Re: A news item and subject which I just want to check out (138) May 31, 2024

Hanshin Koshien Stadium, well known nationwide as the National High School Baseball Tournament where a fierce battle unfolds in spring and summer and the home stadium of the Hanshin Tigers, will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the opening in August this year. It is located at Nishinomiya City Koshien and the capacity is 47,400.
In fact, my alma master, Koyo Gakuin High School, relocated at Nishinomiya City Kurakuen in current location in April 1978, but was right next to the said stadium when I was in school.
And it was ridiculed as “it is the closest in terms of distance nationwide but the farthest from qualifying for the national tournament” and it was mostly used as a practice ground before games from participating schools from all over the country.
Incidentally, my alma master’s predecessor, “Private Koyo middle school” was founded in 1917 at Koshien, seven years before the opening of the Koshien Stadium. After subsequent educational reforms, it became Koyo Gakuin boy’s integrated junior and senior high school for 6 years now. It is known as a school for entrance exams now, but has a track record of wining the National Junior High School Baseball Championship in 1923. The place of the championship at that time was Naruo Stadium in Nishinomiya City. But about 10 thousand enthusiastic spectators were pushed out onto the ground during the game and the game was interrupted, because the stadium was small and the local team was competing for the championship. It is said that by the trigger of this incident, the construction of Koshien Stadium previously planned had been officially decided.
The memory of my high school days about Koshien Stadium was that I went around the said stadium where the perimeter is about 1,500 meters in the traditional physical fitness test. And the building called as the annex closest to the stadium in the playground was used as a storeroom at that time, but the windows were always broken, because some fans of the team that lost in a professional baseball game and threw stones by way of revenge.

■■What I have recently thought and focused on:
■Thinking about Ukraine:
60.8 billion additional aid budgets for Ukraine that had rough going in congress were finally approved and additional supply of ammunition and surface-to-air missile is now possible. And EU will start support using interests arising from frozen assets to Russia in July this year. These are assets of the Central Bank of Russia that have been frozen right after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022 and have kept in Euroclear, clearing house in Belgium that gains 3 billion Euro interest income per year. It is predicted that this will be put into EU’s fund and 90 % will be spent on Ukraine’s weapons purchase to fight with Russia and remaining 10 % will be spent on reconstruction.
While support from the West has been stuck for the past few months, Russian army has intensified its offensive without a pause and is moving forward in Kharkiv, east of Ukraine, beginning the invasion in May. In response to these movements by Russia, in Europe and Western countries, a sense of urgency that they never repeat the failures that could not stop the Nazi Germany invasion in 1938 is growing. And taking into consideration of risk of strategy shift of the United States due to re-election of the President by Mr. Trump in November this year, there is a movement to increase defense spending, even if social-related expenses and tax reduction amount are reduced. The President of France refers to sending troops to Ukraine, and the Prime Minister Sunak of the United Kingdom has a general election promise in July “revival of 12 months of military service and community service”. Germany is also aiming for revival of compulsory military service at the age of 18, and conscription is also on the horizon in other countries. Now, in Europe, the tension of “the eve of war” with Russia is beginning to hang in the air.
On the other hand, the Far East Asia is holding a flashpoint like Chinese military invasion to Taiwan and China’s blatant wolf warrior diplomacy and hegemonism including extension of territory in East China Sea, and going out of control of North Korea known as “a rogue nation”. And glancing over Asian countries, not only in China but also in Korea, Taiwan, North Korea, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia, there is a military service obligation including conscription, and it seems that discussions have begun in Philippines as well.
And turning to Japan, losing the previous war has left us with trauma, and constitutional debate concerning defense issue has not been progressing, and the pros and cons of actively adopting nuclear power essential for energy independence has been also somewhat taboo. Now, Japan has poor preparedness for emergencies and at the same time, the awareness of national defense and energy independence among citizens is extremely low, and Japan is almost defenseless.
Considering international situation surrounding Japan, I consider that young people who have graduated from high school or university may be required to engage in volunteer activities for about a year, before they get into the real world, in order to develop a spirit of group action and service.

■”100-yen shop” has grown into 1 trillion yen market:
There was an article in the other day’s newspaper that domestic market size of 100-yen shop like Daiso and Seria was around 1.02 trillion yen increased by about 5 % compared to the previous year in fiscal year 2023, and exceeded 1 trillion yen for the first time. This means that each citizen bought about 8,000 yen per year, in other words, bought 80 for 100-yen goods. It is exactly “Many a little makes a mickle”. I also sometimes go to a nearby shop, and I feel “benefit” that “Can I buy something like this for 100 yen?” and it is quite useful.
According to the interview article of founder, Mr. Hirotake Yano, who passed away aged 80 in February this year, he had inherited significant debt from his father-in-law’s aquaculture business when he was young and he ran away to Tokyo with his wife and small child when he was 26. After that, after 9 job changes, he started Yano Shop, mobile sales of miscellaneous goods, in Hiroshima when he was 29, and established Daiso Industries 5 years later and started mobile sales of 100-yen goods. It is said that how he came up with this business was that each time he was asked “How much is this?” from his customers, checking receipts every time could be quite bothersome and he could not help to say “each item is 100 yen”. In other words, he built up a sudden idea coming up in his mind as a business model.
Retail business itself has been around in various ways for a long time and is not uncommon.
Nevertheless, sometimes there are moments that “significantly change the course of the events”. Delivery service industry, in addition to traveling bag and standard products, expanded into ski, golf clubs and cold shipping market. It turned an idea that “it would be convenient to have something like this” into a business. It is not a hard discovery. It turned “inspiration” into “twinkling”. In the previous job era, I kept saying that for a new business, “have originality” rather than imitating other companies.
Recently, IT industry like computers and so on, nuclear power, means of transport such as train, steamship, car and airplane, logistics equipment such as container, forklift, pallet and so on, supermarket, convenience store, hamburger and so on, most of them were brought in from overseas, mainly from the United States, and infused with a touch of Japan. Like this, the weakness of imagination generating fundamental principles is an undeniable weakness of the Japanese.
By the way, because “inspiration” disappears in an instant, it is important to take notes without a moment’s delay. And in order to turn an idea into a successful business, it goes without saying that systematic thinking is necessary.

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