Talking to Strangers by Malcom Gladwell

Just finished reading Talking to Strangers by Malcom Gladwell.

As always, written very well and triggers thinking, but I was missing conclusion and tools. It is obvious that we bring bias when talking to strangers, that we do not really know when people lie to us. But are there there tools or methods for us to re-asses the situation, slow down and handler it better.

Malcom starts and ends the book with the story of Sandra Bland, describes the mistakes that where done as well as the police policy change that contributed to the incident. I found this analysis interesting, but not helpful as I live and Japan and do not encounter such scenarios.

Could relate a lot to transparency and how we perceive other people which also connected to my past work experience.

While working in a small startup, I kept feeling that my opinion is being ignored. Another Group Leader’s opinion was usually winning, when I felt (and sometimes knew) he was wrong. I realized back then that the way we communicate, look, perceived, determined this bias towards him. While I was being appreciated for being Technically strong and usually correct, I could not move the company and people towards my opinion. At some point, the R&D manager told me he perceived my opinion as pessimistic. I was rather shocked as I did not perceive myself the same way. I could have said I am more realistic, but definitely not “pessimistic”. That was an important lesson to me as I realized that my communication style was perceived wrong, not only by strangers, but by the people I work with every day.

Many years passed since then, but I keep seeing bias in companies towards employees that may be more charismatic, create an aura of “I know what I am doing”, while in some cases it is the wrong path. Companies and people do not have tools to distinguish between the “real deal” to the Charismatic “False Prophet”.

Diverging a bit, Sabbatai Zvi was a false prophet who started as a super star, as the prophet of the Jews, but ended up converting to Islam and bringing hardship to many Jewish communities.
Do we have tools to recognize the “false prophets” around us, and protect ourselves and companies ?

P4 Programming

Going through the “Getting Started with P4” on AWS. Seems to work very well, but using a rather (free) weak compute node.

Originally written by Bruno Rijsman ; I was rather surprised there was no better guide, or rather a better tested Guide.

This exercise by itself is not very exciting, but it is obviously the first step to better understand P4 Programming and what it can do.

Will keep the blog updated as I progress

And there it is, the first update. Obviously the Free Tier Compute does not have enough storage to install all needed packages. Will have to use another resource for this exercise.

Murata Sayaka Event

Attended Murata Sakaya and Asabuki Mariko’s talk event last night.

I remember attending Etgar Keret’s event a few years back, but this was my first time to attend a Japanese writer event. Event took place at 本屋B&B, which I followed for a while and was interested to visit anyway. They run many events and have a very unique selection of books and atmosphere.

Each attendee received a sticker which was designed by Murata Sayaka, saying “Welcome to Po-Po- Festival”

For one hour the writers talked and discussed writing. From inspiration to the way they build the characters, and 30 minutes was a Q&A session. This was followed by a book signing session, which I decided not to attend.

Overall an interesting experience, but I am not sure if I will attend again. I enjoy reading the books, not sure I need to understand the process and background. Maybe it will change if I ever decide to write by myself.

Nazi Like Symbols

Apparently, this brand started in 2018 by Nakata Atsuhiko from the comedy duo Oriental Radio .

How surprised I was walking in Shibuya and seeing something that looks like Nazi Symbols. Did not really understand what it was until I search the internet.

Website as well as Nakata’s website have some more logos and symbols which remind me of Nazi Germany logos and design. Maybe it is a way to create attention and make money, but obviously I don’t like it.

Nakata Atsuhiko is recently not on TV and focusing his time and efforts elsewhere, including a Youtube channel where he talks about history and more. Did not watch it, but I will definitely check it out now.

Gacha Gacha Coffee

Visited Mori Museum in Roppongi last week and loved the idea by Maruyama coffee of Gacha Gacha Coffee.

Actually, the interesting part was not the Gacha Gacha, but the self service system that was implemented there.
After one selects his favorite coffee (or Gacha Gacha machine), and then move it to a grinding machine and a pour over machine.
Love it, and will be interesting to see if will be implemented in other places.

Or maybe actually it requires more man power and effort than standard Cafe

Yebisu Beer Contents. Problems with a range

Noticed the following on a beer can, which surprised me.

How come there is a range for “Fibers”.
All the rest is fixed in value, with Proteins at 0.5g, sugars 3.4g. Is it because it is difficult to measure Fibers? Or maybe the variation is too high?

It seems 0-0.2g is a small range, but when you think about it, it is huge. It can be 0(!!!) or 0.2g.

I think I need to research more about beer filtering to understand this better .

Watching People

As I spend a lot of my time in transit, working at Cafes, I have the chance to watch many people. When I worked in Israel my daily routine was to drive to work, work, and go back home which did not give me a lot of “people watching” time.

Sometimes I feel happy watching people, sometimes sad and sometimes just surprised.

Last week I was working at a Cafe, when I noticed a woman spending a LOT of time cutting her Pie. By “A Lot”, I mean she was moving her knife back and forth not applying any pressure on the Pie, which basically means she did not cut anything.
Watched her for 3 minutes, in which she kept moving her knife, not making any progress.

Was she just absent minded, thinking about something else, or is it some kind of ritual for her. I will obviously never know.

生命式 村田沙耶香 – Murata Sayaka

Just finished reading the stories collection 生命式.

All stories were previously published, but this was the first time for me to read them.

Below is the list of stories and publications.

As a collection of stories, it felt like revisiting ideas and stories I already read in her books. Discussion of new forms of family (二人家族), future strange rituals of death and life (生命式), love of objects (かぜのこいびと), “strange” eating habits (街を食べる and more)

In that perspective, there was nothing new for me, no new discoveries of her writing and ideas.

Except maybe 孵化 (Hatching), a story of a young woman about to get married, which adopted a different character, “persona” , throughout her life.
A strong decisive woman in her junior high school,
stupid “airhead” in high school ,
“princess” in university,
“tomboy” in her part time work during the school days,
and the “mystery woman” at work.

Realizing she is in a pinch towards the wedding, how can she join all 5 characters, people from different period of her lives to one, she created (advice from her friend) a sixth character, which seems to solve the situation. At least with her future husband.

I think we all try to live up to the expectations of our surrounding, sometimes appearing and talking like someone we want to be, or the people around us expect us to be.

Many times in Japan, Japanese expect me to be the “foreigner” type, a bit loud, not too familiar with Japanese customer, free, which I am obviously not. So, in that respect I am fighting the expectation appearing as “me”, or at least someone very close to the “real me”