Chopsticks and Nudity
It’s been a few weeks since I got back from Japan. Alex and I were there for two-ish weeks with Silas (my brother) and Izzy (his gf). We visited Tokyo, Hikone, and Kyoto.  Our Hikone visit included staying in a traditional Japanese lodge (ryokan) with shared bath houses using buckets and natural spring water (the nudity was weird, but the baths were awesome (I felt like those hot spring monkeys)).

Overall, Japan was an incredible experience and an awesome (and alien) place. When you mix Japan’s level of automation/technology/modernity with it’s cultural isolation and history you get something very special.

A few things stood out to me:
1) The adherence to rules, which resulted in spotless and safe public places, unlocked bikes everywhere, and extremely polite interactions might cultivate a darker side that visitor’s aren’t privy to (hikikomori, Japan’s suicide rate, and their seemingly antiquated  relationship with gender). “There are too many rules” was something I heard from locals a few times. We can't really know what that's like through the lens of tourism.
2) The cost-benefit calculation, as it relates to automation and business investment, operates on a different time scale than we’re used to in the US. You get the impression that the early investments in business (and public) infrastructure is not expected to pay off in a 10, 20, or maybe even 100 year timeframe. They’re playing the long game and you can see the pay off clearly with their public transit and general physical quality of life. Doing things right the first time around is not an ethos we’re familiar with in the tech world 😂.

TLDR; it’s worth the trip if you get a chance.

We also just got back from Amsterdam, which was a cool trip except that my bag got stolen on the train from the compartment right above my head (2 laptops, bose headphones, glasses, etc.). The police woman at the Amsterdam police station said it happens a lot (AND, by the way, the amsterdam police station was a great experience).

📚 I just finished Lost and Founder, which is an absolute must-read for anyone in the startup world (ESPECIALLY if you’re a founder).

Now, I’m off to figure out how taxes work while working in the EU - wish me luck and let me know what's happening in your world!

Spenser
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