The end of globalisation

When I started my career in the late 1990s, my employer encouraged us to have a global mind to cope with Japan’s recession so-called “the lost decade”. By 2000, the words “global” and “globalisation” were used as the keywords — and sometimes buzzwords — for surviving the upcoming new millennium, followed by the dot-com bubble. My coworkers and I were pressured to raise TOEIC scores, to learn SWOT analysis, MECE, and other terms of logical thinking, to abandon obsolete Japanese work style and get accustomed to global — in many cases American — way of thinking. 

In 2006, those ideas were changed. Seeing the Livedoor scandals and accompanying downfall of dot-com millionaires, Japanese people found out that the American way did not work. Instead, they began taking a second look at their own country and reviewing the good things of it. The company I worked for focused on the products for domestic customers rather than overseas ones, with “the Japan quality” as its corporate philosophy.

Starting 2010s, people’s inward-oriented views were changing into global again. Japanese enterprises were going out overseas, not only to the United States at that time but to the Third World such as India, China, Russia, Brazil and Southeast Asian and African countries. I had more and more opportunities to get involved in the services offered to such customers going to those countries in order to meet their needs and demands.

The first half of 2010s was the years of transportation. Low cost carriers helped people fly abroad at low air fares. Everywhere you can see people travelling to and from all over the world on a regular basis.

Yet you see that people’s favour of the global-oriented mind or the local-oriented one swings from side to side every five or six years. That being the case, such a globalised world will come to an end shortly. The event that happened this week in the United Kingdom showed that the most symbolically. The referendum determined the UK to leave the European Union it had joined in 1973. Other European countries like France, Italy and Spain begin the preparation of such referendum whether they should leave or remain the EU by some people tired of enormous numbers of immigrants from the Middle East and accompanying terrorist attacks occurring inside Europe. 

Likewise, in the United States, Donald Trump, saying that a wall should be built on the border to shut out Mexicans and Muslims, has the enthusiastic support by the conservative and relatively poor American population. Even Hillary Clinton, one of the rival candidates of Trump, says that she is against the US to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In Japan, some nationalistic extremists carrying patriotic flags with them are making a hate speech on the street, saying that the people from neighbouring countries should get out of Japan and go back to their own country.

I think that now is the turning point of the era and there will be no more “globalised World” from now on. People of each country will pay attention only inside their own country. A dispute or, in some cases, an armed clash may begin between some countries. Such an era will last five or six years, at least Trump or Clinton’s presidential term. What we can do right now might be to look on such the World and to have as many options as possible to be able to cope with the future fluctuation of circumstances.

Becoming an e-Estonian

Estonia, one of Baltic countries becoming independent of the Soviet Union along with Latvia and Lithania in early 1990s, is one of IT conscious countries with significant numbers of IT-related startups including Skype. Estonian government is making its best efforts to make a "digital country" by inviting IT engineers to a number of offshore development sites in Europe's IT market. 

The government issues Estonian citizens an ID card, just similar to a Social Security Card in the United States, which enables holders to offer one-stop services including taxation, online banking, issuing medical prescriptions, and more. In addition to offering an ID card for real residents, it started the e-Residency scheme, which is available for not only residents within Estonia but people who don't really live in Estonia. In this scheme, an "e-Residency Card" is issued to the "e-Residents" of Estonia and similar services to those for real residents are offered "electronically" with the card via their computers.

e-Residency card

Application for an e-Residency Card is easy. First you have to visit the application page of the e-Estonia website at https://apply.e-estonia.com/. And then you can apply for the card by filling in necessary information in the form of the web page and paying €50.99 online by credit card. You can make the card to be sent to any Estonian Embassy outside Estonia so that you can pick it up at the nearest Embassy without flying to Estonia. About one month from the online application the card will be ready, when you will receive notification by email.

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A walk in London

(Continued from A stroll in Haworth)
On the third day I checked out of the Heathfield B&B in the rainy morning. Since it was a weekday, Keighley Worth & Valley Railway was out of service. The mistress took me to the nearest bus stop on Rawdon Road and told me to wait there for the bus for Keighley.
While waiting for the bus, an old lady talked to me. She asked me where I was going. I answered that I was going to London. Another lady joined us, and they and I talked a bit until the bus was coming.
In the bus I sit on the upper front seat and the ladies stayed downstairs. Arriving at Keighley bus terminus, I got out of the bus. The train station was a bit distant from the terminus, so I didn’t know how to get there. Then the lady who had talked to me first at the Rawdon Road bus stop found me standing there, and told me to follow her to the train station as she was just going for shopping near there. How kind of her! With her help I could get to the Keighley train station.
Waiting room of Keighley station Lunch
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Where will America go?

America’s recession seems to begin. US stocks are falling down every day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell from $13,500 in December 2007 to less than $12,000 right now, and the NASDAQ Composite was at around 2,700 in the end of December but now at about 2,300. For these five weeks, I’ve LOST more than 1/3 of the total amount of money that I’ve invested!
I’ve believed in the strength and the wealthiness of the United States, and invested American stocks and mutual funds instead of hopeless Japanese stock market. America’s economic growth was stable for over 50 years and the stock prices rose every year. You could get richer and richer as long as you buy and hold the American stocks or mutual funds.
However, the situation has changed completely for the last two months. America is no longer what it was before. What the hell happened to America? And what will happen in the future?
But I won’t give up yet. I’ll keep trusting America, because I love America and America will be still alright and won’t lose its presence in the world as long as it has the strongest military power and global standards in many fields. I have confidence that America will make it by any means.