Weekly review (2019–10–20): UK→Japan

Taejun
3 min readOct 20, 2019

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It was more or less a nice week.

What happened during the week

This week started in the UK. Whenever I travel to European countries, I go to bed before 8:00 and wake up at 3:00. Then after coming back to Japan or other Asian nations, I can manage my life without suffering from a jet lag.

I met many investors in the country. Overall the meetings went well, although there was one slightly disappointing event. I feel that investors from Europe/North America are more sophisticated, perhaps because of its long history. The quality of the questions is much higher and challenging. I always feel that I need to improve my English speech more.

Some impressions came to me while I was there — if there is a global start-up ranking, Gojo is likely to be positioned from #1,000 to 300. It is like we just entered the major league, but we’re still not a starting line-up. There’s a big gap between the top players (e.g., Airbnb / Ant Financials, etc.) and us.

That is, indeed, the reason I wished to work globally. There is no room for complacency if one aims to be the top player in the world. The world is vast. There are many smart and great people, and I am still not there. However, I have not given up anything at all, hoping that we’ll be able to catch up sooner or later. In this way, we will be able to bring about real innovation in microfinance, serving the people in the world much better.

A hectic schedule was waiting for me after my return to Japan until today.

I also attended a mourning event for a lady who lived in the UK. Although she was born and raised in Japan, she spent more than half of her life outside of the country. A red-cross practitioner, she won OBE despite being a Japanese for his service for the people in difficulty. She used to tell me about her life when she was in Berlin, for example.

She taught me the real meaning of “nobleness”. It is not about bloodline or family background but about empathy and deed. She showed me countless examples of how we respect others.

Review

Sculptural Type
It was an exhibition at Ginza Graphic Gallery. They featured some of the corporate fonts, showing how the typeface impression came up, what they cared about in designing the fonts, and how they used the typefaces. I’m sure it will be rejected instantly, but my personal dream is to have a corporate typeface.

Tate Modern Exhibition
I didn’t have much time, so I just visited a few. A movie prepared by Erkan Ozgen was stunning (see video). The boy is deaf and mute, and thus has used body language in his life. Using his own language, he explained what happened where he used to lead his life — Syria. His body language was enormously powerful and eloquent than our ones.

I need time to think about how our business should be. Robust ideas come from long silent days. I am thinking about how we would run for the next 5 years. It looks like I can spend my time for that purpose this week.

Antony Gormley Exhibition
Great modern artist. I wondered what kind of imagination lives in his mind. I believe that contemporary arts should shake our minds first. It is nice to have some social messages behind the artworks, but the good messages do not justify the mediocre quality of the products. Gormley’s mind seems to be totally free.

Other thoughts

I need time to think about how our business should be. Robust ideas come from long silent days. I am thinking about how we would run for the next 5 years. It looks like I can spend my time for that purpose this week.

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Taejun

Founder & CEO, Gojo & Company, Inc.