Merging of Man and Machine Takes Giant Step Forward!

Boyé Lafayette De Mente

TOKYO—Science fiction is rapidly becoming reality—an incredible phenomenon that is both fascinating and frightening. I have commented before on the remarkable advances Japanese robot scientists have made in “humanizing” their creations. But their latest step in robotics goes well beyond that point.

     Japanese scientists have now created a robot that can read the mind of a monkey that is 10,000 kilometers away on a different continent! That’s right—a monkey…some 7,000 miles from Japan!

     In early 2008 the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International [ATR] in Kyoto, Japan joined with scientists at Duke University in the U.S. in connecting the brain of a monkey with a humanoid robot in the Japanese laboratory. The robot “read the mind” of the monkey and duplicated the monkey’s movements while it was still thinking about moving!

     That’s right! There was no time lag in the movements of the robot. It followed the brain waves of the monkey and began each movement at precisely the same time. When the monkey was told to move and thought about it before starting to move the robot performed the movement first!

     ATR research supervisor Mitsuo Kawato says this new brain-machine interface has already gone beyond monkey-robot and computer experiments, not only making it possible in the near future for people to exercise mind-control over robots but also over a wide variety of other machines, from television sets and computers to household appliances.

     Kawato explains that when people focus their attention or move their bodies discernible changes take place in their brainwaves and in the flow of blood patterns in their brains. This data can be monitored to reveal the intentions of the individuals and translated into commands that can be recognized by computers, robots and other machines.

     He adds that using brain-machine interface technologies that will eliminate the need for human beings to physically operate machines could transform the way people live and work—an understatement to say the least.

     Also in 2008 researchers at Keio University in Tokyo wired a man who had been injured and couldn’t move his arms or legs to a computer. With several hours of training, the man was able to operate programs on the computer by thought-control alone!

      Similar research is also taking place at several other universities in the U.S., where the process is known as Brain Computer Interface [BCI], with equally remarkable results.

     Keio’s Junichi Ushiba and his colleagues have also developed a way for people to project their minds into a virtual world “seeing” themselves and experiencing the feelings of flying, mountain-climbing, etc., just by thinking about these actions.

     Ushiba says that by extracting information from higher order brain activity it is possible to literally read a person’s mind—to actually see what they are thinking about.  This amazing breakthrough obviously relates to the holographic programs featured on Star Trek, where members of the crew of the star ship Enterprise can enter the programs and interact with the characters in them.

    In the United States, high-tech company Linden Lab is a leader in creating virtual worlds that on the order of the Enterprise’s holodeck programs.

     Based in San Francisco, Linden Lab is the creator of Second Life and the virtual world platform Second Life Grid, technology used in creating virtual worlds. Second Life allows a person to experience life in a virtual world.

     The opportunities offered by this technology are simply mindboggling—and I predict that sexual fantasies will soon replace violence and other action programs as the most popular simulations.

 _________________________________________

Boyé Lafayette De Mente has been involved with Asia since the late 1940s as a member of a U.S. intelligence agency, journalist and editor. He is a graduate of Jōchi University in Tokyo, Japan and Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Arizona, USA. In addition to books on the business practices, social behavior and languages of China, Japan, Korea and Mexico he has written extensively about the moral collapse of the U.S. along with books on his home state of Arizona. To see a full list of his books go to: www.authorsonlinebookshop.com. Recent books include: CHINA Understanding & Dealing with the Chinese Way of Doing Business; JAPAN Understanding & Dealing with the NEW Japanese Way of Doing Business; AMERICA’S FAMOUS HOPI INDIANS; ARIZONA’S LORDS OF THE LAND [the Navajos] and SPEAK JAPANESE TODAY – A Little Language Goes a Long Way!

The Importance of Dealing with Japan’s Dynamic Diligence Factor!

Boyé Lafayette De Mente

 TOKYO—In 1953 as a fledgling journalist in Tokyo I went to the dean of foreign correspondents in Japan [the Far Eastern Bureau Chief for a major London newspaper] and asked him if he thought it would be a good idea for me to stay in Japan—if there would be opportunities for me to build a worthwhile career, or if I should go home.

     His instant response was: “Japan is never going to amount to anything! Go home!”

     Just ten years later Japan was already on the verge of becoming the second largest economy in the world…and fortunately, I had not taken the famous correspondent’s advice.

     There are several reasons why Japan was able to recover so rapidly from the destruction of World War II. Two of these reasons are especially outstanding. First was the hundreds of millions of dollars pumped into the Japanese economy by the Allied Forces during the Occupation of the country from September 1945 to the spring of1952. And second was the fact that the United States bought hundreds of millions of dollars worth of supplies from Japan during the Korean War [1950-1953].

     An obvious third factor in why Japan was able to become an economic superpower by 1970 was the fact that from 1948 on Japanese manufacturers [that had sprouted up like weeds following the end of WW II] were inundated by American importers who began flocking into the country by the thousands seeking consumer goods of all kinds at cheaper prices, giving this mass of new Japanese companies total access to the American market. [By the mid-1950s Sears had 65 buyers permanently stationed in Tokyo alone.]

     But undergirding all of the effort that went into the creation of the world’s most efficient export industry were a litany of national characteristics that made the Japanese both unique and formidable competitors.

     One of the most important of these deeply ingrained cultural characteristics is subsumed in the word monozukuri (moe-no-zoo-kuu-ree)…a word that is so new it does not appear in most [if any!] dictionaries of Japanese words.

     The applied meaning of monozukuri evolved from the meanings of its parts, including original thinking, the application of extraordinary efforts to achieve goals, craftsmanship, and diligence—all of which have traditionally been readily discernable in the character of the Japanese.

     While all of these traits have made vital contributions to the economic success of the Japanese the one that is the most visible—at least to foreigners—is their built-in diligence.

     For me, this remarkable trait was underscored in the 1970s when I was at a New York hotel for a business meeting that included a number of Japanese managers. I came down to the hotel restaurant before 6 a.m. for an early breakfast and found myself standing in line behind the Japanese.

     I commented in Japanese to the man next to me that he and his co-workers were starting the day early. He replied with great emphasis and without smiling: Kimben na Nihonjin desu kara! [“Because we are diligent Japanese!”]

     The level of diligence in Japan is far higher than in most countries, and it expresses itself in everything they do…from the finish and the packaging of the products they make to the meticulous attention they pay to forging and maintaining their business contacts.

     Many of the failures of American companies and U.S.-made products in Japan have been because they did not live up to the diligence standards of the Japanese.

Monozukuri is a concept that must be taken to heart by any company wanting to succeed in the Japanese market.

_________________________________________

Boyé Lafayette De Mente has been involved with Asia since the late 1940s as a member of a U.S. intelligence agency, journalist and editor. He is a graduate of Jōchi University in Tokyo, Japan and Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Arizona, USA. In addition to books on the business practices, social behavior and languages of China, Japan, Korea and Mexico he has written extensively about the moral collapse of the U.S. along with books on his home state of Arizona. To see a full list of his books go to: www.authorsonlinebookshop.com. Recent books include: CHINA Understanding & Dealing with the Chinese Way of Doing Business; JAPAN Understanding & Dealing with the NEW Japanese Way of Doing Business; AMERICA’S FAMOUS HOPI INDIANS; ARIZONA’S LORDS OF THE LAND [the Navajos] and SPEAK JAPANESE TODAY – A Little Language Goes a Long Way!

 

Finding China’s “Back Doors” Key to Business and Political Success!

Boyé Lafayette De Mente

BEIJING—In China where personal connections play a paramount role in all relationships—business, personal and political—the typical Western way of doing things is often ineffective, and may be considered both arrogant and rude.

   Historically ordinary Chinese had no inalienable rights to protect them from those in power. Bureaucracy was universal and honed to perfection, and expecting something simply because it was “right” and you should get it, and especially “demanding” something or some action, would virtually always result in doors being slammed in your face—or far more serious results.

   This situation resulted in the Chinese, including government officials, having to develop a variety of strategies and tactics to get things done—ways that were unofficial but were a key part of the system—like authorities allowing a black market to function because it provided them with advantages of one kind or another, including keeping the level of frustration in the population below the point of eruption.

     After the Communist Party came to power in China in 1949 and instituted a number of democratic principles and polices—including giving women the right to vote—the policy of both allowing and promoting unofficial processes remained virtually unchanged, both because it was so deeply embedded in the culture and because it continued to serve the interests of the government.

     The most common of these unofficial practices was using the hou men (hoe-uu mane) or “back door”—that is, contacting and making deals with people behind-the-scenes, in private settings, making them fait accompli on the QT.

     Despite political reforms and cultural changes that have made life in China far more open, rational and practical, the use of hou men remains a vital part of the conduct of business, national politics and international relationships.

     When there is a “back door” most Chinese will automatically take it—and if there isn’t one they will generally attempt to make one, because that is almost always the fastest and most efficient way of getting official as well as unofficial things done.

    In simple terms, these “back doors” are people who can get things done because of their power positions or because they can call on their personal relationships with others to bypass bureaucracy, official policies and often laws as well.

     Obviously, this aspect of personal as well public behavior is a factor in all cultures, but in China the hou men element functions as an integral part of business and politics, without which the official social, economic and political systems would not work well enough to sustain themselves.

     Until foreigners who are newly arrived in China learn about the existence of hou men and develop skill in making and using them their chances of success are slim.

     In fact, it pays to start building “back door” connections before you set foot in China—developing contacts and getting introductions through the overseas offices of Chinese companies, chambers of commerce, banks, cultural organizations, university professors, such clubs as Kiwanis, and so on.­

_________________________________________

Boyé Lafayette De Mente has been involved with Asia since the late 1940s as a member of a U.S. intelligence agency, journalist and editor. He is a graduate of Jōchi University in Tokyo, Japan and Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Arizona, USA. In addition to books on the business practices, social behavior and languages of China, Japan, Korea and Mexico he has written extensively about the moral collapse of the U.S. along with books on his home state of Arizona. To see a full list of his books go to: www.authorsonlinebookshop.com. Recent books include: CHINA Understanding & Dealing with the Chinese Way of Doing Business; JAPAN Understanding & Dealing with the NEW Japanese Way of Doing Business; AMERICA’S FAMOUS HOPI INDIANS; ARIZONA’S LORDS OF THE LAND [the Navajos] and SPEAK JAPANESE TODAY – A Little Language Goes a Long Way!

The Pitfalls of Logic in Dealing with Foreign Cultures!

Boyé Lafayette De Mente

BEIJING–Americans endeavoring to negotiate business and political deals abroad often face a barrier that is so subtle, so unexpected, that they do not know how to deal with it.

     They typically spend an inordinate amount of time and energy in an effort to explain their goals and methods and get their foreign counterparts to understand and accept them, with little or no success.

    On these occasions the automatic response of most Americans is to assume that their counterparts don’t really understand the points they are making, and begin repeating themselves. In these repeated efforts some talk a little louder; others assume it is a language problem and attempt to break their presentations down into simpler terms. Many end up watering down their original objectives in order to get a deal.

     While the degree of the impasse and the level of frustration that develops in typical Americans various with how internationalized or Americanized their foreign counterparts have become there is almost always resistance on some level that the American side cannot fathom or readily accept.

     This situation arises from the fact that American businesspeople and diplomats pride themselves on being fact-oriented and logical in their thinking, and their presentations and negotiations are reflections of this deeply embedded mindset.

     In Asian, Hispanic and some other societies it is generally not hard facts and unadulterated logic that carry the day. It is human relations and feelings—which in the American mindset can be both irrational and shortsighted.

     For the most part, Asians, Hispanics and others are motivated by a variety of cultural obligations that must be met before they can whole heartedly accept and pursue projects presented to them.

     In fact, it is not too much of a stretch to say that Asians and Hispanics are allergic to pure American style logic. Those who do accept propositions and responsibilities that they do not like do so by rationalizing that it is better to have a bad bargain [from their viewpoint] than no bargain.

    And generally, especially in Asia, there is the unspoken intent to take advantage of foreign relationships and technology by gradually subverting them to conform to their own views and needs.

     It is therefore imperative that Americans and others who are driven by their own facts and logic to make a serious effort to discover how and why their potential partners think and behave the way they do.

    In other words, liuoji (luu-oh-jee) is Chinese logic; ronri (rone-ree) is Japanese logic; nolli (nohl-lee) is Korean logic, and so on, and they are defined by the cultures in which they developed—not the American definition of the term.

_________________________________________

Boyé Lafayette De Mente has been involved with Asia since the late 1940s as a member of a U.S. intelligence agency, journalist and editor. He is a graduate of Jōchi University in Tokyo, Japan and Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Arizona, USA. In addition to books on the business practices, social behavior and languages of China, Japan, Korea and Mexico he has written extensively about the moral collapse of the U.S. along with books on his home state of Arizona. To see a full list of his books go to: www.authorsonlinebookshop.com. Recent books include: CHINA Understanding & Dealing with the Chinese Way of Doing Business; JAPAN Understanding & Dealing with the NEW Japanese Way of Doing Business; AMERICA’S FAMOUS HOPI INDIANS; ARIZONA’S LORDS OF THE LAND [the Navajos] and SPEAK JAPANESE TODAY – A Little Language Goes a Long Way!

Rooftops Sprouting Rice and Vegetables!

Boyé Lafayette De Mente

TOKYO—By all accounts, Tokyo is one of the world’s most extraordinary cities in terms of facilities and amenities that include more restaurants, more bars, more clubs, more department stores, more business centers, more subways and more commuter trains than any other city on the planet—to name just a few of the things that are more conspicuous.

 

     Now, the city has undertaken a massive program to turn the huge urban area into an oasis of rooftop and open-field gardens, and it is well underway.

 

     The urban gardens of Tokyo are not just for show. Altogether they include virtually all of the popular table vegetables as well as rice—still a major staple of the diet of most Japanese.

 

     Tokyo’s Metropolitan Government has taken the lead in promoting this greening campaign by constructing a 770-square meter garden on the rooftop of its high-rise headquarters building in Shinjuku on the west side of town.

 

     The city has launched a major program to increase the amount of green space in its 23 wards from the present 29 percent to 32 percent over the next seven years.  This green space includes forests, rivers, rice paddies and gardens on office buildings.

 

     A city ordinance requires that all new, expanded, or improved buildings in the city that have 3,000 square meters of space or more must cover at least 20 percent of their land and rooftops with plants, trees, turf or other foliage.

 

     In 2006 the famed Isetan Department Store replaced the amusement rides it had on its rooftop with a garden—which not only attracts more visitors than the amusement center did, it also brought summertime rooftop temperatures down by 18 degrees.

 

     In May of 2007 school children and young women planted a rice paddy on top of one of the signature Mori Building towers in Roppongi—known around the world as one of the city’s entertainment districts.

 

    Another feature of this phenomenon has been the opening of membership gardens in open areas of the outlying wards. These gardens that include clubhouses where members can change into their work clothes, shower, eat, drink, exchange information and socialize.

     One of the largest of these new communal gardens is located in Seijo, an upscale residential area in Setagaya Ward just 15 minutes from the core of Tokyo. The 500 square meter walled-in area, called Agris Seijo, is divided into 300 plots to accommodate members who pay annual fees of $1,120.

 

     For an additional fee, staff members of the club take care of the individual gardens of members when go on vacation, or are away on business trips, and cannot tend their gardens themselves.

 

     Suburban cities like Musashino have gotten into the act with garden centers on city property that also feature a variety of seasonal agricultural events that residents may attend free of charge.

 

     Pasona, Inc., the well-known temporary staffing company, has inaugurated a training program for people who want to get an Agri-MBA. Classes are given three times a week at the company’s headquarters building in Otemachi, one of Tokyo’s premiere business centers. The course includes a 7-day training session on a working farm.

 

     Some of the students say they are taking the course to get out of the business rat-race and make their living farming.

     This new phenomenon, known as “hobby farming,” is itself becoming a big business in Japan, and it augurs well for the growing millions of people who feel—and are!—trapped by the prevailing economic system and are yearning for a saner, simpler life.

 _________________________________________

Boyé Lafayette De Mente has been involved with Asia since the late 1940s as a member of a U.S. intelligence agency, journalist and editor. He is a graduate of Jōchi University in Tokyo, Japan and Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Arizona, USA. In addition to books on the business practices, social behavior and languages of China, Japan, Korea and Mexico he has written extensively about the moral collapse of the U.S. along with books on his home state of Arizona. To see a full list of his books go to: www.authorsonlinebookshop.com. Recent books include: CHINA Understanding & Dealing with the Chinese Way of Doing Business; JAPAN Understanding & Dealing with the NEW Japanese Way of Doing Business; AMERICA’S FAMOUS HOPI INDIANS; ARIZONA’S LORDS OF THE LAND [the Navajos] and SPEAK JAPANESE TODAY – A Little Language Goes a Long Way!

Playing the Geisha Game in Present-Day Japan!

  Boyé Lafayette De Mente

 TOKYO–During the 1600s in Edo (Tokyo) a special class of women entertainers who were skilled at playing the shamisen, singing, and dancing gradually came to be known as geisha (gay-ee-shah). Famous courtesans in Japan’s numerous red-light districts regularly hired geisha to help them entertain their high profile customers.

 

   The geisha also performed for private parties in inns and restaurants. As the decades of the Edo era (1603-1868) passed, their training became more formalized and strict, and the profession grew in stature.

 

   Although geisha did not work as prostitutes it became customary for them to form intimate liaisons with affluent men who patronized them regularly and treated them more or less as mistresses.

 

     With the deterioration of the licensed gay quarters following the downfall of the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1867, the social status of prostitutes began to drop and that of the geisha to rise. Their training was expanded to include lessons in etiquette, grace, flower arranging, the tea ceremony, and in how to be stimulating conversationalists, making them among the most accomplished women in the country.

 

   Within a few decades the position of prostitutes and geisha had completed reversed. Geisha were the most elite of public women, and prostitutes the lowest. Wealthy businessmen and high-ranking politicians began to vie with each other to make the most famous geisha their mistresses.

 

   It was, in fact, common for men of wealth and power to marry their geisha mistresses, with one notable example being Hirobumi Ito (1841-1909), who played a key role in the overthrow of the Tokugawa Shogunate in the 1860s, became the chief architect of Japan’s first constitution, and served as prime minister four times.

 

   Since Japanese wives did not participate directly or publicly with men in business or in politics, and therefore could not act as hostesses for their husbands or other men, geisha came to perform this valuable function, dressing up meetings and making sure things ran smoothly.

 

     As late as the 1950s, Tokyo alone had over a dozen large so-called geisha districts, which consisted of clusters of ryotei (rio-tay) or inn-restaurantsthat called in geisha to serve their customers. The services of the geisha were so costly that only wealthy businessmen and high-ranking politicians and government bureaucrats could afford to patronize them.

 

   Then the rapid transformation of Japan into an economic super power from the 1950s to the 1970s saw the equally rapid rise of thousands of cabarets and night clubs that featured hostesses as drinking, dancing and conversational companions, with fees far below what geisha inns charged.

 

   The more attractive the hostesses, and the more skilled they were in entertaining men, the more they could earn. This naturally attracted some of the most beautiful and socially talented young women in the country. Hundreds if not thousands of these remarkable women became millionaires. Like the geisha of an early day, many of them married well. One married the then president of Indonesia, Sukarno, and became an international celebrity.

 

     The reign of the huge businessmen-oriented hostess cabarets and nightclubs ended in the late 1980s when Japan’s economic bubble begin to deflate. The geisha survived the economic fallout but they remained on the fringe of Japan’s entertainment world. In Kyoto, in particular, there are well-known geisha districts, with many of the women in the trade being third and fourth generation geisha.

 

   In the evenings in Tokyo’s Akasaka district, which borders the country’s government center, one can still see geisha being delivered to ryotei and ryokan in rickshaws pulled by men wearing traditional Edo age garb.

   Most geisha now voluntarily enter the profession when they are in their late teens. Their training is less formal and less comprehensive—often as little as a few weeks, as opposed to years in earlier times.

 

     But today’s instant geisha are just as fascinating, just as entertaining, if not more so, than their predecessors. And they are almost always more attractive because today their popularity and success is more dependent upon their looks.

 

_________________________________________

Boyé Lafayette De Mente has been involved with Asia since the late 1940s as a member of a U.S. intelligence agency, journalist and editor. He is a graduate of Jōchi University in Tokyo, Japan and Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Arizona, USA. In addition to books on the business practices, social behavior and languages of China, Japan, Korea and Mexico he has written extensively about the moral collapse of the U.S. along with books on his home state of Arizona. To see a full list of his books go to: www.authorsonlinebookshop.com. Recent books include: CHINA Understanding & Dealing with the Chinese Way of Doing Business; JAPAN Understanding & Dealing with the NEW Japanese Way of Doing Business; AMERICA’S FAMOUS HOPI INDIANS; ARIZONA’S LORDS OF THE LAND [the Navajos] and SPEAK JAPANESE TODAY – A Little Language Goes a Long Way!

In Japan Good Design is Everywhere!

Boyé Lafayette De Mente

 

TOKYO—In the 1960s and 70s a number of Japan specialists and media pundits predicted that Japan would become the world’s largest economy—bypassing and overshadowing the United States.

 

  Those predictions were naïve to say the least, but Japan has in fact become a world leader in a number of key areas that include technological advances in several scientific fields, particularly in the creation of new materials.

 

    This development is especially remarkable because invention and innovation were virtually taboo in Japan from the mid-1600s until the last decades of the 19th century, putting the Japanese some 200 years behind the Western world in scientific research and technology.

 

  But there is one area in which the Japanese have been more advanced than Westerners—intellectually as well as technologically—for well over a thousand years, and that is in the world of design and in the creation of arts and crafts that are superior in both design and quality.

 

   As far back as the 7th century Korean immigrants began bringing sophisticated Chinese art and craft technology to Japan. During the golden Heian period (794-1185) this technology and the accompanying master/apprentice system of training were integrated into Japan’s common culture.

 

     Each generation of artists and craftsmen raised the bar on the standards of design and quality until they reached the level of a fine art. When the first Westerners showed up in Japan in the 16th century they were astounded at the technological ability of the Japanese and the quality of their crafts.

 

     But it took the Japanese almost exactly one hundred years—from the 1860s to the 1960s—to get out from under the influence of foreign importers and to begin incorporating these traditional design and manufacturing skills into their export products—and the rest, as the saying goes, is history.

 

   Today, the philosophical and ethical principles that are the foundation of Japanese design and product quality are being adopted worldwide, creating what is now being called a new era of design.

 

  I have been promoting the traditional elements of Japanese design since the 1950s, and in 2006 published a new book on the subject entitled Elements of Japanese—Key Terms for Understanding & Using Japan’s Classic Wabi-Sabi-Shibui Concepts.

   The book identifies 65 concepts that constitute the heart of the Japanese design process and the products that result—beginning with the terms honshitsu (hone-sheet-sue) and seizui (say-zooey), which refer to the essence of Japanese design, and ending with Zen, which teaches one how to distinguish reality from all of the illusions that become embedded in our minds.

 

   The book offers new insights into the historical and cultural developments that are at the roots of the new international aesthetic movement—from wa (wah), harmony; kaizen (kigh-zen), continuous improvement; and mushin (muu-sheen), empty mind, to mujo (muu-joh), incompleteness.

 

  Despite the inroads that have been made in Japan by Westernization and modernization since the 1860s the traditional design and quality concepts are alive and well, and they are tangible and visible for all to see.

 

     Even in crowded Tokyo and other Japanese cities the evidence of good design and quality are visible on subways and trains and in the streets—on advertising posters, on storefronts, in product displays, in the architecture and interior furnishings of shops and restaurants, in buildings and offices.

 

  For the discerning foreign visitor in Japan, just a few days can be an extraordinary aesthetic and cultural experience that is the highlight of the trip. If you look closely, the whole country is a virtual museum of modern and traditional art that adds an emotional, intellectual and spiritual ambiance to daily life.

 

    And it is possible for those who are more highly tuned to both the beauty and functionality of Japanese design to literally step back in time before the appearance of Western concepts in the country, when only Japanese designs existed, by simply going through a door—into a traditional inn, restaurant or home.

_________________________________________

Boyé Lafayette De Mente has been involved with Asia since the late 1940s as a member of a U.S. intelligence agency, journalist and editor. He is a graduate of Jōchi University in Tokyo, Japan and Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Arizona, USA. In addition to books on the business practices, social behavior and languages of China, Japan, Korea and Mexico he has written extensively about the moral collapse of the U.S. along with books on his home state of Arizona. To see a full list of his books go to: www.authorsonlinebookshop.com. Recent books include: CHINA Understanding & Dealing with the Chinese Way of Doing Business; JAPAN Understanding & Dealing with the NEW Japanese Way of Doing Business; AMERICA’S FAMOUS HOPI INDIANS; ARIZONA’S LORDS OF THE LAND [the Navajos] and SPEAK JAPANESE TODAY – A Little Language Goes a Long Way!

Saving Japan’s Subtle Sexy “Cover-It-All-Up” Kimono!

Boyé Lafayette De Mente

People who are not intimately familiar with Japan’s traditional [female] kimono may never have thought of the “cover-everything-up” garments as particularly sexy, but they are. Even the most die-hard take-it-all-off advocates cannot deny their influence on both the girls and women who wear them and the libido of males who view them.

 

     The first step in converting full or nearly full-exposure die-hards to an appreciation of the seductive appeal of kimono is to remind them that total exposure of the female body eventually results in a loss of its seductive powers…

 

     In ancient times the Japanese learned that mystery and the imagination are far more powerful sexual turn-on’s than complete exposure of the body, and until recent times this knowledge was reflected in their wearing apparel as well as in other areas of their life, including communal bathing.

 

     Furthermore, early Japanese, being especially sensually oriented because of their Shinto beliefs, did not leave the seductive powers of form-fitting kimono to just concealing rather than revealing the physical charms of girls and women. They added the power of colors and design elements to further enhance the sensual appeal of the garments.

 

    But many of the lifestyle changes that were introduced into Japan from the 1870s on were incompatible with the kimono, and over the next century it gradually disappeared from everyday wear.

    By the 1970s one generally saw kimono only on special occasions such as weddings and holidays. It began to seem as if this amazing garment had been consigned to the dust heap of history.

 

     And then in the early 1970s manufacturers began an attempt to revive the popularity of the kimono by producing cheaper versions of them in cotton and linen, rather than the traditional silk—itself one of the most sensual fabrics ever made. The enormous but latent cultural power of the kimono kicked in and in no time the industry was worth ¥2 trillion a year.

 

    But the new cotton and linen kimono had a short lifetime, their cost continued to spiral upward, and sales began to decline. By 2007 sales were off by about 75 percent, resulting in something quite new for Japan: the appearance of low-cost kimono rental services and large numbers of retailers specializing in secondhand kimono.

 

     Now, a growing number of people, particularly middle-aged and older women and men, rent kimono for special occasions, including to wear while strolling around in traditional neighborhoods, to attend kabuki and noh performances, and to visit famous historical sites.     

 

     One traditionally styled restaurant in Tokyo’s Kagurazaka district [the Shinari] rents kimono to patrons who make reservations in advance, allowing them to have a totally traditional dining experience.

 

     Since many Japanese have never worn kimono before, rental services [and the Shinari restaurant] assist their patrons in putting the garments on properly. Rental fees for up to eight hours cost between $50 and $70.

 

     Retail shops say their bestsellers to younger women are in the $200 to $300 range, while older women are inclined to buy more expensive versions.  Some shops carry kimono made of denim as well as cotton and linen—the denim appealing more to men than to women.

 

     Traditional silk kimono are still made in Kyoto for really wealthy clientele, and cost up to $10,000-$15,000. If properly cared for these kimono can last for half a millennia or more and become family heirlooms, passed from generation to generation.

 

     Renewed interest in wearing kimono is reflective of the latent power of Japan’s traditional culture and a growing unease with the style of living and working that came with the modern economy.

 

     The effect that a kimono has on teenage girls and young women in particular is remarkable—their attitude and behavior changes. They must walk in a more sedate manner that is conspicuously sensual. They feel the sensuality of the colorful, form-fitting garments, and it shows in their manner.

 

     Both the change in the physical appearance and the behavior of young women in kimono have a subtle but powerful affect on the libido of males…which is certainly not lost on the females!

 

     Interestingly, a growing number of foreign women are discovering the potency of kimono and adding it to their arsenal of feminine wiles.

 

Copyright © 2008 by Boyé Lafayette De Mente

 

__________________________________

 

Boyé Lafayette De Mente is the author of more than 50 pioneer business, cultural and languages books on China, Japan, Korea and Mexico, including SPEAK JAPANESE TODAY – A Little Language Goes a Long Way! [available from Amazon.com]  To see a list and synopses of his books go to: www.boyedemente.com.

 

Published in: on October 21, 2008 at 4:22 pm  Comments (1)  

Eliminating “Old Men Smell” and Sex Pheromones!

 Boyé Lafayette De Mente

The creative and innovating abilities of Japanese scientists and product developers are apparently unbounded—as is the variety of areas and things that attract their attention.

Among the recent and more far-out of their innovations are lines of men’s wear that “eat” body odors.

Now if that doesn’t strike you as being worthy of serious attention and effort by developers and researchers, you may have to spend some time reconsidering the power of modern-day advertising that is designed to program the minds of viewers and listeners to buy their products.

And if that doesn’t do the trick, you may have to resort to considering the modern-day sensibilities of women who because of advertising find the smell of sweat—their own but especially that of men—unpleasant and unacceptable.

There is more. It is a given that as men age their natural body odor changes…taking on a fetid smell to varying degrees. The older the man the stronger this smell becomes, and if not controlled by bathing and other means the smell can be a real turn-off for people with a keen sense of smell.

As it happens, most men of whatever age are either not conscious of their own smell or it doesn’t bother them. Basically, it’s kind of like working in a sausage factory. After a while you don’t notice the smell.

Women in Japan and other “advanced countries” are especially sensitive to male sweat because they have been programmed to consider it both unsightly and unpleasant. And this especially applies to both outer and under garments worn by men.

Now, Japanese apparel manufacturers have mounted an all-out war against sweat-soaked shorts and suits by creating fabrics that deodorized themselves. Talk about advancing the human condition!

But what the makers, buyers and sniffers (meaning women) are forgetting—if they ever knew—is that male sweat is loaded with sex-related chemicals called pheromones that are designed to attract females and turn them on.

If the odor of male sweat is eliminated altogether—and that is obviously the direction humanity is going in—and men no longer have this invisible sexual attraction going for them, what will happen to male-female relations?

Men are already becoming feminized to an amazing degree that flies in the face of nature…a portent of the time when females will be the dominate half of the species.

If you would like to know more about why and how this is happening, go to the book category of amazon.com and check out The Myth of Intelligent Life on Planet Earth!

___________________________________

Boyé Lafayette De Mente is the author of more than 50 pioneer business, cultural and languages books on China, Japan, Korea and Mexico, including Why Mexicans Think and Behave the Way They Do!  To see a list and synopses of his books go to: www.boyedemente.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on October 21, 2008 at 3:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

Why Foreign Men like Japan! (It’s the Girls!)

 

By Boyé Lafayette De Mente

 

The untold story of Japan’s rise to economic prominence

is the contributions made by pliant, seductive Japanese girls!

 

As a trade journalist based in Tokyo during the most critical years of Japan’s climb up from the destruction of World War II, I found that the majority of the American and European importers who began trooping to the country from 1948 on—and thereafter made multiple annual trips—did not do so because they had so many problems with their suppliers—which were routinely formidable, to say the least— or to place additional orders!

No!  They did so because they were able to consort with large numbers of beautiful young Japanese women in the mizu shobai (me-zoo show-by), or “water business”— the traditional Japanese euphemism for the night-time entertainment trades, especially the hostess-stocked cabarets!

The scale of this “side” industry can be imagined from the fact that during their heyday some of the larger cabarets like the Mikado in Tokyo and the Universe in Osaka had close to a thousand hostesses on their staffs. [Sukarno, the president of Indonesia, married a hostess from a Ginza cabaret who came to his Imperial Hotel room during one of his official visits to Japan.]

In addition to cavorting with hostesses in the mizu shobai, many of the foreign buyers set up mistresses (sometimes provided by their suppliers) in such well-known places as Central Apartments in the Harajuku district of Tokyo, which was a short walk from my office.

My editorial duties took me to Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines on a regular basis, where I “took note” of the charms of the young women in each of these countries, and eventually wrote a book called “Women of the Orient — Intimate Profiles of the World’s Most Feminine Women.”

In that book I listed and discussed the primary physical and intangible attractions of Asian women, devoting the first one-quarter of the book to Japanese girls because there were far more of them in an economic and social position to meet and get involved with foreign men. Another factor that is of special interest was that Japanese women had historically been intrigued by and attracted to foreign men, and it was therefore much easier to develop a relationship with them.

Among the attributes of Japanese girls that foreign men generally find attractive is their petite size. (Why most men like women who are smaller than them is apparently a world-wide male thing — maybe based on nature’s plan that males could overpower females in order to propagate the species.) This size factor alone expands the ego and libido of the average foreign male as if by some dark magic.   (Like little boys, foreign men like to show off this size difference by comparing their hands with the hands of their Japanese girl friends.)

The olive-like (not yellow!) complexion of most Japanese girls and their black hair is another turn-on for foreign men. Dark is more sexually potent that white, and when Japanese girls wear their glossy black hair long—as many do—it acts as a powerful aphrodisiac on most men. A girl who has scented her long black hair with a hint of jasmine or some other exotic aroma is even harder to resist.

Some Japanese girls, especially those who come from the northern Tohoku district of Honshu Island, have creamy white complexions. When this is combined with long, straight black hair, petite size, and an attractive face, their effect on most men is a foregone conclusion.

While the eyes of most Japanese girls have the epicanthic fold that gives them a squinty look if the fold is extreme, the eyes of many of them are almond-shaped, and this, according to face-reading theory, is the most sensual of all eye-shapes.

Many girls from Tohoku are also especially distinguished by their eyes as a result of racial mixing between the Japanese and the Ainu inhabitants of northern Japan (who lived there long before the Japanese arrived). One of the racial characteristics of the Ainu, who are Caucasoid instead of Mongoloid, is extraordinarily large, deep, expressive eyes. When the eyes of Japanese-Ainu girls get just the right combination of genes, they are so entrancing that they virtually hypnotize people.

Many of the girls in this category come to Tokyo to become models and movie stars; others join the mizu shobai where they are treated like stars by foreign patrons.

Most foreign men, especially Americans, like women with big bosoms (the movie and television industries having made a fetish out of big breasts). Obviously, most Japanese girls are not genetically programmed to have big breasts (although they are getting bigger as the diet changes and the girls get bigger). 

So why do the girls still rate high on the sex appeal chart of most foreign men?  Because the breasts the girls do have are usually in proportion to their overall body size. More importantly, however, is that the overall feminine image and behavior of Japanese girls makes the size of their breasts a secondary matter.

Many Japanese girls have short legs in proportion to the length of their body trunks (although this, too, is changing rapidly among the young), giving them low-slung butts. This may not sound like a sexual turn-on to someone who has no experience with Japanese girls. And girls in this category are certainly not going to win any beauty pageants. But history shows that short legs and a low butt can be very sexy when packaged in just the right proportions, and especially when the girls are wearing the casual yukata robe or more formal kimono.

While the sex appeal of good-looking Japanese girls may be physical first, it is their behavior that puts the icing on their sexual image. Despite dramatic changes in Japanese culture since the 1960s, Japanese girls are still conditioned, consciously and subconsciously, by their culture to think and behave in very feminine ways.

These ways include physical grace, an air of mystery, coquettishness, softness, vulnerability, an air of innocence, expertise in overt as well as covert flirting, and skill in making men feel masculine and masterful.

Historically, the air of utter innocence and vulnerability that Japanese girls were conditioned to exhibit was one of their most powerful assets in attracting men. Even women who had worked for years as geisha or prostitutes continued to play the role of innocents who were paragons of virtue. Still today most Japanese girls have absorbed enough of the traditional culture that they are able to project this virgin-like image at will.

Also traditionally, Japanese girls and young women who were on the vamp did not always stop with acting like innocent virgins. They often went even further and acted infantile, knowing that this sort of behavior as well was sexually stimulating to many men, especially those who were unsure of their virility. This ploy, too, remains a part of the sensual arsenal of young Japanese women.

Said a very experienced woman in the mizu shobai world: “Nothing turns men on faster and harder than a young girl who combines acting like a baby with performing like a professional.”

Another reason why Japanese girls have long been popular among foreign men is that the girls were conditioned by their society to consort with older men. Throughout most of Japan’s history, in fact, it was only older, more successful men who had the means to enjoy themselves with younger women. This also has changed dramatically since the 1960s, but still today middle-aged and older men of means have access to large numbers of willing high school and college-age girls.

Over and above the sex appeal of Japanese girls, foreign men have been especially attracted to Japan because attractive young girls were readily available to them and were able and willing to satisfy their male egos and sexual fantasies. This availability stemmed from the fact that in Japan premarital and extra-marital sex was not regarded as a sin or as immoral in the Western sense of these terms, and there were few restraints on what could be done, or inhibitions about doing them. Most foreign men in Japan took to this environment like frogs to water.

Young Japanese girls today are far more individualistic and assertive than they were just a few decades ago, and they are often more aggressive than young men in expressing their sensual natures. A significant percentage of them continue to have a special interest in foreign men for the same reason foreign men are attracted to them: their cultural and physical differences.

 These girls, unless they are members of the mizu shobai and it’s just business, are discriminating, however. They will not consort with just any foreigner. Foreign men who connect today must themselves be attractive to some degree, and have interests and manners that the girls approve of…. not to mention the kind of money it takes to court a girl in today’s Japan.

 

Copyright © 2008 by Boyé Lafayette De Mente

___________________________


Boyé Lafayette De Mente has been involved with Japan and East Asia since the late 1940s as a member of a U.S. intelligence agency, student, business journalist, and editor.  He is the author of more than 50 books on Japan, Korea and China, including SEX AND THE JAPANESE – The Sensual Side of Japan. For synopses of his titles go to:
www.boyedemente.com.

Published in: on October 21, 2008 at 3:29 pm  Leave a Comment