seeking fravashi

     Mamoru Mori, an astronaut, is one year my senior at the department of Chemistry in the faculty of Science at Hokkaido University. Although it was a small department of only 40 students, I have not met him. Guess I might not have been interested in the coursework? Well, what I would like to talk about is the universe…
     On December 3, 2014, a space probe “HAYABUSA 2” was launched from the Tanega-shima Island by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA. It succeeded in a Swing-by and continues traveling toward “RYUGU,” a small planet that is 150 million kilo meters from earth. It is not as far as universal distance, yet the distance from the moon is 380 thousand kilo meter and the one from Mars is 60 million kilo meter.
     “RYUGU,” which literally means a castle in the depth of the ocean, is a charming name chosen by public subscription. It comes with a folk story that a village man traveled to the castle of RYUGU and came back with a treasure box. “HAYABUSA 2” arrives in RYUGU in the summer of 2018, spends a year and a half there and returns to earth in December of 2008 after the Tokyo Olympics finishes. I wonder what they are doing, spending time with that planet of the ocean castle?
     According to the folk story, the treasure box contained some magic smoke that made the village man old. Meanwhile, the treasure box of HAYABUSA 2 is filled with secrets of the origin of the solar system, the progress of the universe and the birth of life. What a spectacular mission filled with playful spirits.

     "There is a cool bar named the “Tropic of Cancer” on the 6th floor in an old building in Roppongi, Tokyo. The owner with her signature white hair is Hose Tokuda, 8th wife of the American novelist, Henry Miller. She started practicing piano, song and story-telling since she was 3 years old and is always very adorable. I never feel that she is one generation older than me. She gave me her autobiographical essay book and I have read through it. Hers is such a vivid life.
     Nearby the bar, there is a world leading Drag Queen Show Pub “Goldfish.” It has been three years since the owner and the director Shozo Tanimoto passed away. Recent increase in the tourists from overseas have the pub packed every day. The appearance of Mr. Tanimoto, who was watching the stage with his eyes half-open, is burned into my brain.
     There is a restaurant called Narisawa, which took 8th in the world as a restaurant ranking in London, 1st in Japan, and first in the world in the field of sustainability. Their menus are presented as, ‘a soup of soil, salad of water, butter of moss.’ Yoshihiro Narisawa’s dazzling food world is continuous day and night.
     There are 500 big and small galleries in Ginza. A one day walk is enough for 30 galleries, yet if you are lucky, you can infiltrate into a small-scale auction to be able to purchase an art work of about 50,000 to 100,000 yen. It was about 10 years ago that I saw telephone bidding for a small work of Takashi Murakami, a standard-bearer of present day pop art.
     Even to this year, when I visit Tokyo, I find everything curious and vivid, and I feel like I am a country bumpkin. Even though it is trembling with the risk of earthquake, Tokyo was chosen as a number one livable city in the world (2015).”
(Excerpt from President's greeting letter in the summer 2015.)

     "It was about 45 years ago that I wandered in Europe for five months starting from December to April. It was the year that the Winter Olympics were held in February in Sapporo.
     During the five months, I traveled to Spain, crossed the strait of Gibraltar, visited Rabat and Casablanca in Morocco, Algiers and Constantine in Algeria, and Tunis in Tunisia, making full use of trains, buses and hitchhiking. The meals were eaten with my bare hands all the way through, and I was satiated with the unknown world.
     In the ship from Tunis to the Sicily Islands, the water coming out of the facets made me feel that I came back to civilized country, which I remember clearly still now.
     Nowadays this route would be unrealistic because of the threat of terrorism, which makes my faith toward the progression of humanity waive. It was in the midst of the US-Soviet Cold War, yet it was safer than today.
     Those white rows of houses in Casablanca, tree-lined streets in Algiers, a Japanese businessman who treated me lunch in Algiers, medical university students whom I spent a whole night talking at a pub in Constantine and came to see me off to the closest bus stop at 5 o’clock in the morning, young couples that I shared a room with at a cheap hotel in Tunis and who I ignored and slept through for 2 days; they are all in my faint and far memories.
     Now being the end of the year, I wondered how it all went. When I looked back, I am struck feeling that a year had passed with a gust of wind to disappear far and forever away.”
(Excerpt from President's greeting letter at the end of 2015.)

     Tenfu Nakamura, a Japanese writer, wrote in his book, Actualization of Success, that "Human beings can naturally accomplish anything that they deeply believe that they could. If he thinks he cannot, he cannot, if he believes he can, he can. In other words, everything happens as you truly believe in yourself."

     Fazle Hasan Abed, the leader of the largest NGO in the world says, “For the first time in the history, the number of the people who suffer from poverty is decreasing. The number of people who live a day under a dollar is decreasing in the past ten years….. Bangladesh is one of those countries. 2% of all the population is going out of poverty every year. … It is because of the economic progress. The percentage of growth of the GDP is higher than the percentage of the increase of the population. … We are engaged in developing leaders in farm communities, providing education in elementary schools, the increase of productivity in the agricultural technology, reasonable medical services, and legal support and microfinance.
     You may have images that corporations and NGOs go against each other. Yet this is not so. We are encouraging local small corporations and enterprises in the field of education, technology and finance. … As to poverty, there are many fields that enterprises and NGOs can cooperate with each other. When the poor becomes well off, it is a big opportunity for corporations.”

     “Katafumi Kono of ABC Mart is the chief of the Shinjuku Head Branch, and he may be the number one seller of shoes in Japan. He is selling 20,000 pairs of shoes a year, which means 8 to 10 pairs of shoes an hour. His start was a job as a warehouseman. Day after day he was overloaded by work in inventory readjustments. Shoes have different sizes and colors according to the kind. He drummed into his head the locations of the products that are meticulously separated by the producers and brands of the shoes. Afterward he polished his knowledge about those products. Kono says, ‘When recommended by a clerk who knows the details of the product, it leads to good impressions. Many people would like to buy from a clerk who is knowledgeable.’
     For example, one client is looking for a pair of running shoes. Kono deducts the client’s detailed information whether he is using it at a gym or outside, is he a beginner or a veteran, and how far he runs, and brings those to a concrete image of the ideal shoes for the client. Based on all the information and knowledge, he is going to suggest the narrowed down choice. Kono does not call out to the clients to disturb them. He waits until the client touches the shoes. It is because ‘one does not touch anything if one is not curious.’ Kono makes it his custom to read through fashion magazines and put into his mind on what is trending or not.
     If the client is a businessman who comes into the store when it suddenly rains and if his shoes are dirty then it is emergent. He may be ordered to go on a business trip suddenly. He sometimes has to deploy his deductive and intuitive capability.”

Marin Food has 4 corporate Principles:
Core Competence
We establish clear priorities, concentrate, and differentiate. We make many number one and only one products in the market. We establish a clear, significant existence.

Customer Focus
Our true lord and master is our customers. Since our fate is up to the customers, all the corporate system should be open to the customer reviews.

Speeding up starts in your mind and heart. It comes down to setting priorities, drawing a roadmap and an immediate action. Do not postpone things that you can do today. Take action now.

Management by Wandering Around
Wander around to clients, factories, and other companies’ factories. Look with your eyes, listen with your ears, sense with your skin and think. A treasure trove is in front of you at the site. Look for the gold mine. Encounter the unknown with the spirit of an explorer.

     The supreme secret of business enterprise consists of two concepts: to make it grow and to make it stable. Only when you practice both concepts as a strategic challenge you will be able to see prosperity. If it lacks either one, there is no true prosperity for an enterprise.

     Here are messages from our customers coming daily.
     “Watching your company’s movie, ‘My Favorite’ brought me into tears. My daughter started job hunting. People who show up in the movie with bursting smiles work very hard and take pains for the company. I was filled with emotion. The video is very easy to see, feels familiar, and conveys determination and is wonderful.”

     “I watched your video ‘Cleaning.’ Looking at the corporate training scene where people are cleaning ventilation fans and a cooling tower, and keeping clean the factory environment with patrol checking, I have increased my trust toward your products.”

     “I looked at Marinfood’s homepage for the first time, and I was surprised to see so many recipes. I am learning cooking at school and I love putting my cooking recipes on twitter. I thought I knew various recipes but those recipes on the homepage are astounding. I would like to learn those for my future reference.”

     “I am using Garlic Margarine for years. I use it not only for toast but also for other cooking. I am curious about Smoke Butter. I have never seen them in stores, so I would definitely like to eat it sometime. Thank you very much.”

     This year, we welcomed the 30th business plan announcement party. Our progress until this year has been like walking up a winding ramp at a sluggish pace. This year, we started our voyage with our new catch-phrase, "My Treasure Island ~ searching for a treasure trove.”

     I claim that in the pursuit of Marin's Dream, I devote myself to the improvement of the company, decide the direction, make determination, and set forward management with passion and sincerity. This I believe is my mission assigned by heaven.

January 30, 2016
Naoki Yoshimura