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Ms. Haruko Iino
WORDS TO LIVE BY
Haruko Iino

By JUDIT KAWAGUCHI

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Haruko Iino JUDIT KAWAGUCHI PHOTO

Haruko "Big Momma" Iino, an independent public relations consultant, became one of Japan's first female advertising account executives back in the 1980s. Even before working at advertising agencies Chuo Senko and Dentsu Eye, the now 63-year-old Iino had understood the potential of the luxury fashion market and ultimately created phenomenally successful advertising campaigns for Ferragamo, Loewe, Bally, Givenchy, Porsche, BMW, and the like that helped generate the all-consuming brand boom that has taken over Japan. Having retired at age 60, she continues to take on advertising projects that make a difference to both consumers and herself, not in terms of profit margin but happiness quota. She says she has already received more than her fair share of bliss with the two daughters whom she raised alone and is still close to.

Tougher competition means more fun. For every ad campaign I did, my rivals were the smartest and toughest people in the industry, and yet with every presentation I made, I always got the account. I looked impeccable, yet I have never used my feminine power as a weapon. In Japan, where women were serving tea at the time, I was working in a man's world, and I fit right in; maybe because my brain functions like a man's yet I know fashion much more than the guys.

Women do not need to be scared of motherhood over 40. My mother was a movie star, and she had me when she was 40 years old. I see many women around the world having healthy babies later in life. It is time to support and encourage older women who are considering childbirth, instead of frightening them.

Women are much harder to work with than men. That is because the type of woman who works is capable and has no need for help from either gender. She can do it all alone, yet even brilliant men need at least emotional support. Even divorce or the death of a spouse is harder on men than on women.

Japanese are bad at PR. We have so much beauty in our country that we take it for granted. One day I found Isumi-shi in Chiba, a beautiful beach town with a long history and with so few visitors that I decided to volunteer to help them get more travelers. They have no idea how special their town is and how to appeal to the public. In our government we see the same lack of professionalism since even our prime minister's PR is done by some member of the Diet, not a PR expert.

Sexual harassment cases should not be settled with money. I had clients slide their hands up and down my thighs while complimenting my "nice legs." I thanked them and smiled. Since my legs are female but my brain is pure male, I kept on charging forward. I knew my legs were taking me far, yet I hated some of the stops on the road. I wished my harassers would have been punished with time spent contemplating why their actions were wrong, but I still disagree with financial gains from a law suit. To get money, one should put in long, honest hours of work.

When you are really desperate, you can always find a way — especially if you are a parent who misses her children. I was 35, divorced, broke and alone. My two daughters were living with their father because the courts gave him custody since I had no income. I was considered an unfit mother, but I knew I was not. I had to make it if I wanted to live with my girls, and I desperately missed them. I needed a job. I had never worked but was bilingual, so I bought The Japan Times, opened the wanted ads, saw an ad for a small advertising agency and miraculously landed the job. I worked like a dog, moved next to my daughter's school so I could see them every morning and lunch time and saved all my money. I got my kids back within a year.

Home cooking is the expression of parental love. I was always busy at work and had plenty of money to afford restaurant fare, yet I cooked every meal for my daughters. Nutritious food was my way to connect to them and raise them as healthy adults.

Positive energy fuels growth. Inside the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, all the plants grow humongous because of the powerful energy that is concentrated there. It was designed according to the rules of feng shui.

It is dangerous to marry a rich man. These are the guys who tend to be selfish, arrogant and fickle. They are used to setting the pace so the woman had better catch up or she will be left behind.

If a woman makes more money than her husband, she will pay for it dearly. My second husband was 10 years younger than me. We met when I was 35, with a 10- and an 8-year-old daughter and about to divorce. I was broke and scared and he helped me through it all. He was such a great friend that the next thing we knew, we were married. It all went well until I was making more than him. We divorced when I was 60.

Men and women are so different, but all men are the same every one is the same and, sadly, he is the guy you have already broken up with.My first husband was from a very rich aristocratic family. He was polite and at every meal he asked how the dishes were prepared, what ingredients I used. My second husband didn't say anything about my cooking. After the meals, neither ever helped me clear the table or do the dishes and I know that neither had any real interest in the food, either. There really is no perfect match, so I recommend you stop the search parties.

Men should date older women in order to become mature. A typical 30- to 50-year-old Japanese man is on a similar level with a woman in her early 20s: quite childish. In France I see many couples where the woman is a good 10 or 20 years older than the guy, and this seems just right — even in Europe where people are generally more adult than we Japanese.

If you cannot keep a love affair secret, you are not ready for it. Love affairs are touchy subjects. If you do it, never tell anyone, ever. Especially not to a friend because since you feel close, you will say too much. People talk and you will be in trouble.

One can attract luck. People who have a firm conviction that the here and now matters, and we must do our best at this moment, are magnets for luck. Yesterday is gone, so forget it, and tomorrow is nowhere yet, so do not think of it.

Japan Times: Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2007
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【2007/07/04 16:00】 | JUDIT'S PROFILE(J) | コメント(2)
WORDS TO LIVE BY
Naoki Sakai


By JUDIT KAWAGUCHI

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Naoki Sakai JUDIT KAWAGUCHI PHOTO

Naoki Sakai, 60, is a designer whose revolutionary ideas have made him an industry powerhouse. After designing Nissan's Be-1, the vehicle that in the late 1980s started the round-and-cute car boom, Sakai came up with concepts for three more popular cars from Nissan — the PAO, Figaro and Rasheen — as well as the SW-1 motorbike for Suzuki and the model for Toyota's Will concept car. Not only does he work with the auto industry, he's helped develop Olympus' O-Product, the camera that made the aluminium body a world standard; mobile phones for au by KDDI; and sofas for Cassina. As CEO of the design studio Water Group, he regularly nurtures great designers and is happiest when they are ready to leave the nest.

Success is not a one-person achievement. If a project succeeds, it means the team is great even if, as the face or symbol for the whole group, I am the one taking credit.

Subcultures make new standards. The flower children and the gay movement created new identities while mainstream cultures vanished. Japan produces so many creative and peaceful subcultures — from mobile phones, manga, Nintendo, anime to much more — that spread around the world.

Improvement sounds good, but actually it is not. Often it simply maintains the status quo and never produces anything new.

The news has to be fresh. With computer and mobile phone technology, news is updated every second. Already professional and amateur journalists are fighting it out, and those who are updating their information as it is happening are clearly winning. Newspapers can not survive with yesterday's news.

Design is ideology. Through it we can change society. My goal is to improve society via happy design. Although Hitler understood the importance of using architecture and movies to create a national identity, his idea was tragically flawed in every other sense. Hollywood is right on the mark because it portrays Americans as funny, brave, smart people who are also great dancers and singers — through movies, it achieved world dominance: most people like the United States and its people, even if they do not agree with its government's foreign policy.

What is good for the manufacturer is bad for the consumer. Before I came up with the design concept for the O-Product camera for Olympus, cameras were made of black plastic. It was efficient and easy on the makers but didn't provide any aesthetic value.

A company is a temporary system. Working is like going on a boat trip, with people cruising or speeding to their destinations.They come and go, just like the river, and the water supply never dries up. Of course, I try to make my company charming, so good people stop by, but I do not expect them to stay too long.

Japanese don't take enough personal responsibility. Our government is like a sweet parent, taking care of the populace too much. We design and produce super cars, yet we are not even allowed to drive them fast, not because it is fuel efficient to go slower but because it is dangerous to speed up. I think we should have the equivalent of the autobahn and drive as fast as we can.

No matter how great a company is, the most talented people all end up quitting anyhow. I have 30 employees in my design office. They are all great, but the best ones all leave sooner or later, regardless of how much they get paid or how well appreciated they are. They want to be independent because they know they can make it.

Marriage is a platform for self-development. The more I did it, the better I got. This is my fifth and I hope, final one. At every age I have different opinions, and I change a lot and often, even now. But I don't want to change my spouse anymore.

If you want many girlfriends, you don't have enough confidence yet. Once you have had many lovers, you can imagine what others desire and you can fulfill their cravings and your own. That is the time to stop jumping from bed to bed. Now I have a little confidence and I know that variety is not necessarily quality.

Lucky streaks always end. I was 19, married and living in San Francisco, making $ 300,000 a month selling T-shirts with Japanese tattoo designs. The more I made, the more I sold, for two-and-a-half years straight. I spent it all, of course, and I have never made that much money since.

Product design is repeated incest. Basically, things are copied and copied and copied until somehow they become originals again. I love being copied. Copies are better than the originals.

If it's on the market, it is successful. One only knows the success stories, so it's easy to forget how many failed attempts are made for one successful product.

In my next life I will never marry or marry only once. Women are great, but loving them causes too many problems.

Where we meet is as important as that we meet. Meetings must be conducted in appropriate spaces that inspire us. I spend lots of time and money on taking young designers to beautiful restaurants and showing them objects that are worth seeing over and over again. This is employee education that most companies either do not have the means for or do not think is important enough.

It's hard to design luxury when one cannot afford it. Having lots of money allows one to have more beauty in life. Since rich people have many luxurious experiences, some turn into great artists. But unfortunately, most big company's employees don't have enough income to enjoy such pleasures, for example, as buying a fantastic car. Yet they are trying to make the No. 1 sports car in the world, all from their imagination. That is sad, too, as they can never drive what they make.

Menopause effects men, too. I exercise and feel young, but sometimes my body doesn't agree. I get hot flashes, mood swings, the whole works, just like my wife. Men and women are the same, after all.

Humans can develop forever. At any age, if one works out, and breaks some muscles in the process, the body miraculously renews itself. Same with the mind: the more stimuli, the better condition we will be in.

Japan Times: Tuesday, May 8, 2007

【2007/06/14 08:28】 | JUDIT'S PROFILE(J) | コメント(0)
JUDIT KAWAGUCHI 紹介
まずはユディちゃん紹介です。

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川口ユディ
JUDIT KAWAGUCHI

フリー・ジャーナリスト。ハンガリー出身。アメリカ・イリノイ州立大学芸術学部卒業。「頑張れ日本」応援団長、NHK「ウィークエンドジャパノロジー」テレビリポーター

世界35カ国を巡り、日本を永住の地と選ぶ。日本と日本人の素晴らしさを世界に伝えるため、テレビ、雑誌、講演などで活躍中。高校講師の経験を生かし、銀座の歩行者天国で悩み相談も行っている。
「愛情はアンチエイジングです。皆さま、日本をLOVE LOVEしてください!」


こんなに日本のことを愛してくれてる外国人がいるなんて感動しません?

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【2006/05/08 22:34】 | JUDIT'S PROFILE(J) | トラックバック(0) | コメント(0)
Judit Kawaguchi's (川口ユディ) FAN BLOG


がんばれ日本!応援団長、川口ユディ(NHK Weekend Japanology人気レポーター, Japan Timesコラムニスト)のファンブログ

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