Blog articles about sensory cues of consumer goods and services in Japan

In Search of Human Connections in Social Distancing

Online drinking party

When I wake up in the morning, one message keeps coming into my email box. “Zoom Nomi (Drinking party on Zoom) will be tomorrow.  Please make sure that your PC has the Zoom platform!” On the day of the Zoom Nomi, there were over 30 people on the screen. I saw that each participant held a glass of beer or wine in his/her hand. The event organizer said, “Thank you for joining. Let’s start Zoom Nomi with Kanpai (Cheers)!” The participants held up their drinks high in front of their PCs, taking part in the toast. Then, we started talking and laughing without any interruption as if Covid-19 cannot stop […]

Customer Experience Pitfalls

Customer service in Japan

Customer Experience (CX) and User Experience (UX) attract the interests of businesspeople in Japan. Google “Customer Experience” in Katakana, and you get 50 million search results. User Experience – over 4 million. We also notice that many companies are conducting customer research for their products and services. We recognize that companies are trying to enrich their customers’ experiences. There is a gap… Looking back on our daily lives, we do not have good customer experiences every day, though. In Japan, it is relatively easy to find consumer products that give us good user experiences. Store clerks are polite. But, what customers remember is the overall customer experience. No matter how […]

Influence of Majority

Standing in Line

Queuing is a part of Japanese habits. In rush hours, people stand in line to wait for trains to get on. At amusement parks such as Disneyland, people wait for one or two hours to get into popular attractions. Likewise, people are queuing up in front of restaurants or food shops to get in. Queues mean sales growth. My recent experience tells how the first customer attracts more people quickly in Japan. A Customer attracts customers On a Saturday afternoon, I was looking around dishes for dinner in the food section at the department store. I stopped by a cheese counter where a store woman was offering small pieces of […]

Why Senior Women Love Shopping

Elderly women shopping

Women love to shop. And the women’s love for shopping does not fade by age. One Thursday at 9:30 a.m., I passed by a supermarket and saw five to six women making a line in front of the supermarket. They were all around aged the late 60s to 80s wearing walking shoes. Some people held their shopping carts, and others held mobility aids. “Why do they come early even to wait for opening the supermarket? ” I wondered. There were not any bargain sales at the store. There were not any senior discounts for the store, either. When I saw these people again, I noticed that they were chatting with […]

Gaining Insights from Seniors

Communication with Elderly Woman

Interviewing senior people makes us well prepared. When I conducted a one-on-one interview with a woman aged around 65, I had to be in the interview room much ahead of time. Then, I prepared my mind for good listening and good observation. “Your respondent is here. Are you ready?” A receptionist told me 10 minutes before the appointment time. When the woman sat down in the interview room, she politely bowed and gave me a prepared smile. In this way, we begin our interview with a senior woman. Important, but Harder to Gain Insights Interviewing senior women give us opportunities to explore and yield profound and rich insights into daily […]

Heterogeneous Generations in Elderly

A couple of days ago, I took a train in the suburb area of Tokyo. It was just before lunchtime, the autumn sun shone sharply through the windows, and all was a little chilly. There was plenty of space and free from the rush-hour crush of workers and students. All Elderly, but Different Unlike trains during rush hours, I noticed that passengers on the train were quite different from the ones during the rush hours. A person next to me was a man with gray hair aged around 70s, typing messages awkwardly on his smartphone. On the opposite side, there were three women around in their 60s, chatting cheerfuly about […]

Seniors – An overlooked market

Japanese senior

 “You look young!” On a Saturday afternoon, I sat down on a chair at the entrance of a department store to rest my tired legs after shopping. At the entrance, there were two elderly women with silver hair sitting next to me and were talking to each other. “Do you often come to this department store?” asked one woman. “No, the first time in three months. I used to come here for shopping every week when I was young. I am too old now.” said another woman. Then, the woman nodded and asked, “I see. how old are you?” “I am 90 years old.” “Wow, you look so young! I […]

Interests in Sensory Research among Japanese Professionals

Sensory workshop

On April 26, 2019, around 20 Japanese professionals with different background came to to participate in our sensory workshop in Tokyo.     People came to the sensory workshop with various degree of sensory research knowledge, and various industries such as marketing research agencies, fragrance and printing companies. One participant said, “I do not know what is sensory research, but it sounds interesting!” Another person said, “I have been doing consumer research, but I would like to learn more about sensory evaluations.”      However, the participants had one common purpose: they wanted to know more about sensory evaluations and sensory research. Basics of Sensory Evaluations, First In the workshop, we went through the […]

Kanji with Implicit Insights


The Japanese government revealed the name of the new nation’s era as “Reiwa (令和)” on April 1. The government says that the English translation of the new era name is “beautiful harmony.” The translation comes from the kanji characters instead of the sound, hiragana, or katakana. Kanji characters tell the meaning visually and instantly Kanji characters tell what the word means concisely. Taking an example of a book reading (読書): “Doku (読)” means reading, and “Sho (書)” means a book. “読書” is compact in writing, compared to the sentence: “本を読む.” You find that most Japanese have Kanji characters for their family and given names. Kanji characters for family names including […]

Seasonal Cues and Our Senses


Blooming Sakura tells us that spring is coming. The cherry blossom front (桜前線, “Sakura Zensen”) moves across Japan from the south to the north, from the end of February to the beginning of May. You may enjoy viewing the full blossoms of Sakura at the end of March in Tokyo. If you travel to the Tohoku and Hokkaido areas in late April to early May, you will enjoy viewing Sakura again. The cherry blossoms (Sakura) are the spring specialty. They show us the light pink of gorgeous flower only a few days in a year. When the cherry petals are fallen, we feel that the climate gets warmer. Iconic Things […]