Special Edition_scanning member's recommended books


I can speak English reasonably well, but I can’t get along with the locals. I think that this is a problem before my English ability, and that my communicative ability is too low to begin with.

I started reading (or piled up) this book in the early days of my study abroad program when I was having such problems. As the title suggests, it is a look at how to read and understand different cultures.

The author proposes a framework that maps cultural differences among countries using eight indicators. From various perspectives, such as whether messages are conveyed directly or indirectly, whether consensus building is top-down or bottom-up, and so on, cultural differences in communication are brought into relief.

Even the same content and the same way of communicating can be evaluated completely differently depending on the background of the other party. This is both the fear and the fascination of cross-cultural communication.

Of course, communication between people does not always proceed according to the framework, but knowing the overall trend is the first step toward cross-cultural understanding.


◆Three books that consider “how to convey”.

・言葉にできるは武器になる/梅田悟司 (Being able to verbalize is a weapon./ Satoshi Umeda)

・The Google Way of Documentation / Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic.

・戦争広告代理店 /高木徹 (war advertising agency/ Toru Takagi)


The Story of Jesus Christ Read with Famous Paintings

Religious paintings are all the same, esoteric and boring. This is the book that got me interested in religious paintings a year and a half ago, when I was under the impression that they were all the same, difficult, and boring.

I wanted to deepen my understanding of Christianity to some extent before I went to Europe, as I was planning to travel and visit museums around the world during my study abroad until June of this year. Among the several books I purchased on religion and painting, this was the one that best summarized the contents of the New Testament along with religious paintings from around the world in an easy-to-understand manner.

The paintings played a very good role as illustrations while the story progressed like a story. In the “Gethsemane Prayer,” Jesus prays while fighting anguish after learning of Judas’ betrayal, but the three apostles fall asleep. This is the part of the book that I found familiar because it shows the humanity of the apostles.

After reading this book, I was able to enjoy the religious paintings with the feeling that I could somehow understand the language that I could not understand before. I now love Fra Angelico’s use of vivid colors in his paintings.


◆Three books that make “Western painting interesting”.

・絵画で読む旧約聖書/中丸明 (Reading the Old Testament through Paintings / Akira Nakamaru)

・名画はおしゃべり/木村泰司(Masterpieces are chatty / Yasushi Kimura)

・いちばん親切な 西洋美術史/池上英洋 (The Kindest History of Western Art / Hidehiro Ikegami)

The Story of Jesus Christ Read with Famous Paintings / Kyoko Nakano

Why do the world's elite train their "sense of beauty"?

It may be a self-serving prejudice, but all the elites around me have a keen sense of aesthetics.

They wear eye-catching, well-cut fashions and are active in cultural activities (reading, art appreciation, tea ceremony, etc.). When you look at a person from various angles, you can see through his or her persistence and commitment to making reasonable (and sensible) choices.

A well-known global company sends its executives to an art school in order to train their sense of aesthetics, which is also applicable to management. The author states that as the global market is moving toward “self-actualizing consumption,” sensitivity and aesthetics that stimulate people’s desire for approval and self-actualization will become more important than analytical and logical information processing skills.

Certainly, looking back on recent shopping, rather than low prices and functionality, people empathize with brands and designs, and are willing to pay generously for “things that are meaningful to use and that make me the person I want to be by having them,” as a satisfactory price.

The age of VUCA. In an age of VUCA, where there is no single logical correct answer, I want to keep my antenna high and refine my sense of style by always asking myself what makes my heart flutter.


◆Three books to update your “sense of beauty”.

・オードリー・ヘップバーンの言葉/山口路子 (Audrey Hepburn’s words / Michiko Yamaguchi)

・The French only have ten outfits / Jennifer L. Scott

・最強の気くばり/酒井レオ (The Strongest Caring / Leo Sakai)

世界のエリートはなぜ「美意識」を鍛えるのか/山口周 (Why do the world's elite train their "sense of beauty" / Shu Yamaguchi)

My Favorite Solitude

From my side, I would like to introduce some books that offer hints on “ease of living. Among them, Hiroshi Osada’s essay “My Favorite Solitude” is a book that will help you learn how to look at and deal with the world around you.

We live in a world of numerous relationships today, from real connections at work, school, and home to online ones, including social media. Why, then, do we often see the word “loneliness” in the news? Is loneliness just a negative thing?

In the book, the author confronts the world around him from various perspectives of “loneliness. Traveling alone in the U.S. and Europe, communing with literature and music, and confronting nature. The author’s warm and deep look at the world through dialogue with herself reminds us that being alone is not a miserable situation, but rather a moment like a blank space to deeply savor life.

Through introspection, we can contemplate the roots of different cultures, understand others as they are, and reconsider how we relate to society. You will be amazed at the positive power of solitude.

We invite you to go “out of bounds” with a book in your hand.


◆Three books on “Ease of Living”.


(The Spirits of the Streets / Ji Kawase)


・利他とはなにか?/伊藤亜紗 他

(What is altruism? / Asa Ito, et al.)


・Transcending “Unintelligible” / M. B. Rosenberg


私の好きな孤独/長田弘 (My Favorite Solitude / Hiroshi Osada)

The Myth of White Goods in Your home

I found this book at a used bookstore in Asagaya. I was attracted by the title, which is quite mysterious.

The book describes in detail the history of electricity, which revolutionized our daily lives, and the home appliances that were created by it. Among other things, the book focuses on the history of the refrigerator and explores its relevance to our lives and values.

The author’s argument that “white goods = the symbol of modern life” is examined from a negative perspective. The author also examines the background of the tendency for new things to be superior and old things inferior, and the way in which a partial image of the housewife has been cemented as the public’s idea of the housewife.

Nevertheless, I personally found it very interesting to unravel the relationship between the changes in refrigerators, the historical background, media representations, and the image of housewives in the general public.

In our daily lives, it is difficult to realize that changes in objects are changing our lives and values. In fact, now that smartphones have become commonplace, the lifestyles and values of the “Galapagos” era have probably been forgotten. This book is not about whether things are good or bad, but about the importance of starting from the beginning.

◆ Three Book to read together

「盛り」の誕生 女の子とテクノロジーが生んだ日本の美意識/久保 友香 (The Birth of “Otsuri”: Japanese Aesthetic Sense Born of Girls and Technology / Yuka Kubo)

変わり続ける! シブヤ系まちづくり/渋谷未来デザイン (Keep changing! Shibuya-style town planning/ Shibuya Mirai Design)

推しエコノミー 「仮想一等地」が変えるエンタメの未来/中山 淳雄 (The future of entertainment changed by “virtual first-class place” / Atsuo Nakayama)

白物家電の神話 モダンライフの表象文化論/原克 (The Myth of White Goods: A Representational Cultural Theory of Modern Life / Hara Katsu)