Ken Okazaki Blogging is serious business

31Jul/130

Japan is the Coolest Country Evah!

Japanese Police

The other day I got a call from an unknown contact. I ignored the call two times but the third time told me that it could be urgent.

"Hello, this is the Tokyo Police Department and we would like to ask you a few questions … please."

I immediately regretted taking the call.

"Were you driving a Toyota minivan two years ago on such and such a date at said intersection?"

How am I supposed to remember THAT? I told them I'm not sure.

"Well, we have records of a traffic violation involving you."

I remembered getting stopped for an illegal turn. I clenched my buttocks.

"OK, so you ticketed me, what's this call about?"

"We've been reviewing our past cases and although it seems you did commit an offense, the officer on duty did not file the paperwork properly."

"Aaaand?"

"Well, it turns out that we have to pardon you for the infraction"

"Thank you, but it's been two years. What difference does it make now?"

"We would like to know which bank account to refund the fine of ¥7,000 to."

"OK … here's my info, and … um … thank you officer … have a great day!"

Not what I was expecting at all! I don't know if any other country in the world would do this. Has anyone had a similar experience?

My day was starting to look up. A few days later I got another call from the police asking me to meet them at the police station. It turns out they wanted to apologize in person for their mistake (of my NOT having to pay for my traffic offense!) and also swap my driver's license to to GOLD status.

The whole time I was there I was half expecting a bunch of cameramen to jump out from behind a desk and find out that it was one big prank. I even asked the officers (after getting my new license) if this was a joke. They didn't think it was funny.

In Japan a gold license means that you are a stellar driver and in the case of a traffic accident dispute, your word carries more weight because of your impeccable record.

So, I got my fine refunded, and driver's license swapped for Gold status, and policemen bowing to me in apology. Probably should have also gotten a photo of them bowing to me. Not bad!

I also saved the phone number to the police station in case they call again to give me more goodies!

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1Aug/110

iPhone Killer is Finally Here!

iPhone Killer

iPhone Killer

iPhone Killer is Finally Here!

How many times have you heard that line before? Or how about the iPod killer? Will there ever be an iPhone iPad or iPod killer? Short answer: no.

The question itself demonstrates that it most likely won't happen. iPhone, iPad, and iPod are names of products which have created a new market category, so to ask if there will be an iPhone killer is like trying to out-Apple Apple, or out-Steve Steve Jobs.

When Wal-Mart started their online sales system, they were up against an already well-established online shopping giant, Amazon. Of course Wal-Mart, being the giant company that it was is well established in their own right. But when working on their marketing strategy, they kept getting caught up in matching what Amazon was doing, instead of innovating. Then someone got the brilliant idea to put up a big sign in the office which read "You Can't Out-Amazon Amazon!"

That's not to say that other products are inferior in any way, but creating a product specifically to be a whatever-killer is going to end you up with another me-too product, not innovation.

So just be yourself, remembering that creativity comes from within. And don't start flaming me all you Apple haters!

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15Jul/110

If You Need to Be Told What to Do You’re a Dinosaur!

It used to be okay if you simply showed up for work on time, obeyed instructions, did everything according to the manual, and expected to have a decent career.

Actually, it is still possible, if you want a job flipping burgers or work in a factory assembly line. But even that is not going to last long, at the rate those kind of jobs are being replaced by machines or going to China.

Creativity and innovation is needed in every level of your company right now!

Your boss or supervisor is probably going crazy trying to dream up a great new method of doing things and hoping it will drop right onto his lap.

You can become that dream.

The next time you get an assignment from you boss, instead of blindly following instructions, ask yourself why it needs to be done, and if there is a better way to do it. Bring it up to your boss, respectfully, of course. If he thinks you are a pain in the ass, and decides to fire you, then it was probably not a great place to build your career anyway.

But chances are that over time he will see your creativity and initiative and when times are tough you will have made yourself so valuable that you will be practically immune to downsizing.

Statistics show that the employees considered most valuable are not the ones to follow instructions to a T without any objection (any high school flunky can do that!), but the ones who constructively share their criticisms, and often.

 

Don't try to become your boss's friend, become his most valuable employee -- or partner!

23Jun/111

Stop Counting Your Blessings…

… If you want more out of your life.
OK, maybe that's a little extreme, but let me explain:
Counting your blessings is great if you need or want to feel good about yourself, or to just be happy overall. If you're depressed, discouraged, or suicidal, then go ahead and count your blessings, watch some cute kittens on YouTube, grab a beer and chill!

Life is good! Or so you tell yourself as you sit in a threadbare couch and watch TV on a 17" screen.

But some people actually want more. Some people want abundance in their lives. Some people want more options. The choice to have what they actually want on the menu, not what they can afford. The choice to pick the color and full options on their car instead of getting whatever they can afford at the used car lot. The choice to live in the country of their dreams.
Getting these kind of results is not easy, and certainly much harder than counting your blessings and feeling good about yourself.
To get these results you need one of two things:
1. A burning, unquenchable desire, or:
2. Pain.

The desire that I speak of can come from just about anything, like seeing someone else living the dream and knowing that you must have it too, at any cost. Or it can be something you're born with, the urge to be the best at everything you do.

The thing I want to talk about here though, is pain. Pain can be manufactured at will, and is a very powerful tool to obliterate seemingly immovable obstacles.

If you want to drastically improve your life and your situation, then STOP COUNTING YOUR BLESSINGS. It reminds me of the joke about the pharmacist who accidentally prescribed antidepressants to a patient who was supposed to get antidiarrheal medication. Upon realizing his error, he immediately called the man and asked if everything is OK, to which the patient replied: "I feel just fine, but there's shit all over the house."

Allow some fire to build up under the comfort of your seat and welcome the pain because it represents potential progress!

Last of all, have faith that it will happen, that you WILL get the results that you desire.

"Now, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

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