the two-hour telecast with the headpiece valued at USD 250,000.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

India's economy to dethrone Japan

This is indeed interesting. The Japanese central bank chief makes a bold prediction!

Tokyo, May 28: India's economy will overtake the Japanese economy by 2025 to rank third in the world after the United States and China in terms of purchasing power parity, Japan's central bank chief predicted on Monday.

Bank of Japan governor Toshihiko Fukui also urged India to loosen restrictions on capital flows and develop domestic bond markets so as to further integrate itself into the global economy.

"Everyone recognises the large and varied influence India is having on the world," he said told a symposium in Tokyo.

"If we extend the current (growth) rate, India's purchasing power parity will exceed that of Japan by around 2025 and will rank third after the United States and China," he added.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Learning Japanese Has Never Been So Easy Or Fun

Check out this site

If you are interested in learning more about Japan's language and culture, then is for YOU! This program offers something for everyone, from the seasoned speaker to the Japan-bound traveler who is making contact with the language for the first time. The audio lessons and rich collection of accompanying resources in the Learning Center are designed to take you from absolute beginner to an upper intermediate level.

It has been specifically designed to teach students of Japanese practical and useful Japanese in the most effective way possible. It is a fact that culture is an important part of any language, so in their daily broadcasts direct from Tokyo, they teach you about Japanese culture and keep you up to date with current events.

I hope that it'll be really useful to you friends.

Do check it out & you definitely wont regret giving your time for it

Monday, May 21, 2007

Increasing salaries on campuses

More and more…..¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥

Looks like the Students never had a better start to corporate careers like today. It is also a reflection on the sad state of Indian academic output where companies have to interview 1000 students to select 40 (if they are lucky!). For most parts, our educational system is out of sync with the requirements of the industry.Here is the article from Business Line that appeared today.

IT majors firm up hike in entry-level salaries

Bangalore: As campus recruitment by IT services firms for 2008 gathers momentum, salaries being offered to fresh engineering graduates are reaching new highs, breaching the Rs 3-lakh mark.

Major IT firms and even some mid-size ones have increased their entry-level compensation packages by 10-16 per cent, as competition intensifies to attract the best talent from campuses.

Typically, IT firms start campus recruitment 12-15 months in advance; the hiring process for 2008 began in March-April and is set to peak in July-August, once the exams of sixth semester are over.

Sources at TCS confirmed that the company had raised its entry-level package by 10-15 per cent for graduates joining in 2008.

TCS is offering annual salaries ranging between Rs 2.7 lakh and Rs 3.3 lakh, depending on the colleges and course streams.

Wipro is contemplating a 10-15 per cent hike in freshers' salaries, according to Prateek Kumar, Corporate Vice-President (HR).

For graduates joining in 2007, it had offered Rs 2.4-2.7 lakh per annum.

Market sources said that Infosys and Cognizant have also revised the compensation package for freshers.

However, T.V. Mohandas Pai, head of HR at Infosys, said that the company was yet to take a call on the issue.

The Infosys compensation package for graduates joining in 2007 stood at Rs 2.75 lakh per annum.

The fat packages from larger firms are putting pressure on smaller firms to increase salaries.

"We have little option other than increasing our entry-level salaries to get the right talent, as other major IT firms are doing it," said Puneet Jetli, Vice-President and Head (People Function) at MindTree Consulting.

For graduates joining in 2008, MindTree has hiked the package by 16 per cent to Rs 3.2 lakh.

Denying that Cognizant has hiked salaries for candidates joining in 2008, a spokesperson said: "Our guidance is only for 2007."

For graduates joining in 2007, Cognizant has been offering Rs 2.61 lakh, he said.

In the current fiscal, the IT industry is expected to hire some four lakh people, of which around two lakh are likely to come from engineering colleges.

The top five services firms are seen hiring over one lakh people, of which 60-65 per cent would be freshers.

Besides, multinationals such as IBM, Accenture and EDS, among others, are also expanding their offshore centres by hiring tens of thousands of freshers, offering packages normally considered higher than what Indian companies offer.

The annual wage inflation of 12-15 per cent experienced by IT firms would well be reflected in the salaries for 2008, analysts said.

Though some players might have jumped the gun by raising entry-level packages, it is only a matter of a few more weeks before others may follow suit, as the war for talent at the campus intensifies come July-August this year.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Integrated Japanese Dictionary in Firefox

Moji 0.8

An integrated sidebar-dictionary for Japanese and Chinese including kanji dictionary. At least one additional dictionary package needed (Japanese to English, French, German, Russian, or Korean, or Chinese to English dictionary.) Visit Moji's homepage to download and install packages.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Japanese companies keen about India

This interesting article appeared in Business Line. Looks like the Indian economic juggernaut is finaly getting noticed. India has been on the investment radar of most Japanese comapanies but all of them were waiting for "someone" else to take the plunge. I personally think 2008 will be a boom time for all stakeholders of Japan-India relationship! However we should also look at China's continued presence in this list as the preferred destination. China is the benchmark for all Japanese related outsourcing - as always!

‘Japanese cos in India upbeat on biz prospects for 2007’

Monday, 30 April , 2007, 07:51

Bangalore: Japanese companies in India are upbeat about their prospects in 2007. They find the country favourable for expanding their business, according to a survey conducted by a Japanese Government-related agency.

The comparative survey by the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) shows that between 2006 and 2007, India is top of the list with an index of 67.6, followed by Vietnam and China with 51.5 and 39.9, with regard to the business prospects of the subsidiaries of Japanese companies.

Vietnam also figured high in the ranking after India, while China, along with these two countries, provided better comfort in terms of future prospects than eight other countries in the region.

The stronger preference for the countries compared to the 11 Asian countries — six of whom are Asian members — comes in the wake of cost pressure during 2006 pulling down the business prospects of the Japanese affiliates in the countries. The six members of Asian — Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam — apart from India, China, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan, were covered by the survey.

Response rate

JETRO received response from 1,332 of the 3,337 companies it sent its questions to in the region, with a response rate of 39.9. per cent. According to the survey, 71.5 per cent of the respondents posted a lower operating profit in 2006, down more than 4 percentage points from the previous year, reflecting the struggle the manufactures faced due to rising costs of materials and higher wages, said JETRO.

Regarding the outlook for 2007, the number of respondents projecting worse performance compared to 2006 decreased notably, revealing that firms believed the upward cost pressure would ease in 2007.

According to the survey, those planning to "expand their business scale" in the next few years dipped by 4.2 percentage points from last year's survey to 58.2 per cent while companies planning to maintain the scale of existing business was higher.

China advantage

There was no change in the view of firms with production in China about its cost advantage. China also is seen as the strongest business competitor for Japanese firms in Asian or India, particularly in materials, including plastic. In India, local automobile components and general machinery industries are perceived to be stiff competitions to Japanese companies.

The Japanese companies will target China and India followed by Thailand and Vietnam in the next five to 10 years for marketing their products, with China being preferred for electric and electronic components and India for automobile and motorcycle parts.

Twenty five per cent of the Japanese companies in China felt that the rising Yuan against other currencies would have "large negative impact on their business" (14.5 per cent rise over last year's survey) with almost 60 per cent of the respondents strategising cost reduction to counter any further rise in the currency value.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Does anyone have more information about this?

Berger Paints India Ltd said on Friday that the Company has entered into a Joint Venture Agreement (JV) with Nippon Bee Chemical Co Ltd of Japan for the purpose of formation of a Company for manufacture and sale of coatings for plastic substrates used in automobiles and parts thereof in India.

It seems like the first deal after a brief lull

Friday, April 27, 2007

kabuki theater

Kabuki Theater :

Kabuki, one of Japan's traditional entertainments, originated in the 17th century. It was developed by merchants during Edo Era as a way to express their emotions. Although many women played female roles in early times, the Tokugawa Shogun banned appearance of women in Kabuki plays in the early 17th century. As a result, all female roles are played by male actors called Onna-gata and the beauty of the Onna-gata became one of the most distinctive features in Kabuki performances.

Part of the excitement of watching Kabuki comes from the audience. During a play, the audience shouts the names of actors during short pauses. The timing of the shout must be just right. It's an interesting phenomena. Other interesting things to notice during Kabuki are the colorful and gorgeous costumes and make-up which the actors wear. Also, you might want to pay attention to how the stage is equipped. When shifting scenes in a play, the stage revolves. This is called Mawari-butai and is one of the famous characteristics of Kabuki theater.

You will also see people dressed all in black on the stage. They are called Kuroko, and their jobs are to take care of props and actors. When they appears on the stage, the audience is supposed to treat them as invisible. Also, the traditional Japanese music that accompanies Kabuki performances might interests you. The musicians rotate in and out of sight on the stage, which carries them.

Most of all Kabuki plays were written during 17th-18th century, so the language is hard to understand, even for Japanese people. There are about 300 plays in the conventional kabuki repertoire. In the Kabuki-za theater, you can buy English programs or rent earphones with which you can listen to the explanations of shows in English.

Kabuki-za is the best theater. It is located in Ginza, Tokyo. (03-3541-3131) Kabuki performance are held year around in the Kabuki-za, except for August. You can buy tickets at the theater box office or reserve them on the phone.

Kabuki performances are usually very long and consist of many acts. If you are new to Kabuki, or don't have much time, you can view one act from the 4th floor. This area is available for people who can't stay through the whole performance, so they can leave during the break between acts without disturbing other people. The tickets for one act are called Makumi. These tickets are not sold in advance, but are available 20 min before each act. For visitors who want to save time and money, it might be a good idea to buy this ticket. (The earphone guide is not available here though.)

Here is a list of other theaters in which kabuki performances are held:

Kokuritsu Gekijo (National Theater of Japan)
Tokyo Shinbashi Enbu-jo (Japanese version)
Osaka Shochiku-za (Japanese version)
Also, Tokyo Hato Bus Kabuki Tour holds a 4-hour evening tour to visit Kabuki-za.



Traditional Japanese Wedding Ceremony

Spring and autumn are the favourite seasons for Japanese weddings. On certain days, which are considered auspicious in the Japanese almanac, there may be as many as forty couples united in Japanese weddings at a Shinto shrine.

The Shinto wedding is performed before a Shinto sanctuary. Many hotels and restaurants are equipped with a special room for wedding ceremonies. A wedding is usually attended by members of both families, close relatives and the go-betweens.

Mi-ai - Part of a Traditional Japanese Wedding

Traditional Japanese brideWhile it is true that more and more young men and women are united in marriage on their own will through love, the practice of "Mi-ai" is still widely observed to end in a happy married life for many. "Mi-ai" is an interview for a man and woman with a view to marriage, as arranged by their parents or a third party acting as a go-between. It is proposed with due consideration to social backgrounds and other factors of the prospective bride, bridegroom and their families. It is not compulsory on either of the parties concerned to accept such "Mi-ai" as a promise for marriage.

Prior to 1900's, the practice of "mi-ai" (an arranged meeting between a man and a woman with a view to marriage) was more a formality than an opportunity for a young man and woman to meet and get to know each other. Today, a matchmaker may be a family member or a friend who would arrange for an initial meeting between the young man and woman thought to be suited for each other in marriage. These initial meeting is usually arranged at a public place such as a restaurant or a theatre.

In the old days when "mi-ai" was a mere formality, a young man would be invited to the home of the young woman. If he were favourably impressed, he would leave behind a fan to indicate his acceptance to pursue the marriage. In the old days however, the bride-to-be had little say on the issue.

Hakama pants
Hakama pants (skirt)

Hakama pants are a gift to the groom as part of the Yui-no, the phase of the traditional Japanese wedding. For a wedding they would be black, but to emphasis the detail of the design we have shown a patterned style.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

India's cashew recipes interest Japan food industry

Mangalore March 18 The broken grades of cashew are likely to receive a good demand in Japan, if the response to the experiment of introducing value-added Indian cashew products such as `kaju kathli' and `halwa' at the 32nd international food and beverages exhibition, `Foodex Japan 2007', is any indication.
For India, Japan is the fifth largest cashew export destination. Japan imports around 6,100 tonnes of cashews with India enjoying 80 per cent share with average exports of about 5,000 tonnes during the last three years.
The Chairman of the Cashew Exports Promotion Council of India (CEPCI), Mr Walter D'Souza, told Business Line that the important outcome of this exhibition for the Indian cashew industry lies in the significant growth of Japanese confectionary and food industry. The confectionary and food industry sector is registering an annual growth of over 20 per cent.
Of the total imports of cashews by Japan, almost over 90 per cent are wholes and the rest in broken grades.
"The CEPCI experiment of introducing value-added goodies such as the Indian `kaju kathli' and `halwa' at this exhibition has generated several enquiries," he said, adding that this may increase the demand for broken cashews.
This will be an added advantage to the Indian cashew exporters.
At the interactive meetings, the major cashew importers in Japan have made a special request to the CEPCI to involve the Japanese chefs in a programme with live demos of cashew-based recipes, which will go a long way in promoting the use of broken cashews.


"A result-oriented strategy is being worked out for implementation, in consultation with importers and the Japan Nut Association (JAN)," Mr D'Souza said.
The CEPCI is targeting a growth of about 20 per cent in exports to Japan at an aggregate of about 6,000 tonnes starting from 2007-08, he said.
Japan is the fifth largest destination for India after the US, Europe, the UAE and the UK. It accounts for four per cent of India's total cashew exports.
In its bid to increase the market share in the Japan treenut industry, the CEPCI participated in the `Foodex Japan 2007' at Tokyo from March 13 to 16.
This is the largest in the far-eastern countries of the world. Over 70 countries of the world participated in the exhibition

Kansai International Airport

Kansai International Airport

The KIX offshore airport is present in Japan. It is an artificial island five kilometers off the Senshu Coast in southeastern Osaka Bay. This airport is opened on September 4, 1994. It has the capacity of 160,000 take-offs and landings annually. The cost for the construction is around 1,458 billion yen. It was designed by an Italian architect. It is built on the sea and it is an island reclaimed from the sea.

In this airport the current scale is 510.3hectares with one runway measuring 3,500m~60m. To reach this island we have a 3.75-km double-decker structure combining road and rail transportation within 30 minutes for railway and 45 minutes for highway from Osaka (Namba).

The terminal's roof is shaped like an airfoil. This shape is used to promote air circulation through the building: giant air conditioning ducts blow air upwards at one side of the terminal, circulate the air across the curvature of the ceiling, and collect the air through intakes at the other side.

Kansai has been marketed as an alternative to Narita Airport for international travelers from the Greater Tokyo Area. By flying to Kansai from Haneda Airport and connecting to international flights there, travelers can save the additional time required to get to Narita: up to one and a half hours for many residents of Kanagawa Prefecture and southern Tokyo.

Construction of 4000m parallel runway and related facilities began in 1998 as the Second Stage Plan for Kansai International airport. The facilities are expected to be opened in the year 2007. With the Second State Plan, an additional runway and Second Passenger Terminal Building will be constructed. Kansai International Airport is striving to become a world first class international hub airport with an overall structure, which will boast 3 runways.

The Tsunami of 26 may 1983 in the se of japan

There was no sufficient time to issue a local warning. A warning was issued about 13- 15 minutes after the earthquake. It was too late. One hundred four persons died in Japan and three more in Korea. There was extensive destruction of houses, ships and port facilities.

Tsunami Generating Area and Tsunami Travel Times in the Sea of Japan and around the Japanese Islands ( in minutes) .
Subsequent surveys of the affected region along the western coast of Japan , sponsored by Japan's National Research Center for Disaster Prevention, documented the effects and runup heights of the tsunami waves. The results of these surveys are summarized here.

Tsunami Wave Heights - Estimated tsunami heights were 14 meters at Minehama, Honshu, 2-6 meters along southern Hokkaido and northern Honshu, up to 8 meters along the coast of Russia (USSR at the time), and ranged between 2-7.5 meters along the coast of South Korea.

Damages and Death Toll from the Tsunami - Many of the casualties and much of the tsunami damage occurred on the Oga Peninsula of the Akita Prefecture. Tsunami damage occurred as far away as the Yamaguchi Prefecture in southwestern Honshu, along the Japan Sea coast of Russia ( then USSR), and along the eastern and southern coasts of South Korea, where three people were killed.

The tsunami comletely destroyed Oga Peninsula in Japan
The Tsunami in the Akita Prefecture of Japan - The tsunami reached more than 11 m (max 14 m.) along the Akita Prefecture in the northern coast of Japan.There was extensive destruction of houses,buildins, ships and port facilities. It caused a number of fatalities. A total of 104 persons died. The tsunami destroyed 700 boats and 59 houses for a total of $800 million in property damage (1983 dollars).

The Effects of the Tsunami in Southern Korea - It took approximately 90 minutes for the first tsunami wave to travel across the Japan Sea and strike the east coast of the Korean Peninsula. This was the first tsunami to inflict heavy damage on the eastern coast of Korea since the 1741 Oshima-oshima tsunami. According to observations, the wave reached a height of 5 meters on Ullung Is.. Samchuk port, Geunduk, Yongwha beach and Yongwha port were also affected. Damage was particularly significant at the Imwon port, where tsunami runup height was about 3.6 m. On a coastal road close to Imwon the tsunami runup reached 5.1 m. Maximum runup of 7.5 m occurred at the upper part of the town along the river. Three persons were killed and twenty houses were damaged or destroyed.
At Wondok Town and Kangwon-do, a maximum tsunami height of 3.6-4.0m was recorded. Fishing boats were carried into the residential area, and a gas oil tank holding 130,000 litters was carried by about 10 meter. One person was killed at Tonghae City. The amount of damage in the Republic of Korea was estimated to be about 400 million won (about $500,000 - 1983 US dollars). Tide gauge recordings in South Korea showed the initial sea level movement to be rise at Pusan. Ulsan, Mukho (Tonghae City), Sokch'o, and Chodong (Ullung Island). However, at P'ohang port the tide gauge record indicates an initial drop in sea level.

Lessons Learned - Even in a country like Japan where there is considerable awareness of the tsunami danger, it is very difficult to issue local warnings when the earthquake source is so close to the coast. However, as a result of this tsunami, there was an increased effort for public education. Japan introduced a new regional system which offers a shorter lead time for tsunami warnings.

Historical Tsunamis in the Sea of JapanHistorical tsunamis generated by earthquakes along the possible boundary of the Eurasian and the North American plates, in the Sea of Japan, have been responsible for a great deal of destruction along the coastal areas of Japan, Russia and Korea. A review of archival material in Japan and Korea will undboubtedly reveal the occurrence of many historical tsunamis in the Sea of Japan - perhaps as many as 6-8 events spaced apart in time and location. Most noteworthy of the known historical events are the following.
Recent reports in the literature, quoting records of the Choson Dynasty, indicate that the Kampo earthquake of 1741 (estimated magnitude M = 7.5), off the southwestern coast of Hokkaido, in the Sea of Japan, generated a destructive tsunami that was responsible for the death of about 1,500 people and that the waves affected the entire coast of Kangwondo, destroying houses and boats.
More recently, the earthquake of 1949 (M = 7.5) - known as the Kamuizaki-Oki Earthquake - and the Tsunami it generated were destructive. In the east coast of the Korean Peninsula, the tsunami waves ranged up to 2.0m at Uljin, Kyongsang-Pukdo, and the island of Ullung

Interesting facts about Japan-2

Did you know that it is considered quite rude to blow your nose in public?

Did you know that it is considered quite rude to blow your nose in public?

Did you know that in 1192 Yortomo was named the first shogun by the emperor? His family ( the Minamoto clan) governed Japan. Did you know that the Japan`s National Anthem`s name is Kimigayo? It means "His Majesty`s Reign." Did you know that there is a meaning for that boring little red dot on Japan`s flag? The boring little red dot stands for the sun. Did you know that in Japan they have Poke'mon cards? They call them Poke'monsters.

Japan is made up of

· Japan is 70% mountains

· Japan is made up of over 6000 islands

· There are wild monkeys in Japan

· Wild monkeys don’t like to be looked at in the eye

· The Japanese Prime Minister is elected by the legislature, not the people

· Legend says that the Japanese monarchy began in the 7th Century BC

· In Japan they eat squid, octopus, eel, all fish, crabs, prawns, etc…

· A traditional Japanese breakfast consists of rice topped with natto (fermented soy beans)

· Golden Retrievers are the most popular pet

· The Japanese use four different writing systems

· In Japanese, the word for “wrong” and “different” are the same

· Junior High and High School students wear uniforms

· Elementary school students wear yellow caps

· In Japan, the teachers move from class to class and the students stay in one room

· At McDonalds the hamburgers are the same size as in America, but the drink sizes are one size smaller

· “McDonalds” in a Japanese dialect sounds lilke “Ma-ku-do-na-ru-do”

· In Japan it is not uncommon to see women wearing platform shoes that are 4 to 6 inches high

· Instead of “Ohayo Gozaimasu” (good morning), Japanese youngsters often say “Oha!”

· Christianity comprises less than 10% of the Japanese population

· Normal Japanese kitchens don’t have ovens

· The bathroom is not where the toilet is found in a Japanese home

· In Japan, when you move into an apartment, you have to bring your own light fixtures

· There’s no such thing as central heat and air in Japan

· One US dollar is approximately 120 yen

· You don’t wear shoes in the house, you wear slippers

· There are special slippers for the toilet

· You don’t wear your slippers into a tatami mat room

· In Japan, a night at the movies will cost you $18 per person

· In Japan you get really good service when shopping

· Japanese department stores are usually multiple stories, with a grocery store on the bottom, clothes and bedding in the middle, and restaurants on the top

· Japanese pizza has mayonnaise, corn, and seaweed on it

· Japanese salad has corn in it

· The Japanese think that Americans eat corn and potatoes every day

· Fruit is very expensive in Japan

· Watermelons in Japan can cost up to $100

· Peaches are $2.00 a piece

· There are very few public trash cans in Japan

· A traditional Japanese toilet looks like a urinal lying on the floor

· In Japan even local calls are charged by the minute

· In Japan you eat your soup with chopsticks

· In Japan many people wear uniforms i.e. bank tellers, grocery store clerks, postal workers…

· In Japan, most people say that they are Buddhist, but don’t believe in the Buddha

· Aspiring young Japanese musicians play on street corners and in subway stations hoping to get discovered

· The “WALK” lights on Japanese street corners make a chirping sound so that the blind can know when to cross the street

· Japanese subways are very clean and safe

· People sleep on their way home on the subway and the train

· Japanese cars are mostly the same size as American cars

· In Japan they drive on the left side

· Japanese streets are very narrow

· Streets in Japan don’t have names

· Rice cookers are great and easy to use

· In Japan, fair skin is regarded as beautiful

· Many Japanese women dye their hair brown

· Refrigerators in Japan are tiny

· There are very few original castles in Japan because of bombing during WW2

· Whale is a delicacy

· Everyone hangs their clothes outside to dry

· Japan is the world’s largest consumer of tropical rainforest timber

· Japan has 28 National Parks and 55 Quasi-National Parks

· Japan is divided into nine large regions and further divided into 47 smaller prefectures

· Japan has the seventh largest population in the world

· You can catch a train to and from Nagoya every 15 minutes

· You can catch a subway train every three minutes in Nagoya

· The Japanese know more about American politics than Americans do

· Popular Japanese bands are: Glay, Smap, Hana Hana, Shingo Mama, The Yellow Monkey, Luna Sea, Whiteberry, Arc~en~Ceil, Da Pump, Kinki Kids, etc…

· Popular Japanese music is terrible

· Western celebrities in Japanese commercials are: Catherine Zeta-Jones for Lux Super Rich Shampoo, Cameron Diaz for Aeon Language School, Ewan McGregor for Aeon Language School, Nicholas Cage for Pachinko (what a dork), Brad Pitt for both Roots canned coffee and jeans, Tiger Woods for Wonda canned coffee, George Clooney for Toyota, Naomi Campbell for Lipton Canned Tea

· In Japan you can buy canned coffee, hot or cold, in vending machines

· In Japan, Pert shampoo is called Rejoy

· In Japan, 20 capsules of cold medicine cost $15

· Because Japan has a socialized medical system, if you get the tiniest bit sick people think you should go to the doctor so you can get your medicine for free instead of paying $15 for cold medicine

· The name “Tokyo” when broken down into kanji means “east” and “capital”

· The name “Kyoto” when broken down into kanji means “capital” and “capital”

· Noh, a type of Japanese theatre, can be up to eight hours long

· In Japanese, languages all end in –go : Nihongo, Eigo, Spango, etc…

· In Japanese, citizen terms end in –jin : Nihonjin, Amerikajin, Perujin, etc…

Interesting facts about Japan-1

Japan is the 60th largest country in the world (out of over 200) in terms of land area. It is 25x smaller than the USA or People's Republic of China, but is slightly bigger than Germany, 3x bigger than England, and 9x bigger than the Netherlands.

Japan is the 10th most populous country in the world*. It's population is equal to the UK, France and Denmark combined.

Japan ranks 18th worldwide in terms density of population, behind such countries as Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Bangladesh, the Netherlands and Belgium. If England was counted as a country (separate from the UK), its density of population would be slightly higher than Japan. Japan's population density if 11x higher than the US, and slightly lower than the states of New Jersey or Rhode Island.

Japan has the oldest surviving monarchy in the world. The first historical emperor of Japan was Ojin, reigning from year 270 to 310, and was deified as Hachiman. Legend has it that the very first emperor was Jinmu, 1000 years earlier.

Japan's national anthem, Kimi Ga Yo , is the oldest in the world, although it was only officially recognised as such in 1999. It is based on a 9th century poem.

Japan has one of the highest life expectancy* in the world, only surpassed by small countries like Andorra, San Marino, Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore. Japanese people live in average 4 years longer than US citizens, 2.5 years longer than the Germans or Belgians, and 1.5 years longer than French or Italian people

Imperial House of Japan

The Imperial House of Japan comprises those members of the extended family of the reigning Emperor of Japan who undertake official and public duties. Under the present Constitution of Japan, the emperor is the symbol of the state and unity of the people. Although he is not technically head of state, he is frequently treated as one. Other members of the imperial family perform ceremonial and social duties but have no role in the affairs of government.

The Japanese monarchy is the oldest continuous hereditary monarchy in the world still in existence. The imperial house recognizes 125 legitimate monarchs since the accession of Emperor Jimmu (traditionally dated to February 11, 660 BC), including the reigning emperor, Akihito. Most historians regard the first 14 emperors (Emperor Jimmu to Emperor Chuai) as mythical figures.

The role of the emperor of Japan has historically alternated between that of a supreme-rank cleric with largely symbolic powers and that of an actual imperial ruler. An underlying imperial cult (the idea of Arahitogami) regards the emperor as being descended from gods. Until 1945, the Japanese monarchs had always been, officially, military commanders. However, contrary to the usual role of a Western monarch, they did not practically function as such. Japanese emperors have nearly always been controlled by other political forces, to varying degrees