Category Archives: japan

On this page:
  • Watched kabuki
  • Learning Japanese? Here are some useful resources
  • Swarming talent and manpower outsourcing

Watched kabuki

Watched one act of a kabuki play at http://www.kabuki-za.co.jp/ . It
was _beautiful_. Props to dagbrown for that excellent idea. Also, had
very unhealthy but fun food—deep-fried buffet.

On Technorati:

Learning Japanese? Here are some useful resources

One of my friends is planning to learn Japanese, so I thought I’d put together some tips for him and for other people.

If you’re planning to learn Japanese, I have some Japanese-related bookmarks on del.icio.us that you might find useful. =) You might also want to check out what other people have bookmarked for japanese+language.

I particularly recommend this quick and dirty guide to Japanese, Jim Breen’s WWWJDIC and the example sentence search. You can download the examples file from the FTP server for totally awesome local lookup. I wrote some code in Emacs to make this easier (and to insert random taglines into my blog posts =) ).

Good luck and have fun!

Swarming talent and manpower outsourcing

One of the posts from the Smart Work Jam about the future of team work was about the idea of “swarming talent”, a talent pool that flows in and out of projects.

That sounds almost just like the manpower outsourcing (労働者派遣業, Google translation to English) I’d learned about when I went on an AOTS technical scholarship in Japan in 2004. In Japan, it’s difficult to do large projects in one company because payroll costs would be much too high during non-busy times. So they have a very flexible structure that’s similar to using lots of contractors or collaborating with lots of companies. It is not unheard of for someone to work at Company A, get dispatched to Company B, which then dispatches the person to Company C.

It lets companies manage their manpower requirements really flexibly, but it has its own challenges. My instructor emphasized the difficulty of working out disputes or making accommodations, because of the complex coordination needed between different companies. The Wikipedia entry lists even more.

Something worth thinking about…

I think it’s absolutely fascinating that we can look at how different societies experiment with different policies or systems, and we can learn from their experiences. I think it’s also cool that something I learned in one context turns out to be useful in another. Travel is tough, but being able to connect the dots makes it worthwhile…