Wednesday, July 29, 2015



Sunday, July 26, 2015

What is "Our Country" for the Ethnic Koreans in China?

The Chinese-North Korean border is an interesting place, and not particularly because of sighting what happens across the river in the eerily quiet North Korean border towns.  Tens of thousands of both Chinese and foreign tourists come to the Tumen and Yalu Rivers that make up the border to point fingers at the few North Korean passers-by on the other side, but few bothers to observe the border towns on the Chinese side, where Han Chinese ethnic Koreans, and many refugees of North Korean nationality live side-by-side among the influx of tourists.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Gentrification and Over-Gentrification

As a society develops, it increasingly obtains the energy and the luxury to look toward its past, and begin to incorporate its remaining history into sustainable future development.  Europe, as the leader of modern economic development, has already reached a stage where tradition is combined into modernity.  The same traits of tradition's new-found role in economic progress is spreading from Europe to Asia, especially China where, despite large scale destruction over the course of ten-year-long Cultural Revolution, significant amount of traditional customs and architectural heritage remains intact.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Erotic Sounds of a Capsule Hotel

As previously mentioned, traveling in Japan is an expensive affair.  This is true not only for casual foreign passers-by but also for tens of thousands of Japanese business travelers who need to keep their company’s budgets in line but get to places promptly and rapidly.  For them, staying far away from train stations and other nodes of public transportation simply is not a viable option.  To be on-time to visit their clients and return to headquarters, they need to keep to downtown areas where they can come and go quickly.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The One Who Wants Time to Stop

The author met a former coworker from Rakuten, who he has not met in some four years since he quickly departed from the company after less than a year of work.  Interestingly enough, he had met her on the very day she was handing in her marriage registration.  The author, not someone eager in communication, obviously had no idea of the fact that she was getting married, or that she was in a serious relationship at all.  Surprising at it seems, four years is not a short time for a person to grow up.  It gives a person much time to proceed with personal plans outside the career path.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

"Omotenashi" Revisited: How to Get People to Part with Their Money in the Most Pleasant Way?

By anyone's standards, traveling in Japan is not a cheap affair.  Shoe-stringing backpackers that frequent Southeast Asia should definitely not be here, considering that cheapest lodging tend to be around 30 USD per night and the cheapest lunch 6 USD.  Combine that with extremely expensive local transportation, which can average 20 USD for even short-distance train travel, and the expenses pile up in ways that does not justify the incomes of even the average person that lives and works in this country.  Most of the time, the money flies out of the wallet without even the user really noticing.