Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Words to Live By

One of the oddest feature sections in the JT is "Words To Live By", as told to Judit Kawaguchi, who "loves to listen". Good for her.

Each "Words to Live By" features an interview (the "as told to") with.........well, an odd sort of character, to be honest, and a whole range of odd characters but it's not clear from the interviews if the subjects arereally odd or if Judit Kawaguchi is odd. Or maybe the question are odd. Or maybe it's just the editing but a lot of the opinions (and there are some doozies) don't have much context.

For example, this week's subject is Yuzo Narumiya, the founder and president of a prominent children's wear maker. He comes across as a reasonable enough guy but does express the following opinions, according to Kawaguchi:

"What is more proof of being original than being thought of as a fool?" An original fool. Everyone's goal!

"We can live without knowledge and still be winners." Yeah, we could win the lottery, for example.

"If you follow a business model you will never make it big." Throw away those MBAs, boys and girls.

"Maturity is just the process of collecting a lot of unnecessary knowlege." -- which we can live without and still be winners, remember? So......we get stupider as we get more mature. Hmmm...

"My parents hated the newly rich. So they.....never took a taxi." The relationship being?

"Rational people don't make hits [in business]." No, hits are for the irrational.

"I release my stress by taking the subway and listening into people's conversations." OK. I myself have never seen a conversation on a Tokyo subway.

"All the wisdom one needs to succeed in life can be learned playing sports such as soccer." Enuff said.

Virtually all the "Words" columns feature opinions such as these, enough to make me want to cross the street if I saw any of the interviewees coming.

Or maybe it's just bad translation into English. Or maybe the interviewer asks bad questions. Or maybe it's the absence of any context.

Or maybe the editors of the JT don't read the column, or just don't care.

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