Japan

Sayonara Japan

8AEE1221-CD13-4A2E-B139-7A3114826FC8.jpeg

Today CM leaves Japan after 20 years. This was the first time I’d actively seen passport control beg me to keep my permanent residency. For 5 minutes she painstakingly asked her senior colleagues and tried to reason with me. My comment to her was “don’t worry, I’m not drunk” after repeatedly checking whether I was sure about the decision. She asked what were the reasons. “Where do I start?”

First of all I want to thank the Japanese for their custom, politeness and privilege to stay in their country. It has been truly amazing and life changing.

Sure the honest service drives one batty with its inflexibility but to those who whine about it can always choose to live somewhere else. Respecting a culture is true of any land one visits. Note to Western civilizations. It’s up to others to fit in with the host, not the other way around. Japan has this nailed.

What was the lasting memory of Japan? Simple really. The earthquake, nuke explosion  and tsunami of 2011. What it allowed was a clear cut look at a society that is so well bonded. People didn’t loot. Nor did they greedily hoard essentials. People just took what they needed. Had this been HK or anywhere else it would have been pandemonium. Keep calm and carry on typified Japan.

The lasting photo memory was during a motorcycle trip to MinamiSanriku. This image of a tsunami darkened Minnie Mouse sent chills down my spine. Staring up at the trees on the hillside, the leaves had turned purple because of the sea water which had risen almost 20 metres high. Car wrecks ragdolled in the rip. Windows smashed out of all levels of a 5 storey apartment block. Mother Nature was angry.

When my kids begged to go to Hawaii, they protested about my suggestion to see the devastation first hand. To see with their own eyes. Video and pictures do no justice, I told them. It turns out they appreciated the experience. I gave my younger daughter – then 7 years old – my camera because I wanted to capture images through her eyes. Amazing results.

There is too much to write about with 20 years under the belt.

As the sun sets in the land of the rising sun for me personally journey it shines brightly 9,000km south.

The next stage was a no brainer. So much for dealing with alpha types in finance, many of who’d sell their grandmother given half a chance. I’m overwhelmed with excitement about the prospects of saving the lives of people who know sacrifice and have protected our freedoms. The small team I will work with are as dedicated, hungry and inspired as I am.

My life needed a reboot. Sometimes there is a touch of Tom Cruise in Risky Business in our lives where we must make hard decisions and simply say, “what the f”

Writing this novel about my grandfather’s experiences in WW2 has inspired me to think of living life to the full. How most of us have got it so easy even though some pretend we’ve never had it so bad.

I will always have a soft spot for Japan. Handing back a permanent residency might seem mad in the overall scheme of things but it was the right decision. You can’t make a new start holding onto the past.

Sayonara Japan.

Japan – where wine is half the price of the coffee

A4B877DF-1FD7-43FD-9686-2C3142268A0E

Japan – where wine is half the price of coffee. The wine wasn’t out of this world but then again neither was the coffee. Fuzzy logic or gouging young mothers with children in Omotesando? Probably the latter. Smart.

Will financial planners bring out a Naomi Osaka ETF?

96D9068F-CBF1-4C2E-AF8A-06AF5664AA4E

Japanese investors can get star-struck with investments. In 2015, popular pop-idol band AKB-48 saw the stocks of companies it was sponsored by surge 136% relative to the market. Aggregate sales of those companies surged 46% and 30% over the following two years. Such is the ‘hayari‘ (boom) culture in Japan. Corporates know this.

Since the US Open win by tennis star Naomi Osaka, sponsors are lining up to sign her. Prior to the win, Nissin Foods, WOWOW & Yonex were already sponsors. Nissan has just signed her. Since the win, the Topix has risen a tad over 6% while Nissan, Nissan & WOWOW have risen 7.5% in aggregate. Yonex has jumped 12.2% Early days to be sure, but the likelihood is that if she is sponsored by some smaller less liquid stock names these stocks could well fly.

Forget fancy models and esoteric investment strategies. Find whatever Osaka will be sponsored by in Japan and outperform through popularity over underlying earnings performance.

Any financial firm that launched a Naomi Osaka basket would likely see massive inflows and be able to charge higher fees on the back of it. Will the marketing departments wake up?

NYT – try doing some research for a change?

8CBEB2D5-AC7B-4995-BF98-D10C6EF75249.jpeg

It is true that many airports are built near sea level. In fact many airports are built around swamps/marshland (less suitable for residential areas) which actually makes aircraft more susceptible to avian events (bird strike) than crashing sea waves. So how convenient it must have been to The NY Times to blame the recent terrible typhoon in Japan on climate change when in reality Kansai International Airport’s well known drainage inadequacies were exposed. The airport opened in 1994 and engineers quickly realized it was sinking through poor design. It needs to pump water out constantly to prevent it from drowning. It has zero to do with rising sea levels but the softer base beneath the waves. Yet The NY Times wrote about the plight of stranded passengers and how it portended their imminent peril. Puhlease.

So why didn’t NY Times journalist Hiroko Tabuchi write about the UN IPCC’s own climbdowns from their alarmism in recent years? Note climate skeptics did not write these claims. No, it was easier just to join two dots together without facts.

The IPCC wrote with respect to heavy rains:

“there continues to be a lack of evidence and thus low confidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale“

With respect to storms and cyclones:

confidence in large scale changes in the intensity of extreme extratropical cyclones since 1900 is low. There is also low confidence for a clear trend in storminess proxies over the last century due to inconsistencies between studies or lack of long-term data in some parts of the world…Over periods of a century or more, evidence suggests slight decreases in the frequency of tropical cyclones making landfall in the North Atlantic and the South Pacific, once uncertainties in observing methods have been considered. Little evidence exists of any longer-term trend in other ocean basins…”

As for rising sea levels impacting Pacific Islands.

Professor Paul Kench of the University of Auckland and Australian scientists have shown in a study of 600 coral reef islands in the Pacific, 40% are growing in size, 40% are stable and 20% shrinking…

Yet The NY Times went further. Who knew Roger Federer was also a victim of climate change?

US Open performances. 

Well the brilliant minds of The NY Times suggested Federer’s loss was caused by global warming even though it was 0.19 degrees above average. Maybe that is why Serena got hot under the collar? Or was it because 20yo Naomi Osaka’s youth allowed her to weather the heat more effectively?

Air Travel

Yet the true litmus test of humankind’s blind panic is best described by the IATA’s air traffic forecasts which point to a doubling of air traffic by 2030. It is only fair that the general population follow in the footsteps of the 50,000 climate disciples that fly half way around the world every year to COP summits to kneel at the altar of the IPCC to warn us of being destroyed by our recklessness.

Once again, ridiculously researched junk journalism is put forward by a paper that assures us “All the news fit to print.” Joke.

Beta testing Autumnal beers

BD64C3F3-6B05-438E-9E6B-3E0133AD3103.jpeg

Kirin led the charge some while back to introduce autumnal beers. Now Sapporo, Suntory and Asahi have hit back. Time for some beta testing to see if Kirin’s “Aki-aji” will be overthrown. CM is betting on Sapporo “Baisen” (far left) to dethrone it if possible.

When Japan ruled the world

B38CCC79-D6A6-4EF5-B3BF-4B8EF3A4D857.jpeg

30 years ago 32 of the 50 largest corporations by market cap were Japanese. Telco NTT was #1 followed by 4 megabanks. Scroll forward to today and there is only one Japanese corporation that makes the Top 50 cut – Toyota Motor (#35). Now, the top 33 of 50 companies are American – Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Facebook.

 

Stupid is as stupid does

DE3DE6A2-4429-499C-9CCB-A25896E8E3B6.jpeg

That’s one small backward step for man. One giant backward step for women. What a foreign concept that some women might be smarter than men? Surely pursuing best in class healthcare means striving to grade students based on merit. Not so in Japan. The Tokyo Medical University was found to have deliberately marked down women in entrance exams to limit their numbers.

The scandal broke during an investigation into the admission of a ministry official’s son, who essentially bought his way in. He was given 20 extra points after failing the exam multiple times so he could pass. What a proud moment to know one has to buy influence to make up for a lack of ability.

It has been revealed that the share of female doctors passing Japan’s national medical exam has remained at about 30% for the last two decades.

Sadly class actions don’t produce much other than a token slap on the wrist. Of course all Japanese women just want to marry, become housewives and raise kids for their salarymen husbands. None should have ambition other than to serve their men. No wonder maid cafes do so well in Japan  – the girls say, “yes, my master!” in order to allow men with inferiority complexes to have fantasies of being dominant.