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Toyota drafting proposal for fully merit-based annual pay increases

Toyota drafting proposal for fully merit-based annual pay increases

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Toyota Motor Corp. may adopt a fully performance-based system for annual wage increases next spring. | BLOOMBERG

Toyota Motor Corp. is in the final stages of negotiations with its labor union to adopt in spring a fully performance-based system for annual wage increases, sources said Thursday.

The leading Japanese automaker will abolish seniority-based regular pay hikes if it wins approval from the labor union, the sources said.

Under the proposed merit-based system, job performance ratings will decide the size of annual wage increases, and employees may receive no increase in pay depending on the ratings, the sources said.

It hopes to shift to the new pay system in fiscal 2021, which starts in April next year.

Automakers face an urgent need to improve their competitiveness as the industry is in the midst of a once-in-a-century transformation, analysts said.

In that context, Toyota hopes to improve the motivation of its employees and boost productivity by introducing a pay raise system that is not linked to age or academic background, according to the sources.

It is rare for a major Japanese manufacturer to adopt a fully merit-based pay system, and Toyota’s move is likely to affect the wage policies of other companies.

Currently, Toyota’s annual pay raise system includes both a fixed portion, decided according to job title, and a portion that reflects personnel evaluations.

The new personnel evaluation system is expected to have four or six rating levels. Employees may fail to win any regular wage increase, but they will not suffer a drop in pay, according to the sources.

Since spring, Toyota’s management has discussed the proposed shift to the new pay system with the Toyota Motor Workers’ Union.

In this year’s shuntō spring labor-management talks, the union called for gaps in pay-scale increases depending on job performance ratings to be expanded.

The labor union plans to put the management’s proposal for the new pay system to a vote at a regular convention on Sept. 30, the sources said.


Featured Article: 

Social Dignity Webcast Episode 1: Best Practices In Growing A Japan Business

Understanding the Japanese interview process 

Preparing For Your Job Interview and Tips Before Accepting An Offer

Source: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/08/27/business/corporate-business/toyota-merit-based-pay/#.X0hw2iyxglR

Author: JIJI

Social Dignity Webcast Episode 1: Best Practices In Growing A Japan Business (Recording)

Social Dignity Webcast Episode 1: Best Practices In Growing A Japan Business (Recording)

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Topic: Social Dignity Webcast Episode 1: Best Practices In Growing A Japan Business
Start Time : Jul 27, 2020 05:19 PM

Meeting Recording:

6 Habits of Super Learners

6 Habits of Super Learners

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Image from rawpixel.com

Becoming a super learner is one of the most important skills you need to succeed in the 21st century. In the age technological change, staying ahead depends on continual self-education — a lifelong mastery of new models, skills and ideas

In a world that’s changing fast, the ability to learn a new skill as fast as possible is quickly becoming a necessity. The good news is, you don’t need a natural gift to be better at learning something new even when you have a full-time career.

Many polymaths (people who have excelled in diverse pursuits) — including Charles Darwin, Leonardo da Vinci and the Nobel prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman — claimed not to have exceptional natural intelligence.

We all have enough brainpower to master a new discipline — we use the right tools, approaches, or apply what we learn correctly. Almost anyone can learn anything — with the right technique.
Better learning approaches can make the process enjoyable. The key to rapid skill acquisition isn’t complicated. If you aim to learn a new skill to improve your career this year, some of these habits can be useful for you.

1. Super learners read a lot

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to your body. It gives us the freedom to roam the expanse of space, time, history, and offer a deeper view of ideas, concepts, emotions, and body of knowledge.

Your brain on books is active — growing, changing and making new connections and different patterns, depending on the type of material you’re reading. Highly successful learners read a lot.
In fact, many of the most successful people share this appreciation for reading — they don’t see reading as a chore but as an opportunity to improve their lives, careers and businesses.

Elon Musk grew up reading two books a day, according to his brother. Bill Gates reads 50 books per year. Mark Zuckerberg reads at least one book every two weeks. Warren Buffett spends five to six hours per day reading five newspapers and 500 pages of corporate reports.

In a world where information is the new currency, reading is the best source of continuous learning, knowledge and acquiring more of that currency.

2. Super learners view learning as a process

Learning is a journey, a discovery of new knowledge, not a destination.

It’s an enjoyable lifelong process — a self-directed and self-paced journey of discovery. Understanding any topic, idea or new mindset requires not only keen observation but more fundamentally, the sustained curiosity.

“A learning journey is a curated collection of learning assets, both formal and informal, that can be used to acquire skills for a specific role and/or technology area,” writes Sonia Malik of IBM.
Learning is an investment that usually pays for itself in increased earnings. More than ever, learning is for life if you want to stay relevant, indispensable and thrive in the changing world of work.
Super learners value the process. They don’t have an end goal, they seek consistent improvement. They keep mastering new principles, processes, worldviews, thinking models, etc. The “ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated” pursuit of knowledge is important for their maturity.

3. They adopt a growth mindset

You can’t go wrong cultivating a growth mindset — a learning theory developed by Dr Carol Dweck that revolves around the belief that you can improve intelligence, ability and performance.
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn,” argues Alvin Toffler, a writer, futurist, and businessman known for his works discussing modern technologies.

Cultivating a growth or adaptable mindset can help you focus more on your most desirable goals in life. It may influence your motivation and could make you more readily able to see opportunities to learn and grow your abilities.

The ability to keep an open-mind, acquire better knowledge and apply it when necessary can significantly improve your life and career.

4. Super learners teach others what they know

According to research, learners retain approximately 90% of what they learn when they explain/teach the concept to someone else, or use it immediately.

Teaching others what you know is one of the most effective ways to learn, remember and recall new information. Psychologists, call it the “retrieval practice”. It’s one of the most reliable ways of building stronger memory traces.

Learn by teaching someone else a topic in simple terms so you can quickly pinpoint the holes in your knowledge. It’s a mental model coined by the famous physicist Richard Feynman.
Known as the “Great Explainer,” Feynman was revered for his ability to clearly illustrate dense topics like quantum physics for virtually anybody. The Feynman Technique is laid out clearly in James Gleick’s biography, Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman.

The ultimate test of your knowledge is your capacity to transfer it to another. A better way to learn, process, retain and remember information is to learn half the time and share half the time. Example, instead of completing a book, aim to read 50 percent and try recalling, sharing, or writing down the key ideas you have learned before proceeding.

5. Effective learners take care of their brains

Keeping your brain healthy keeps it sharp. What you do or don’t do for your brain can significantly change how your record, process and retrieve information. Everyone wants to live an active life for as long as possible. And that goal depends on robust brain health.

That means eating lots of foods associated with slowing cognitive decline — blueberries, vegetables (leafy greens — kale, spinach, broccoli), whole grains, getting protein from fish and legumes and choosing healthy unsaturated fats (olive oil) over saturated fats (butter).

Fruit and vegetables combat age-related oxidative stress that causes wear and tear on brain cells,” says Dr Gary Small, a professor of psychiatry and ageing.

Our brains naturally decline if we do nothing to protect them. However, if you intervene early, you can slow the decline process — it’s easier to protect a healthy brain than to try to repair damage once it is extensive.

6. They take short breaks, early and often

Downtime is crucial to retaining anything you choose to learn. According to recent research, taking short breaks, early and often, can help you learn things better and even improve your retention rate.

“Everyone thinks you need to ‘practice, practice, practice’ when learning something new. Instead, we found that resting, early and often, maybe just as critical to learning as practice,” said Leonardo G. Cohen, M.D., Ph.D., a senior investigator at NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Better breaks help the brain solidify, memories during the rest periods. Whatever you choose to learn over time, it’s important to optimise the timing of rest intervals for better results.
Experts at the Louisiana State University’s Center for Academic Success recommends 30–50 minutes sessions. “Anything less than 30 is just not enough, but anything more than 50 is too much information for your brain to take in at one time,” says learning strategies graduate assistant Ellen Dunn.

Our brains’ neural networks need to time process information, so spacing out your learning helps you memorise new information more efficiently — give your brain enough time to rest and recover.


Featured Article: 

Getting the right mindset to flourish in Japan

Understanding the Japanese interview process 

Preparing For Your Job Interview and Tips Before Accepting An Offer

Source: https://medium.com/personal-growth/6-habits-of-super-learners-63d466a254fd

Author: Thomas Oppong


Announcement From HCCR Regarding COVID-19 Situation

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To Our Candidates, Clients and Partners,

As of March 30th, our global operations have switched to a teleworking arrangement. We have put in place specific procedures to reduce the impact on our clients and candidates as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will remain committed to prioritizing the health and well-being of all our employees, clients and candidates.

Our professional team of consultants and researchers have access to the latest technology and services enabling them to stay connected and engaged with our clients and candidates. We have acquired a variety of licenses to ensure the continuance of face to face communications including all client and candidate meetings and interviews. As per usual, our consultants are available on their office numbers (forwarded to mobile), mobile phones and emails. 

Today and always, we feel fortunate to be part of a supportive close-knit team, and we are committed to providing the best level of service to our clients and candidates.

Stay Safe. Stay Strong. Stay Connected.


TomTom closes deal with Huawei for use of maps and services – spokesman

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FILE PHOTO: TomTom logo is seen on a vehicle in Eindhoven, Netherlands, November 21, 2019. REUTERS/Eva Plevier/File Photo

Dutch navigation and digital mapping company TomTom on Friday said it has closed a deal with China’s Huawei Technologies for the use of its maps and services in smartphone apps.

Huawei was forced to develop its own operating system for smartphones, after it was effectively blacklisted by U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration last year out of concerns over national security.

This banned Huawei from using Google’s official Android operating system, along with widely used apps such as Google Maps, in new phones.

The deal with TomTom means Huawei can now use the Dutch company’s maps, traffic information and navigation software to develop apps for its smartphones.

TomTom spokesman Remco Meerstra said the deal had been closed some time ago but had not been made public by the company.

Meerstra declined to provide further details of the agreement.

TomTom, which is moving away from selling devices to offering software services, sold its telematics division to Japan’s Bridgestone last year to focus on its digital map-linked businesses.


Featured Article: 

Getting the right mindset to flourish in Japan

Understanding the Japanese interview process 

Preparing For Your Job Interview and Tips Before Accepting An Offer

Source: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/tomtom-closes-deal-with-huawei-for-use-of-maps-and-services—spokesman-12277258

Author: Reuters Staff


Why Sprinklr Is Buying Nanigans’ Social Advertising Business

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Sprinklr — a Unified Front Office for Modern Channels — announced recently that it is buying Nanigans’ social advertising business. The terms of the deal were undisclosed.

Nanigans’ social advertising business complements Sprinklr’s goal to build one platform for complete customer experience management.

And with this transaction, Sprinklr is now the definitive go-to source in performance and brand social advertising as it manages more than $1.5 billion of annualized ad spend across major social channels including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Brands that have complex governance, compliance, and analytics requirements can utilize Sprinklr Modern Advertising to help them reduce risk, cut costs, and quickly increase return on their ad spend. And this acquisition reinforces Sprinklr’s mission to define and lead the customer experience management industry with the world’s first Unified Front Office thus helping brands manage customer-facing functions like marketing, advertising, research, care, and social engagement.

Nanigans is considered a performance ad software company supporting brands in the e-commerce and gaming space, including Wayfair, Zynga, and Quicken Loans. And Sprinklr is acquiring Nanigans’ social advertising business including data management, predictive analytics, optimization, campaign management, and granular real-time reporting across the most valuable advertising channels: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Sprinklr is also welcoming many former Nanigans employees to the company. And these advertising specialists will enhance Sprinklr’s performance advertising expertise and support clients worldwide. Plus Nanigans will maintain ownership of its incrementality business which measures the effectiveness of an advertisement.

“Since founding Nanigans a decade ago, we’ve always focused our resources on doing best by our customers – the most competitive performance advertisers. That’s why we’re incredibly excited for Nanigans’ Social Advertising Business to join Sprinklr. The combination of our powerful ad management software with Sprinklr’s unified platform is a natural fit for CMOs and in-house marketers around the world,” said Ric Calvillo, co-founder and CEO of Nanigans. “Sprinklr is also gaining an experienced team of leaders who understand how to help brands drive real business goals on social. I’m looking forward to seeing this team thrive as part of the Sprinklr family.”

While advertising is a critical component of customer experience management, it needs to be part of a unified front office platform to be effective. And data about advertising performance should not sit in a siloed department. Plus it should be shared across customer-facing functions like research, marketing, and customer care.

“Social channels, with their ability to micro-target and personalize advertising, are quickly emerging as the preferred destination for performance advertisers,” added Ragy Thomas, CEO and founder of Sprinklr. “Sprinklr’s acquisition of Nanigans’ social advertising business will enhance our Modern Advertising product while also helping brands reduce the number of point solutions in their MarTech stack. With Sprinklr’s Unified Front Office, brands will have a single platform for all their social advertising, marketing, customer care, research, and engagement needs.”

Sprinklr’s unified platform and artificial intelligence capabilities are uniquely positioned to help brands make sense of advertising performance data and then share these insights across teams that collaborate on Sprinklr’s platform.

In the U.S., performance-based advertising comprised 61.8% of Internet ad revenues, according to MarketingCharts. And social media apps are gaining mindshare at the expense of shopping apps. Millennials prefer Facebook for shopping over any other platform says a Goldman Sachs survey.


Featured Article: 

Getting the right mindset to flourish in Japan

Understanding the Japanese interview process 

Preparing For Your Job Interview and Tips Before Accepting An Offer

Source: https://pulse2.com/sprinklr-buying-nanigans-social-ad-business/

Author: Noah Long


Google, Microsoft and Starbucks are some of the best places to work in the US, workers say

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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

Highest ranked

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

Highest ranked

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

Highest ranked

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

Highest ranked

1. Google (Mountain View, California)

2. Sitetracker (Palo Alto, California)

3. Salesforce (San Francisco)

4. Upgrade (San Francisco)

5. Nevro (Redwood City, California)

6. Sunrun (San Francisco)

7. Periscope Data (San Francisco)

8. Infrrd (San Jose, California)

9. Globant (San Francisco)

10. Intuit (Mountain View, California)

11. Sonder (San Francisco)

12. LinkedIn (Sunnyvale, California)

13. TripActions (Palo Alto, California)

14. Mixpanel (San Francisco)

15. Asana (San Francisco)

Best places to work in New York region

Highest ranked

1. UiPath (New York)

2. CultureIQ (New York)

3. Greenhouse Software (New York)

4. Overtime (Brooklyn)

5. WhiteSource (New York)

6. International Flavors & Fragrances (New York)

7. ADP (Roseland, New Jersey)

8. Gartner (Stamford, Connecticut)

9. Wibbitz (New York)

10. Pipedrive (New York)

11. Next Caller (New York)

12. AdTheorent (New York)

13. Accenture (New York)

14. Mobilewalla (New York)

15. Rokt (New York)

Best places to work in Salt Lake City region

Highest ranked

1. Workfront (Lehi, Utah)

2. Qualtrics (Provo, Utah)

3. Overstock.com (Midvale, Utah)

4. Divvy (Lehi, Utah)

5. Vivint Smart Home (Provo, Utah)

6. Disruptive Advertising, Inc. (Lindon, Utah)

7. BambooHR (Lindon, Utah)

8. Canopy Tax (Lehi, Utah)

9.Skipio(Lehi, Utah)

10. TravelPass Group (Lehi, Utah)

11. Lingotek (Lehi, Utah)

12. Simplus (Salt Lake City)

13. Boostability (Lehi, Utah)

14. Finicity (Murray, Utah)

15. Lift Credit (Provo, Utah)


Featured Article: 

Getting the right mindset to flourish in Japan

Understanding the Japanese interview process 

Preparing For Your Job Interview and Tips Before Accepting An Offer

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/03/28/google-among-best-companies-work-us-ranked-region/3276066002/

Author: Dalvin Brown


Osaka Metro unveils ticket gate with facial recognition tech

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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.


Featured Article: 

Getting the right mindset to flourish in Japan

Understanding the Japanese interview process 

Preparing For Your Job Interview and Tips Before Accepting An Offer

Source: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/12/10/business/corporate-business/osaka-metro-facial-recognition/#.XfMO0yWRXDs

Author: JIJI


City of contrasts: How to experience the best of Tokyo’s two sides

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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.

Ueno Park

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 City

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.


Featured Article: 

Getting the right mindset to flourish in Japan

Understanding the Japanese interview process 

Preparing For Your Job Interview and Tips Before Accepting An Offer

Source: https://www-cnn-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.cnn.com/travel/amp/tokyo-cultural-attractions/index.html

Author: Joshua Mellin

Image Credit:  Joshua Mellin


Preparing For Your Job Interview and Tips Before Accepting An Offer

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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.

Have patience

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.

Featured Article: 

Getting the right mindset to flourish in Japan

Understanding the Japanese interview process

Author: HCCR PR Team

Image Credit: Image taken from Teamschlegel