Fundamental Japanese retail market shift

March 13, 2010

 

The new Japanese consumer

The attitudes and behavior of Japanese consumers are shifting dramatically, presenting opportunities and challenges for companies in the world’s second-largest retail market.

After decades of behaving differently, Japanese consumers suddenly look a lot like their counterparts in Europe and the United States. Celebrated for their willingness to pay for quality and convenience and usually uninterested in cheaper products, Japanese consumers are now flocking to discount and online retailers. Sales of relatively affordable private-label foods have increased dramatically, and many consumers, despite small living spaces, are buying in bulk. Instead of eating out, people are entertaining at home. Workers are even packing their own lunches, sparking the nickname bento-danshi, or “box-lunch man.”

This fundamental shift in the attitudes and behavior of Japanese consumers seems likely to persist, irrespective of any economic recovery… Read more by Brian Salsberg, McKinsey

haplif – Frank Kalder  (Global Haplifnet)


Obama’s allocation of more troops to Afghanistan [VIDEO]

December 2, 2009

 

Barack Obama hopes to start transferring U.S. forces out of Afghanistan in July 2011.

The U.S. will send 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan in the next seven months “so that they can target the insurgency and secure key population centers,” Obama said in his speech. Some of the new troops will help train Afghan security forces to “create the conditions for the United States to transfer responsibility to the Afghans.” U.S. forces could begin to leave as security responsibilities are transferred to the Afghans. Obama said he hopes to start transferring U.S. forces out of Afghanistan in July 2011… (CNN + Speech VIDEO)

NATO nations nod along with Obama’s speech but may not meet his request for more troops.

Though generally welcoming the promised buildup of American troops to Afghanistan, Europe is likely to present President Obama with a mixed bag of responses to his request that allies step up their own deployments.

Some European leaders say that their countries are already stretched to the limit militarily and that growing public opposition to the war severely restricts their options.

In France, headlines trumpeted President Nicolas Sarkozy’s “flat refusal” to meet a reported request for 1,500 more soldiers.

Germany remains ambivalent about sending more forces because of souring domestic opinion over the war and public criticism of a German-ordered NATO airstrike in September that killed more than 100 insurgents and Afghan civilians…. Read more at Los Angeles Times

haplif – Frank Kalder (Global Haplifnet)


La France magnifique et sa belle langue

November 28, 2009

 

Aus einem Facebook-Dialog mit Enni Sander (Toulouse)

Ich habe diesen Thread mal präventiv initiiert, chère Enni, damit Du hier schnell hemmungslos üben kannst und immer einen Freund hast, der Dir Tipps geben kann.

Ich hatte zwar Französisch bis zum Abi, konnte es aber kaum fließend sprechen. Als ich zwischendurch an der Pariser Sorbonne studierte, gab’s für mich eine Empfangsparty von einer Deutschen, die gerade an ihrer Doktorarbeit in Literatur schrieb. Dort lernte ich Annie, eine Anglistikstudentin, kennen und lieben. Brachte sie gleich in meinem Auto nachhause, und danach sahen wir uns täglich. Sie hatte einen großen Freundeskreis. Zusammen unternahmen wir viel.

Ich musste mir dann vor jedem Treffen ein paar coole Sprüche und Sätze ausdenken, die ich bei Annie oder ihren Freunden einfließen lassen wollte. Schon nach ein paar Tagen begann ich dann auf Französisch zu denken und zu träumen.

Ein kleiner Trick hat mir das Image eines Top-Fließendsprechenden eingebracht. Ich notierte mir anfangs alle Floskeln und Füllseln, die die Pariser routinemäßig verwenden. Diese baute ich dann wie am Schnürchen in meine Phrasen ein.

Mit Annie ging ich oft ins Kino rund ums Quartier Latin (Arrondissement Saint-Germains-des-Prés). Häufig war ich abends in der Comédie Française, um insbesondere Molière-Stücke zu sehen. Dieser versrhythmische Edelsprachstil hat sich dann quasi ergänzend noch bei mir eingenistet.

Annies Vater war Generaldirektor bei der staatseigenen Schnellbahn TGV. Die Familie hatte in der Loire-Gegend nördlich von Orléans ein Ferienhaus mit eigenem Tennisplatz. Wir fuhren öfters an den Wochenenden hin, um im Partykeller abzufeiern.

Da mir an der Sorbonne beim Examen auch eine mündliche Prüfung bevorstand, wofür man ein paar Gedichte zum Auswendigrezitieren und zur anschließenden Inhaltsbesprechung parat haben musste, hatte ihre Mutter, die Gymnasiallehrerin war, das mit mir – ganz professionell – geübt.

Ich kenne Frankreich – insgesamt – ziemlich gut. Speziell liebe ich die Côte d’Azur.

In Toulouse hatte mich die gotische Kathedrale fasziniert. Mit der Bundeswehr (bin Offizier d.R.) waren wir mal zu einer Austauschtruppenübung in der Nähe von Pau (südwestlich von T.) stationiert, wo es in der weiteren Umgebung viele begehbare Höhlen gibt. Von da aus machten wir Ausflüge in die Pyrenäen. Badete am Fuße eines Gletschers in einem wirklich eiskalten See (dabei schmerzten v.a. die Hoden). Zum Abschluss campten wir noch an einem kilometerlangen Atlantiksandstrand und mischten abends Biarritz auf (wo die russische Haute-Volée der Zarenzeit ihre – vor Richesse strotzenden – baustilistischen Spuren hinterlassen hatte).

Wollte Dir, chère Enni, ’la France et sa belle langue’ ein bisschen schmackhaft machen. Immerhin war das hochgeschätzte Französisch einstmals in ganz Kontinentaleuropa in den Adelskreisen und in der Bourgeoisie weit verbreitet.

Cordially, Frank – your amicable tutor 🙂

Supplementary: Enni’s Twitter Success


Triumph of Freedom – New Partnership in Europe

November 2, 2009

 

Germany’s Federal President Horst Koehler spoke in the presence of George Bush, Mikhail Gorbachev and Helmut Kohl in Berlin on October 31.

Excerpt

Area of security, freedom and prosperity from

Vancouver to Vladivostok

Cultural exchange between Eastern and Western Europe is as vibrant and creative as it was in its heyday. You can sense this particularly here in Berlin, but by far not just here. The number of visits and joint economic projects is growing and growing. And there can be no doubt that West and East can achieve much to the advantage of both sides. If we manage to extend trans-European transport networks, to put energy supplies on a firm footing and strengthen the economic and social convergence and coherence of all European countries, then Europe has an almost unprecedented opportunity to thrive.

The European Union and Russia should commit to such cooperation. If we manage together to tap the natural riches of our continent – first and foremost the talents of its citizens – if we manage together to end the plundering of natural resources and advocate justice and freedom, then Europe will reap global respect and influence and be a key pillar of the new international order.

The new partnership in Europe will also open the way for honest dialogue on democracy and human rights. Frank discussion on these issues is part of a partnership between equals. We also engage in this discussion with all others, with the United States for example, with China and with the Arab world. Our insistence on this is not some kind of bothersome appendage to our economic exchange. It is at the very core of our self-understanding, it is an important part of what we are. We know democracy and the rule of law cannot be imposed from the outside, they have to grow from within. But we also know this is no comfort to those who are forcibly silenced, who are not given a fair hearing, who have no political rights. Those are the people we ask about, it is for them that we push for change, that is something we will never give up… Read the full speech   

haplif – Frank Kalder (Global Haplifnet)


Global Navigation Agreements at G20 Summit in Pittsburgh

September 26, 2009

 

The steering committee of the global financial system, i.e., the leaders of the 20 largest economies reached a series of agreements, yesterday, aimed at navigating the world out of recession and onto the path of recovery.

G-20 Grabs Bigger Role In Global Economy – excerpt  –

Nations to Collaborate To Ward Off Future Crises

The global economy has become stable enough, however, for the leaders to turn their attention to preventing future crises. The United States and European nations were able to settle differences over how best to stem irresponsible risk-taking by financial companies.

The United States had emphasized the need to raise the quality and quantity of capital that banks must hold to cover potential losses. The Europeans had stressed restrictions on bankers’ pay, including hard limits on compensation. In the end, the leaders agreed to those principles — minus the hard limits — along with provisions that better align executive compensation with long-term performance and promote more transparency for trading in complex securities known as derivatives.

Obama also got Europe and China to commit to avoid economic policies that could fuel the huge global imbalances blamed by economists for helping spark the current crisis. Under the agreement, countries with large deficits such as the United States would promise to borrow less and major exporters such as China and Germany would pledge to stimulate domestic consumption. The members agreed to use the International Monetary Fund to help review their economic policies to make sure they do not generate harmful imbalances… Read more by Annys Shin and Juliet Eilperin, Washinton Post  with embedded photo gallery 

haplif – Frank Kalder (Global Haplifnet)