2009年11月16日 星期一

Dream - from Monocle, issue 28, vol 2 Nov 09

Read the article on the plane to Hong Kong, and after that I repeatedly read it every day.

It is a preface for the Monocle, the small business guide -

Every age has its dream of happiness and in our time, there is no more powerful or widespread desire than to start up our own business. What does this tell us about ourselves? For a start, that it isn't enough for us to make money. We need to do so in ways that make us feel connected: to products, to customers and to our colleagues.

The modern gigantic corporation undoubtedly offers humanity the most efficient means of generating capital but it has managed to brutally cut us off from people and things. We can no longer see what we have made or whom we have touched; We frequently can't stand back afer a lifetime and say, ' I did that' or I changed him or her'.

A business of one's own premises to end the alientaion. Entrepreneurial fantasies appear to be all about making more money - but in fact, as sober statisticians tell us, they are fraught with dangers. But that shouldn't put us off. Far from it, because the dream of entrepreneruship is, at heart, about an attempt to recover imaginative control over one's work. Ask people what business they might like to start and they will often speak about a desire to bgin a small restaurant or the pefect stationery shop, a little school or therapist's practice. They will cite examples of businesses where you can see the difference you are making to lives of others, where you know your customers and can have a realistic chance of making them happy. Though the idea of esrving people is often seen as demeaning, it is obviously one of the great pleasure of life (just ask kids, who like nothing better than to play at serving adults.)

Starting your own business is risky, but the recent economic turmoil suggests that we should recalibrate our notions of safety. The working world used to be divided into safte but boring jobs, and exciting but risky ones. Of late, many of the supposedly safe professions have been decimated - which should help us let go of illusions of safety (in any case - all of us are only a few rogue cancer cells away from the end at the best of times)

A world enterepreneurial start-ups wouldn't necessarily be a richer one economically. But it would be rich in a more interesting way. It would mean an increase in what we all love about owner-managed enterprises: the feeling that those who work in them genuinely care, that they are in control of their destinies, that they are able to exercise their curiosity and dthat they are enjoying serving us. I suspect that I'm not the only writer or reader at Monocle itching to plug some of the gaps of our customer society with a business of my own.

(Alain de Botton, at Monocle nov 09 issue 28, vol 2 - 'Time for a change' in small business guide)

2009年11月15日 星期日

Post Kyoto

I love Kyoto.
Kyoto is a busy city when you look at the always-long queues at Kyoto station bus stop and crowded JR stations, but they are different with any other cities in the way of small businesses are simply everywhere in the city. I don’t know how many small businesses are making up the city, but what I saw during the stay at Kyoto was pretty many. From restaurants I have been to shops where I bought souvenirs or even the guesthouse I have stayed they are seldom gigantic co-operations, they are having different characters, and most importantly, they are with great services, not that kind of saying ‘Welcome’ ‘See you’ in Starbucks when getting in for a drink, but the type you feel you are the only one you will be treated in this way.
Before the trip to Kyoto I had a thought of whether it’ll be bored of just visiting temples, but it turned out with complete elimination of such thought. Unique services by small businesses make every parts of Kyoto different. I still recalled how considerate Ms Kahori was during the stay at her Chita guesthouse. I went the day before checking in just to say hello and asked if I could arrive a bit earlier the time of check-in to put the luggages at her house, and on the next day when I arrived, she said she’s already prepared for my room; She knew I love cycling around in Kyoto, so when I requested to rent her bicycle for second time she simply said to me quietly ‘no need to pay, no need, take the lock and go !!!’. And actually, it is fun to visit temples. Temples in Kyoto, other than the Buddha, have different characteristics. There is Fushimi-inari shrines where there are thousands of Tori (traditional gate usually at the entrance); There is Shoren-in temple where also opens at night time and lightens the temple in blue and yellow; There is Todaji temple where actually visitors can have fun on going through the hole of around 1.5 x 2 m which once getting through you will have enlightenment.
I made some good friendship with people around the world during the trip. Going to living room of guesthouse/ hostel every time I called it the day for the travel, I was able to meet someone. Italian, Danish, Japanese, German, Holland, Canadian, it is just the bonus from the trip that you can establish a relationship with people all around the world, and to know how different they are living. And through talking with them it is always interesting to know some information that you may not be aware of before, for example the ‘great’ attitude of Swiss towards Germans (ha, sorry Eli and Nadine) and kissing or hugging has never been welcomed in some of European countries (Please let me say it again, Davide)
The travel to Kyoto this time was excellent and I was already thinking of a re-visit in later years, probably with better Japanese the coming time.

2009年11月2日 星期一


Before the trip time is just packed fully - not until the time I broaded into the plane I shall not get relaxed. Working has been dominated the time definitely, and it shall end just 2-3 hours before the plane flies to Japan.


I am looking foward to the trip - Been to Kyoto once when i was young, but never have I tried to travel alone before. Excited about the problem arised, excited about everything to be occured during the travel (Hope they're not silly nor stupid things on me)