I’m a Yamato.

I’m a Yamato. I grew up in Hokkaido.

My great grandpa were samurais. We have the art, philosophy, honour, and integrity. We have the best medicine, and we built civics and saved America. We overestimate the value of our professionalism and product quality in the market place and underestimate marketing. I’m a Yamato.

As a kid, though, I was infatuated not by my people but by the Ainu. Their stewardship with the nature. They took only what the nature could give them. In drought, they would starve so the nature doesn’t. They are big, strong, and fierce warriors that only fought when necessary. Their social units were families and communities, not individuals. They exemplified the beauty of what it means to be a human being.

I thought they had all the answers and could teach me how to “be.” I read about their culture, I went to their museum to see if I can meet more of them, bought their outfits, learned their musical instruments. I’d look into any reflective surface and fantasise I might be an Ainu (my sister had convinced me I was adopted). I do have those cheekbones… I still couldn’t meet any Ainu, and there was very little literature out there. I decided I needed to learn their language and live with them for a few years because that’s the only way to truly learn.

That’s when I realised that Ainu had been systematically marginalised.

There was only one speaker left of the language. The effort to leave a dictionary was slow as much of the Ainu language only made sense in context. Their villages had few young people left because the elders encouraged blending in with yamato or marrying yamato to avoid discrimination. Never act Ainu. Don’t speak your mother tongue. If you want to survive. They’ll never know. In 1997, the government finally acknowledged Japan had minority races. Only in 2008, the discrimination and marginalisation were acknowledged by the government. Their traditional lands were stripped. Their traditional rights completely ignored.

I’m a Yamato. I grew up in Hokkaido.

I am of the race that was responsible for the genocide of the Ainu, the People my soul desperately sought. I’m not a witness of but am a beneficiary of marginalisation. My people laid down pavement over the land the Ainu farmed and concrete over the rivers they fished. And there is no way I can undo it.





On my dad: father’s day

I’ve always had empathy for mom. Two infants 16 months apart. One of them is cranky with no daycare willing to take her on, never happy, constantly screaming. I know this because mom expressed countless times how thankful she was that I had the gift of keeping myself entertained (which left me neglected, but that’s for another day).

I’ve only recently started to understand my dad’s life. He was a very young professor who eventually developed the obscure, specialised college into an internationally-recognised research centre because of his devotion to his grad students and to bringing in big and continual funding not only to support the projects but to equip the lab and keep it modern (science people, you know how difficult the latter is!).

It was extremely stressful for him to know 14 students’ and his lab’s futures were on his ability to bring in money. He left home at 7 am and came home at 8 pm. He sometimes took things, like rice cookers, from our home to give to his students who can’t afford the basics.

What we saw was a father that expected a hot breakfast of fish and miso soup even when everyone else was eating eggs and toast. A man who demanded packed lunch. A dictator who did not tolerate being disturbed when he got home and zonked out in front of the TV in the basement.

My mother suffered from depression, so a lot of the impact of his choices fell on me.

I’d get up at 5 am and shovel the heavy snow or train, cook breakfast and pack Japanese-style 6-item colourful and nutritious lunches, clean the dishes and wipe down everything. Get all A+’s in school. Serve in student council, win a medal at track and field match. Come home and wax the floor, scrum the bathroom, or wash the windows. Run the washing machine. Hang up laundry. Make dinner. Clean dishes. Draw a bath for Dad. Now I get to go upstairs and read a book, but at any point dad might yell my name because one of the other children forgot their chores, knowing dad won’t yell their names. I was 13.
I didn’t learn to make friends and cultivate friendships. I was prone to bullying because I didn’t know any better than being ordered around. I didn’t know how to claim a spot and stand in it. My sister would beat me, bruise me, and cut me every day, and no one came to my rescue.

I didn’t know to be angry at my parents. I knew my dad had a very important job that he was respected for. But it certainly didn’t help me see him as a father.

What we didn’t see was a young man who didn’t have any energy for any adventures like toast. A research head who didn’t have time to go buy lunch. A father who was fighting a big battle on his own at work to secure a future for his young family and fighting a desperate battle at home on his own to give himself what he needed to survive as a person.


The pitfall of hiring a Social Media Manager

You were an accomplished business person when social media came into play. And this happens.

You simply do not know what makes a good “social media manager” when you hire them and when you later evaluate them.

It looks important enough that you decide to hire someone to look after it.
Everyone has a mock portfolio and generic dataset to prove hiring a social media professional is worthwhile.
Everyone has education and mock portfolios, and no one has a proven track record.

They kind of all sound the same. 

It’s a whole new position you have to carve out a new budget for without a study on roi or target. Hiring someone for $30,000 is an attractive idea. .
Even though in the beginning you decided to hire someone because you recognised the importance of the position. 

In your defence, the same thing happened before. Especially in newly-created professions, but also in some of the oldest professions.
CSR or “sustainability” manager. Communications manager. Website designer. Even financial planners.

They all work in the intangibles. They all can produce data showing their work had a positive impact and show you examples of how horribly it went for companies that didn’t hire one.
After all, they do not have to worry about losing their job because no one has figured out how to prove their work is subpar and someone else could have done it better.

It results in things like the Earls imported beef flop.
As soon as I saw earls’ release, I tried to contact them and warn them. It had no effect.
Right. As you predicted, my warnings went to those who ran this launch.

This is the problem with those professions where the person who’s running the programs is also receiving complaints and feedback in these programs. You’d have to have faith that this person can prioritise the good for the company over their job security if you put the checks and balances in one person’s hand.

In vancouver where everyone is a couple of pay cheques away from foreclosure, this is a hard ask.

Now, social media is different in two ways than other professions in this category.

1. The method of evaluation is poorly developed, if any. If they do a bad job, it very likely increases the view/comment count. Increased view counts are still used by executives and sponsors as evidence of success even though it is now common knowledge it isn’t the case.

2. No one takes the audience seriously. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter are very often the only way the public can communicate with the corporations. Corporations direct the public to use them as a place for dialogue, and the public follows this instruction.
Except the public is only given an illusion of interaction as there is no one but “social media manager” at the end of that line.

public is only given an illusion of interaction

The famous example is the Air Canada twitter account. You post a complaint to their twitter account. They reply and tell you to “follow and DM” because they really really think they can help. This is a ruse to get you off the public forum. Once on DM, a private direct message, they tell you to contact the Air Canada counter at the airport.
You send a complaint about this scheme, and the complaint goes to the person you’re complaining about. You send a complaint to the corporation, and you get a response saying that your complaint has been foreword to the person you’re complaining about. 
There is specifically no checks or balances. And it’s designed to be this way because they see no value in social media audience. This is when something like this keeps on happening for months and months, complaints mounting as comments that are counted as proof positive.


That’s when something like this goes on for months and months with dozens of comments

The truth behind the “Missing Japanese Boy”: Media deception

A story of a rebellious run-away that pulled off a stint to embarrass his parents to punish his parents for punishing him.  That’s what the media, the parents, and the boy are hiding from you.

7-year-old Yamato Tanooka (田野岡大和) was found safe and sound after 6 days missing in the woods.
The media are reporting this as a miraculous story of survival and getting a lot of clicks. Parents are crucified, and the boy is praised. What really happened?

[This post is based on the publicly-available information and is written to encourage critical thinking. It is entirely a speculation.]

1. Reported as “found in nearby forest.” He was found within 10 yards from the golf greens and within 1/4 mile from the train tracks.


Even the media’s best efforts can’t conceal the fact this thing wasn’t in the woods.

2. Media knew about it. They all spent 8 minutes driving up there from the train station.

Very quickly those photos disappeared and were replaced by those. Oh, look – a jeep.

“Could you move that Toyota HiLux? It doesn’t jive with my ‘survival boy’ shot!”

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3. The standard tools would have been effective here if he wanted to be found.

  • walk downhill.
  • walk toward train noises (black line is the track).
  • follow the planes
  • follow the ROADS. He crossed several.


4. It’s so completely inconceivable that he wasn’t found unless he didn’t want to be found that the locals are starting to come up with strange explanations. “Especially for a small boy if he’s lying on the ground with dense undergrowth, it can be very hard to find” – in other words, they admit it’s really not hard to find him unless he is trying to hide.


5. I wonder if the father was in on it. The father’s no-tear interview was painful to watch. The first 20 seconds, he really fights off a smile – also very visible in this photo.

Sure, it’s natural to smile right after finding a missing son. So why, 0:40 to 0:53, does he really try so hard to cry? Anyone who feels they must hide their genuine emotion is hiding something.


Praising this boy for his survival is the last thing media and the public should be doing.
These parents will have a difficult time getting him in line, and I fear for what this  boy did to himself in the long time.