In Episode #25, we are joined by Adam Bigelow. We discuss:

  • Adam’s background in patent translation and gemstone mining with an eye toward tying together the Japan and US markets.
  • The current Japanese business environment, compared to its Asian neighbors.
  • How Shinzo Abe’s departure and Yoshihide Suga taking the prime minister role will affect the way Japan does business internally and internationally.
  • Japan’s prospects as a country as it continues to grapple with its aging population.
  • Japanese skill in automatization compared to its prospects for innovation.
  • Japan’s response to China’s rise.
  • Reading, listening, and watching recommendations from:

If you have comments on this episode or if you’d like to suggest topics for future episodes, please email globallawbiz [at] harrisbricken [dot] com.

We’ll see you next week for another discussion on the global business environment with Mark McLawhorn!

This podcast audio has been transcribed by an automatic transcriber.

Fred Rocafort 0:08
Global law and global business go hand in hand but never seem to keep pace with each other, BRICS and other developing and developed nations wax and wane and their importance on the global stage. While consumption and interconnectedness both increase, laws and regulations change incessantly requiring businesses to stay nimble. How do we make sense of it all? Welcome to global law and business posted by Harris Bricken International Business attorneys. I’m Fred Rocafort,

Jonathan Bench 0:34
and I’m Jonathan Bench. Every Thursday, we take a bite sized look at legal and economic developments and locales around the world as we try to decipher global trends in law and business with the help of our international guests. We cover continents, countries, regimes, governance, finances, legal developments, and whatever is trending on Twitter. We cover the important the seemingly unimportant, the relatively simple and the complex.

Fred Rocafort 0:59
We hope you enjoy today’s podcast. Please connect with us via email on social media to comment and suggest future topics and guests.

Jonathan Bench 1:17
Adam Bigelow grew up in a town in boring Oregon. His first trip to Japan was in 1997. And since then, he has spent nearly 15 years in Japan with experience ranging from college student public sector, private sector and entrepreneurial endeavors. In 2016, after 10 years at a successful startup and handoff of a translation firm specializing in patent translation, he moved back to the Pacific Northwest and now lives in Vancouver, Washington. In addition to consulting for SMEs looking to do business in Japan, he also translates patents Japanese to English and owns and operates in Oregon Sunstone Mine, Adam is married to his husband Kota and has a miniature Shiba Inu dog named Mizuki. Adam, welcome to Global Law and Business. Thank you for being with us.

Adam Bigelow 2:02
It’s good to be here.

Fred Rocafort 2:03

Adam, welcome. And thank you for for being with us. I’d like to hear a little more about all those years in Japan, I spent a little bit less than that in in Greater China, and know that there was a lot jammed in there. So I would love to hear more about the specifics of your experience there. And if you don’t mind just for, for my own sake, what exactly is sunstone?

Adam Bigelow 2:30
Like, like you mentioned in the intro, I first moved to Japan in 1997. And I spent a couple years there as a as a church missionary. Following that, I moved back to the US and, you know, started my college career. And but you know, I really wasn’t comfortable in the United States at that time side. So I decided to apply for a fellowship and got back to Japan and was a fellow at Hiroshima University for about a year. And then I moved back again to the US where I finished my college degree and I graduated with a degree in Japanese. And then after that, I took a job with the sister state of Oregon, which is Toyama prefecture working in the gubernatorial office in the International Affairs Division there. I did that for two years. And during that time, I had a lot of opportunities to meet with business owners, both large and small, actually participated in a startup kind of as a side thing. Bringing a fitness club chain from the United States to Japan, just kind of fun. following those two years, I moved back to the United States I got hired on it’s at a translation company based out of Provo, Utah. They had, they were considering opening an office in Asia and it tapped me to come and open their office in Japan. That brought me back to Japan from about 2002 2003 all the way through about 2016. And while they are in Japan, that during that time, it was in Yokohama and we started a started a translation company specializing in into intellectual property translation, got to know the the legal scene, at least on the IP side very, very closely while over there, and then that branched out. I ended up managing offices in Seoul, Korea, Taipei, Taiwan, and tension in China, as well as the main office that I was stationed out in Japan sunstone. Oregon sunstone is the state of Oregon State gem. It’s a stone that’s only found in the state of Oregon in the entire world. So we call it a one source gem. And the story behind that is, is that when I first came back to the United States, I was looking for clients that I could consult for that wanted to do business in Japan. And I had done a trip down to the mines when I was little and I decided to go again and bring Kota with me. And we went down there and we met a couple mine owners and the stone is a transparent a clear stone with a color core in it and the color was red. When I looked at the stone, I said that looks just like the Japanese flag. Would you like me to mark it for you in Japan. And that was my first client. After returning from Japan for after 15 years there. And from there, it’s just kind of snowballed into what is now mine ownership. And yeah, that’s what I do some someone’s out of the summer I go down and play in the dirt.

Jonathan Bench 5:29
It sounds fascinating. And so is Japan, the primary market for the sunstone that you are that your company is selling your your mind that where you’re sourcing all of your stone to?

Adam Bigelow 5:38
That’s exactly right. Yeah.

Jonathan Bench 5:40
How do they incorporate it into? What do you, is it going into jewelry? Is it where’s it going?

Adam Bigelow 5:45
For the most part, it’s going into jewelry, or to high end collectors investors. So you’ve got a stone that’s, that’s, that’s sort of like, if you follow gemstones and jewelry at all, Tanzanite became a big thing few years back, it’s it’s sort of in the same category as that is where it’s only found one place in the world, it’s a beautiful color, works well in jewelry, and is extremely rare.

Jonathan Bench 6:10
So you mentioned that you had experience not just in Japan, but all over Asia. So you know, I don’t know if you know this about Fred and me. But we have spent a lot of years studying Chinese and spending time in country as well. And so I’m I’m as a student of you know, I kind of as the world looks at China, and is getting more and more disenfranchised with the way China does business. We’re looking at, you know, Japan, again, or other Southeast Asian countries, for alternative locations. So I’m very This is very selfish question on my part. But I’d love to hear more about the Japanese business environment, and how it is similar or different, similar to a different from other countries in which you work, you know, from a business perspective, but also kind of just from a human perspective.

Adam Bigelow 6:55
When when people ask me that question, they’re always there sometimes asking about, how does it compare to China, and China has a business environment that’s more similar to the United States in Japan, Japan, Taiwan, and Korea all have similar business climates. And I might get in trouble for saying that. But Japan is still very much a detail oriented, relationship oriented, big picture business society, it’s it’s less transactional and more relationship based, I think is the easiest way to say it, you’re in it for the long run, you know, you play the long game, or, you know, you’ll just be a flash in the pan and you’ll be gone. There’s the same problems, the same issues, the same conflicts that occur in any business environment around the world. But it’s like somebody took the volume dial and turned it down from eight or nine, where it would be like in the US, all the way down to one slot, that’s not said, That’s implied being able to be aware of what’s really going on around you is is is a key, and nobody’s giving you hints.

Jonathan Bench 8:05
So how long does it take you to get the nuance down for working in that kind of environment? Where you just have to understand I mean, are we talking micro cues from the way people move their bodies? eyebrow lifts? I mean, what kind of what kind of stuff are we talking about?

Adam Bigelow 8:20
Yeah, it would be similar to feeling comfortable in the US, I think, you know, being able to read a room understand, you know, what people really mean, but you just have to understand that it’s not just another language, it’s another culture. And that defines everything in a new way. There is some carryover that’s, that’s globally universal, but for the most part, Japan is its own little, you know, environment that you get in and then the shortcut, I think, is just to become a part of it, like just just focus on integration, whether that’s on a company level, personal level, you know, if you’re an executive over there, we have, we have a great example right now of a corporate executive that didn’t integrate well with the way that everything else was done with, you know, with gold with Carlos gone. There’s a lot around that. But I think that’s one lesson that can be learned is that Japan still even in 2020, the nail that sticks up is going to get hammered down.

Jonathan Bench 9:13
That still holds true. And so would you say that Japanese culture is fairly welcoming to people who show they’re coming in for the long haul? You know, if you’re making an effort at learning the language at understanding the cultures, would you say that that it is an outsider can go in and and really have a significant presence even though there’s still an outsider?

Adam Bigelow 9:34
So yes, it’s going to be very difficult. For an outsider, even if you have Japanese citizenship, if you look different. Japan, Japanese society is set up with divisions and these divisions happen from a very young age. They started, you know, elementary school level and even before that, were for example in the school system. And I think this is true in Korea as well. You know what rank you are in your class, your your, your classes are separated by, you know, your standardized testing levels. So you have all of the kids that got A’s in one class and all the kids that got B’s in another class, and then they’re also ranked in between that. So there’s, that that division, culture is, is ingrained very strongly in the Japanese people from a young age, that’s not the case in all situations. But I think that you just have to understand that if you’re going in for foreign investment, you’re going to have fewer obstacles to that investment. By having a Japanese country manager, or having your, all of your sales people you know, always be, you know, Japanese or Japanese citizens. And then on the other hand on linkster, structurally, there’s different ways to set up companies in Japan, in some ways, show that forward facing, you know, we’re in it for the long run. Setting up a kk, for example, in Japan, is going to look much better to banks, to your clients, customers, and setting up a Gk organization, there’s just different different things that you can do to try and overcome the obstacles. But I just I can’t emphasize this enough, at the end of the day, division is is ingrained into the culture. And it’s very difficult to be able to break through that wall.

Fred Rocafort 11:30
That’s very interesting. I have to say, I’ve been to Japan a few times, having lived in Asia for for over a decade, I had opportunities to do that. And I I thoroughly enjoyed my time in in the country. But at the same time, I did find myself when I had the opportunity to to actually reflect on this, I wondered if if I would enjoy living there as opposed to just visiting. In part because of the things that you describe. I think that as a as a tourist as a visitor, you’re exposed to a very tiny sliver of that culture. And in many ways, the the the efficiency the the hard working culture, I mean, you you those mostly work, work in your favor when you’re a visitor, right thing things, things work really well. The trains are running very efficiently. Everything is very clean. But of course there’s there’s a, there’s another side to that right. And I can I can certainly see how how working in that environment will will bring certain challenges and it’s certainly not not for everyone. Looking now at going from the from the micro levels to the macro, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the recent transfer of power in Japan. What are your thoughts on under the departure of Shinzo Ave or I guess I guess we should be saying I’m a Shinto now. I guess I guess they’re moving to the Yeah. You know, the more the natural format. But But in any case, what what are your thoughts on Prime Minister Bay’s departure? And what do you foresee, with Prime Minister suka taking over? Specifically with with regard to the business environment What? What will change and what will not change?

Adam Bigelow 13:42
There are a few things that in the business field we’ve been waiting for for a long time. And I was in Japan through the turbulent season where we couldn’t keep a Prime Minister for more than a couple months. Beijing zOS. I mean, he’s he’s known for his abenomics and his three arrows. They’re one of the things that we that we hope has to do with immigration reform. Yeah, so everybody knows the population is aging in Japan, I believe it’s 30%. Right now, that’s over the age of 60. And then all of these people are going to be going on pension sooner rather than later, which will put an extremely large load on the economy without healthy robust immigration and and the system to support that Japan will continue to slowly lose its competitiveness in the world. One of the other things that we look for that we’ve been waiting for, for the longest time, the effective corporate tax rate in Japan is 35%. Whereas all of the surrounding countries are at 25%. The corporate world has been waiting for for Japan to to lower the corporate tax rate from 35 to 25%. For the longest time now, you know, the other thing that we look forward is their structural reforms. This is the one arm of Bobby nomics, that has received the most criticism, I think, was that there, there, there have been little advances here and there with GDP and national debt, that kind of bounced back and forth. But the structural reforms that, you know, allow women to make a fair wage, to give them the same opportunities that men have to advance in companies and to eliminate the sexism that exists there. These these structural reforms have really been lacking under Prime Minister Sousa kind of hope that he works to accelerate that.

Fred Rocafort 15:38
I want to follow up on on the issue of immigration, which I find to be very interesting, I, one of the things that caught my eye the most when I when I went to Japan, was seeing the the larger Brazilian community that that was living there, especially, um, especially in the city of Nagoya, that that’s that I mean, I don’t know if that’s, if they have a particularly visible community, but that that’s certainly where i, where i noticed that the most but, um, but but but one particular question that I that I have, or one, one thought that I want to throw out there, I was looking at the news the other day, out of out of Taiwan, and during a visit by the by the president to, to an Air Force Base, she she was talking to, to, to an Air Force to an air man who was whose father, I believe was was from Ghana. And, you know, I imagine there’s, there’s certainly a PR element to the whole thing, but, but nonetheless, right, the fact that that they would want to highlight that was was was interesting in and of itself. And it got me thinking a little bit about this, and about this general topic. And I, for me, I feel having spent quite a bit of quite a bit of time in Taiwan, my my fiancee is from is from Taiwan. It wouldn’t surprise me and i and i said said as much on social media, it wouldn’t surprise me if Taiwan becomes a regional leader in terms of changing the notions that people have regarding what it means to be to be Taiwanese. By contrast, I think, based on on my experience, or could, I’m by no means an expert in, but I’m not really an expert in any of any of these countries, but but my point is, I have lived in China for a while and I can see China being pretty much at the other end of this, I can see I can see China really struggling with with this, in part because we own in part because of their own domestic issues regarding regarding ethnicity. But where do you see where do you see Japan? When it comes to this? I mean, on the one hand, you know, we can some people could point out to Naomi alphacom say hey, look Are you know, they’re they’re they’re proud of her? And and but of course, she’s a superstar, right? It’s a little it’s a little different, right? When when somebody is that famous when it comes to more regular folks? Where do you see Japan on this? I mean, do you think it’s realistic to expect that perhaps within our lifetime, we will start seeing Japan where we’ll start accepting those who look a little bit different as as being Japanese? Or do you think that it’s still going to be a very long time, if ever before or before that happens?

Adam Bigelow 18:57
So as you were explaining this, I got this image in my head of something one of my one of my colleagues used to do is like, hold out one arm to hold somebody away, and then back into them with the other back into them to keep them at arm’s length. I’ve thought about this a lot. And I’ve asked the question, does Japanese mean is it about citizenship? Or is it about ethnicity? And most of the time, you know, it’s it tends to lean towards ethnicity. Were you born in Japan? Were your parents Japanese, were your grandparents Japanese, you know, and as soon as you get start to get some deviation or variation in that people are called haves in Japan. If you’re if you’re half Japanese and half Caucasian, you’re half and there have been a number of of comedians and actors on television that have made a good living out of that. But again, it’s it’s still a very, very obvious distinction, one of those divisions that I was talking about before going back to the the start of your question, you talked about the The Brazilian population in Nagoya, and there’s a few pockets around Japan where, when there was the immigration when there was no work in Brazil, there were there was a major immigration of people to Japan, and they live there for years and years and years. And then some of them move back. And now we’re seeing some of the descendants of those people that move back to Brazil come back to Japan on what’s what the, I think they’re called second or third generation visas that get automatic permanent residency because they have a family history of people in Japan, they follow the work is really what happened in Nagoya is a huge manufacturing hub in Japan, they have all sorts of, you know, autumn automotive manufacturers are there and all of their second and third tier suppliers are there as well. So there’s there’s a lot of work there. A lot of manual work, as we have the Olympics, potentially next year in Japan, for everything clears up with the pandemic, you know, Japan is being pushed to change a little bit whether those changes stick or not, you know, whether people with tattoos can go into hot springs, you know, these sorts of things, whether you’re allowed to have facial hair at work without being stigmatized, the these things are still kind of, they’re coming slowly. But they are coming when somebody tries to push too hard on the system. We see what happens, you know, we saw it with with Carlos going we saw it with what he saw on the president of live door back years ago, when he tried to buy out Fuji Television and in the country basically just won slam on him. And he went to prison. No, we see that. It’s it’s a it’s a very easy litmus test, Jonathan, you just if you push too hard, the country is going to push back on you.

Jonathan Bench 21:43
That’s very, very interesting. I’d like to talk a little bit about the demographic changes I’m, I’m, I’m a business lawyer by, by, by trade. But I’m also very interested in demographics, as Fred and I’ve talked about quite a bit in the past. So we’re looking at, you know, Japan’s aging population, as you mentioned, Japan’s need to automate a lot in large part because of the dwindling population. In order to keep the you know, the out the domestic output moving and the dollars coming in, or the whatever the foreign currency is coming in, they need to be able to continue to innovate. So do you see, you know, in the coming decades, do you see Japan continuing to do that, you know, even even if they’re able to solve some of their demographic problems with immigration are supplemented somewhat with immigration. Do you see that Japan? Is the Japanese culture to continually innovate? Or is it or is it more just automate? I mean, I’m very curious about that. Right? If I’ll ask you just the same way in a shorter way. Is Japan very good at innovation or only automation?

Adam Bigelow 22:51
Well, that’s a that’s a really good question. My experience has shown that they’re better at automation, than the art innovation, derivative innovation. So if they have, if somebody invents a television, they’re going to do a better television, somebody does a vehicle, an automobile. So they’re going to make a really good car. But when it comes to, you know, dynamic changes, it’s like, it’s like steering a big ship, really, I mean, it takes a while for for Japan to get on board with things, and especially even new trends. Now, I’m very interested to see how the health industry reacts to an upcoming vaccine, and whether they’re going to notice push it out, or they’re going to be very cautious going forward. That’s not to say that there isn’t innovation there, there is a new wave of younger entrepreneurs that are out there that are willing to take bigger risks that are that are focused more on on creating, then augmenting, but again, if we’re going to compare that to the the countries that are around, you know, to South Korea, to Taiwan to China, the Philippines, Malaysia, I mean, there, there’s a lot of motivation in those countries as well to catch up and or to get ahead, the old energy of Japan. You know, I really don’t I see I see a slightly increasing, you know, positive movement of a line on a graph. But nothing that’s going to there’s no, there’s no huge curves going up for what Japan is going to do. I think they’re just going to keep it slow. Keep it steady. I don’t know I would be. I would be pleasantly surprised to see a development in Japan that that shocked the world I would be I would be very, I would be pleasantly surprised to see that happen.

Fred Rocafort 24:33
It wouldn’t be a global law and business podcast if we didn’t ask a question about China, just because of the way we are. Sure, and our interests, but let’s turn to let’s start, let’s turn to China. How are the people of Japan and the businesses in Japan dealing with with China and I think this is a particularly cutting question. When it comes to Japan, we do ask this of, you know, we bring up the subject with many guests, but I think that for the vast majority of countries, as important as their relationship with China might be, it’s not going to have the the dimensions that that this question has for Japan, right. So we’d love to hear your thoughts on on Japan and China generally, and how people in Japan viewed China. And related related to that, and this is a question that’s really intertwined with with the question of China. Are you optimistic about Japan’s geopolitical trajectory? Obviously, China is is the central challenge there. But there are other other aspects to that. So tell us tell us what you think.

Adam Bigelow 25:58
Japan is, is very dependent on China, for tourism. With more and more money being made in China, a lot of that does come to Japan, some some examples of things that I saw while I was there, just just in the span from you know, the late 90s. Up until just about four years ago, a lot more Chinese tourism, a lot more high end tourism, golf, hotspring tours, you know, pretty much everywhere you go, you’ll see signs now in, you know, Japanese and English, as well as Chinese and most in some cases, Korean as well, from a business perspective. Honestly, I think that China’s just in such a different dimension, when it comes to just pure labor force, that it’s hard to say, you know, Japan is going to continue to, you know, maintain its, maybe we’re talking about brand, but Japan maintaining its brand in the world as being the symbol of you know, good manufacturing, reliable products, void guarantees and warranties on products, those sorts of things. I don’t think Japan is going to change that much. So it really the ball is really in China’s court or in Korea, South Korea’s court, or in Taiwan’s court, you know, what are they going to do Japan is I think that they will fight if their position is challenged significantly, just as it has in the past, I think that they will respond. But is there going to be a proactive effort to place an even greater philosophical margin or buffer between, you know, this is what China produces. This is what Japan produces. I don’t see that happening. I think Japan’s just gonna probably just try and do things the way they always did, and hope that that gets them through. I do know that the number of dollars that’s flowing into the country from Thai Chinese tourism has has grown year over year, which has been very, very positive effect of China’s growth and its strengthening of its economy know that it’s a two edged sword, really, they’re going to get more money from tourism, but then, you know, some of that manufacturing, some of that production is going to be taken away.

Jonathan Bench 28:10
And what are your thoughts about the way Japan has been cozying up more to Australia, us? European countries as well? And not necessarily? I mean, I think you’re right, that, that the Japan China tie is so tight right now. And even with the incentives that the government is offering to have Japanese companies reshot some things back to Japan, you know, they’re not gonna be able to do it. 100%? And I don’t think they want to, but how do you feel about that, that strategic decision to to pull away from China a bit, or at least join the group that says, hey, we need to hold China to account rather than just let China do business the way China wants to do business?

Adam Bigelow 28:51
I think that’s healthy. There’s opportunities and resources in all of those countries. I wouldn’t recommend a foreign company that wants to do business in Japan, going to Australia and trying to do business in Japan, from Australia, but the migration of bringing factories from China and placing them in other countries, I you know, I might not make the make the most sense, economically, just straight up. But you know, if there’s with the subsidies that are being offered, it could make sense, the more that you complicate an international business, the further as as far apart as China and Japan are culturally, it’s still only a two hour flight from Tokyo to Beijing. And I there’s a one hour time difference, I believe, so I feel like you know, it’s, you’re you’re you’re either complicating your your your business environment and your ability to manage your company effectively with perhaps you know, okay, so the workers in in Australia or in or in another country, in New Zealand, are treated better and it’s going to be better PR for the company. It’s there’s there’s there’s There’s a real trade off when it comes to business there.

Jonathan Bench 30:02
Adam, we have thoroughly enjoyed having you on the podcast today, Fred and I enjoy learning from everyone that is on and certainly Japan so close geographically, somewhat culturally, you know, we love talking about Asia. And so we appreciate you taking time today to be with us and we hope that our audience appreciates your expertise as well. We always like to end with asking you asking our guests for any recommendations or what you’ve read lately or listen to or watch that you think would be of interest either on Japanese culture, business or, or anything else.

Adam Bigelow 30:39
I always recommend people watching NHK world broadcasts to understand what’s going on in Japan. Those are pretty much a daily thing for me, if you’re looking to understand culture, though, I’m in a, you’re just getting into Japan just getting started. I always recommend rolling it back as far as you can, to, you know, whether it’s you know, old classic Ghibli movies, animated movies, hitting some of the classics, in black and white, you know, just trying to expose yourself to as much of what a Japanese person would have been exposed for. For those, you know, if you’re if you’re just getting out of college, if you’re 2122, those first 21 years of life, you’re the culture is really much established in the person. I’ve noticed that at least in Japan, for me that that that culture really does follow through. And it really helps you make the right decisions and understand the people that you’re working with. As you get more and more into international business. It was a very big hurdle for me and having to do business in four different countries plus have the parent company in the United States and my boss living in Germany, having to straddle all that reading the classic novels. I really like Haruki Murakami, I guess now somebody called me hotkey, so his his novels are very, very good to read, there are, you know, the news NHK, I always recommend to any May. If you do ever go to Japan, one thing that I that I will recommend that you do soon after is to go into McDonald’s, the cultural difference is I think it’s very poignant there. If you’ve if you’ve been to a McDonald’s in the United States, go in and just compare your experience, I think that you’ll find that you can learn a lot about what is valued in in the Japanese culture in the business culture by just doing that comparison, I don’t know if you expected a restaurant recommendation, but I don’t really find myself recommending McCall’s love, but for cultural differences. It’s a very good one.

Jonathan Bench 32:47
It’s the other Big Mac index. Right?

Adam Bigelow 32:50

Jonathan Bench 32:52
Excellent. Thank you, Adam. Fred, what do you have to recommend for us today?

Fred Rocafort 32:55
First of all, a general recommendation and I think I might have made this recommendation before but I but I think it’s very appropriate. If you ever find yourself on a on a long haul flight, or maybe not even that long, but your plane has inflight entertainment, look for the foreign movies, I’m thinking specifically of Japanese and Korean movies. But but it could be movies from from other countries. But But those two in particular, I mean, those are some of the markets that well, at least in my case, often when I find myself on a on a long haul flight, it’ll be two to one of those places, Korea or Japan or simply an airline that that that services those markets and it’s it’s a great way of just picking up really good movies that you might not be able to find elsewhere. You know, my dad is a is a big fan of movies. And I’ve made some recommendations to him based on what I’ve seen on planes and he’s had a hard time finding them elsewhere. So just just gives you an idea of what you’ll be able to tap into and definitely when it comes to Japan, for I know for a fact that there’s very good Japanese offerings on on Delta, for example, in terms of the recommendation I had in mind, obviously I’m a I’m a big fan of the of the podcast medium, not just not just not just a contributor to to the world of podcasts, but also I enjoy the the the products that others put out. One of the one of the shows that I like most is making sense by Sam Harris, but I’d like to recommend specifically Episode 217 probably his most recent although he might have had something in between. But in that show he interviewed john McWhorter. On the topic of the new religion of anti racism, and I thought it was a really good, really good show. Um, I mean, I, I enjoy intelligent conversations. And especially when they have to do with number one topics that are that are very, very current but also, especially so when when the topics are difficult and when it’s hard to find such content. So I thought this was a really good take on on our current historical moment and with a guest that that really brings a lot of legitimacy and weight to that that discussion. So I think, again, as I’ve said, on social media, you will do yourself a favor, if you if you take the time to listen to that to that conversation. What about you, Jonathan?

Jonathan Bench 35:55
I’m going to go a little lighter, although some with some historical reference, I finally got around to watching Hamilton on Disney plus, and I did it on recommendation of my siblings after hours. I didn’t watch it with my kids in the room. As they get older, I may let them watch. But as an adult, seeing the, you know, the whole founding and really, I had no background on Alexander Hamilton before watching this other than knowing he was had something to do with the money because his face made it on the $10 bill, I believe. I didn’t know you know what to expect. I am a big fan of music and musicals. And so seeing the but I’m also not a big amount of big rap, hip hop, r&b guy, you know, I mean, I like I like a lot of music. But that’s not generally the genres that I go to when I’m listening to music. So it took me a little while to get into it. It also took me a little while to get into Harry Potter. By the way, there were there were like four Harry Potter books out before I finally dip my toe into the Harry Potter World. So I guess I’m less of a bandwagon guy until they actually get on the bandwagon. But then manual Miranda, I mean, the you know, the lyrics were were clever, filled with historical references a fun way of presenting the topic to to everyone and, you know, out of any musical I’ve ever seen. I’m sure I learned more in that musical than anything else. And it certainly was enjoyable. So if you haven’t taken the time to do it, and you have a Disney plus subscription, I recommend taking a couple hours and watching Hamilton I don’t think you’ll regret it. So Adam, I want to thank you again for being with us. We appreciate your time. We look forward to hopefully catching up with you again and checking in on on all things Japan, and look forward to that time. Thank you again.

Adam Bigelow 37:37
Thank you.

Jonathan Bench 37:42
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