Resetting Intuition

“Tokyo is a city of extreme modernity.
Want to take a peek into the future? Come to Tokyo. I’m an architectural illustrator from Macedonia and something’s always shocking me every day, be it beautiful, curious, or strange things. Perfect for stimulating my mind and creativity. At my workplace, you can also experience the future. With a wave of your hand or a swipe, you can move a display on the wall, just like in the movie Minority Report. We used to think this was far-fetched but it’s happening now. And being in this environment makes me think about the challenges of modern life.

What scares me is social inertia. New, game-changing technologies can disrupt social values, traditions, habits, and norms.

“And people cannot adapt fast enough to the novelties. They tend to resist change and defend traditional values. What’s going to happen when people try to defend obsolete values that were developed under different circumstances from previous times? Some traditions do more harm than good and drag society down. We need to rethink them, which won’t be easy for Japan. They have a homogenous society with common values that are deeply entrenched.

“An example is seniority in the workplace. While a sense of hierarchy is good for stability, it can get in the way of new ideas. Young people in general understand new technologies better than their superiors so senior people should listen to them. But that flies in the face of a natural order where younger workers are supposed to respect their elders. That’s not going to work if they want to come up with new products and stay competitive in the global market, especially at startups. To be fair though, I do see some progress where I work.

“As a foreigner, I can see Japanese traditions from a different perspective. One time, we had to come up with an activity zone for visitors in Tokyo, where they can learn about Japanese culture. Thinking of what would be interesting to tourists didn’t come naturally to my Japanese colleagues since everything is normal to them. So I said, ‘Why don’t we let visitors try on a kimono and have their picture taken?’ It was an instant hit. Sure, it wasn’t an original idea. Many tourist destinations around the world do this now. But you wouldn’t come up with it. This is where someone with a different point of view like me, an expat who was once a visitor, can help.”

(Simon is a painter, designer, and illustrator. To see his artwork, visit:

(翻訳:Loving Life in Tokyo






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Finding diversity and inclusion. Breaking down barriers one post at a time. Stories and snapshots of foreigners making their way in Japan.

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