備忘録 印象深い日々の出来事や、気付き等を記す

The review of “The spy and the Traitor”

  •  Background

I picked this book as a practice of English reading, because the theme of this book was obviously interesting - a story of the spy in Russia but working for MI6.

After reading through the whole book, I am happy with my choice.


  • My impressions

My first impression is... "Is this a real story? Are these intelligence battles, hard negotiations, and maliculous spying plan actually being executed by intelligence services in the world???" It was so exciting, thrilling, and unbelievable story.

In addition, I was shocked by the gap in KGB between the HQ in Moscow and the field in each West country. According to this book, the HQ assumed that the West was ready to start a nuclear war, whereas the filed were fully understanding that the West hoped a non-violent measure to resolve the Cold War. However, since it was regarded as disobedient to address the wrong assumption of the HQ, the filed staffs just followed an order from the HQ to gather evidences which will prove that West is proceeding the preparation of a nuclear missile launch.

I think this gap is happening always in Japanese organisations. And this finding let me understand why Gorbachez mentioned that Japan was the most successful communism country. We Japan are focusing on equality, social welfare, hierarchical system, etc... Yes those characteristics are definitely similar with communism countries such as the Soviet Union.

Also, another interesting description was 1984. This book said about Big Brothers a few times, meaning that this book is based on the premise that the readers should have known about 1984. Therefore the author think 1984 is a very basic knowledge for British, or in a broader meaning, for people.

I expect that from now on I can enjoy movies and dramas about the Cold War of espionage more by referring to the knowledge I acquired from this book :)




  • Background

My colleague in UK gave me this book while hunging out in Oxford :)


  • Summary 

This story is based on fact during WW2. The main character, a tattooist whose race is Jew, were thrown into a concentration camp by Nazi.

After being sent to the camp, he luckily got a high-rank job of tattooist because of his kindness to others and language abilities - he was able to speak in German, Russian, French, Polish, etc. 

Whild supporting mates in the camp, he fell in love with a woman who is also thrown into the camp due to the fact that she is Jew. 

Both of them managet to survive in the harsh environment, went out from the camp, got married, and finally lived in peace in Australia.


  • My impressions 

Since I was interested in the Holocaust, this book got my attention strongly. It was for the first time to look at the tragedy from a prisoner's point of view in the camp. I saw the movie of THE PIANIST from a Jew's point of view who lives in the Getto, and I also saw the movie of THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJYAMA from a boy's point of view whose father was a senior officer of Nazi.

I realised how it was creazy and scary Nazi was at that time - I cannot imagine that how people can recognise people who are human but just have different religion or nationality as a creature, the object whicch has no value to be sympathised...

I am thankful that I was born this age in Japan, I have no experience such horrify things, and we have to prevent them from happening again.


The Tattooist of Auschwitz: the heart-breaking and unforgettable international bestseller


Review of 'BECOMING'

  • Summary of background

The advertisment of this book was appeared in every tube station this fall.

Since I was getting concerned about the political movement towards nationalism in some countries, I chose to pick up this book as the first reference to learn why Trump won the election, why British people opted to exit EU, and so on. 

In addition to my interest in the poltics, I also wanted to know about one of the most powerful women in the world, because I become to realise gender inequality in Japan and wonder how those women working hard but taking care of their family are keeping a balance between work and family.


  • My review

I will add my findings about the politics later, and write down a quick review...


I was surprised cultural differences between US and Japan as follows:

  1. Social movements to support unprivileged people, such as women, child, coloured, were much more enthusiastic in US than in Japan.
  2. The value of parents to cherish their children are different, US parents seems to devote themselves to their children more than Japanese parents.

The first point is, in my opinion, partly because of Japanese social structure. The wealthy gap is smaller in Japan compared to US, furthermore Japan is a kind of homogeneous country.

I attribute this fact to the low level of the social activites in Japan, because most Jpanese don't need such activities to get fundamental individual rights. Considering that, in other words, it might be said that the social system of Japan is sophisticated and well balanced.

Actually the second item is relevant to the first item. Since it is not free or easy to have their children good education more frequently in US than in Japan, parents are high conscious to ensure to give the opportunities to their children.

On the other hand, in Japan, every children can reach quality-assured education from primary school to high school. Also, the university tuition fees are much lower in Japan, therefore Japanese parents tend to leave it for their children, though I think they should care of it much as well as Amerian parents.


... Since I feel sleeply I finish my review at this moment and update later....


  • Background

 I decided to read English book since I reserved an exam of GMAT, which requires high English reading skills to achieve a good score, next March.

Also I wanted to choose academic or business books, because all the questions in GMAT test are relevant to either of them.

Then I picked up this book - FACTFULNESS written by a Swedish doctor, Hans Rosling- as a first book of my reading practice.

Actually this is quite popular among business people in Japan as well.


  • Summary of my review

Suprisingly I scored 6 out of 12 on a test in the first chapter. The test consists of 12 quizzes with three multiple choices.

According to the author, my score is good. That's because many experts or business leaders get a lower score in avarage than chimpanzees's score, 3 out of 10. The author explains that chimpanzees can score as much as people who pick up their answers randomly without looking questions and answer choices. He also explains that those who are recognisesd as exports or business leaders tend to see the world too negatively.

Though I was able to score higher than chimpanzees, I got suprised the fact descibed in the book. I realised that I had a lot of biases for/against some social problems unconciously.

In addition to that, since the statements in the book are based on the fact as well as the author's opinions sound neutral, I felt that my knowledges and point of view have been updated correctly while reducing my biases.


  • Points which surprised/inspired me

In all low-income countries accross the world today, how many girls finish primary school? Correct answer:60%

There are two billion children in the world today, aged 0 to 15 years old. How many children will there be in the year 2100 according to the United Nations? Correct answer:2 billion children

How many of the world's one-year-old children today have been vaccinated against some disease? Correct answer: 80% 

Worldwide, 30-year-old men have spent 10 years in school, on avarage. How many years have women of the same age spent in school? Correct answer: 9 years 


Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About The World - And Why Things Are Better Than You Think

Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About The World - And Why Things Are Better Than You Think



本の感想「「超」入門 失敗の本質」








  • 米軍:「目標達成につながる勝利」が多かった(主要なポイントに絞って戦力を重点的に割いた)

  • 日本軍:「目標達成につながる勝利」が少なかった(戦争勝利に影響の薄い土地・島を攻めるのに戦力を割く)



  • 米軍:戦略をもとにゲームに勝つための戦術を考える

  •  日本軍:既存のルールを洗練させることが得意



Review of 'Watching the English'

I started to read this book to work smoothly with British colleagus, customers, and any other stakeholders. Although this is about English people, technically speaking not about overall British people, it was informative. Especially the following topics left the biggest impression on me (there are lots of other usefule rules, but what I remember now are the follows) :

  • The importance of not being earnest
Sincerity is allowed, but Earnestness is strictly forbidden.
  • Weather-speak
English weather-speak is a form of code, evolved to help us overcome our natural reserve and actually talk to each other. It is a form of ‘grooming talk’ - the human equivalent of what is known as ‘social grooming’  among our primate cousins
  • The money-talk taboo
English just cannot talk about money face-to-face, you have to do it in writing. It can be explained, at some extent, with reference to other basic rules of Englishness to do with modesty, private, polite egalitarianism, and other forms of hypocrisy.
Of course these rules cannnot be applied to all English people, it depends on individuals, but these information was very helpful, because some of them are difficult for me - Japanese person - to expect.
For example, Japanse encourage to be the earnest. We sometimes even pretend to be the earnest to leave the good impression on others. However, in UK, I should not say 'I will do my best!!!' to appeal my motivation to my boss.
I need to observe colleagus carefully and consider how to behave so that I make them feel unconfortable.
Again I realized that how great this experience is. I will never experience this concerns if I keep working in Japan... I want to maximize this as much as possible... :)




異文化理解の問題地図 ~「で、どこから変える?」グローバル化できない職場のマネジメント

異文化理解の問題地図 ~「で、どこから変える?」グローバル化できない職場のマネジメント






異文化理解を目的に読むのであれば、「異文化理解力 Culture Map」の方が100倍中身がある。


異文化理解力――相手と自分の真意がわかる ビジネスパーソン必須の教養

異文化理解力――相手と自分の真意がわかる ビジネスパーソン必須の教養