“The world we have created is a product of our thinking. If we want to change the world, we have to change our thinking.” — Albert Einstein
o Sustainability is the ultimate human problem, which means we cannot solve it without understanding human behavior
o The West is still heavily influenced by ancient Greek culture, which emphasized individualism, an independent view of the self, and analytic thinking
o A view of the self as independent combined with extreme individualistic tendencies is not conducive to solving sustainability issues because it leads to myopic and moralistic thoughts and behaviors
o Incorporating behavioral…
How Japan’s unique cultural attitudes explain its people’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.
“Though there is no evidence that the infections are slowing down, it is tough to continue staying at home. As such, we should follow the rules together and enjoy the cherry blossoms while confronting the corona virus.” — AERA magazine online, Asahi Newspaper Publishing
Cherry blossom season is the liveliest time of the year in Japan. Throngs of people visit parks across the nation for ohanami (cherry blossom viewing) to gather under the pink trees and enjoy a picnic.
This year, the Japanese Ministry of Health recommended…
… Everyone around me is a total stranger
Everyone avoids me like a cyclone ranger
That’s why I’m turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so
Turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so…
- Excerpt from the song, “Turning Japanese” by The Vapors, 1980
In the past, Orientalism and the idea of the Asian mystique played a major role in shaping Westerners’ interest in the East. Even in recent years, we still see reflections of cultural appropriation (though some argue that it is cultural appreciation) in pop culture, like in Avril Lavigne’s…
What the U.S. can learn from Asian retail
o A Disney store that caters to adults, featuring interactive mirrors and fixtures subtly adorned with character details.
o Cat cafés where customers can fraternize with feline companions while enjoying a cup of coffee.
o A skatepark perched on top of a shopping mall.
o Department stores with a 2-story basement food market (depachika in Japanese) brimming with a vast array of renowned restaurant, dessert, and niche culinary brands.
o A Muji Café where customers can peruse high quality, “private label” merchandise and/or sit down to grab a healthy bite.
East Asian technological innovations have long outpaced those in the West. Products that sound like recent or even future innovations to most Westerners have been available for decades in Asia, particularly in Japan. These include:
· A handheld device that enables customers to order food and drinks from their karaoke room.
· A button attached to the table that customers push to alert a waitress.
· A slew of vending machines that sell everything you can imagine: alcohol, ramen, underwear, umbrellas, rice, newspapers, cell phones.
· Love hotels where guests can check in discreetly without interacting with other human beings.
LA-based cross-cultural consumer insights expert. Retail futurist. BA in Psychology from Cornell, MBA & PhD from UCLA Anderson School of Management.