100% Free Advice on Making Money Blogging by Mike in Tokyo Rogers

Bored with your job? Want to get out someday?

If you’ve ever wanted to quit your 9-5 job and make money by blogging, or you blog now, and want to, someday, use blogging to make money; or if you want to blog and use it as a vehicle to promote your work (and make money by your work), whether that work be book writing; business consulting; selling your art or paintings; getting people to know your music or films; or just to spread the word about you and promote yourself and what you do, then today’s blog is for you.

Today I am going to tell you exactly how to make money blogging and how to start to get out of your regular job. There are no costs, books to buy, courses to study or gimmicks or catches at all. This is the simplest, and most direct, way to make money blogging. If you follow these short tips, then, within 2 ~ 3 years, you can start cutting down your regular job hours and start shifting over to the job you dream of doing and all because of dedication to blogging. All because of a desire to do with your life as you want.

And it’s all 100% completely free.

Today’s blog is especially for people who have a “regular” job yet they have a dream someday to escape that job and the rat race and to make enough money to do what they want with their life. Today’s blog could also be for people who want to make a good amount of money by using blogging so that they can live well.

With blogging, as a vehicle to promote or market yourself or your work, that is possible. I, myself, do not do this as 100% of my income, yet; not even 50% of my income. But my teachers do. For myself, after study and effort (mostly effort), I can now see where this is possible very soon for me and am slowly climbing that mountain to where I can see from the top on exactly how to do that.

I have very good teachers showing me how to do this – two of them are very famous people and, with their help, I am giving you this information.

If you do any sort of Social Media or Internet surfing (and, if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be here) then you’ve seen tons of messages and notes about how you can make money blogging. It’s true. You can make money blogging. You can’t make a lot of money blogging and using banner click-through advertising (unless you are FARK).

Of course, the most widely used and understood way of making money blogging is by having click through banners on your blog. But I don’t really want to talk about that at all. I don’t think that is a good way to make money blogging. I mean, if Google asks you if they can use your blog to advertise then you know they are the ones making the money.

But I will say that, in the last year, I been asked twice directly from companies in the USA and the UK to place banner ads on my site but have politely declined. Why? It was only for $150 a year (about ¥11,000 yen) and it looked like it might be a hassle. Also, why in the world would anyone pay $150 to Japan when the bank transfer fees are $70 dollars a transaction? I wouldn’t. That made me figure that those folks, while meaning well, didn’t really have any idea what they were talking about.

One of my friends is a blogger well known all over the world and, while not telling me a dollar amount, he told me that the click through ads were nice but they only pay for dinner a few nights a month. You might think, “Wow! Free dinners a few night’s a month?” But when you realize that my friend’s blog gets 1.2 million hits per day, you realize that banner click-through advertising is not all its cracked up to be.

He, by the way, makes well over a quarter million dollars a year as a financial advisor. Do you know how he gets his clients? You guessed it, people read his blog and then ask him for advice. That’s how he makes money blogging. It is an advertising tool for his services.

This is the way to use a blog that I want to talk about.

I have been asked to give advice five times in the last year too. That’s where the money is. Even though I haven’t made large amounts like $10,000 (USD) a month directly by blogging I can say that I have made over $1000 a month indirectly by blogging. I did this because, through blogging, I have been hired as an advisor (like my friend above) to companies who have jumped into the Social Media realm in order to market their products. In fact, as I mentioned above, I have been asked five times in the last year. I took four of those jobs and two of those were in the last month.

Even though I averaged over $1000 a month in the last two years by use of blogging, one month – a year ago or so – I made $5000.

Like I said, you can do this too.

There are three things that you must do in order to set yourself up for a situation whereby you can start to consider using blogging to make money. They are:

1) Consistent daily blogging

2) A focused topic

3) Interesting writing

That’s it. Just those three. Now let me briefly talk about each one.

1) Consistent daily blogging: Yes. This is hard. But you must do it. You must make daily updating a habit just like brushing your teeth; you can’t sleep until you do it. And not just any trash. Good, consistent, interesting writing (I’ll talk about the interesting part below). Why constant writing and updating your blog is important is because you must understand how the Google search engine works. The (new 2010) Google search engine is called Caffeine. The old search engine gave priority to blogs and web sites that have many links. Caffeine does not. Caffeine gives priority to consistent and regular updating. Please read the link about Caffeine. But here’s an example to show you that I do know what I am talking about. This blog is called “Modern Marketing Japan.” That’s not a generic title at all. But “Modern Marketing” is an extremely generic title. Do a Google search for “Modern Marketing” and you should see this blog listed in the Top 3 ~ 10 or so of 22,400,000 results for the entire world (the results change constantly with Google Caffeine). That’s proof of the power of consistent blogging.

2) A focused topic: As far as the Internet is concerned, we are talking about Long Tail Marketing. Focus on your topic. In the Internet world it is better to be a big fish in a small pond. Read about the Long Tail here in A Primer on the Long Tail and Is the Long Tail all Junk? also read why the Long Tail is beneficial for you even against the Internet giants as it is, for example, damaging Google’s own business by reading: Why Google Worries About its Own Future.

Now, my blog is supposed to be about Japan; media; and marketing and sometimes it gets all over the place, but trust that I do always try to think of a Japan, media or marketing angle for everything I write.

3) Interesting writing: This is the hard one. All I can say are a few things. First, write with your own voice. Stop trying to write like you’re Hemingway or writing a business prospective. You’re not. If someone wants to read Hemingway, they’ll buy the book. If they want to read a business prospective, they won’t be

looking at your blog. People read these things because they want real. They want to hear what real people think. Readers of blogs don’t want bloviated nonsense. If they want that, they’ll go to CNN’s site.

Now, here’s a hint on how to write with your own voice and to help yourself have good topics all the time. It’s not 100% but it will definitely help you. It helps me immensely. How many times a day do you think about something and then think, “Wow! That’s a great idea for a good blog post!” Only to, a few hours later or the next day not remember what that good idea was? I used to do that all the time. But I’ve stopped recently. Now, I almost never forget good ideas (good ideas, remember, are money in your pocket!). How do I not forget? I use a notebook. I’ve written about the benefits of always using and keeping a dollar notebook in the back of my pocket in Pocket Notebooks: The Secret of Millionaires and People Won’t Listen! I always have my notebook. So when I have a good idea – about anything – I write it down. It helps me greatly especially when I am stuck for an idea on what to write about.

As with everything in life, practice makes perfect. If you think that you are going to just start writing one day and become a good writer than you are dreaming. Keep doing it consistently and you’ll get better and better as you go.

Like I said, focus on what you are doing; do it consistently; do it well. If you keep doing these three things, for a period of 2 ~ 3 years, then you can start to use blogging to make money.

I know. I’ve done it. Anyone can. You can too.

NOTE: Please look over my May and June 2010 blog postings. There you will find many articles that will help you to do your blogging smarter and better and tips on how to make money. You might as well read those so that you can learn in a few minutes what it took me a few years to find out on my own. Good Luck.

Also read: Ways to make money from your blog for a pretty generic answer to the question.

This blog is dedicated to my friends Andrew, Peter, Ryu and Jimbo. It might seem tough guys. I know. Been there, done that. But never lose sight of why you do this in the first place. There is a reward down the road.

The Best Teacher I Ever Had Wasn’t a Teacher – She Was a Beautiful Girl

With that title, you are probably thinking about some hot high school “sexcapades” or a story of some girl who taught me about sex in high school. No way. I think those things only happen in crappy Bob Seeger songs. For 90% of the people in high school (at least in my time) dates and going to dances were only things we dreamed about or saw in movies. I was one of those people.

I never had sex until I was 20, or was it 21?

My high school photo 1975

After so many years of elementary, junior, high school and college and university, I can only remember a few teachers who really taught me something. I had one in 4th grade, Ms. Demuth, in Minnesota. She gave me a Snoopy card once that said, “Life is full of rude awakenings.” I’ll never forget that lesson. I don’t remember any elementary teachers who influenced me or inspired me after her.

In High School, I had Mr. Holts, my science and biology teacher. Mr. Holts taught me that there’s a big difference between playing and doing. And then, and, in college, there was Mr. Al Miller. Mr. Miller was best of all because he taught me about television, how to handle myself in front of people and, outside of school, he taught me how to be a real gentleman; how to be kind and respectful to people – to all people.

Mr. Miller impressed me because he would, for example, talk to parking lot attendants and doormen and call them, “friend” or “sir.” He treated everyone with respect. Not only did his mannerism and respect for people influence me, it touched me so much that it set the way I try to treat people all my life. Alas! I am a poor student and I can never attain the enlightenment of my sensei. I think few people can be such a sincere gentleman as Mr. Al Miller. If the world was filled with people like Mr. Miller it would be so much a nicer place to live.

But I digress.

Mr. Al Miller was the best school instructor I’ve ever had

Even though I had these teachers in school, the best teachers I had in school weren’t actually my official teachers. Nope. The best teachers were girls I liked. There were several of them. They didn’t teach me important things because they were my girlfriends or anything. They didn’t teach me anything because they were particularly kind to me. They taught me well because they were only kind to me when they wanted something from me. They were kind to me when they wanted something like for me to tell them the answers to questions on tests so that they wouldn’t fail. They taught me when they used me.

I’d oblige them because, well, in my high school immaturity and insecurity I figured being used and then dropped like a wet a dirty dish rag was better than not being used (or even spoken to) at all. This might sound bitter, but it’s not. Those girls taught me well and I appreciate them for it. The lesson that they taught me was a lesson in life and, had they not taught me, someone else would have. They taught me the real world.

One of the girls who really taught me well was a girl who was in several of my high school classes named Kathy Dobbe (I think that’s how it is spelled!) I’ll never forget Kathy. Kathy Dobbe doesn’t know that, all through high school, I had a crush on her and thought she was the most beautiful girl in school – maybe even in the entire world. I thought Kathy was a goddess.

Kathy was a great teacher. The peculiar part about Kathy’s teachings to me is that I’ll bet we never spoke three words in total to each other my entire junior and senior years.

I am reminded of Kathy recently because, on Facebook, a few weeks ago, I saw one of those dumb “Guess who’s joined your high school class Facebook community?” notices and saw that Kathy had joined (I don’t join things like that – come to think of it, how do they know what high school I went to???). I also wonder why so many people seem to long for high school days. Are things that bad today? Were things that good back then? I don’t think so… But, then again, I wasn’t a popular kid in school…

Anyway, from the Facebook, notice, I saw what Kathy looks like today. Well, I am assuming it was Kathy.  I’ve never met her mom, but I gather that she today looks like her mom did back then. Kathy looked pretty good, all things considered. I think she looked quite good especially compared to her peers.

Not aging fast enough? Drink soda! Hoo boy! Japanese people don’t drink sweet drinks anywhere near the level that American people do. Even lots of younger Japanese still prefer tea.

Damned if people in America don’t look very old, overweight and past their years! Kathy didn’t really look that way, but when I see people in America my age, they all have gray hair and are fat! I saw another picture of a girl whom I have known for over 35 years last night. She is a year younger than me but in her photo she looks easily ten years older than me. It must be that processed food Standard American Diet (it’s called S.A.D.) that those people are eating. I’m glad I eat raw food and live in Japan where people eat healthy food. (Any wonder why Japanese women live, on average, at least six years longer than American women? The men live more than four years?)

But I digress…. Again!!!!

Unbeknownst to her, like I mentioned, Kathy also doesn’t know that she taught me self respect. She taught me that because I had a complex all through high school; I thought I was inferior and shorter than all the (pretty) girls in school. Really! This complex messed me up because I figured that pretty girls don’t like short guys. The guys all have to be tall, dark and strong; just like in the movies. Kathy taught me that I wasn’t shorter. In fact, I was taller than her by a few inches… Actually, until she taught me, I never knew that I was taller than all of them. I simply never realized it.

Now, you’re probably imagining that Kathy taught me this important lesson in self-esteem in life at some school function like a dance. Imagine! Kathy Dobbe and me dancing cheek to cheek on the high school gymnasium floor to some slow and romantic song. It’s one of the last numbers of the evening. The lights are turned down low. Everyone grabs their date and heads to the dance floor…. We look into each others eyes and we embrace…

The saxophones start to play… “And they called it puppy love….”

No. No. Stop the music… Stop the music! I’m not that old!

Think of it, Kathy and I, cheek to cheek, in a warm high school kid’s love embrace? Can you imagine it? No? Neither can I. I was enthralled with Kathy but that was it. Even if I had asked her for a date, and she said, “Yes,” that would probably be the end of it. She’d probably have scared me so much that, had we met for a date, I couldn’t talk. Not a word. If I could utter a sound, it would be like a bird chirping or a wheel squeaking. Nope. Couldn’t do it. Just like in the movies. And that’s the only part of this that is like it is portrayed in the movies: Geeks can’t handle beautiful women. Geeks are always like that.

It’s been scientifically proven that high school geeks’ vocal chords stop functioning properly when they are around girls who they think are so pretty they aren’t real or aren’t from the Milky Way galaxy.

I suppose I should tell you why I had such an inferiority complex. It’s a long story so I’ll make it brief. Before moving back to California, I had spent the last 8 or 10 years (I can’t remember) moving all around the USA and going to a different school almost every year. That meant that when I went to a new school I had to start over and make new friends… This also meant that I didn’t have very many friends. This is hard on a kid but a good lesson in life (that is for another blog post on another day). Since I went to schools in the South and Midwest, I was used to their school system and their curriculum.

Well, I don’t know about today (but can’t imagine that it’s so different) the level of education in Midwestern and Southern elementary schools are a few years ahead of California public schooling. That means that what they are teaching in 5th grade in a school in Minnesota, they are teaching in 7th grade in California public school. So when I moved from Minnesota, where I was getting “C’s,” to California, I was suddenly getting “A’s.” Classes that I hated and struggled in in Minnesota, like Algebra, were, in California, one big joke. Suddenly, from being a dumb kid in school in Minnesota (or as my very kind older brother would insult me all my life, “The F-minus Kid”) I went to being the smartest kid in my class.

Through high school, my older brother got all “A’s.” He went to school in Minnesota too (you do the math). So, even though my grades in academics weren’t as good as his, I was still a geek, got mostly A’s and, as such, an outsider. Because, even back then, in a California school getting good grades meant you were a momma’s boy or teacher’s pet and definitely NOT cool.

So here I went from being a dummy in school with no friends in the Midwest to being a smart kid in school with no friends in California. I thought being smart was good? Not in California public school it isn’t. Can you imagine how that would play games with a 15 year old’s mind?

My high school in California, was a regular west coast high school like you’d see in the movies. You know, pretty blond girls and handsome blond guys. Everyone drove a hot rod American car and had perfect teeth. The ocean wasn’t a ten minute drive from school so we had tons of surfers, stoners and our high school also had the standard issue football team and basketball team that every all-American high school had.

Everyone at my high school looked like they had just jumped out of some Hollywood movie. This is Janet and Randy, who were Prom King and Queen.

The boys teams at my high school were lousy (you wouldn’t know it by the “big man on campus” attitude those guys showed while at school). Nevertheless, it was a big deal every year when we’d play the cross town high school’s own lousy team in our standard issue cross town rivalry. The teams would basically take each year going back and forth beating each other. The cheerleaders would cry because, well, as you know, beating Cross Town is so immensely important, especially since, as any cheerleader will tell you “…This is senior year and our last year at high school. We must win!” Maybe it was all planned that way… Maybe they do that in American society to teach militant tribalism (it’s great for military recruitment)….

But I digress…. For the third time…

I was talking about Kathy Dobbe. Besides the very pretty girls, surfers, stoners, hot-rodders, and football and basketball players, my school also had geeks. I think I was King Geek at my school. I was King Geek because my grades were almost all “A’s” and I was president of the Science Club for my junior and senior year.

That’s me on the top left, Science Club president. Foolish me. At the time I never thought about dating any of these girls… But they were the classiest (and most beautiful ones) in the whole school yet I never realized it (and, probably neither did they!)

Being a geek in high school sucks because the “cool kids” (pretty girls, surfers, stoners, hot-rodders, and football and basketball players) didn’t want to have anything to do with you. The only friends a geek has in high school is other geeks. So, all through high school, I only went on a date twice. The first time was when Shanda Shinkaruk asked me to go to a backwards dance with her (she was pretty too and terrified me also!) and then, my senior year when I got up the nerve to ask one of the smartest and most popular girls in school, Debbie Henry to go to the prom with me. Debbie said, “Yes” and that changed my life too…. But let me stick with Kathy for now. Debbie is another story.

How did Kathy teach me self-respect and give me a better self-image? It’s ridiculous, really, when I stop to think about it. Here, all that time, all through 11th and 12th grade. I thought she was so pretty and all these girls would never go on a date with me because, are you ready?…. I thought they wouldn’t go on a date with me because I was shorter than they were.

Seriously. This is what I thought. It was what I believed. The day that Kathy Dobbe destroyed this belief is still strong in my memory…

Only geeks and dorks helped the teachers with things like the projectors and handing out petri dishes. I did that sort of thing a lot. Come to think of it, this might be my first photo of my ever having worked in the cinema industry.

It was biology class. I can’t remember why, but Mr. Holts told us to line up to collect some materials. For some reason, it wound up that Kathy Dobbe was standing right in front of me. I had never come that close to her before. I was an extremely shy boy and would never intentionally stand next to her. I was so shy that, had she come close, normally I would shy away and back off to the other side of the room. But here she was! The girl of my dreams! The girl I had only seen from afar and she was standing only two feet in front of me… This goddess!!!!

As usual, Kathy paid no attention to me and was talking to one of the other beautiful people, a guy, in the class. When she turned her back to me was when it hit me. I was shocked! I couldn’t believe it. I had to get closer and check and recheck again. Were my eyes deceiving me? Not only was I taller than Kathy but I was taller by at least three inches!

You cannot imagine how much that really confused me and threw me for a loss. I was absolutely dumbfounded. It was as if a scientist who dedicated his entire life to a theorem and was completely and totally convinced that this theory was true had just found out that all his beliefs and life’s work were completely wrong. Everything he (I) had thought, believed and was convinced to be true was completely wrong and had zero basis in reality. You can imagine how this twisted my mind especially as a geek and president of the Science Club! Chuckle.

Soon after, I began talking to many other girls. I began to check my new theory and discovery by use of the Scientific Method: “I am taller than these girls hereby it is OK for me not to be such a loser.” I tested it over and over and found it to be true.

I stood next to the beautiful girls in school. I was taller than them. When some of the pretty (but dumb) girls in science class would suddenly take a 180 degree turnabout and go from not even knowing that I exist or actually being mean to me to being so sweet and kind and asking for my help giving them the answers to Biology tests, I started having an attitude. I’d intentionally give them the wrong answers…. Really! I am ashamed to admit that I did that one time but then felt bad about it… After that, if those girls wanted my help, I’d just tell them, “You’re always mean to me then you want my help at test time? No. I don’t think so.” Then these girls would get really mad at me and bad mouth me. I think they got mad because I had always given them answers before so they had come to depend on me and when the answers stopped coming, they thought I was a jerk. They treated me like a jerk 100% of the time from then on.

That’s OK. I didn’t care. Before that, they treated me like a jerk only 95% of the time excepting at test time. Now they’d treat me like dirt 100% of the time. So what? Their loss, not mine, I figured.

And, after all, I was taller than they were and I got good grades. “Who needs dumb manipulative girls, anyway?” I realized.

Life is full of give and take. Life is also full of manipulative people. I thank god that I was to have this seemingly banal experience of standing in line behind Kathy Dobbe and how that changed my life. It’s weird the little seemingly unimportant things that make a huge impact on our lives and way of thinking. From the lesson I learned from Kathy Dobbe, I learned self-respect and self-confidence… Perhaps from that experience I also learned too much, way too much, self-confidence too and exercised that far too often.

But this self-confidence has taught me to be independent and to be creative and to depend on myself. It has helped me to avoid the rat race whereby too many people today fear for their jobs and their future. Of course, I sometimes worry about the future and money too, but, opposed to a company employee who has no control over whether or not they lose their job or get laid off, I create my own work and I create my own income. I have come to, through experience and self-confidence and a good self image, to know that, if I put my mind to it, I can do anything. I believe that thinking that way, and helping your child to do so also, could be one of the best lessons in life that they’ll ever learn.

I think the lessons I learned from this one experience are (if you are a student, this is for you. If you are a parent, please consider how you can help your child):

1) What we think and believe is often not true. An open mind is necessary. Some of the things we believe are so opposite of actual truth it is epiphany when we realize it.

2) Often we need others to help us achieve these realizations and epiphanies.

3) We need to have more self-confidence and to explore.

4) Learning to read and write in school is important, of course, but many of the other important lessons are not taught by teachers. They are taught by other kids, parents and the outside world. We need to prepare our kids better for that.

5) Parents need to tell your kids that they are beautiful. This seems obvious but not enough parents do this. Most parents never do this at all.

6) A kid with great self-esteem and self-confidence can do anything and be whatever they want to be. Make sure your child is that way.

Thank you Kathy Dobbe and to the Kathy Dobbe’s everywhere.

Processed Foods Cause Obesity and Cancer in Humans – Human Deaths From Cancer are on the Rise Since 1950 – Cats and Dogs Now Eat Processed Foods – Cats and Dogs Now Get Cancer….. Any Questions?

The other day a good friend told me about another acquaintance whose daughter had just passed away last Tuesday from a ten-month battle with cancer. Poor little girl. She was only eight-years-old… I have experience with dealing with childhood cancer so I can understand somewhat their suffering. May god rest her soul and comfort the parents.


This morning I went to the grocery store. I walked by the racks that have the processed poisons (er, I mean processed foods). I never buy that stuff. We picked up our veggies and fruits and then went to the check out counter. There, I noticed that, “Gee! The shelves where the processed human foods are sure do look a lot like the shelves where the processed cat and dog foods are. In fact, they look exactly alike!”

If you don’t pay attention closely, you might be eating your cat’s dinner… It might even be healthier!

The increase in cancer deaths (even with the massive decrease in smoking cigarettes) can be attributed to many things. Some things may be difficult for us to control like the air we breathe or the location of factories from our homes.

It is easy, though, to control what we put into our bodies.

Human food. We know this isn’t healthy.

It is common knowledge that processed foods cause obesity and cancer in humans (as well as many other maladies)

Seriously. It’s in a can or packaged at a factory, is there any question that it has all sorts of chemical goodies in it?

The diet of people in the west (Japan too) have continually been on a course of more convenience. This makes a situation whereby the consumption of processed foods increase as the years go by.

It isn’t a coincidence that as more and more people eat processed foods that more and more people get cancer. Recently, more and more cats and dogs are getting various sicknesses and diseases like cancer.

More and more people feed their animals processed foods that are causing these illnesses. I think there is a pretty easy to figure causative correlation going on here, don’t you think?

Question 1: Do you think the chemicals in processed foods are safe? Do you think that chemicals can cause diseases like cancer? If so, don’t you think it is a good idea to eliminate these chemicals in your diet or at least cut them down greatly wherever you can?

Question 2: Do you think you should you be feeding yourself or your child processed foods?

My son’s typical breakfast: Raw veggies and fruits: carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, cashew nuts, tomatoes, orange slices, melon slices (and two boiled broccoli). Add to this homemade raw veggie & fruit juice and 1/2 slice bread and one small sausage. Glass of bottled water. We never give him processed foods for any meal! My breakfast is all these fruits and veggies blended into juice!

Get healthy and protect your health now because the government is going bankrupt and they aren’t going to be able to pay for your medical bills one day in the very near future; whether that is Japan, the United States or any of the  European nations with their massive debts. Who is going to pay for your medical bills when the government can’t? Hint: Look in the mirror (it’s you!)

Getting rid of all the processed foods and poisons we eat and drink is not a 100% sure-fire way to prevent cancer and diseases, but it is a pretty strong shield. And, I mean, in this day and age, why not make the best effort to cut down these poisons coming into our body? In many ways, we cannot control pollutants in the environment and where we live, but we can make a better effort to protect our bodies and our children.

It’s a pretty simple equation, I think. You can do your best to eat right now or pay the price later. Your choice.

Note: My dear friend, Timo Budo wrote, Hey buddy, I read yer rant about processed franken-food. In my case you’re preachin’ to the friggin’ choir. You seen the flick “Forks Over Knives” ?” Here’s the trailer:

Too Much Stress? Need More Time? Can’t Handle to Load? STOP DRINKING!!! by Mike in Tokyo Rogers

Sometimes work just seems to get out of hand and, no matter what you do, it seems like there’s not enough time in the day to get done all the things you need to. I’ve had this experience many times.

In fact, from the middle of 2011 to the end of the year, I felt this way constantly. I was carrying a heavy schedule and also had serious stress from dealing with partners and investors. Sometimes it seemed that I had no one to talk to.

I was doing my best to go out and make sales for my new company and, due to the nature of the business, that meant going out at night and drinking with clients and potential customers. That’s really where the problem begins; I like to drink. Sometimes I like it too much.

In Japan, it is very common for business deals to be worked out, not at the office, but at a drinking establishment. I’ve concluded hundreds of deals this way.

I’ve concluded so many deals the good old Japanese drinking way that I don’t even remember them all.

I also don’t remember, often times, how I got home after making those deals. I just woke up the next morning, in bed, with a massive hangover. That’s the problem with drinking; it’s hard to be a social drinker for me. I like to drink and I like the feeling I get when the alcohol “warms me up.” Especially if I am at a rock concert or dealing and meeting with music industry related people.

Even so, I’ve gone periods when I drank every night for months. I’ve also gone periods when I didn’t drink at all for months. Alcohol is a very powerful drug and your body will still feel the effects of it long after you’ve stopped drinking. I noticed that, in the times I’d go for months without a drink that if I had even one beer, I’d feel tired the next morning. Really! Even one drink at night will have a sedative effect on you the next morning when you wake up.

If I don’t drink for about three or four days, the tiredness feeling starts to go away. Seriously, that’s how long it takes; three or four days. If you go without a drink for about a week or two, then you will have completely flushed the alcohol out of your system and start to feel much more energetic.

So, if you are a regular drinker, try that: one day without even a taste of alcohol will make you feel better the next morning. Two weeks will make you feel much better and younger. If you go on a raw food diet and don’t drink for six months, you will lose 20 kilograms (44 pounds) and feel like you are 17 years old again. I know, I’ve done that. (Actually doing that again is my New Year’s resolution – that is starting today!!!!)

When I stopped drinking and went completely raw food for six months, I lost 17 kilograms.

This photo was two years ago.

I want to do that again. But I digress….

This is a post about creating more time in your day by abstaining from alcohol. You really can lighten your work load and create more time by doing so.

Last year, in the middle of November, I went to work and saw an old friend of mine who was the founder of a multi-million dollar company and retired a millionaire before 50-years-old. We had a nice talk and I told him that I was extremely over worked, tired and hung-over (funny that, being tired and hung over is not conducive to efficient work and time usage). I told him that I was out with a business acquaintance of ours that we’ve both known for years. That business acquaintance’s name is Ray.

My image of Ray Hearn as a father just kidding, of course!

Ray is a world famous concert promoter. He founded Beatink in Japan. That means he does live the life of “Sex, Drugs, and Rock n Roll” (no drugs in Japan, of course). Ray is a wild one. Wildly successful and wildly crazy sometimes. The night before I had dinner with Ray and we started at 5:00 and by 9:00 pm we had drank a few cocktails and (I think) four bottles of wine. After that, we went back to Ray’s house and watched Japanese sixties Sci-Fi Horror flicks. There we drank at least another six bottles of wine. I lost count. The next thing I knew it was 3:30 am and I told Ray that I just had to go home. Ray started yelling,

“Mike Rogers you wimp! Get back here and let’s drink some more wine!”

He was still yelling when I crawled out of the house and I am sure Ray and his girlfriend drank some more (well, actually she doesn’t drink that much – Ray drank more)… Like I said, I stumbled out the door and slithered down the stairs to the street. I don’t remember how I got home…. Typical.

The next day I had a hellacious hangover and four important meetings to attend to.

That brings me back to meeting and talking with my retired at 50-years-old millionaire friend in the middle of November. I told him about drinking with Ray and he laughed. He knew too well what drinking with Ray was like. I told my friend about how I was burning the candle at both ends and I asked for advice on how I could open up more time for myself. He smiled and laughed and said,

“Stop drinking.”

I protested. How can I stop drinking in Japan? A country that has a culture of sales and personal business relationships built on deals made over drinks?

My friend smiled once again. He said,

“I know another extremely wealthy president of another company who had the same problem so he went to a retired businessman he greatly respected to ask for advice. The retired businessman told him to stop drinking. The wealthy president claimed the same as you do, ‘impossible to stop drinking because of the ways of business in Japan.’ The retired businessman said, ‘Yes. That is true. But drinkers will also understand the sufferings of other drinkers. Tell your friends that you have some sort of illness that prevents you from drinking.’”

That was like a light going off in my head. It’s true. I know from experience. When I had a terrible gout attack, and had to stop drinking, none of my friends pressured me to drink: they all felt really sorry for me! Really!

Trust me. Many (most?) guys who drink who are in their fifties or later have had drink-related problems or know someone very close to them who has. We do feel sorry for you if you don’t want to drink.

Being a teetotaller has had a very uncool image for years!

The moral of the story? If you want to feel better and be more productive and wake up fresher, stop drinking. If your peers pressure you, I gave you a good excuse just now: Just say you have gout or border-line diabetes. They’ll stop bothering you (or they’re not your friends!) By feeling better and being more alert and alive, you will get more work done in a much faster and more efficient process. You probably can’t cut down all those meetings, but you can help yourself to get a better rest and to feel younger and more energetic and clear-headed if you stop drinking for a few weeks.

Now, that’s how you create more time and less stress for yourself.

Nah. I stopped that three years ago.

As for me, I’m getting ready to start working the new year in earnest from this Tuesday. It takes a lot to get myself ready and mentally prepared to go out and do my best. But I have decided to do it. I want to do it for work, for my health and to help me spend more time with my family.

I am going to eat raw foods only for a few months and stop drinking starting today. Wish me luck? Any readers out there who wish to join me for a cup of tea?

Thanks to: my dear friends Ray Hearn and Koji Kamibayashi

Retro Boom in Japan is Cool! by Mike in Tokyo Rogers

I think there’s been an ever accelerating trend all over the western world (and Japan) to get back to “old-fashioned ways.” I think evidence of this can be seen nearly everywhere you look: The trend towards healthier lifestyles, more natural foods, the return of the popularity of canning foods or making your own jams and jellies at home, the popularity of retro fashions, designs, music and films….

It seems there is a hunger for the more “down to earth” ways of the past. Perhaps this is due to a bad economy or just due to a feeling that we’ve been heading down the wrong road through all these years of mass consumerism.

A photo from a Yakitori in Asakusa circa 1969

I even think that this desire to return to the old ways is a catalyst for many of the political and social protest movements like Occupy Wall Street or even the wonderful popularity on the Ron Paul movement in the US election; People think things now aren’t as good as they used to be. They want to get back to better times.

Recently, I’ve noticed this movement in Japan too. Did you know that some products that were very popular 40 or 50 years ago, yet near their death-beds in the late 80′s and 90′s in Japan have had a massive return in popularity over these last 5 years or so? Yes. It’s true.

One of the items that used to have a very uncool image amongst the young people 30 years ago was Hoppy. Back in the fifties and sixties, a cold glass of beer was a luxury for most Japanese businessmen. The solution? Hoppy. Hoppy is a non-alcoholic beer-tasting drink that, when added with Sho-chu (cheap) Korean liquor tastes like beer and gets the job done quite well, thank you. Hoppy was hugely successful before and during the days of Japan’s Economic Miracle. It was still popular until about 1979 or so…

In the late seventies and early 80s, a new drink came on the market that just destroyed the competition and that was called “Lemon Sour” or “Chu-hi.”  Lemon Sour is lemon juice and carbonated water with sho-chu. It is quite easy to drink, cheap and didn’t have an old fashioned image like Hoppy, so all the young people started drinking that. I used to drink those too.

In those days, of the early 80s, Hoppy was considered a stale old drink from stinky old men, that is, up until about 5 years ago. That’s when the old man who ran the company that makes Hoppy retired and put his daughter in charge of the company as president. She is one smart woman and she set out to revitalize the company and the image of the drink. And what a job she’s done! Hoppy sales have exploded in Japan and is now being drank by younger people. Why? Well Lemon Sour and Chu-Hi actually are high calorie drinks with lots of sugar in them. Hoppy is very low calorie and almost no sugar. So, since Hoppy is very low calorie (lower than Lemon Sour or beer) and so is Sho-chu, so you can drink Hoppy and be feeling great at a few dollars cheaper per glass and at a fraction of the calories of beer or Chu-hi.

The new president of Hoppy turned the company around and became a star of the business world

On a diet yet you want to drink but still want to look better? Hoppy it is!

This “healthier” image has done wonders for the company and the drink. In fact, it is my personal drink of choice now as Hoppy is very low on purine so it is best for drinkers who might suffer from gout or other drink related illnesses.

These sorts of old style drinking places are everywhere and resurgent in Japan.

I’ve marked where it says, “Hoppy” so you can try it next time.

Another thing that has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity is… Hi-Lite tobacco. Now, in this day and age, a resurgence in popularity in tobacco seems and impossibility, but with the Japanese government continually raising the taxes on cigarettes, many of the western brands, like Marlboro or Lucky Strike have gotten very expensive in Japan. It seems to me that I have witnessed, over these last two years, a high resurgence of younger guys smoking Hi-Lite cigarettes.

Hi-Lite has a similar story to tell as Hoppy does: After the war, premium cigarettes were prohibitively expensive. Then people smoked cheaper brands. And the most popular of the cheapest brands (and strongest nicotine and tar – 14mgs!) was Hi-Lite. Hi-Lite was by far the best bang for the buck. Hi-Lite’s package design hasn’t changed in years and is very uncool. It’s so uncool that it today fits in well, design wise, with the retro boom happening in Japan.

If I were this guy, I’d be drinking Hoppy and smoking cigarettes too… Maybe things weren’t so bad for “ojisan” after all…

Another thing that has found a return to popularity and success in Japan is the kid’s drink Ramune. Ramune was one of Japan’s first “soda-pop” drinks. When the british brought over lemonade before 1870′s, the Japanese thought they were saying, not “Lemonade” but “Ra-mo-ne.” Some enterprising Japanese businessmen then decided to make Ramune and it first went on sale in 1870. Over the years, there have even been wasabi and curry-taste tasting Ramune….

Today there’s all sorts of flavors of Ramune that kids like. My son loves it.

Ramune has been around all these years, and always available at festivals and matsuri season in Japan, but only in the last 5 or 6 years or so, has Ramune really gotten popular again. You might recognize Ramune by the unique shape of the bottle and, when you open it, a glass marble drops down inside the bottle too (never could figure out the reason for that). Ramune is even being sold in restaurants and grocery stores nowadays. I even saw it in a convenience store the other day!

Besides these three small examples, I see a resurgence of retro style and of people wanting things to get back to the way they were before. I see parents of small children wanting their kids to go do more traditional Japanese things and to enjoy the things those parents enjoyed when they were kids.

It was a time when things were simpler than now and life seemed just a little bit better.

Oh, how I wish we could get back to the way (some) things used to be: Friendlier neighborhoods, less crime, lower taxes, less stress… Maybe our grandparents did suffer through a lot, but I think they can also be envied for living something that us folks today only dream about.

What sorts of “getting back to better times” type of things do you see where you live?

Thanks to marketing expert and promoter Asami Shishido

Vacation is a State of Mind – How to Get The Truly Wonderful Things in Life – by Mike in Tokyo Rogers

“Vacation used to be a luxury, but in today’s world it is a necessity.” – Unknown

Japan sure has a lot of holidays. I like that about Japan. I mean, who doesn’t like holidays? “Holiday” means that it is time to spend away from work and with family.

Too bad not enough people take advantage of that.

It’s a Saturday and the start of a three-day weekend here in Japan. I hope that I can take this holiday and use it to rest more and spend more time with my son and other children….

I shouldn’t say “hope. I should say, “I will.” I must have the state of mind that “I do” and not “I hope.”

“I hope” is a pretty terrible business plan.

Barbecuing trout that we caught fishing near Atsugi

This post is for you good folks with children. Everyone who has children thinks, “Our children grow up so fast.” But I think, more often than not, that’s where the thinking stops. We should add to that thinking, “How can I add to what little time I have left with these kids?” We must always remember to stop and smell the roses along the way.

My son is now 8-years-old. Why, just the other day, it seems, he was a baby.

Heck, it seems just like yesterday, he was born. I can remember it well. He was born at about 2:30 in the morning at a hospital in Tokyo. My wife’s parents were both there. My son being born was a big deal for them as he is the first and only boy in the entire family. Everyone else has had girls. Being “number one son” is a very important and traditional role in Asian societies.

I remember after he was just born, for about the first two years of his life, I would take him in the stroller for walks everyday that wasn’t too cold or raining and go to the park and back. It was about a one hour walk, round trip. Starting when he was 6 months old, until he was six-years-old, I would go to bed with him at night, every night, and we would read books together. I like to think that’s why he is such an advanced reader. He had read the children’s classic “Charlotte’s Web” by the time he was 4 years old. I did that religiously until he entered into first grade.

Within three months of first grade, he was jumped up to second grade and his school work load increased and, with that, time with dad decreased. That was almost two years ago. Now, he is in 3rd grade at school.

Everyone has memories like this about their kids too.

My son and second daughter, Sheena

Now I look at him and I just sigh. He will soon be nine. He has his own iPad, computer, friends at school… He goes to Karate class, takes music and piano lessons and spends time with friends. Heck, he has an hour or more of homework every night and piano practice too! Sure, he still likes to spend time with mom and dad, but I know from experience that, from 4th grade, kids really start to spread their wings and will, little by little, stop spending so much time with mom and dad.

Time goes by so fast.

One thing that I saw in his room last night that made me chuckle and remember my own experiences as a child and times with my own father, rest in peace, was a book that he had checked out from the school library. It was entitled “How to Beat Your Dad at Chess.” I picked the book up and laughed. Surely, beating your dad at chess is a mountain to climb when you are a boy. Once you do it, you will see other mountains to climb. But this book shows that still dad is #1… But not for long.

I write this blog post now because I want to stress to you fathers out there and remind you that, even though Christmas just ended and the New Year’s Holidays are over, that doesn’t mean that we should go back to “business as usual.” Yes, of course we must work and feed our families, but isn’t it also a good time to access what we have and to try to appreciate it more?

Isn’t it a good time to slow down and to try to enjoy what we have while we have it?

Yesterday, I met a friend at the grocery store whom I hadn’t seen for quite a while. We exchanged pleasantries and he asked about my work and I asked about his. The part of the conversation that really stuck in my mind was his final comment,

“At least we both have jobs. I know a lot of people who are out of work.” Come to think of it, I reckon that I do too. We are lucky, we have jobs and we have families.

I know, though, far too many fathers who are chasing the all mighty dollar and exchanging their time with their families for money. I don’t mean some of their time, I mean all of their time. I know fathers who are away from their families for months, even years. I think they have lost sight of the purpose of work.

In Japan, we have what is called “Tanshin Funin.” Father’s are transferred away from their families and miss out on seeing their children grow up. I even know one family where the father lived away for over ten years! Does it surprise dear reader that, ultimately, those parents divorced?

I’d never do that. While I might transfer for a few months or maybe six, I quit I’d quit my job instead of living away from my family on a semi-permanent basis. Why? Heck, the kids are only children once. What is the price of missing out on seeing them and growing with them?

Of course, the example above is an extreme case, but how many of us dads leave for work from early in the morning and do not come home until after the kids are asleep and we do that six days a week? On Sundays, we are so dead tired that we sleep all day? How is that enjoying life and spending time with the kids?

What do we work for? We work to feed and house our families so that they can be happy. How can a family truly be happy without the father around to enjoy all the fruits life gives us daily?

I have often written about how I write down my goals for life and for that day in my notebook. I do it religiously everyday. I have written before about that One Step to Becoming a Better Parent and More Successful in Life:

I write down my goals every day religiously in the morning when I wake up and, not only does doing so help me to achieve them, it also helps me to relax and stay much more focused through the day. Who doesn’t want to stay more focused in this day and age when our “in-box” includes, for most people, several e-mail accounts that are constantly filling up as the day goes by and consistently altering our priorities? Add on an Internet world filled with Social Media like Facebook and Linkedin accounts to attend? Twitter is no longer for just sending messages to your friends, but it too, has been co-opted into the business world and your boss orders you to use them, or blogs and SNS, to get the company message out…

How in the world can anyone today get ahead of the pile in the “in-box”? Any person in their right mind would be stressed.

…..let me point out that writing down your goals and purposes is like having a sort of road map to where you want to go. When you write them down, they enter your subconsciousness and they cause your inner brain to focus upon the Law of Attraction. If you do not write down where you want to go — if you do not have a map — then how will you know where you are going?

I recently have started writing down two more things in my daily notes. I wouldn’t call them “goals” necessarily, but in the effort to create the “Law of Attraction,” I write them down to try to make sure they come true. Those two goals are:

1) Thank you god for all the wonderful things I have and all the truly wonderful things I am about to receive.

2) All my loved ones are healthy and prosper.

From today, I think I am again going to add something more:

3) I spend one hour today with my son playing a game or reading a book together.

Dads (and working moms) remember that family fun and spirit of Christmas you had the other day? Remember the warmth and feeling of “family” when you share time together? Isn’t there a song that says, “I wish everyday could be like Christmas?” Of course, we have jobs to do and bills to pay, but remember over this weekend and at every chance you get with your kids to make those moments special.

Like I said, I know everyone is busy, so lastly, here’s a quick tip to help you:

Trying to spend more time with your kids is tough, but here’s a simple way to do that better. Here is a good way to better the time that you do spend together and it’s so simple, if even for only a few moments a day:

Whenever your child talks to you give them your total attention; put down that newspaper or cellphone; Close the computer laptop. Look them straight in the eye and show complete interest in what they say when they are talking. Give your child your total self and complete undivided attention. Give them your all. Listen - really listen – to what your child has to say.

Show your child that you love them and respect them. As I wrote in Most Men Die With Regrets:

Share time now with your children because now isn’t coming back ever again. Give your child a hug and spend time with them while you can.

The future is coming sooner than you can imagine. Don’t kid yourself. No matter how much time you spend with your children, one day, you’ll wish you had spent more. Do it now.

Today is the start of a wonderful weekend. Start making great memories and spending more time with your children today.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Using iPads For Restaurant Ordering is Often a Bad Idea by Mike in Tokyo Rogers

On the last day of 2011, the family went to our favorite sushi restaurant located in Isehara. Isehara is an hour away from our home by car so we get to go to this restaurant about twice a year when visiting my wife’s parents. The place is delicious.

Even though this sushi-ya easily sits about 150 people, it is almost always packed. If you go there for dinner, as we often do, you’d better get there before 5:15 or you can expect to have to wait for an hour or more to be seated. After 6:30 pm until 9 pm? Don’t even bother. We did that once. Never again.

We get there early or we don’t go.

On New Year’s Eve, we arrived just at opening time and comfortably sat down. I expected a massive rush of folks to enter the restaurant soon after; like has happened every year for the past 5 or 6 years. But it didn’t happen. In fact, when we left the restaurant there were several empty tables and no one was waiting to be seated.

“What happened?” I thought. “What has changed?” The food was just as delicious and just as reasonably priced as before, but something was different.

I thought about it. It was readily recognizable upon entry to the restaurant. It seemed the place had lost some of its zip, “freshness” and vitality… It wasn’t the same talkative and friendly shop as before.

Why? How could that have happened? The staff were all the same so management didn’t change. What could it be?

After thinking about it for a moment, I concluded that it was point-of-sale iPad devices on all the tables for the purpose of allowing customers to place their own orders. I think this was the key (and a huge mistake) in destroying atmosphere and the good feeling one gets when experiencing a restaurant that relies heavily on human interaction like a sushi shop does.

With the rise of the Internet and the bursting on the scene of the iPad and few years ago and the copy-cats that have all followed, many businesses look to this sort of technology to save them in times of an aching economy. I think far too many businesses are making a huge mistake and looking for love in all the wrong places.

If you are considering using an iPad or like technology to increase your businesses profitability then I strongly suggest that you first always consider this point: It’s awful hard to beat a pencil and paper. Is using technology going to be faster and more beneficial to your business?

I think, in many cases I’ve seen, it is actually a detriment.

In many cases, far too many to be sure, using an iPad to allow customers input their own orders, especially in the case of better restaurants is a very bad idea. Here’s why….

Think about this: is your restaurant the type of business that is highly dependent on communicating with customers? If it is, then iPad point of sale software is not for you.

Fujimaru in Isehara. Food is great. Ordering system not.

Here’s a good example: Take a Denny’s-type of restaurant. It is cheap and the menu doesn’t, nor is it expected to, change often. People often go to Denny’s to burn up time, read a book or to drink coffee while completing some work. They are not there to talk with the waitress. Compare that with a good sushi restaurant whose menu might change daily depending on the catch of the day or one that has a friendly chef who knows the value of talking to customers and communicating. How valuable is it when a customer can ask, “What do you recommend?” The sushi chef smiles and replies….

Also, as I mentioned, is communication important between your restaurant staff and customers? If you have a bar-type of establishment where people, often alone by themselves, come up to the bar to sit and order, then this type of iPad ordering is definitely not for you. Whenever I go this type of establishment, I go there for fun, conversation and comfort. I want to talk to the bartender (or sushi chef or head waiter) who I probably know and have a friendly relationship with (in the case of drinkers this would be called, a “brotherhood” or “confidant”).

Think about that. Drinks are basically the same from one establishment to another. What makes one bar better than the other? (They used to call sushi restaurants “sushi bars”). In the example of drinks, the difference is ambiance and the bartender and staff. In the case of sushi, I might want to ask the sushi chef what he recommends as the freshest for the day.

The use of an iPad sort of device for customers to place their own orders at a restaurant must definitely serve to better the user/customer experience at the restaurant. It must also speed the process up, not slow it down. Think about that also, at a fine French or Italian restaurant, would you think the customer would be happy with tapping on an iPad to order? What about showing off to the friend or girlfriend that this customer is a regular and knows the staff by name? Using a iPad for ordering at a Denny’s or McDonald’s? Probably a resounding, “Yes!” Cordon Bleu or a “Top 50 restaurant in New York City?” Absolutely Not!

No matter how much I love iPad, they would never enhance the experience at a top class restaurant. Also, the utter idea that people can play games online while waiting for their dish to come to their table is absurd, unless, of course, as I said, you are targeting a lower income (and single) audience. I seriously doubt that if I were on a date, I’d take a girl to a place where, while waiting for drinks or food, we’d be playing some online games.

What a awful date and terrible experience that would be.

Communicating with a sushi chef is fun. Why degrade the experience?

That’s the key word here: Experience. If the placement of iPad point of sale menu ordering device does nothing to damage the experience, then I think they might be a good idea (I said, ‘might’) but when a service organization (keyword: service) implements this sort of device and makes their ‘service’ less personal and colder, they are making a big mistake.

Finally, as I thought about all these things as we were about to get up from the table to leave the sushi restaurant, I (like I usually do) thought, “I’d like to have just one more sushi for the road.” I looked at the iPad and thought, “Forget it. Too much trouble.” Think about this one too. The sushi chef is standing five feet away from me on my left. If I say, “Maguro kudasai!” (Tuna, please!) that takes about 0.5 seconds. If I have to use the iPad for ordering (which he asked me to do) I have to pick it up; tap food menu; find sushi; rolls or nigiri? Then I have to tap the order… By the way, I like extra wasabi, but can’t find where that is located on the iPad? I’ve spent 6 seconds tapping and trying to find what I want to order. Do I order the last one for the road? Nope.

I’ll bet many people have thought the same thing. How much money in sales did that establishment lose from people just like me who thought the same thing?…”I want an extra order, but the hassle isn’t worth it for one. Forget it.” And I even own an iPad and am pretty well versed in using one. But that doesn’t matter, it’s not the iPod exactly that’s the problem, it’s the software too and a huge menu that Christopher Columbus couldn’t find on a map!!! Think about that! Especially at a restaurant (like a fine restaurant or sushi shop) that is not cheap and has a large portion of their customers near 55-years-old or older… An audience who has the disposable money to spend on some of the finer things… Older people of which most have never touched an iPad in their life. Will they make that last minute compulsive/impulsive order? I don’t think so… Heck, it’s a hassle and they can’t figure out how to do it.

It takes 0.5 seconds to make a verbal order. Using the iPad takes time (and patience)… Not a pleasant experience. It’s a hassle.

You’ve got a serious problem if people think ordering your product is a hassle.

As an aside, nearly 10% of the US population has compulsive buying complex Oniomania (for better or worse). I’m sure the Japanese are just as bad if not worse… If you are a business owner (and not a psychiatrist) then you need all the sales you can get. Using devices that suppress compulsive or impulse buying or ordering (especially when people are drinking and having fun) seems foolish to me. But, like I said, there might be good applications, it’s just that I am not intelligent enough to see them, I suppose.

Here’s how I calculate it: If one plate of sushi costs $3; And some part timer gets paid $8 an hour; and the restaurant has 150 seats and turns them over once every 1.5 hours; and, say, 15 (10%) of those people might have impulsively bought one last plate of sushi, then I don’t see how utilizing this iPad ordering device saves me any money in lowering labor costs. I just lost $37 every 1.5 hours. Of course, this is a very rough estimate but I think estimates and judgements like this are very important.

As I walked out the door and looked at the empty tables, I wondered if the customers who used to come to this restaurant went to another shop? Another shop where they can talk and interact the old fashioned way (when it comes to food when is the “old fashioned way” not the best way?) better with someone who smiles at them and communicates with them so that they don’t have to feel so lonely; they can have more and fun… Conversation with a waiter or waitress or chef can also be a very fun and beneficial thing.

What’s the price tag on warmth, communication and laughter? Of course, with the iPad ordering, at this shop, there are still waiters and chefs and you can talk to them. But when I wanted to order, they hurried by and said,

“Please place your order using the ordering device on the table.” What’s the cost of that?

Thanks, but no thanks. I noticed that I felt a little betrayed and uncared for. Here we knew these sushi chefs and waiters, for years, yet they told us every time to order using the iPads….  I did talk with one of the waiters who knows us well and even he alluded to much staff dissatisfaction with the new rules on ordering.

In my case, the experience was lowered. My wife concurred. In the case of my in-laws (in their 70′s) they didn’t like it at all. My eight year old son thought it was cool… Too bad he is not the one who pays for the food.

Romantic? Good atmosphere? Stylish? You be the judge

I think, in the case of a sushi shop, if they are going to use this type of device to take orders for sushi, then they might as well have robots making the sushi too.

Remember that it is hard to beat a pencil and paper for speed and human communication is priceless and irreplaceable. iPads are awesome devices when used for what they were designed for. I can’t see how using an iPad for ordering at a restaurant that has a constantly changing menu or several dozen (even one hundred) items on the menu can enhance the user (customer) experience. If there are many items on the menu, it makes navigating the menu difficult. Imagine what it does to a first time customer? I think it makes sure they are not repeat customers.

I might be able to see the benefits if the restaurant only has a dozen or two items on the menu… But, then again, if the restaurant only has a few dozen items to order, why bother?

I think restaurateurs need to think long and hard about putting this kind of technology in their restaurants. Generally speaking, I can’t see how it cuts costs or increases profits.

Placing a square peg in a round hole has never been a good idea. Use the right tools for the right job.