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This wonderful video is based on a retreat we held in the Fall of 2007 titled Invigorating Communities, Designing for Inclusion. The video was created by BAYCAT Studio, where Innovators Network member Villy Wang serves as the President and CEO. Enjoy!

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Lecture @ Japan Society Tuesday, May 5, 6:30 PM

From the hottest cell phone novels to complex legal opinions to international sex surveys, stories of widespread dissatisfaction with romance and intimacy in contemporary Japan abound. Dana Goodyear, poet, journalist and the author of the New Yorker article “I ♥ Novels,” and Mark West, Nippon Life Professor of Japanese Law at the University of Michigan, discuss their latest research into this “crisis of intimacy.” Read a preview of Mark West’s next book, Love Read a preview of Mark West’s next book, Love Judges: The Crisis of Intimacy in Japanese Law and Society.

Moderated by Kenji Yoshino, The Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law at New York University

Buy tickets online or call the Japan Society Box Office at (212) 715-1258, Mon. – Fri. 11 am – 6 pm, Weekends 11 am – 5 pm.

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U.S.-Japan Innovators Network Lecture @ Japan Society

Tuesday, May 12, 6:30 PM

Imagine a world where everyone has access to water, housing, health services and energy. That is the goal of Jacqueline Novogratz, a member of the U.S.-Japan Innovators Network. In 2001, Novogratz started Acumen Fund, a non-profit global venture fund that uses entrepreneurial approaches to solve global poverty. Join us in celebrating the launch of her new book The Blue Sweater, which follows her transformation from a young idealistic woman working in Africa to one of today’s most inspiring social entrepreneurs.

Moderated by Justin Rockefeller, Co-founder, GenerationEngage.

Followed by a reception and book signing.

Tickets
This event is free, but you must register in advance.

Please send your name, affiliation and contact information by e-mail to innovators@japansociety.org.

If you have any questions, please call the Innovators Network at 212-715-1243

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april_22_pic1U.S.-Japan Innovators Network Lecture
Wednesday, April 22, 6:30 PM @ Japan Society

* Rule #14 You don’t know if you don’t go.
* Rule #23 Keep two lists: What gets you up in the morning? What keeps you up at night?
* Rule #37 All money is not created equal.
* Rule #45 Failure isn’t failing, failure is failing to try.

In his new book, Rules of Thumb: 52 Truths for Winning at Business without Losing Yourself, Alan Webber stimulates, inspires, challenges and helps us understand what makes for a life well-lived and work well-done. Co-Founder of Fast Company magazine, award-winning business journalist and a member of the U.S.-Japan Innovators Network, Mr. Webber reflects on 40 years of experience as observer, participant and agent provocateur, illuminating 52 rules of thumb on what it takes to innovate and lead in these extraordinary times. Whether you’re a social entrepreneur, a start-up, an established business leader or just plain curious about how to make the most of your life in these crazy times, 52 Rules of Thumb is the book for you.

Followed by a book signing and reception.

Tickets
$10/$8 Japan Society members/$5 students & seniors

Buy Tickets Online or call the Japan Society Box Office at (212) 715-1258, Mon. – Fri. 11 am – 6 pm, Weekends 11 am – 5 pm.

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Back in vogue?

Back in vogue?

Some days before leaving for Tokyo, I fretted about the state of the global economy, and Japan’s economy in particular.

In my January 30 post, GDP Blues, I mentioned David Resler, Managing Director & Chief Economist at Nomura Securities International, Inc., predicting that Japan’s 4th quarter GDP for 2008 could drop 9 pct or more.

That number, announced today, shows GDP contracted at an annual rate of 12.7 pct, Japan’s worst quarterly drop since its economy shrank at an annual pace of 13.1 pct in the first three months of 1974.

Exports are key, of course, but judging by what I’ve seen of consumer demand (or the lack thereof) in Tokyo, the slump is likely to continue for some time.

Even in osharen na Azabu Juban, 100 yen stores are very much back in vogue.

(Daniel Rosenblum)

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In Japan, we have a tendency to wrap everything. We are very much into packaging. Beautiful packaging. When people get married or die, we have the custom of wrapping money in an envelope and wrap the envelope with strands of cords which are made of rice paper. We call these paper cords mizuhiki. The mizuhiki could be quite elaborate. The colors of the cords are usually different depending on the occasion. For wedddings and auspicious occasions, the cords are red, white and gold. For funerals, the cords are black and white. A visitor from Japan gave us the following mizuhiki envelope today. It is created by Yasuhiro Asano, a designer based in Tokyo. He uses traditional paper, washi and mizuihiki. It is called Alphabet mizuhiki. (Look for product number 46.) I like it very much. It is quite different from the ones that I saw growing up. Definitely a merge of Japanese tradition and the West. My coworker Betty is leaving for Japan tomorrow for the design and sustainability exchange that we are organizing. From the U.S., Max Schorr and Casey Caplowe from GOOD magazine and Valerie Casey from IDEO, the founder of the Designers Accord, are joining.  They are all speaking at the Social Design symposium to be held in Tokyo on February 8. Betty will be showing the GOOD mizushiki envelope to Max and Casey. I bet they would like it. (Fumiko)

Good mizuhiki envelope

Good mizuhiki envelope

Good mizuhiki CU

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Trouble ahead, trouble behind?

Trouble ahead, trouble behind?

Watching Wall Street implode from Japan last September, it was easy to hope that after a couple of bailouts life would quickly return to normal.  

Clearly, that’s not the case.  As I prepare to return to Tokyo next week, I wonder how the people and the city are holding up under the strain of a seemingly intractable global recession.

At Japan Society last night we hosted a program with Nomura Holding America and the Women’s’ Bond Club of New York on the impact of the Obama administration on Asian economies, particularly Japan.

During the discussion, it became clear the outlooks for both the U.S. and Japanese economies were none-too sanguine. 

Panelist David Resler, Managing Director & Chief Economist at Nomura  Securities International, Inc., correctly predicted that U.S. GDP numbers for the fourth quarter coming out today would show a strong contraction. 

That number, released this morning, showed the economy shrinking 3.8 pct, the biggest drop in 27 years.  

And what of Japan’s fourth quarter GDP? 

Resler suggested a drop of 9 pct or more.  Indeed, the decline of  9.6 pct in Japan’s December preliminary industrial production, announced on Friday, doesn’t bode well.

The darkest hour before the dawn?

(Daniel Rosenblum)

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