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Let’s face it, some jobs are just better than others.
The best companies to work for are headed by effective leaders. They offer competitive salaries, opportunities for advancement, payroll bonuses, health insurance and other useful perks that enhance your quality of life outside the office.
Which U.S. companies offer all that and more?
The compensation, culture and career monitoring website Comparably.com ranked them by region using data collected from 10 million employee ratings and thousands of salary records.
Highspot, a sales software platform, took the top spot in Seattle and Google beat out all the Silicon Valley and San Francisco companies. Hubspot, a software marketing service, was the best in the Boston area, according to workers.
The software company Workfront leads the pack in the Salt Lake City area. The business process outsourcing firm TaskUs is the top company in the Los Angeles region. UiPath, an automation vendor, is the best company to work for in the New York area.
Other Great Companies:Costco, T-Mobile, Google, Apple ranked among best places to work with brightest futures
More Employment: STEM jobs are on the rise. Here are 15 cities hiring the most high-tech workers
Comparably asked workers questions in 20 culture categories including work-life balance, compensation, professional development and leadership.
“What stands out is that these are the best companies across all those categories,” said Comparably’s CEO and founder Jason Nazar. The list is “breaking down how a company is performing to its workers, how happy people are with their pay, and what they think about their team members and managers.”
Comparably organized the winners by region since most companies are vying for the best talent on a local level, according to Nazar. The list is also useful for workers who are seeking employment within a specific market “regardless of company size,” Nazar said.
The winners range from startups with a few employees to Fortune 50 businesses with more than 500 staff members.
“Employees are expecting the best of both worlds,” Nazar said. “They want earlier stage companies to offer the same benefits that they’d get at large-scale companies. At large companies, they want the flexibility and ownership that they’d get in smaller companies.”
Best places to work in Seattle region
1. Highspot (Seattle)
2. Edifecs (Bellevue, Washington)
3. T-Mobile (Bellevue, Washington)
4. Microsoft (Redmond, Washington)
5. Costco (Issaquah, Washington)
6. Akvelon (Bellevue, Washington)
7. Starbucks (Seattle)
8. Hiya (Seattle)
9. Karat (Seattle)
10. RealSelf (Seattle)
11. Shyft Technologies (Seattle)
12. Amazon (Seattle)
13. Zipwhip (Seattle)
14. Porch.com (Seattle)
15. Liquid Planner (Seattle)
Best places to work in Los Angeles
1. TaskUs (Santa Monica, California)
2. PeerStreet(Los Angeles)
3. Acorns (Irvine, California)
4. Barry’s Bootcamp (Los Angeles)
5. Golden Hippo (Woodland Hills, California)
6. InvestCloud (West Hollywood, California)
7. Blizzard Entertainment (Irvine, California)
8. Chrome River Technologies (Los Angeles)
9. Signal Sciences (Los Angeles)
10. SmartBug Media (Newport Beach, California)
11. FaceFirst (Los Angeles)
12. Seek Capital (Los Angeles)
13. Tinder (Los Angeles)
14. CornerStone On Demand (Santa Monica, California)
15. BQE Software (Torrance, California)
Best places to work in Boston region
1. HubSpot (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
2. Drift (Boston)
3. LogMeIn (Boston)
4. Drizly (Boston)
5. Dynatrace (Waltham, Massachusetts)
6. Celtra (Boston)
7. Notarize (Boston)
8. Jabra (Boston)
9. Acquia (Boston)
10. Buildium (Boston)
11. ConnectRN (Waltham, Massachusetts)
12. Pegasystems (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
13. ClearGov (Maynard, Massachusetts)
14. Liberty Mutual Insurance (Boston)
15. TaxJar (Woburn, Massachusetts)
Best places to work in San Francisco/Silicon Valley
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Osaka Metro Co. on Tuesday started testing a next-generation automated ticket gate featuring a facial recognition system.
The subway operator aims to introduce the gates at all of its train stations by fiscal 2024, ahead of the 2025 World Expo in the city of Osaka.
The test involves around 1,200 Osaka Metro employees. According to the rapid transit company, this will be the first such experiment by a Japanese railway operator.
The trial period, set to run through September next year, will be conducted at four stations: Dome-mae Chiyozaki, Morinomiya, Dobutsuen-mae and Daikokucho.
Each station will have facial recognition gates developed by four different firms to compare their functionality.
On Monday, a gate installed at Dome-mae Chiyozaki Station was shown to reporters. When an Osaka Metro employee whose facial data has been registered in advance tried to go through the gate, a camera set up at the facility checked the worker’s face against the data before the gate opened to let the person through.
“Elderly people and people with a stroller, for example, will be able to go through the gate without having to put anything down,” an official of the company said. “We want to improve the station environment by introducing new technologies.”
The gates were developed by Omron Social Solutions Co., Takamisawa Cybernetics Co., Toshiba Infrastructure Systems & Solutions Corp. and Nippon Signal Co.
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Tokyo is arguably one of the most modern cities in the world, a heaving metropolis with its sights set fully on the future.
But look closer and you’ll see plenty of examples of how it has embraced its cultural traditions along the way.
Founded as Edo, modern-day Tokyo was the seat of power for the ruling Tokugawa shogunate — the Japanese military government — from 1603 until 1868. During this period of stability, the city established its status as a global metropolis, where the Ukiyo, or “floating world,” lifestyle blossomed.
Residents settled into the pleasure-seeking aspects of the culture: indulging in kabuki performances, geisha entertainers and sumo wrestling contests — traditions that continue today. Scenes from the era were captured in Ukiyo-e — paintings and woodblock prints — such as “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” by Hokusai. They depicted subjects such as samurai warriors, nature landscapes and even erotica.
A new exhibition celebrating the great Ukiyo-e artists of that era has just opened at the Edo-Tokyo Museum. It’s just one of a huge number of events celebrating art, music and dance — both traditional and contemporary — being held as the city gears up for the 2020 Summer Olympics.
But evidence of Tokyo’s ability to honor the customs of the past — all while forging the city of the future — can be found throughout the city as well. Here, we offer a travel guide on how to fully immerse yourself in the best of Tokyo’s old and new while visiting some popular city districts.
The Mori Tower is the centerpiece of Roppongi Hills.
Tokyo’s Roppongi district might be most famous for its nightlife, but its raucous reputation has recently given way to a more refined set of nightclubs, bars and restaurants — with companies like Apple and Google even settling into the expat-friendly neighborhood.
It’s also a top destination for art lovers.
The Mori Art Museum, for instance, sits atop Mori Tower, one of Tokyo’s tallest and most prominent buildings. (Part of the Roppongi Hills complex, the tower’s rooftop Tokyo City View offers views of nearby Tokyo Tower and a 360-degree view of the surrounding neon cityscape.)
Upcoming exhibitions at the museum, which highlights contemporary Asian art, include next year’s “STARS: Six Contemporary Artists from Japan to the World” exhibition, running April 23 until September 6, 2020. It features some of Asia’s best-known international artists: Yayoi Kusama, Lee Ufan, Tatsuo Miyajima, Takashi Murakami, Yoshitomo Nara and Hiroshi Sugimoto.
Completing the “Art Triangle Roppongi” are the National Art Center — Japan’s largest art museum — and Tokyo Midtown’s Suntory Museum of Art, which is closed for renovations until May 2020.
While in the area, we recommend honoring the origins of Roppongi, which trace back to the funeral of Shogun Hidetada’s wife, Oeyo, in 1626. The stately affair included a procession from Roppongi to downhill Zōjō-ji Temple.
The funeral procession gathered the elite of the era, and as gratitude for planning the event, the four Buddhist priests responsible were rewarded handsomely. They invested their sums into building new temples, shops and houses that would entice settlers to the development.
Today, the Buddhist temple retains its original 69-foot-tall gate. Constructed in 1622, the Sangedatsumon stands as the oldest wooden structure in Tokyo.
The bright red Senso-ji temple is punctuated by the adjacent five-story pagoda.
One of Tokyo’s most traditional neighborhoods, historic Asakusa’s charms center around the oldest and perhaps most eminent Buddhist temple in the city — Sensō-ji. The bright red temple, completed in 645, is punctuated by the adjacent five-story pagoda, the Asakusa Shinto shrine. Visited by millions annually, the initial entry gate, the Kaminarimon, is a symbol of both Asakusa and the entire city of Tokyo.
Meanwhile, also dating back centuries, nearby Nakamise shopping street stretches out along the approach to Sensō-ji, brimming with souvenir shops. The classical surroundings make it a popular destination for tourists to don yukatas and kimonos, which are available to rent or buy.
In the evening, when the stores lock up for the evening, their shutters reveal an elaborate mural painted of a ukiyo-e scene.
The world’s tallest tower, the 2,080-foot-tall Tokyo Skytree looms down many of Asakusa’s lengthy side streets, while the area’s riverside views have become a preferred location to watch the sunset and the glittering skyline illuminate at night.
The Seiko Building, featuring a clock tower, is an icon of Ginza.
Real estate in Tokyo’s swanky Ginza neighborhood is the costliest in the city, its wide boulevards offering hints of European influence.
Boasting some of the city’s largest shopping complexes, including Ginza SIX, with over 240 stores, the district is filled with international luxury brands. On the weekends the main shopping strip, Chuo-dori Street, shuts down to traffic and opens only to pedestrians.
Ginza’s high-end reputation extends to dining too. It’s home to three-Michelin-starred restaurants such as the Zen-like Ginza Kojyu and elegant Sushi Yoshitake, both of which seat just eight and thus are notoriously difficult to secure a reservation for.
But there are plenty of remnants of the past worth exploring in Ginza, too.
Among the standouts is the Hattori Clock Tower.
In the late 1800s, Kintarō Hattori, a 22-year-old watchmaker whose wares had already gained favor with the Imperial Household, opened a shop in the district. Founded as K. Hattori, the company that would come to be known as Seiko now marks the heart of Ginza.
From 1894 to 1921 the Hattori Clock Tower stood at the site. When the retail arm of the company, Wako department store, opened in 1932, a new clocktower was placed there in homage. It remains one of the most prominent post-earthquake, pre-war buildings in Tokyo and a symbol of the city.
Meanwhile, Ginza’s classical Kabukiza Theatre, remodeled in 2013 and inspired by the design of Japanese castles, has occupied its current location since 1889 and is worth a visit as well.
Kabuki is a traditional style of theater characterized by eccentric costumes, bold makeup and exaggerated acting. The Kabukiza Gallery on the theater’s fifth floor features props and costumes used in actual performances.
Xiang Xiang, a panda cub born in 2017, is the unofficial symbol of Ueno Park.
Japan’s most popular park, Ueno welcomes over 10 million visitors annually.
During sakura, or spring cherry blossom season, the stunning space is filled with blankets of picnickers enjoying “hanami,” the custom of sitting and enjoying the flowers. The centerpiece of the park, Ueno Zoo, is Japan’s oldest and is home to beloved panda cub Xiang Xiang, born in 2017.
But it’s also a destination for art and history lovers as well
Rising as a symbol of rebirth following the the Great Kantō earthquake, which struck Tokyo in 1923, the park became home to Japan’s first public art museum, the Prefecture Art Museum (the present Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum) three years later.
It was followed in 1931 by the Tokyo Museum of Science (the present National Museum of Nature and Science).
Today, it’s home to six museums. The remaining four are the Tokyo National Museum, the Ueno Royal Museum, the National Museum of Western Art and the Shitamachi Museum.
During World War II, the area around the park became a black market. This eventually evolved into the present Ameya-yokocho Market, where military surplus supplies are still available along with discount souvenirs and plentiful street food.
Largely spared by natural disasters and wartime destruction, Yanaka, with its preserved old town “Shitamachi” atmosphere, offers a winding stroll into Tokyo’s charming past. The area’s many wandering cats have become the unofficial mascots of the sleepy neighborhood. The well-cared-for kitties often join passersby on tours through Yanaka’s preserved Shōwa period charms.
The quiet neighborhood’s backstreets contain many local, single-owner shops. Senbei, or rice crackers, are a celebrated fare of the neighborhood, and fish pancakes at Yanaka Ginza’s Maneki-ya have become a local favorite, while trendy coffee shops like Kayaba are known for fluffy egg sandwiches.
The relaxed nature of the district has fostered a variety of unique art galleries.
The avant-garde SCAI takes up residency in a former bathhouse, and HAGISO is located in a classic wooden apartment with a cafe.
With over 7,000 graves, Yanaka Cemetery is the biggest in Japan, though its many gardens offer an uplifting ambiance. In April, abundant pink sakura trees line the cemetery’s famous “Cherry Blossom Avenue.”
Yanaka’s many temples are particularly inviting. These include the district’s oldest temple, Tennōji. Established in 1274, it’s known for its bronze Buddha statue, cast in 1690.
Akihabara is a popular neighborhood for fans of video games and anime.
Though some affectionately refer to it by its shortened label, “Akiba,” Akihabara may be best known for its “Electric Town” moniker.
The district’s many neon facades are most closely associated with video games and anime culture, but the futuristic hub of Japanese popular culture is actually the site of one of the original entrance gates to the city and was home to Edo-period samurai.
When the Akihabara train station opened in 1888, the area began to flourish. In the 1930s, department stores specializing in home electronics earned the area its “electric” nickname, prospering primarily on sales of washing machines, refrigerators and stereos.
By the 1980s, the stores began dealing in personalized computers, which set it towards catering to “otaku” goods. (Otaku is a Japanese term for people with obsessive interests which has come to be a term of endearment describing a wide-range of geekdom.)
Kanda: Tokyo’s “anime temple.”
But buried under all those lights, remnants of its past remain — albeit with a few modern nods to the neighborhood.
Kanda Shrine dates back nearly 1,300 years. Originally built near Ōtemachi district, it was moved to the current site in 1616. Destroyed by the 1923 earthquake, it was rebuilt in concrete and subsequently survived World War II firebombings.
Due to its proximity to Akihabara, it’s largely known as the “anime temple.” Nozomi Tojo, a character from the anime series “Love Live!,” a purple-haired school girl from Akihabara, is the shrine’s official mascot.
Here, ema prayer boards, normally scrawled with wishes, are instead meticulously illustrated with anime characters. Charms promising to protect electronics from fault can be purchased here as well. The microchip-designed talisman comes in a three-piece set: a cell-phone sticker, a computer-sized bookmark and a wallet-sized card
The shrine hosts one of Tokyo’s three most famous festivals, the Kanda Matsuri parade, created to celebrate prosperity under the Tokugawa Shogun. The next Kanda Matsuri is scheduled for May 2021.
Takeshita Street is a gathering place for teenagers to show off the latest bold fashion trends.
Shibuya is best known for two things: Its frenetic crosswalk, often referred to as the world’s busiest intersection; and nearby Harajuku, center of Japanese youth culture and fashion
But after you’ve visited those hotspots, we recommend hitting Yoyogi Park and its adjacent Meiji Shrine.
Stepping under its towering wooden torii gate — the world’s largest — you’lll find the busy city dissipates into tranquil greenery.
Yoyogi Park is home to the world’s largest wooden torii gate.
After the original gate was destroyed by a lightning strike in 1966, Yasushi Kawashima, a timber magnate from Tokyo, committed himself to eventually discovering a 1,500-year-old Japanese cypress tree in Taiwan that would be used to construct the replacement, completed in 1975, that stands today.
The Meiji Shrine complex was built in 1920 to honor Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken, thus earning its Jingu designation, signifying the shrine’s connection to Imperial family.
Near the south gate entrance lies the newly inaugurated Meiji Jingu Museum, showcasing personal artifacts of the emperor and empress.
Across the street from the park, the Yoyogi National Stadium’s sweeping suspension roof was designed by celebrated Japanese architect Kenzo Tange to host sporting competitions in 1964.
In 2020, the venue will be the site for Olympic handball and the Paralympic wheelchair rugby and badminton events.
Shinjuku is Tokyo’s largest and busiest entertainment district.
Tokyo’s busy Shinjuku City pulsates with energy. The district is home to both the city’s largest central entertainment zone, Kabukichō, and the shiny skyscraper district featuring luxurious hotels such as Park Hyatt — featured in the film “Lost in Translation” — and the Metropolitan Government Office, whose observation decks are open to the public for free.
Shinjuku’s train station, one of the world’s busiest, serves millions of passengers daily (five of the city’s major train lines converge there).
The area is also where you’ll find the studio of famed Japanese avant-garde artist Yayoi Kusama, who continues to produce new works at the nearby psychiatric hospital where she has held permanent residence since the late 1970s.
Opened in 2017, The Yayoi Kusama Museum “presents major works from Kusama’s earlier years up until present day,” according to the director of the museum, Akira Tatehata — that includes some of her famous dotted pumpkins, as well as paintings and a light sculpture.
Tucked away nearby is the seemingly quaint Koukokuji Buddhist temple. Inside, you’ll find the Ruriden columbarium. Filled with 2,046 LED-lit glass Buddhas corresponding to ashes of the deceased entombed there, it’s often referred to as the world’s most high-tech cemetary.
By entering the deceased’s name into an electronic keyboard, their digital headstone illuminates. Inputting the temple’s name in kanji characters results in a light show depicting life through Japan’s changing seasons.
Meanwhile, nearby Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is one of Tokyo’s largest and most peaceful green spaces. A private garden of the Imperial Family since 1903, it was opened to the public in 1949.
The park’s gardens are treasured for hanami. Traditional tea houses on the grounds offer green tea and sweets, sold via vending machines but prepared with care by hand.
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Whether you’re applying to a traditional Japanese company or a Gaishikei (a foreign company in Japan), here are a few expert tips to help you ace that job interview.
Do your homework before interviews and before accepting an offer
Get as much background information as you can on the company, the job and the concrete expectations of the Hiring Manager. It’s easy enough to look online, but we’ve always found it best to reach out to people who are either currently working in the company or former employees, as well as those who have interacted with the organization, or even your potential Hiring Manager! Be diligent with your research by getting real data from reliable sources. Having a second, third, or fourth opinion allows you to see the company from a variety of viewpoints.
Prepare your questions in advance of interviews
Many people overlook the fact that having well-thought-out questions for your interviewer is actually one of the best ways to show your competence and sincerity of interest in a role. While this might have been a bold move in the past, nowadays I feel it should be standard for all candidates to do their own due diligence on companies by asking questions at each step of the interview process – especially in today’s candidate-driven market where the ratio of jobs available to candidates in the Japan market can be as high as 7:1 depending on the exact domain of the job and requirements.
In terms of the types of questions to think about when preparing for an interview, it is important to understand who you are meeting and calibrate your questions to the audience. Some ideas are as follows:
HR Interview – focus your questions on career development systems, training, company culture, the type of people whom have been successful joining, as well as the types whom have not, the challenges they see in the organization and how they plan to address those, etc. Direct Hiring Manager Interview – focus your questions on their current challenges, future goals for the team, short term (less than 12 months) and mid term (12-24 months) goals of the role, how they define success for this position, perspective on company culture, thought about business prospects and risks, etc. Executive Interview (more senior than the direct Hiring Manager) – focus on the bigger picture, more macro topics such as overall direction of the business, threats to the business or organization, challenges they are facing in growing the business, etc.
One area we do not feel candidates should directly address through their questions (especially early in the process) is the topic of compensation & benefits. We have seen many people over the years send the wrong message to a prospective employer by asking about their salary budget, airline seat class policies for business trips, etc. in the first interview. Focus on the organization, role, business prospects, career development opportunities, etc. If you do well enough and are interested in what you hear, there will be plenty of time to talk about compensation & benefits later in the process.
As mentioned in our previous article, because of the political and cultural landscape of Japan, traditional Japanese companies and even many gaishikei (foreign companies) tend to ask questions here that may not be customary overseas. If you are interested in our thoughts on this topic, please check the link at the end of the article.
Another point to be aware of is the length of time the interview process may take to complete (of course this depends a lot from company to company, so we are talking in broad brush strokes here). We have seen many interviews here last 1.5-2 hours at times because Hiring Managers have spent a lot of time and effort to talk about personal topics with the candidate they are interviewing and also have seen many hiring processes easily last 4-5 months as many companies continue to prioritize collective decision making processes and want to build consensus along each step of the process. Japan is still a very consensus-driven decision making culture – it’s often the community or the workplace that decides on hiring decisions, not a single person.
Even if you and the hiring manager have very good chemistry, there are often still numerous other stakeholders involved in these decisions, so that naturally tends to lengthen the decision making process here vs. other, more pragmatic approaches to hiring. The tech sector, as well as a handful of Japanese companies, are catching up and trying to speed up their processes in general, however, as a rule of thumb in Japan, patience will go a long way in helping you manage your nerves in most interview processes.
Preparing well for any endeavor involves getting the right mindset and setting your expectations straight. If you keep these three tips in mind, we are certain that the interview process will be more manageable for you.
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Interviews in Japan can be quite different when compared to those in other markets and we hope that this article is able to help you prepare for your pending job-seeking activities.
In some of our previous articles, we went over the behaviors and mindsets to adapt to in order to build a successful career in this country. If, after reading that, you’re still keen–maybe even eager–on pursuing a professional career in Japan, then the next step would be to look for opportunities and start submitting your CV. This can prove to be both an exciting and nerve-wracking experience for candidates, regardless of where they are from or their experience level.
Getting a foot in the door with a prospective employer in Japan takes preparation, patience, and a general cultural awareness if you are to be successful in your endeavors. There are some aspects to the interviewing process here that are quite unique, and if you are unprepared for them they can come across as very administrative, awkward and downright invasive if you do not understand the context in which they are happening.
When looking at hiring processes in Japan, it is very important to keep two fundamental concepts in mind so that you can understand why certain questions or processes are taking place in your interview process.
The first concept to understand is that Japan is generally a very pro-labor country, with labor laws highly skewed towards protecting employees rather than employers.
Secondly, Japan has historically had very low labor liquidity amongst mid career hires, so this has led to the country having a comparatively less sophisticated, more administrative approach to talent acquisition vs. some other markets globally.
A Pro-Labor Japan
In terms of the country’s basic political landscape relating to employment, Japan is very pro-labor. Labor laws in the country are generally constructed to protect full-time employees, making it very hard for companies to fire their people if needed. One of the positive derivatives of this pro-labor backdrop is that it generally helps to cement strong commitments between companies and their workforce over time.
Unlike in other markets where poor performance can easily cost you your job, in Japan, you will typically find that companies must stick with their employees, even through bad performance because the process of actually firing them is too costly, painful and time intensive given the protections in place for labor in the country.
The downside of this, from the employers’ perspective, is the difficulty in risk-managing hiring processes to limit the downside of a bad hire for companies operating in Japan. This has led to a generally more cautious, risk averse hiring process for many companies in order to try to avoid the high costs associated with a bad hire.
General Expectations for the Job Interview
These two fundamental aspects of the Japanese labor market steer the direction of job interviews into ways that most foreigners are not used to. For one, foreigners will find that Japanese companies casually ask about one’s 個人情報 (Kojin Joho) or private information, which includes age, salary, salary verification, marital status etc.
This might be uncomfortable for foreigners who are not used to disclosing such things, and in many ways goes against the current of popular culture relating to privacy rights we have seen erupting around the globe. However, regardless of global trends around privacy, according to local labor law In Japan, companies have the right to ask such questions in the interview process as part of their due diligence in hiring mid career talents for their team, so rather than fighting the process, you might as well get prepared to disclose such information in most cases if you want / need the offer from a prospective employer in Japan.
Given the strict labor laws protecting employees highlighted above, hiring managers are compelled to carefully consider the personal background of their candidates in order to better ascertain their fit to the organization and to attempt to minimize risks associated with mishires, so might as well be prepared to disclose such information if you want / need an offer from your prospective employer.
Another part of the standard interviewing process in Japan, which we feel is actually generally more of a positive than a negative, is the focus from the employer on genuinely building a relationship with prospective candidates and getting to know one another on a personal level to ascertain cultural and philosophical fit to the group. Many hiring managers and companies will spend extended time getting to know a candidate’s personal hobbies, family situation, etc. in order to attempt to deeply understand them as an individual and to try to gauge their overall fit to the team. This may not happen in all interview processes, but we see it more often than not with more traditional organizations in Japan as such organizations are often more focused on protecting their organizational 和 (Wa), or harmony, rather than simply maximizing performance by bringing in an all star from outside the group.
At the end of the day, understanding the context as to why certain things are happening or why certain questions are being asked in an interview process can go a long way in helping you to successfully navigate your job seeking activities in Japan.
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Collaboration to Accelerate Use of Autonomous Vehicles and AI Technologies Expands to New Testing and Validation System
Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development (TRI-AD) and NVIDIA today announced a new collaboration to develop, train and validate self-driving vehicles.
The partnership builds on an ongoing relationship with Toyota to utilize the NVIDIA DRIVE AGX Xavier™ AV computer and is based on close development between teams from NVIDIA, TRI-AD in Japan and Toyota Research Institute (TRI) in the United States. The broad partnership includes advancements in:
AI computing infrastructure using NVIDIA GPUs
Simulation using the NVIDIA DRIVE Constellation™ platform
In-car AV computers based on DRIVE AGX Xavier or DRIVE AGX Pegasus™
The agreement includes the development of an architecture that can be scaled across many vehicle models and types, accelerating the development and production timeline, and simulating the equivalent of billions of miles of driving in challenging scenarios.
“Our vision is to enable self-driving vehicles with the ultimate goal of reducing fatalities to zero, enabling smoother transportation, and providing mobility for all,” said Dr. James Kuffner, CEO of TRI-AD. “Our technology collaboration with NVIDIA is important to realizing this vision. We believe large-scale simulation tools for software validation and testing are critical for automated driving systems.”
NVIDIA founder and CEO Jensen Huang added, “Self-driving vehicles for everyday use and commercial applications in countless industries will soon be commonplace. Everything that moves will be autonomous. Producing all these vehicles at scale will require a connected collaboration for all elements of the system. Our relationship with TRI-AD and TRI is a model for that collaboration.”
AI, and specifically deep learning, has become a vital tool for the production of next-generation automated vehicles, particularly because of the need to recognize and handle the nearly infinite number of scenarios encountered on the road.
Simulation has proven to be a valuable tool for testing and validating AV hardware and software before it is put on the road. As part of the collaboration, TRI-AD and TRI are utilizing the NVIDIA DRIVE Constellation platform for components of their simulation workflow.
DRIVE Constellation is a data center solution, comprising two side-by-side servers. The first server — Constellation Simulator — uses NVIDIA GPUs running DRIVE Sim™ software to generate the sensor output from a virtual car driving in a realistic virtual world. The second server — Constellation Vehicle — contains the DRIVE AGX car computer, which processes the simulated sensor data. The driving decisions from Constellation Vehicle are fed back into Constellation Simulator, aiming to realize bit-accurate, timing-accurate hardware-in-the-loop testing.
This end-to-end simulation toolchain will help enable Toyota, TRI-AD and TRI to bring automated vehicles to market.
About TRI-AD Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development, Inc. focuses on the advanced development of software for automated driving efforts. Its mission is to build the world’s safest automated driving car, as well as strengthening coordination with Toyota Research Institute (TRI) and the research and advanced development teams within the Toyota Group. Activities include developing automated driving software, leveraging data-handling capabilities and creating a straight line from research to commercialization. See more at www.tri-ad.global.
About TRI Toyota Research Institute is a wholly owned subsidiary of Toyota Motor North America under the direction of Dr. Gill Pratt. The company, established in 2016, aims to strengthen Toyota’s research structure and has four initial mandates: 1) enhance the safety of automobiles, 2) increase access to cars to those who otherwise cannot drive, 3) translate Toyota’s expertise in creating products for outdoor mobility into products for indoor mobility, and 4) accelerate scientific discovery by applying techniques from artificial intelligence and machine learning. TRI is based in the United States, with offices in Los Altos, Calif., Cambridge, Mass., and Ann Arbor, Mich. For more information about TRI, see www.tri.global.
About NVIDIA NVIDIA‘s (NASDAQ: NVDA) invention of the GPU in 1999 sparked the growth of the PC gaming market, redefined modern computer graphics and revolutionized parallel computing. More recently, GPU deep learning ignited modern AI — the next era of computing — with the GPU acting as the brain of computers, robots and self-driving cars that can perceive and understand the world. More information at http://nvidianews.nvidia.com/.
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The so-called Earth Overshoot Day has moved up by two months over the past 20 years and this year’s date is the earliest ever, a study by the Global Footprint Network says.
Mankind will have used up its allowance of natural resources such as water, soil and clean air for all of 2019 by Monday, a report said.
The so-called Earth Overshoot Day has moved up by two months over the past 20 years and this year’s date is the earliest ever, the study by the Global Footprint Network said.
The equivalent of 1.75 planets would be required to produce enough to meet humanity’s needs at current consumption rates.
“Earth Overshoot Day falling on July 29 means that humanity is currently using nature 1.75 times faster than our planet’s ecosystems can regenerate. This is akin to using 1.75 Earths,” the environmental group, which is headquartered in Oakland, California, said in a statement.
“The costs of this global ecological overspending are becoming increasingly evident in the form of deforestation, soil erosion, biodiversity loss, or the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The latter leads to climate change and more frequent extreme weather events,” it added.
Calculated since 1986, the grim milestone has arrived earlier each year.
In 1993, it fell on Oct. 21, in 2003 on Sept. 22, and in 2017 on Aug. 2.
“We have only got one Earth — this is the ultimately defining context for human existence. We can’t use 1.75 (earths) without destructive consequences,” said Mathis Wackernagel, founder of Global Footprint Network.
Maria Carolina Schmidt Zaldivar, Chile’s environment minister and chair of the Climate COP25 scheduled this December in Santiago, said a major cause of the date falling earlier and earlier was growing amounts of carbon dioxide emissions.
“The importance of decisive action is becoming ever more evident,” she said.
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Google made almost all its money from ads. It was a booming business—until it wasn’t. Here’s how things looked right before the most spectacular crash the technology industry had ever seen.
The crumbling of Google’s cornerstone Back when Google was still just an idea, its founders thought that “advertising funded search engines [would] be inherently biased towards the advertisers and away from the needs of the consumers.”
They changed their minds.
With that change, Google became one of the wealthiest, most powerful companies in history. Search was Google’s golden goose, as well as its only unambiguous win. So when Amazon rapidly surpassed Google as the top product search destination in 2017, Google’s foundations began to falter.
Amazon was fighting Google on its home turf, and it was winning. Even worse, the people turning to Amazon over Google for their shopping searches were from the most important group for advertisers and the future: young people. Advertisers followed them, and Amazon began to siphon away ad dollars that once went to Google search ads. Google’s mighty engine had started to sputter.
Google realized that it was hard to convince people who were used to getting something for free that they should now pay for it.
A shift from search to discovery also started to take shape in the late 2010s: When shoppers weren’t searching for things directly on Amazon, things were finding them. Advertisers realized that money previously spent on Google’s search ads was better spent either on Amazon ads or native ads in content feeds, like Instagram and Facebook. Google had no engaging content feeds, so it completely missed the wave, just like it had with social media and instant messaging.
Seeing the signs on the horizon, Google tried unsuccessfully to find revenue in areas other than advertising. Google struggled to make money with its hardware, cloud services, and wildly ambitious “Other Bets” categories.
For all its efforts, the money Google earned from its nonadvertising ventures only ever accounted for a mere 15% of their revenue. And revenue from Google’s moonshot “Other Bets” didn’t even cover a small fraction of the increasingly massive fines the company started to receive from looming regulators.
The war on ads In late 2015, Apple—Google’s main competitor in the mobile space—added a feature to their devices that allowed users to block ads.
Devices running iOS were responsible for as much as 75% of Google’s revenue from mobile search ads, which is probably why Google was paying Apple billions of dollars every year to remain the default search engine on Apple devices. By making this move, Apple was simultaneously weighing in decisively on the great ad blocking debate of the 2010s and dealing a substantial blow to the future of online advertising.
This move from Apple reflected the unprecedented mainstream adoption of ad blocking software happening at the time. Having one of the biggest technology companies on the planet standing behind consumers only emboldened the movement.
Well over a quarter of desktop and laptop users in the United States were blocking ads by the year 2018. Those users would soon block ads on their mobile devices, too, as mobile ad block usage eclipsed desktop usage in 2017 and rose even faster.
Mobile ads were one of Google’s biggest areas of growth during its final years of domination, but people started to block mobile ads en masse once they realized that ads and tracking scripts were costing them as much as $23 per month in bandwidth and using up a significant portion of their battery life.
Research showed that 54% of users reported a lack of trust as their reason for not clicking banner ads, and 33% found them completely intolerable. The average banner ad was clicked on by a dismal 0.06% of viewers, and of those clicks, over 60% were accidental.
Even those who weren’t blocking ads had trained themselves to ignore them entirely. Researchers dubbed this phenomenon “banner blindness.” The people most likely to block ads were also the most valuable to advertisers: millennials and high earners. Young users are a strong indicator for future trends, and they were heavy users of ad blocking software. Internet users had spoken, and they hated Google’s ads.
The ad blocking epidemic presented significant threats to Google’s business: People were getting used to using the internet without seeing ads, and Google was losing money every time their ads were blocked.
In early 2017, Google made the desperate, confusing, and legally questionable decision to add its own form of ad blocker to Chrome, but it did nothing except attract more antitrust regulation. It would quickly become clear to Google that even though ads were getting slightly better, ad blocking numbers would continue to rise.
Later, in 2019, Google tried to make it harder for users to block ads in its then-dominant Chrome browser. All while Google was paying huge sums of money to let its ads through the most popular ad blocking software.
Google wasn’t willing to acknowledge the problems people had with the system they helped create, and it was clear that the company had no idea what to do when people started rejecting it. Too many people had become accustomed to a web without invasive banner ads following them around and slowing down every site they visited. Internet users had waged a war on ads, and Google was losing.
An unprofitable behemoth A key platform where Google served ads was YouTube, which it bought in 2006 and quickly turned into one of its biggest entities. But even with a sixth of the world visiting this video-sharing behemoth every month, YouTube never became profitable.
While attempting to coax big brands and advertisers onto the platform in the hopes of finally turning a profit, YouTube misunderstood, alienated, and downright angered the creators and communities that had turned the platform into a global phenomenon.
In an attempt to combat the effect of ad blockers, Google launched an ad-free subscription model in late 2015, but the subscription numbers were underwhelming, and eventually, Google realized that it was hard to convince people who were used to getting something for free that they should now pay for it.
YouTube ads were interruptive and annoying to users, and the video-sharing site never proved to be as effective for brand awareness advertising as Google needed it to be. Global ad spend continued to move online from traditional media, but it wasn’t going to Google’s platforms.
The turning tides Google’s products were free, innovative, and used by billions of people. In order to get access to these free products, people had to give up their personal data and their valuable attention. Google’s ads weren’t something its users wanted—they were simply a tax for accessing the Google ecosystem.
Google was enticing people into trading their privacy, data, and attention for the convenience of its amazing free products and services, some of which had no good alternatives. However, scandal after scandal after scandal proved that the trade might not be worth it, and people started to question what they were giving up by clicking “I agree.”
Every word uttered to Google Assistant, every action in any of Google’s numerous apps, and every data point about every one of their billions of users was stored and analyzed in the name of more accurate advertising.
And it wasn’t just Google’s users questioning the trade-off. Regulators and decision makers also finally started to understand how free internet products and services made money, and the companies behind them soon faced a long-awaited reckoning.
With its golden goose getting old, ad blocking rising, public opinion shifting, regulation closing in, and all of its ambitious bets on the future failing to make money, a lot was riding on Google’s next moves.
It made the wrong ones.
How Google missed the chance to pivot If losing a major portion of their audience and annoying the rest wasn’t bad enough, Google also failed to get ahead of one of the biggest shifts in the internet’s history.
Google’s strategy since day one could be summed up as “aggregate and advertise,” as George Gilder put it in Life After Google. Every word uttered to Google Assistant, every action in any of Google’s numerous apps, and every data point about every one of their billions of users was stored and analyzed in the name of more accurate advertising.
Google’s business model was built on the foundational belief that in order to serve ads accurately, it had to collect and analyze as much data as possible from as many people as possible. This belief led the entire advertising industry to turn the web into a monstrosity of tracking and surveillance.
The holy grail of accurate advertising is perfect targeting and perfect attribution: getting an ad in front of the right people, knowing exactly when and where someone saw an ad, and being able to prove where credit is due when they make a purchase.
The entire industry was spinning its wheels chasing this vision, but eventually realized that its approach to the problem was completely backward. A vast, seedy, unfathomable landscape of tracking tendrils spanning the entire web would only ever overcomplicate things, ruin the user experience, and enable a staggering amount of ad fraud. True attribution and accurate targeting used to be rocket science, black magic, and nearly impossible.
The breakthrough was this: If everything from interest matching to ad placement happened inside the user’s device, it would be possible to show the user ads they would actually find relevant and understand exactly which ads they interacted with and how, all without the user’s private data ever leaving the device.
It turned out that ads didn’t need to broadcast a user’s private data into the ether in order to be accurate, nor did they need to slow down websites and cost the user their bandwidth and battery life in order to fund good content.
Treating people as people turned out to be a winning strategy — not just for advertising or the bottom line, but for society.
As Google’s revenue grew, so too did consumer awareness of how Google was profiting from our data and attention. We became increasingly unwilling to exchange privacy for convenience. We stopped clicking “I agree,” a trend that only accelerated when the company was forced by regulators to be more transparent about its business model. A perfect storm was brewing.
The companies that thrived were the ones that understood that people are not pawns in a game of corporate chess, bids in an infinite automated auction, data points in a sea of categories, or correlations in obscenely large data sets. People are people. And treating people as people turned out to be a winning strategy—not just for advertising or the bottom line, but for society.
Google wasn’t forever At its peak, Google had a massive and loyal user-base across a staggering number of products, but advertising revenue was the glue that held everything together. As the numbers waned and the competitors circled, Google’s core began to buckle under the weight of its vast empire.
Google had been a driving force in the technology industry ever since its disruptive entry in 1998. But in a world where people grew to resent being tracked and profiled, Google’s business model was not innovation-friendly, and it missed several opportunities to pivot, ultimately rendering its numerous grand and ambitious projects unsustainable. Innovation costs money, and Google’s main stream of revenue had started to dry up.
In a few short years, Google had gone from a fun, commonplace verb to a reminder of how quickly a giant can fall.
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Aurora, founded by veterans of Google, Uber, and Tesla, is building technology for self-driving cars.
The autonomous vehicle industry is looking a lot like a middle-school dance. Monday, Aurora and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced they would work together to put the startup’s self-driving tech, called Aurora Driver, into FCA’s commercial vehicles, including cargo vans and Ram pickup trucks. On Tuesday, word leaked that Aurora and Volkswagen had discontinued their 18-month joint effort to build an urban robotaxi system.
Wednesday, Aurora and Hyundai said they’re doubling down on their own partnership, with the South Korean company (and its conglomerate partner, Kia) pouring more money into Aurora’s now $600 million Series B financing round. The companies will continue to work together to build Aurora’s tech into Hyundai’s hydrogen-powered Nexo.
Meanwhile, Volkswagen and Ford, already working together to build electric commercial vehicles, are reportedly eyeing a more intensive autonomous vehicle tech partnership based around Argo AI, the Pittsburgh-based startup in which Ford has a majority stake. Hyundai recently poured money into Yandex, the Russian tech giant that is also building robotaxi technology. FCA is still building Chrysler Pacificas for Waymo’s self-driving tests; now Jaguar is building I-Paces for Waymo, too.
Plus, earlier this year Toyota doubled down on its investment in Uber, working with Japanese automotive supplier Denso to write a $667 million check that helped the ride-hail company make its self-driving unit more independent. (Uber also worked with Volvo to release on Wednesday a new generation of its testing robocar.) In March, Daimler (which is also working with Uber) officially pooled its resources with fellow German BMW on AV and mobility efforts. Apple, with its still-stealthy self-driving program, is eyeing the startup Drive.ai as a prospective acquisition, according to a report from The Information. Honda said in October that it would contribute $2 billion to Cruise, General Motors’ self-driving unit, over the next 12 years.
Through one lens, this is just how relationships work—especially when a middle schooler, ahem, industry is young and doesn’t quite know itself yet. Even a few years ago, when General Motors acquired Cruise and Ford poured money into Argo, self-driving tech companies and more traditional automotive giants understood that they needed to work together to get passengers into robocars. “The stage we’re at now is much more open to partnerships and collaboration, a model stolen from the tech industry 15 years ago,” Thomas Jönsson of Autoliv, a leading supplier of car safety systems, told WIRED back in 2017.
Now these breakups and makeups show that the companies understand better what they need from a partner, or at least have the good sense to know when something isn’t working. VW and Ford, for example, have been in talks about all sorts of collaborations, so it makes sense that VW would prefer Ford’s self-driving partner, Argo, to Aurora. (Some executive turnover at the German automaker probably helped, too.)
Through another lens, these alliances are signs of industry consolidation—no surprise in a sector that has spent billions to develop a tech that has yet to become a commercial product. Many in the industry have adopted the notion that self-driving tech will become more commodity than distinguishable branded product, says Mike Ramsey, an analyst at the research firm Gartner. That would mean the real money is in getting your technology into as many hands—or beneath as many butts—as possible. And after all that spending on research and development, no one wants to be left holding the bag. “This was always going to happen,” says Ramsey. “The musical chairs are disappearing.”
What sets 2019’s alliances apart from those made just a few years earlier are the deals between big automakers: Daimler and BMW; Ford and VW; Honda and GM. As tech development grinds on, even some of the largest multinational corporations in the world seem to need a dance partner.
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Building a successful career in Japan requires a recalibration of certain mindsets one may possess in order to better adapt to the culture and business norms here. Here are some of the mindsets one needs to embrace in order to flourish in Japan:
Don’t expect to be treated differently just because you’re a foreigner
When I was just starting to build my career in Japan, one of the things I appreciated from the Japanese was how accepting they were every time I would make a mistake culture-wise—they gave me a lot of room to learn. At the same time, I wasn’t given any special treatment or promised certain concessions for being a foreigner. And one should never expect otherwise.
A lot of the organizational expectations that are fundamental to organically Japanese companies still apply to foreigners. Such expectations include how often the Japanese take personal holidays (they take very few), the number of hours they put in for work (typically very long), the strict channels of decision-making, and even the generally top-down hierarchical structure of the organization itself. Japanese work environments tend to be quite rigid and strict—a huge difference from workplaces in the West that are more easy going and lenient towards people’s personal situations.. While Japanese companies are slowly evolving to keep up with global trends, they still have a long way to go, and an organization of 2000 people isn’t going to simply adjust to a few foreigners. So it’s better to manage one’s expectations if you are to build a career here. It may seem difficult at the beginning, but it’s also a means of growing as a person, not just as a professional as there are many positive aspects of Japanese corporate culture such as teamwork, commitment to one’s work, and a strong sense of responsibility to collective whole rather than just the individual as well as many others.
Calibrate your expectations in terms of compensation and timelines for professional development
What most foreigners with prior work experience outside of Japan are used to is a system that provides focus: you’re trained to do well on a particular task. This streamlined method makes development much quicker. On the other hand, the traditional model in Japan for hiring new graduates is this: hire a bunch of fresh graduates, spend about four months training each on a variety of tasks, and slowly build a workforce of generalists who know multiple company operations. In many ways, this set-up is effective because knowledge isn’t limited to one but is spread to the group. The downside of this is that the timeline of development has always been longer since you don’t get as much responsibility as quickly.
Even though this resonates more strongly with new graduates, it is still relevant to those in the middle of their career as well. In most Western companies, those in their early to mid-30s can already be executives leading large businesses, whereas, in Japan, people don’t normally get that same responsibility at least until their mid-40s. So if you’re a capable, high-flying person seeking to get executive exposure, joining a Japanese company in your 30’s may not be the best option, however, if you are inclined to become an entrepreneur and believe in your abilities, Japan provides various excellent opportunities to build a successful business here.
In addition to the above, salary compensation in Japan is generally not as competitive as in other first world developed countries such as the UK, US, etc. The reason behind this is mainly cultural—Japan values equitable distribution of goods and resources, making it a fairly balanced society. As opposed to other countries where there are widening gaps of wealth, in Japan, you typically don’t see extremely high pay for the all-stars and low wages for blue-collared workers—there tends to be more equitable distribution of compensation across the masses here than in other regions of the world. This is not to say that you can’t make a lot of money in the country—you can! But as a rule of thumb, if you’re joining a standard Japanese company, compensation is typically going to lag those of other first-world, fully developed nations, so you need to assess your priorities and adjust your expectations accordingly in most instances.
Have the initiative to learn the basics of the language, culture, customs, and norms
I think this is the most obvious mindset to adopt. I often get frustrated when I find foreigners unwilling to at least speak in Japanese and insisting on strictly English. English may be the lingua franca, but remember that Japan has a long history and a deep-rooted culture that had very little interaction with the English language for centuries; the country remained in self-imposed isolation (Sakoku) until about 150 years ago when the Meiji Era opened Japan’s doors to the world. I of course believe that to stay competitive Japan must improve its overall English literacy, however, one cannot expect to have deep relationships or deep engagements at work without some working levels of Japanese in my experience.
So if you intend on building a career in Japan, learn the language—conversational Japanese, at the very least, to help you engage with people and understand what’s going on. Aside from that, it’s important to learn basic customs and cultural norms such as bowing, exchanging name cards, or even excusing yourself when you need to leave your desk in the middle of work hours (yes, it exists!). Some people may find it strange, but in Japan, it’s basic etiquette.
You don’t have to try to become Japanese yourself (in fact, I don’t think you should try!), but you should at least make some basic efforts to assimilate in order to “rock the boat” less and gain more depth in your relationships here.
It may seem like a lot, but at the end of the day, it’s worth it. Japan is a phenomenal country with excellent opportunities to build a unique and interesting career. For foreigners, as long as you know how to shift through the differences in culture and expectations, Japan is a goldmine for personal and professional growth and can provide you with a lifetime of excellent memories and meaningful relationships.