Saturday, 20 January 2018

Business should be focusing on people more

It's been long since the last post. My apology for not making the new post for a while. I have been busy working and involving in the Australian Rules Football club, as well as exercise and reading.

Recent SEN (the sports radio in Melbourne) sacking David Schwarz (the Ox), Mark Allen (Marko) and Mark Fine (Finey) was extremely shocking and devestating. My thoughts on sacking can be found in the links below.

On Ox and Marko
On Finey

Then recently my work has been catch up, because the restaurant was unexpectedly busy so wash ups and refilling toppings was interrupted with dealing with customers (the kitchen is open one and no glass is placed so that customers do not hesitate to ask kitchen staff any assistance). Eventually the premise got steady and we were able to catch up with everything.

My perception on businesses is that owners and management run the business in sakes of focusing on financial circumstances and relations with cooperates. Businesses are obsessed with money and run by administrators.

In the former case, these moves are big shakes. Changing ownership brings changes in operations and people. I have been heard that the radio station was attracting young audience. But new line ups are not reflected, in my opinion, as they kept Kevin Barlett who is in seventies. His talks are so boring and nonsense for me. How can he be moved to the drive time slot from mornings? Many listeners where so furious and have decided to switch off. They were ignored. I reckon they take favours of stakeholders and cooperates.

It's a good example of businesses not being able to survive without people. I am sure SEN will be struggling with ratings.

As the result of unattached unwashed dishes constantly, some particular dishes were almost ran out. Even refilling one by one causes a delay in services. And seeing piles of unwashed plates could cause stresses to on duty staff members with much pressures.

Such inefficient customer services will dissatisfy diners. Kitchen staff should be able to focus on cooking and food preparation. These tasks are part of our services. I strongly think customers need to respect staff members more for good custmer services. Even when I am taking meals to the table, other customers do not hesitate to ask assistance. Such interruptions will cause inefficient services, in my opinion from experiences. Also we need to be assertive with manners so that customers will understand circumstances.

As I have been working with the book Wresting with Resilience by Chris Shen, it's important to predict longer time to complete tasks to avoid getting stressed as the process to be tough mentally. For the latter case, the business has to be ready to cope with huge crowd especially at weekends. Mishandling with Etihad Stadium management on the AFL match between St Kilda and Carlton in 2016 was another example.

It's said that business owners are desperate to gain profit in short terms so I think they seek cutting costs at first. But such practice is more likely to cause such problems.

When Grant Thomas was in charge at St Kilda as senior coach, he urged then young players to invest for the future. Subsequently Nick Riewoldt, Lenny Hayes, Stephen Milne, Justin Koschitzke and Leigh Montagna stayed loyalty and became one club players (Nick Dal Santo wanted to be too but moved to North Melbourne maturely to allow club to rebuild).

Thomas' method should be implemented in businesses to succeed.

Also I have heard that schools are organised by administration so that environment in teaching has been unattractive and consequently young teachers chose other careers in a few to several years after starting teaching.

Businesses cannot be established without people. They need to focus on people more.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Are pubs losing identity?

According to the Oxford English dictionary, pub is the abbreviation of public house meaning an establishment for the sale of beer and other drinks, and sometimes food, to be consumed on the premises.

Premises are open for the public to socialise even new friendships are established, I think that are identities of pubs.

And some my Western friends told me as they are what puba are meant to be established and contribute to the public.

Sadly I have been told not to talk to other patrons at pubs in Kyoto. I assume that their owners and staff members don't like how I behave (talking to other patrons while I am there on my own).

It's really sad. Sadly Japanese people (not me) tend to keep themselves. They don't talk to anyone outside their groups in a public place. Even they just form Japanese only groups outside Japan.

Opposed to the majority of Japanese people, I am outgoing and love talking to others. An Australian pub in Osaka has never told me not to talk to other patrons. Even my friend has wondered why Japanese people came to the Australian pub even they didn't talk to any other person.

On the other hand, my Western friend told me that not many people didn't go to a pub so much any more and were trying to find a partner online instead.

I guess in this case, it's due to busy life and/or expensive drinks at pubs. Offering opportunities to meet new people and potentially romance as identities seems to be lost.

Connections over the technology can't offer everything that in person counterparts can do. As the nature, we all need human connections.

Pubs are not just selling drinks and foods, but connecting the community and society. I hope premises keep doing such wonderful jobs. But I won't go to any pub in Kyoto on own because of terrible experiences that made me feeling lonely and isolated.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

The author taking a new challenge of playing Australian Rules Football

Hi guys,

I hope you had a good Christmas and 2018 is brilliant for you.

Officially, I am a player for the Osaka Dingoes AFL (Australian Rules Football) club as well as doing off field duties in writing, translating and public relations officer.

I am excited to take new challenges in playing new sport and the PB tasks, and to extend my writing skills for the club.

Public announcement has been made on the Footy Almanac website where I am contributing sports stories, mainly AFL ones.

All the best.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Japanese media should care about other part of the world

My blog today starts with my sympathy to victims of the car clash incident on Flinders Street in Melbourne.

It is a terrible incident and should have never happened. Why innocent eighteen people were injured? My anger is towards the offender. If an immigrant acts like it, other hardworking and faith people who want to move to the country like me will lose an opportunity to the better life there.

On Friday morning, I was curious to know if Japanese media reported the news or not. I found the article and then another anger hit me.

Japanese TV reports the incident with no Japanese was victimised. Does it really matter?

No. The media should express sympathy to victims no matter whose nationality is / are.

Since the devestating earth quake in 2011, I have been turning back on the Japanese media because I am unhappy with not caring the rest of the world.

Days ago, Christchurch in New Zealand was hit another terrible earth quake. 185 people were killed with the natural disease. I feel extremely sad for victims.

Try garden city held a memorial and then Prime Minister John Key and Princes William made speeches. As the Japanese earth quake had been occurred, japanese media edited their speeches into only while they expressed sympathy to Japan.

What they have done was not to empathise victims of the Christchurch earth quake and was very disrespectful to New Zealand. Worsening, they only anchored number of Japanse victims of the Christchurch one.

As a person who has lived in New Zealand for four years and loves Christchurch, my anger towards Japanese media came up. How self centred they are!

And such attitudes apply to sports reports. For example, Japanese baseball and soccer players play overseas. The media only report how Japanese players perform and scores. Where are their teammates?

Japanse media has no respect towards other players and are rude to their teams. They should compliment their teammates and appreciate their teams to pick them.

I strongly want Japanese media to care other parts of the world. Reasonable and balanced reports are essential in journalism as I have learned on the online course provided in the English language.

Focusing on a big story too much with unnecessary commentating is the reason I do not watch any Japanese news programme any more. It's nonsense and so terrible.

And they constantly broadcast rubbish variety shows in prime times. Then reading a book is much better and I learn a lot from inspiring books.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Is cycling an expensive activity?

Listening to ABC radio Melbourne in the morning today, they were talking about Australian Federal politics, but I had no idea what was the news on discussion. So I have visited some news websites. But no successful.

However I found an interesting article in Melbourne's newspaper the Age's website.

Riding a bike to work was what the newspaper presents. Even they urge us that cycling to work is an activity for rich people.

More than 100,000 people ride a bike to work in Australia, 8.8 per cent increasing between 2011 and 2016.

Melbourne is the capital of cycling to work and most riders live in four to eight kilometres from the CBD. Suburbs such as North Fitzroy, Brunswick East have been built rich houses that people who earn more than median income resident, and are in the category of the riding to work.

Riding a bike can be another version of playing golf, the newspaper says.

However people whose places are not well served by public transport are likely to ride a bike to work as well. Although they tend to leave a bike at the nearest train station.

After reading the article, my thoughts came up with the prices of bikes could make such a trend (riding a bike to work is mainly for rich people). Good road bikes and mountain bikes could cost AUD 1,000 or more. 

Such bikes are expensive here in Japan as well, but we can buy cheap city ride bikes and some bike retailers in the national chain as well as home tool retailers offer cheaper their private branded mountain bikes that I have bought a few times. 

Then bikes are cheap and easy transport for us.

When I was in Melbourne in October, I saw some cyclists, but not as many as here, I reckon. High prices and not many bike parking could be the reasons.

However the Melbourne newspaper makes a good point that people ride a bike more as a healthy and environmental option. And some people choose to ride a bike to avoid overcrowded public transport.

It's a good move and applies to me. I am not riding a bike to work normally, but I do when I have to work in other premises rather than the usual one. Reasons are to get fit and to avoid overcrowded public transport (and too much and annoying announcements).

I would ride a bike to work for ten kilometres each way. Riding a bike is a good exercise and should not be just for rich people.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Christmas - Meanings and Celebrations with question marks

Here in Japan, Christmas is not a public holiday that is opposed to the Western world. And how we celebrate is totally different to the Western countries. Only families with young children have home parties and couples have a Christmas meals and spend a night at a hotel on Christmas Eve - see more details on my old Footy Almanac post here.

But Christmas songs are played at many places and decorations are done at shopping malls and on sreets, even in front of houses.

My question mark comes - why so many Christmas stuffs are around here, even Japanese people celebrate not in the way how Westerners do (spend the day with family)?

I tried to find an answer today but the attempt was unsuccessful. Some online articles in Japanese language about the Christmas history were found, but no reason why *they spend in such ways was indicated.
* I used they instead we because my thoughts and values are closer to western ones ratther than Japanese ones.

Christmas celebration started again in the Meiji era (1867-1911). And it got bigger in the post WW II.

However it was much commercialised. KFC Japan promoted their deep fried chicken wings for dinners on Christmas Eve. Sponged cakes were on sale as their bakeries and pastries' promotions. Exchanging Christmas presents became the trend influenced by retailers.

It's really sad Japanese people ignored the true meaning of Christmas and created sentiments for singleton including me. I admit I am not a fan of Japanese Christmas. I much prefer western Christmas and am sad that I will be in Kyoto on 25 December. I wish I could be in Melbourne.

Such an important occasion should have been adopted here in Japan with respecting Christians and the meanings, I think.

On further research, I found the Christmas was the time to think about others including those we have never met.

I wish you all the best and Merry Christmas to you, even it's early to say. And thanks for reading my blogs this year here, on the Footy Almanac and on the old Kyo Sensational Blog.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Trams - Part Two: Suggestion rebuilding tram network in Kyoto

In the previous post, I wrote about how Melbourne keeps its tram network with history and circumstances.

Here, I would like to express my suggestion needing to rebuild tram network in Kyoto.

Previously my opinion was introducing double decker buses on busy city bus routes. However what happened on Bourke Street in Melbourne in the 1940s and 50s doesn't support my previous idea and changed into having trams back.

Traffic chaos in the busy tourist seasons are terrible. I have seen buses travelling so slow on Higashioji Street, east of the CBD. As many tourist attractions on the eastern and northern suburbs are not covered by rail transports, exploring Kyoto by public transport is frustrating and a nightmare, as inbound tourists save and spend a lot of money to come over to Japan.

In busy seasons, Kyoto City Council sends extra buses on busy routes, but the queues are long in many places. It's bad for the environment as well as creating more congestions. Capacity of buses are low, especially on low floor buses. These mobility friendly vehicles have dead space around wheels. Designline in New Zealand put chairs whose backs are facing towards the direction buses are travelling, but none of Japanese makes installs such seats. Worsely recent Isuzu Erga buses have standard models of short bodies, and such buses are purchased as majority. Melbourne's Yarra Trams have great E Class fleet of three section arculated vehicles. I was amazed and impressed with high capacity of the tram fleet when I boarded on a few times there.

Then Kyoto City council's poor operations on buses don't take any merit of operating diesel powered buses. They don't overtake buses at bus stops, even when buses on same routes stop at the same stop. Such poor operating itself causes delays and many bus drivers run at the red lights. I felt unsafe and uncomfortable travelling on the city buses many times. For the latter issue, trams will have priority tram traffic lights and road codes will be obeyed and trams are safer than buses.

In 1894, the first tram tracks in Kyoto was opened operated by a private operator. It was the first electrified rail in the nation.

Kyoto City Council started operating their tram services in 1912. Due to financial circumstnces, all tram tracks run and operated by Kyoto Electrified Rail have been purchased by the state operator. Tram tracks were extended until 1958.

But like in majority of cities in the globe, motorisation hit Kyoto in the late 1950s and 60s. In Japan, promoting motorisation and buildng underground train network were required to become big cities (cities populated one million or more have more authorisations to run the city). Trams have been labelled negatively as "out of date in transport systems".

Allowing private motor vehicles in roads shared with tram tracks caused a lot of traffic congestions. Once again the local authority banned private vehicles in some tram tracks but it was to late. Trams were running late and services became unreliable. Then the time when the next tram was coming was unpredictable. Frustrated passengers shifted trips to other tansport modes. Trams became less patronised.

In 1969, the New Transport Plan Bill was passed at the City Council Chamber. Closure of all tram lines except the outer city loop line.

The financial circumstances had been tough and the City Council Transport had a lot of losses. Closure of tram network was required to rebuild the state transport organisation with financial supports from the central Government.

The against petition signed by 270,000 people didn't stop undergoing the transport's financial rebuilding programme.

In 1978, all city council operated tram tracks were closed. Media reported big stories of the tram tracks closure in the city where the first electrified tram lines were opened.

Now it's the twenty-first century and the time to consider the environment. It's time to rebuild tram network in Kyoto.

My points of views are found similarly in LRT will save Kyoto (Tsumugi Book Publication, 2004). And some groups have been established lobbing the city council.

But local businesses were against and the city council didn't take any advice. The experiment conducted in the northern suburb seemed not successful.

The book has positive views on installing the LRT system. Introducing the ride and park encouraging locals and tourists to shift travelling on public transport is good and what I had thought. Transit Malls where basically only trams and pedestrians can access are great. Formally part of Wellington's Cuba Mall was a pedestrian area and I really loved it. Kyoto's Shijo Street in the CBD should have such system banning all private cars except loading tracks early in the morning. Unfortunately allowing private cars in the recently narrowed Shijo Street is a bad call (even controversial I think) and the city council didn't take a lesson from the past when they permitted private vehicles to share tram tracks.

I admit I won't expect the silly city council to take my suggestion but do hope trams are back on Kyoto streets in the near future.

Trams on the run

The Class 1800 Tram (now used as the Okazaki Park concierge information and bus waiting room buildng)
* It was originally built as the Class 800 in 1951 and then refurbished in 1969 for one-man operation.