Nationality is irrelevant?
04/11/2011 ChinaChinese peopleInternational exchange
Having grown up in the UK, graduated from universities in both the UK and Greece, having visited more than thirty countries, spent extensive periods of time in Nepal, India and Thailand before arriving in Japan, having started and managing companies in both Japan and China, having lived in Japan and China for a total of about twenty years, having studied seven languages, and having been married to somebody with a different nationality for more than a decade, I thought I had come to the conclusion that a person’s nationality—something assigned to them when they are born, and totally beyond their control—is even less relevant than their favorite color. But, . …
03/23/2011 Chinese peopleJapan
Japan is currently suffering in various ways after the earthquake and subsequent tsunami and problems at the nuclear power plants. Even with the inevitable disturbances to work that these problems cause, work—as life—must go on. And so, I left for China on Friday on a business trip that had been planned for several months. As always, I flew from Fukuoka in Japan to Qingdao in China, and I took the usual shinkansen from Fukuyama to Hakata (the main train station in Fukuoka). On boarding the train, I noticed that there were more passengers than usual and much more baggage than normal. There wasn’t any space left for me to put …
Survival game in the PRC (Qingdao)
02/14/2011 International exchangeQingdao
Apart from it being cold, and half of the organizers being Chinese ex-military, the scary thing was that this was in a normal park with people walking their dogs or going for strolls with their kids.
Guarantees in China #1 (Mobile phone)
01/13/2011 Chinese Quality
I’ve bought many things in several countries and there is almost always a one-year guarantee. Recently, when you buy an electrical product in Japan, the store offers an extended guarantee up to five years. For example, in the town where I live, I buy my electrical products in a store that offers a free five-year guarantee for any purchase of 5,000 JPY or more. This means I can make my purchases knowing that I’ll be able to use them for at least five years. Even with just the manufacturers one-year guarantee, since an electrical product that is faulty is likely to malfunction in the first twelve months. During my first …
Solar water heaters
When I see solar panels on rooftops, I immediately assume that they are there to generate electricity. Most of those that I see in Europe and Japan probably are, and that likely accounts for my assumption. However, here in China, solar energy is used more to provide houses with hot water than to generate electricity. Solar water heating systems are very popular in China, where they can be purchased for as little as 1,500 RMB (US$190), much cheaper than in Western countries. It works out to be about 80% cheaper for a system of the same size. Over 30 million Chinese households now have one of these solar water heaters. …