What Makes a Great Company


In our elementary days, we were told that we have to study hard to get into a good high school.
After high school, the routine of studying hard to get good grades continued.
Having excellent grades made our chances of making it into a prestigious university bigger.
However, it didn't end there.

nicole hard study

We had to pull all-nighters to finish reports, do thesis and the numerous presentations that were asked of us by our professors.
Why did we have to do that? The answer is we had to!
If we didn't, we might not be able find work with a respectable great company and earn a good life.
But I have one question, "What makes a company good/ great?"

The answer may vary.
Each one of us has different priorities that may affect how we define a good or great company.
Some might say that a company with a huge name is great.
Yes... they are big names in the industry.
People's jaw drop when they learn you work for such company.

nicole jaw drop

Another answer could be that the compensation package is great.
In our current economic slump, companies offering good salaries are so hard to find.

nicole good salary

It could also be that the working conditions are very appealing for employees.
The management makes sure that the employees are satisfied while the employees do everything to make their customers happy.
In this win-win situation, everyone is happy!

nicole happy employee

Now, the next question is... "Does this company exist in reality?"
According to CCN, it does.

Meet the staff of the "happiest company in Japan."

nicole happiest company

EC Studio is an IT consulting business. They don’t meet with their clients and they even don't talk to them on the phone.
Crazy, right?
Yes, it is a concept that doesn't makes sense to most people but it works wonders for this 33-staffed company.

Adding to that bewilderment, the article mentioned that the CEO Toshiyuki Yamamoto is "just looking out for his employees."
You heard it right.
In EC Studio, the customer is NOT always right but the employee is!
This is one great way of showing the importance of personnel.
Read the whole CNN article to find out more about the company.

So, what makes a good company great for you?



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You and Your Bag


I have always had this question in my mind but never had the guts to express it.
Today, for some reason, I would like to ask...
"Why is it that women carry their belongings around and men just have their wallets?"

nicole handbags

Is it because women have the basic nature to provide, thus the big bags?
Or is it because we just bring too much?

nicole indside handbags

Carrying bags is already a part of who we are.
It is most often the most important accessory we have at a time.
A great one because it doesn't even have to complement our body size!
That is why some splurge on bags.
This is very evident inside the trains here in Japan... it's like walking down the aisle of the handbag section of a department store!
Louis Vuitton... Gucci... Prada... Hermès... Marc Jacobs... Kate Spade... Christian Dior... Fendi... Coach... Yves Saint Lauren... Ralph Lauren... Bottega Veneta... Chloe... Zac Posen...

nicole brand bags

What you carry is a very big factor of what people might think (assume) about you.
So, based on your bag, let's see what kind of personality you have...
(This is solely based on Meredith Stebbins article "Your Handbag, Your Self")

The Eternal Prepster - if you like to tote around a classic canvas bag
You are someone who is conservative and traditional, but with a desire to carry a status symbol.

The Upwardly Mobile Do-Gooder - if you carry around a burlap bag
This means you are someone who is concerend about the world and the environment.

The Lady Who Luxes - if you have the entire line of luxury brand bags hanging in your closet
This reads you have a job and have an expensive taste.

The Multitasker - if you favor expandable and functional bags
A crossbody would allow you to use both hands, thus, more tasks to do at the same time.

The Brooklyner - if you have a very flashy bag that could be seen from afar
You don't care about dress codes. It is not necessary for you to match your bag with your clothes.

The Power Mom - a leather bag wherein you can keep all your necessities
This is for the working mom who needs to run around keeping all meetings and playdates.

The Pantsuit Executive - if your arm candy is a structured leather handbag
A proper handbag for the power woman who carries files and even a laptop.

The Party Girl - if you have an office bag that can double us a party bag
Indicative that the owner is young and energetic. Why?
She still has energy to party after office hours.

The Hoarder - if you like massive oversized bags
This translates to the person being messy so don't ever bring one to an interview.

However, if I see the next two bags anytime soon...
One word would only be in my mind... EXTRAVAGANT!

The Chanel "Diamond Forever" Classic Bag - $261,000
It has 334 diamonds totaling 3.56 carats, set in 18-carat white gold hardware. The long shoulder straps are made with the same white gold.
There are only 13 available bags worldwide.

nicole diamond bag

This next one is made of platinum with over 2,000 glimmering diamonds.
A versatile bag with many uses: you can use the diamond-beaded strap as a necklace or bracelet; the bag is embellished with an 8-carat pear shaped shimmering diamond that can also be used as a separate accessory.
This extravagant designer hand bag is created by Ginza Tanaka, a Japanese Designer.
It is worth £1 million.
nicole platinum bag



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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder


For some people, the first decision they have to do for the day is during their morning routine.
What to eat for breakfast... what to cook for the lunch box of their kids...
However, some ladies living alone have a different question at the start of the day.
"What should I wear?"

Society (or just our own vanity) dictates us that we have to always look good; be presentable.
We have learned that people who don't know us make assumptions about us based merely on what they see.
Thus, it is imperative especially when you go to work.

There are those lucky ladies who do not need to make a lot of effort to look good.
They simply put on the first thing they grab from their closet and voila! They look like they just stepped out from a fashion magazine.
However, there are those less fortunate ones who need to have a routine just to look beautiful.
It takes a lot of time and effort but the result is always worth it.

Across the globe, beauty is defined differently.
What is beautiful to you, might not be beautiful to someone living in the other side of the world.
For instance...

In most countries, thin is the standard for a beautiful body type.
This is very evident when we watch those supermodels strutting their stuff on a catwalk.
nicole fashion show

However, plump is the "in" thing in some countries in Africa like Mauritania.
nicole plump

Elongated necks with adorned with brass rings are deemed elegant for ladies of the Kayan tribe.
nicole kayan

The Maori people in New Zealand thinks that women with tattooed chins and lips are more attractive.
But if they were in Japan, they might not be allowed to go to the onsen.
nicole kayan

Japanese women think that white skin and straight hair are the norm.
Thus, beauty products targetting these sell well.
nicole beauty products

However, some ladies from Western countries spend big bucks to curl their hair and have an all-year round tanned body.
nicole cool

One website I found went to the extent of writing down the characteristics of what is perceived by many as "attractive" or "unattractive."

Characteristic features of the female "sexy face" in comparison to the "unsexy face":

Suntanned skin
Narrower facial shape
Less fat
Fuller lips
Slightly bigger distance of eyes
Darker, narrower eye brows
More, longer and darker lashes
Higher cheek bones
Narrower nose
No eye rings
Thinner lids

Characteristics of the male "Sexy face" in the comparison to the "unsexy face":

Browner skin
Narrower facial shape
Less fat
Fuller and more symmetrical lips
Darker eye brows
More and darker lashes
Upper half of the face broader in relation to the lower
Higher cheek bones
Prominent lower jaw
More prominent chin
No receding brows
Thinner lids
No wrinkles between nose and corner of the mouth

A cartoon was even used in an explanation of beauty from TED Talks.

As the saying goes, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."
Different people have different ideas about what is beautiful.



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Run Like The Wind


Characters: F: Felicity; Eu: Euneece; N: Nicole

After a long day's work...

F : See you tomorrow, guys. (waving goodbye)
Eu: Hey, Felicity, wait! (catching up with Felicity at the
  elevator) I'll walk with you to the station. I'd better
  get going myself. See you at the station then, Nicole.
N : (preparing to leave) Take care you two! I'll be there
  in a bit.

(At the platform)

F : Good thing, we made it in time. I was really hoping I
  could go home earlier today to watch my favorite Japanese
  TV series.
Eu: Oh really, what's on the tube tonight?
F : I'm actually into Japanese historical TV series recently.
  Have you heard of Go? It's about... (stops upon hearing
  the announcement that the train's about to leave)
Eu: Hmmm... I wonder what happened to Nicole?
F : (notices Nicole dashing down the stairs) Wait! (shouts)
  There she is!

As the door is about to close...

N : Waaaaaiiiiitttt! (stretching her arm through the door)
F : Whoa! You made it. I didn't know you had it in you.
  (giving Nicole a pat in the back)
N : (panting for breath) Neither did I.
Eu: This is definitely one for the books, Nicole!
N : Remind me not to do that again, (still panting) ever!

Both Felicity and Euneece burst out laughing.


★get going‐出発する
★a bit‐(ほんの)少し
★make it‐間に合う
★series‐シリーズ(TV series=連続テレビ番組)
★a pat in the back‐背中を軽く(ぽんぽん)たたく
★panting for breath‐ハァハァ息をする
★one for the books‐事件、記録に残しておくべき出来事


登場人物:   F: フェリシティ;  Eu: ユニース;   N: ニコル


F : また明日ね,みんな。 (手を振る)
Eu: ねぇ,待ってフェリシティ!(エレベーター前でフェリシティ
  を追いかける) 駅までいっしょに歩くわ。私もそろそろ行か
N : (帰える準備をしている) 2人とも気をつけてね!私もすぐ追


F : よかった,時間に間に合ったわね。私のお気に入りの日本の連
Eu: そうなの,今晩はテレビで何があるの?
F : 実は最近私は,日本の時代劇にハマっているの。「江(ゴウ)」
って聞いたことある? その番組はね…(電車が発車するアナウ
Eu: あれ...ニコルはどうしたのかしら?
F : (ニコルが階段をダッシュで降りてくるのに気付く)あ!(叫ぶ)


N : 待ってぇー! (扉の間に手が延びる)
F : うわ!間に合ったね。あんなことができるなんて知らなかった。
N : (ハァハァ息を切らす) 私も知らなかった。
Eu: これは確実に大事件よ,ニコル!
N : こんなこともう絶対にしないように言ってね、(まだハァハァ言
  っている) もう絶対イヤ!



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Cool Factor


Everyone wants to be cool.
And each and everyone of us has a different definition of coolness.
What makes a person cool?
Some say it's the attitude.
Others might think it's the style.
Wikipedia defines "cool" as "an admired aesthetic of attitude, behavior, comportment, appearance and style, influenced by and a product of the Zeitgeist."

nicole cool

Image from aledlewis.com

I got the idea of this post from my mother when she sent me an email.
She forwarded an article from CNN and it contains a list of cool nationalities.
The roster only had 12 countries out of 250 candidates.
See if you're on the list.

12. Turks
One reason is because of the 1999 interent celebrity Mahir Cagri.
He has a website named "I kiss you" filled with pictures from different parts of the world and "interesting" comments in broken English.
See for yourself...

nicole mahir cagri

11. Belgians

I'd say maybe because of their chocolates.
nicole belgian choco

But according to CNN, it's because of Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy who is fondly called as the first "president of Europe."
nicole belgian choco

What do you think?

10. Nepalese

Reason? Tenzing Norgay was one of the two individuals who were first to climb Mt. Everest. He was also named as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century, according to TIME magazine.
nicole tenzing norgay

9. Chinese

What makes them cool? They have Brother Sharp.
Who is Brother Sharp? He is the homeless man who became famous because of his homeless-chic style.
nicole brother sharp

8. Botswanans

Why are they on the list? Because among those beauty queens who said they "want the world to be a better place," Mpule Kwelagobe (a Batswana) is one of those who really campaigned strongly for a cause.
nicole batswana

7. Japanese

I would stray a bit from the CNN article because I don't think their icon of cool should be former Prime Minister Hatoyama.
I think the icon of cool for Japanese people are the brave men and women who staunchily march down the streets wearing their idea of fashion amidst the stares or disapproving looks they get from foreigners to elderly people.
Talk about individuality!
nicole japan

6. Spanish

It's the land of sangria and siesta.
Plus, they are the champions of the 2010 World Cup FIFA.
nicole spanish

5. Americans

Hmm... I have to agree because some of my relatives are Americans and they might disown me if I say something bad about them. Ha ha!
They have Apple. For iPhone lovers like me, it's an enough reason to say they are cool.
nicole americans

4. Mongolians

They live in one of the nomad countries in the world. And they're man's best friend is not a dog, but a horse!
Ain't that cool?
nicole mongolians

3. Jamaicans

I just have one word for this... and it is REGGAE!
It is a music genre developed in the late 1960s and ever since has made it to the mainstream music scene.
nicole reggae

2. Singaporeans

Who else can find the good balance between computer geekiness and pulsing nightlife?
Singaporeans love their IT gadgets as much as their nightlife.
Who wouldn't with a skyline like this?
nicole singaporeans

1. Brazilians

If we are talking about partying, they take the crown.
Anyone who can dance the samba with such finesse and sexiness has the bragging rights of coolness.
Ever seen the Mardi Gras? Totally cool!
nicole brazilians



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My Peanut Butter Cups


A friend 女の子 of mine just came back 飛行機to Japan after spending her New Year holiday in her home
country. Of course, I am very glad にひひto see her and listen耳 to her "colorful" stories. However, there is another reason why I am so happy to see herべーっだ!. It's because of this…


"Reese's Peanut Butter Cups" is one of my all-time favorite treats. I savor the sweet mix of chocolateチョコレート and peanut butter in each and every bite. ラブラブ!


Have you tried this? People with sweet tooth should try this. I just don't know where we can buy this here in Japan. Would you know where? This one is from my brother in- law プレゼント(in US).


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