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  • Accounting for Financial Reform: Articles: Multimedia: Japan Society
    or loans where the company is collecting principal and interest you can keep it at cost though some issues in this area remain to be resolved The provisions on OCI other comprehensive income are what we call the Japanese amendment he said Where companies have cross holdings that aren t used for trading we don t want a gain of 30 or 40 years suddenly to be dumped in this year s profit when you sell them so those amounts that would otherwise be included in P L will be shown in OCI instead The IASB s exposure draft on impairment uses an expected loss model Under this model a lender in a region dependent on the oil industry wouldn t wait in the event of a downturn in oil until its borrowers had actually started to default on their mortgages but would begin to provide for losses at an earlier point FASB s approach is going to be more of a look forward and the two boards will be doing quite a bit of outreach once comments are received on the drafts Both boards agree we want to try and write principles based standards Sir David said Show the core principle what are you trying to do Like leases show the liability incurred by signing the lease contract and the right to the asset obtained thereby That s what you re trying to do Hopefully no inconsistencies but judgment We are not going to answer all of your questions There s the standard there s the objective go for it And so you ll find the interpretations coming out will be very very few Two years after their effective date the new standards will be subject to review The end goal of one single set of standards which Bob has been a major champion of and his board has been very supportive is almost in our grasp And this is probably the only time in a generation it will happen If it blows apart at this stage it will take about 20 odd years to put it back again So that s why it s so important Sir David concluded Moderator Bob Herz Chairman of FASB asked Beyond creating a global set of accounting standards what other steps are preconditions for high quality global reporting and how do these dovetail with global regulatory efforts This is the 64 000 question replied Sir David If we don t have good auditing this won t work and if the standards aren t enforced by regulators if the auditors get overpowered and the regulators don t help them it won t work either Audience members joined the Q A My two kids are studying accounting right now in the U S and are not really learning IFRS Faculty members don t know it so they don t teach it How will this be addressed The context of comparative accounting systems actually is being taught at many colleges textbooks are in the works

    Original URL path: http://japansociety.org/page/multimedia/articles/accounting_for_financial_reform (2016-02-14)
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  • Design for Life: From Everyday Objects to Robotics: Articles: Multimedia: Japan Society
    be ignored or avoided The designer therefore has to take particular care that public spaces accommodate everyone For many New Yorkers New York City s subway s might be seen to epitomize public space In designing subway cars and Metrocard vending machines for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority mta Antenna Design employed its fresh outsider perspective When we were designing the exterior the most important thing was to make sure that when the train pulls into the platform it is immediately identifiable as a new thing For that we tried to give it a slightly anthropomorphic expression so the face of the train looks sort of like a happy face greeting you in the morning on your way to work which may not always be pleasant As a Japanese Udagawa was initially appalled by the subway system he found it dirty messy and dark He felt that this unpleasant environment encouraged unpleasant attitudes which contributed to a vicious cycle His design sought to reverse this If people are treated nicely they will be less hostile In order to achieve this he decided to make the interior as bright as possible employing a color scheme that added lightness A dark shiny floor with light walls and ceilings created the illusion of a bigger space Udagawa hoped that this would make people feel more comfortable more in control and thus less likely to want to vandalize the space or treat it unkindly Safety being a top priority Udagawa added diagonal bars at the ends of the seats near the doors to help prevent theft A digital message board offering time and location information was added on the principle that with more information people feel less anxious Further measures were also taken to increase wheelchair accessibility While some of these design considerations were intuitive others were generated out of in depth research In order to address the needs of subway users most fully Antenna made a full scale mock up of the new L train and held an open house inviting hundreds of people to tour it and offer feedback Likewise they organized focus groups and conducted interviews to gain more detailed feedback Another of Antenna s projects for the mta was the design of vending machines for the fare card system Initially Udagawa said he considered having it operate like an atm But from statistics he learned that nearly half of subway riders don t have bank accounts and consequently don t have any experience with atms This inspired him to draw upon two other precedents the soda machine and the behavioral aspects of transactions associated with visiting a store With the soda machine the first thing you do is pop in your money But nobody gives their money to the cashier upon entering a store Udagawa observed You first go in check out the products check out the price and then make a decision bring that to the cashier and finally pay So it turned out to be a rather opposite model As with the subway car they created a mock up to test these two models and the store model was found to be the more preferred one Non English speakers and people who are visually impaired were also invited to test the machines for further adjustments Much of this philosophy also went into a kiosk Udagawa created for JetBlue Airways Antenna designed both the physical enclosure and the interface Again there is the slightly anthropomorphic gesture of hugging reaching out to you This is not a stranger this is a familiar JetBlue experience The machine also mimics dialogue through large letters and slightly quirky instructions another element of the JetBlue branding and it uses icons whenever appropriate In a similar vein Antenna designed a new information terminal for Bloomberg LP which sought to support the company s brand identity and improve the productivity of traders and bankers In order to assess the needs of future users Udagawa once again used cultural anthropology approach visiting the trading floor and offices He noticed that the previous environment was very cluttered There was high pressure high stakes People were literally surrounded by gadgets and screens Each gadget seemed to be trying to impose so much importance it created such a cacophony In order to create a better working environment he took a subtractive approach to give back some breathing room The result was a more minimal and efficient environment Antenna s design oeuvre is not limited to high tech industrial work The firm also does installation pieces for museums One example is a media exhibit device at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis The Door is a self standing revolving door made of screens which is placed in the center of a room It has an actual door handle which when pushed causes the machine to ring like a doorbell and rotate showing web based art on the integrated screen Every 15 degrees of rotation resulted in the display of a new work which creates the effect of the viewer actor arriving in or entering a new space while remaining physically sedentary The Door is a comment on the web experience which is full of spatial metaphors The Emperor s New Clothes was an installation piece Udagawa created for a gallery space in SoHo Reflecting the transition of the SoHo neighborhood from a gallery district to a shopping center the installation is a mock boutique intended to make a critical commentary on consumer culture The boutique housed empty hangers intended to be read as invisible clothes and a changing room Each hanger had a size designation s m l xl and when the user took the appropriate hanger to the dressing room to try on the invisible clothes a sensor that recognized the hanger size triggered the projection of the perfectly tailored clothing onto a video mirror in front of the user Udagawa concluded by saying Through these experimental installations we investigated the future possibility of how to infuse our otherwise innate environment

    Original URL path: http://japansociety.org/page/multimedia/articles/design_for_life (2016-02-14)
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  • Image Technology and Tradition: Articles: Multimedia: Japan Society
    glass surface dramatically illuminated by a sunset sky and cleverly visually and acoustically softened by the insertion of fiberglass between two panes of glass sealing the inner space from street noise and glare The ceiling is a metaphor of a sheltering sky you feel enclosed and the light fixtures hanging randomly are metaphors for stars Wood and other building materials sourced mainly outside Japan were selected to match the singular identity of the main hall For the TV Asahi building 2003 in Roppongi Hills a recently redeveloped area of Tokyo comprising cultural institutions entertainment venues shopping areas and parks as well as office and residential space Mr Maki employed large Vierendeel frames for its vast atrium ousting traditional welding for mechanical joints which were assembled piecemeal on site by 16 prefabricators who worked from drawings They allowed only a 0 2 mm tolerance for error People question that but it seems to me that architecture is a testimony of the time it was built Later on it reveals time We might call this precision technocraft it still exists in Japan but may die out after some time Mr Maki said He profiled other projects the new MIT Media Lab research center 2006 featuring a novel curved staircase Triad 2002 an ultra thin curved cylindrical laboratory drawn and assembled with painstaking precision in Nagano Prefecture the Fukui Prefectural Library 2003 very gentle in profile alongside mountains and hills a primary landscape for many Japanese using terracotta and aluminum materials with touches of black the Kaze no Oka Crematorium 1996 in Nakatsu spatially arranged to walk one naturally through the rite of mourning and the Floating Pavilion 1996 a lightweight fabric covered curved structure designed to float between pavilions at a summer festival in Groningen in western Holland Mr Maki concluded on a philosophical note I have shown you large and tiny buildings and the use of technology in large and small applications Architectural production requires hundreds and thousands of decisions of all kinds on behalf of the architect In the process of decision making the architect is required to rely not only on his innate aesthetic preference for certain forms or spaces but also on his ethical principles To me form seems to be a reduction of ethics to a question of aesthetics Question Answer You ve built and lived in many different places Now you re building in the U S How do you approach the U S The process of architecture is becoming crosscultural and we have many products from different countries Architects ought to know about products and fabrication from around the world Mr Maki declared He recalled a positive experience in San Francisco where he was able to find skilled workers and deploy his proprietary products and processes to the clients satisfaction Your work is not static How do you explore Mr Maki said of himself I have a very restless character I like every building to be a new departure Simple repetition is boring and denies

    Original URL path: http://japansociety.org/page/multimedia/articles/image_technology_tradition (2016-02-14)
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  • Japanese Architecture: Past Present & Future: Articles: Multimedia: Japan Society
    Group a conglomerate comprising banks and various industries is a district famous for moats and canals the Nihonbashi Bridge and the first Western style architecture It was commercial as early as the Edo period and today is a bustling business center The current main project in Nihonbashi is the fourth rebuilding of Mitsui s headquarters which will be a tall and narrow high rise Hongo once belonged to the Maeda family daimyo during the Edo period which granted land to the University of Tokyo Dr Suzuki said the image of the feudal city can still be seen in the Old Gate from the Maeda residence and the main lecture hall of the campus for example Some new designs have also been introduced such as the asymmetrical building behind the main hall and these have provoked complaints he said Other structures were modified after earthquakes making them sturdy but ugly said Dr Suzuki There is also a building designed by Fumihiko Maki Dr Suzuki reflected In his lecture Prof Maki stressed the importance of lightness in his buildings I think his stress on lightness is a kind of critique of the ugly additions to the campus So lightness in Japanese architecture is itself a manifesto towards design In Marunouchi home to the Mitsubishi Group a loose consortium of independent Japanese companies also including Mitsubishi Motors Dr Suzuki finds good examples of redevelopment Tokyo Station historic buildings like Meiji Seimei life insurance Nihon Kogyo Club Japan Industry Club and the Tokyo Banker s Club The Marunouchi Building originally built by an American construction company has recently been rebuilt in the image of the original building The use of new construction techniques led to the discovery of ancient Buddhist statues According to Dr Suzuki new technology is also protecting the original aspects of other historic buildings in the district and making it possible to renovate part of Tokyo Station destroyed in World War II Dr Suzuki concluded his presentation by describing Omotesando a Tokyo street that is home to fashionable shops and dwellings for the wealthy Each building stands alone on the street causing us to realize the character of Tokyo again as a kind of cyber city Many architects and designers like Kisho Kurokawa Kenzo Tange Kengo Kuma Kazuyo Sejima Ryue Nishizawa Jun Aoki Rei Kawakubo and Herzog de Meuron have left their mark on Omotesando he said Question Answer Period Why weren t the Dojunkai Aoyama apartments preserved Dr Suzuki said he wanted to preserve the Dojunkai Aoyama apartments Japan s first multi family concrete apartment complex built after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 but the finish of the building was badly weathered and the living spaces were so cramped by contemporary standards that no one wanted to live there It wasn t possible to recycle the old structure They decided to get rid of all but one block to preserve the original sense of space Dr Suzuki said At least I had documented the original design he noted even

    Original URL path: http://japansociety.org/page/multimedia/articles/japanese_architecture_past_present__future (2016-02-14)
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  • The Role of Architecture in Contemporary Society: Articles: Multimedia: Japan Society
    size of the museum s current facility People can enjoy the gallery and the city setting Some galleries have windows and some do not Each has its own character Ms Sejima commented For a museum and cultural center in Kanazawa a city in Western Japan known for its rich history Ms Sejima chose a round shape to open it up to a famous traditional garden The site will boast a contemporary museum in the center a pay zone as well as free admission public spaces on the perimeter The design of the site allows for flexible spatial interpretation both between the pay and free admission zones and between the galleries Within her private practice Ms Sejima described two homes one near Omotesando in Tokyo the other 30 minutes from Tokyo by train both interpretations on the theme of smallness Richard Gluckman praised Ms Sejima s use of structure as skin and her technical precision Of his own aesthetic he said I am interested in ambiguous surfaces and the phenomenal structure of building But while metaphysics interests him the physical is still fundamental It s nothing until it s visible it s not architecture until it s built One of Mr Gluckman s projects began as an animation of the façade of Gianni Versace s second South Beach building in Miami The project did not come to fruition after Mr Versace s death but the ideas were picked up by fashion designer Helmut Lang for a site in Aoyama An extraordinary investment in time was made to adapt the plans to a Tokyo climate and Tokyo zoning laws Subsequently the 6 5 million building was cancelled by the sponsor Italian fashion house Prada which had two very large buildings going up in Tokyo and New York at the same time The site plan for another project was inspired by the famous Ise Shrine which every two decades for the past 1 400 years has been rebuilt on an adjacent plinth Mr Gluckman s pavilion for about a dozen Isamu Noguchi sculptures on an estate in Bridgehampton NY is built on a lawn adjacent to a brickwalled garden Utilizing a glass roof and all wooden joints the pavilion employs fairly traditional techniques coming up with a fairly modern structure His Mori Art Center in the 4 billion Mori project in Roppongi Hills also involved glass Conceived as a dynamic elliptical shape the structure took shape by means of an iterative computer process Upon its completion Mr Gluckman reflected that the structure seemed to echo the form of a traditional Buddhist bell though this relationship was not apparent to him during the design phase Moderator Kenneth Frampton posed five questions with regards to the panelists comments on the role of architecture in contemporary society First if the domain of architecture is the building but not the surroundings leading to a proliferation of freestanding buildings forever then what about the possibility of landscape Second does architecture play a part in ecological sustainability Prof Frampton

    Original URL path: http://japansociety.org/page/multimedia/articles/architecture_contemporary_society (2016-02-14)
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  • The Characteristics & Perception of Space in Japan: Articles: Multimedia: Japan Society
    of productive space came to Japan from China through Buddhism Prof Kwinter sees it as pervasively modern and Japanese He identified syncopation as a central aesthetic tendency and layering as a quality imbuing space time Prof Kwinter expounded rapturously on the unfathomable mystery of kimono art He said I enjoy observing the rituals of selection and composition draping tying wrapping and overlapping investing objects with this tension is like investing anima in objects Waro Kishi said being from Kyoto defines him architecturally His Kyoto is not such a beautiful city rather it is a place where famous temples coexist with ugly buildings Mr Kishi profiled three homes for individuals and a special boutique selling robes and ritualistic paraphernalia to clergy each built on a unique theme In Fukaya situated on the outskirts of Tokyo in a factory and warehouse zone he designed a little bit beautiful warehouse with traces of 1960s American home design to cater to the client s taste Mr Kishi manipulated open and closed spaces to exaggerate spatial expansiveness Because the swimming pool was of central importance to the client he placed it at the entrance hall The house he built in Wakayama emphasized diagonality in its construction of vertical spaces Most remarkably it featured an inaccessible water garden A garden is where humans can enter and enjoy but not here explained Mr Kishi Around the water he laid pavement for the gardener who does not exist Mr Kishi also broke the convention of placing the courtyard to the right of the home and endowed the façade in surroundings with a very deep meaning which he left unexplained For a painter Mr Kishi built a hutong traditional Beijing style home in an alley to be too wide for a passageway and too narrow for a courtyard Three separate pavilions were built for living and dining sleeping and working One of the houses is black and a too wide wall was erected Some people say this is not Japanese but I am not so straight a person so I wanted the outside space similar to the inside space when you walk inside you cannot see diagonally into the interiors but when you are on the diagonal you can see In Kyoto Mr Kishi explored themes of light and shadow in a design for a by appointment only boutique where nothing is on display in a Zen monastery for monks and other clergy Black rusty steel and chestnut material of a delicate rough finish are mainly used The design inside consists of vertical planes an L shape with an Indian textile finish and a wall with panels hanging by steel from the ceiling finished with roof tiles Spotlights create a pattern of shadows and shine on the walls and panels Question Answer Period In looking at Kishi s work and the city of Kyoto how would you reconcile the idealized world within the more vernacular one the sacred with the profane How do you incorporate old Kyoto into your

    Original URL path: http://japansociety.org/page/multimedia/articles/perception_of_space (2016-02-14)
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  • Craftsmanship & the Use of Old & New Materials: Articles: Multimedia: Japan Society
    that Mr Hosokawa could use it to entertain guests Prof Fujimori completed the teahouse on time with the support of a volunteer corps of builders the Jomon Construction Group and even made the entrance larger than tradition would dictate so that French President Jacques Chirac one of Mr Hosokawa s guests could enter through it Ultimately President Chirac was unable to attend because of the looming war in Iraq and the Jomon Construction Group celebrated the opening instead Rooftop gardens are another organic piece of structure in traditional rural settings that Prof Fujimori has carried to interesting if extreme conclusions He has experimented with garden flowers weeds and vegetables Of a dandelion experiment he conducted on his own home he said I thought it would really blend with the suburban atmosphere but the expression is a little too strong My kids really do not like to bring their friends over I myself never got used to it But a garlic chive design turned out much better Summer heat caused premature flowering and Prof Fujimori was ecstatic He called the design a masterpiece that shows the relationship between the plants and the architecture You cannot tell if it s architecture or a vegetable field Kengo Kuma spoke about materiality and tectonics of architecture He began with a quote from Bruno Taut an architect and architectural theorist who fled from Nazi Germany to Japan in the 1930s who wrote this about Japanese architecture The form and shape are not so important the relationship with the environment is a more singular factor Mr Kuma designed a villa next door to Taut s home on a bluff above the Atami coast on the eastern side of Honshu just south of Tokyo in which he used water as the primary material I always try to use local materials to resolve the architecture in its environment he explained For a museum devoted to the Ukiyo e artist Ando Hiroshige Mr Kuma employed multiple layering to emphasize three dimensional space He substituted a special local rice paper for concrete to build walls and ceilings For a small museum in southern Japan he used an exceptionally loamy soil found onsite to make very local adobe building blocks And for a bamboo house near the Great Wall of China he created a special glass wall with duck feathers I ate many Beijing ducks in China But his commission to build the Stone Museum Tochigi Prefecture 2000 was a challenge I don t like stone It is too heavy and solid Mr Kuma resolved the problem by creating a porous masonry structure that made the internal space very interesting In a current building project on Omotesando in Tokyo Mr Kuma is using wood as an exterior material to create harmony between his building and the old oak trees a characteristic feature of Omotesando which stand at one half the height of the building To ensure fire safety he installed external sprinklers Glass reflects the colors and shapes of the clouds

    Original URL path: http://japansociety.org/page/multimedia/articles/craftsmanship_and_materials (2016-02-14)
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  • Regarding Robot Cultures: Articles: Multimedia: Japan Society
    image of Japanese culture as cold impersonal and machine like an authoritarian culture lacking emotional connection to the rest of the world Morley Robins 1995 making it at the same time a source of admiration and envy awe and fear Exemplified by Tetsuwan Atomu Astro Boy the post WWII poster boy for peaceful and friendly technology advanced robotic technologies symbolize Japan s national policy of development through the steady advancement of technology academic and commercial interests alike display them prominently as testaments of their technological and scientific prowess Due to the scarcity of its natural resources technology was the only way Japan could add value to its manufactured products Morris Suzuki 1988 p 37 Turning imported raw materials into high tech manufactured goods for export became the widely accepted recipe for economic success after WWII Schodt 1988 p 188 In the 1980s the Ministry of International Trade and Industry MITI subscribed to a policy of gijutsu rikkoku or technological nation building Morris Suzuki 1994 pp 210 212 which focused the growth of the nation on the research and development of original technologies that would be necessary for an advanced information society METI expects much from socially interactive and assistive robots in relation to current social pressures In a context of falling birthrates a rapidly aging population and environmental and energy problems robots are seen as a way to create an affluent society with high quality of life METI report 2004 Japan s political and economic emphasis on advanced technologies also depended on the societal structure to support such developments The Japanese blue collar working class has always been small never constituting more than a third of the work force so a working class identity like that in the West did not develop Morris Suzuki 1988 p 89 Furthermore Japanese industrial paternalism and lifetime employment policies assured that workers would not lose their jobs as a result of workplace automation but would be given work elsewhere in the firm While protecting the male worker the social structure of Japan supported the techno nationalist dream at the expense of certain parts of the population particularly women and the illegal foreign workforce which could be hired and fired at will and bore the brunt of economic fluctuations as the agricultural sector had done before them Contrary to the US the introduction of robots into the industrial workplace did not destabilize the workforce because robots were proposed as an alternative to immigrant workers who were seen as a threat to Japanese society and the most discussed social problem in the late 1980s and 1990s Lie 288 Japanese women on the other hand were reconstituted as conspicuous consumers the linchpin of the national economy and prosperity in addition to their role as an invisible domestic workforce supporting the sarariman white collar worker The nascent robotics culture that relies on the possibility of companionship between humans and machines brings up not only issues of machine capabilities but of human vulnerabilities see Turkle 2006 and the ways

    Original URL path: http://japansociety.org/page/multimedia/articles/robot_cultures (2016-02-14)
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