Day 25: Embracing Diversity (or why Japanese companies should become more diverse)

Hi, I'm Richie Ogura, or 小椋一宏(Ogura Kazuhiro), the CEO of HDE, Inc. As the final post of this advent calendar, let me show my love towards diversity. 

Accepting differences encourage both learning and challenge

In my opinion, making organizational culture to be more accepting of our differences, encourages us to take on more challenges.

Didn't get it? Let me explain.

Imagine that there were 49 people wearing a black suit and only one was wearing a red suit. What would the 49 people think? They will think, "Why he is wearing a red suit?". Moreover, they might think, "He should wear a black suit!". That is what often happens in a monotonous organization.


In a monotonous organization, we are mostly the same so we think that being the same is natural. In that kind of environment, nobody wants to do something different from others unless the person is really entrepreneur-ish. You follow how others would do things, even when you know that it's an inefficient way of achieving the goal.

Now imagine a diverse organization where all 50 people were all wearing different clothes in various colors. Everyone is different; The difference is in their nature. In such an environment, you would feel delighted when you find something in common with the group because that is something precious. If you can share the same company vision or an objective with others, that's something you would want to keep. This type of feeling bonds people and brings solidarity to teams.


In a diverse organization, doing something different from others is not a big problem since everyone is different from the beginning. You may not want to betray the company vision, which is something precious you share in common. However, since differences and challenges are not a big issue, you have an idea of which might work so you could just try it even if that idea sounds out of the norm in that organization.

This means that in a diverse organization, obstacles you need to overcome to create new challenges is far fewer than in a monotonous organization. When challenges are encouraged, that is usually a positive thing for most organizations.

This is because diversity not only encourage the spirit of challenge, but also learning. Since everyone is different, there are many things you can learn from the person next to you. And because everyone is different, you won’t feel ashamed to ask questions. This creates an environment where people willingly teach one another and ask questions, which in turn encourages knowledge sharing and nurturing of a great learning culture.

What happened in our company

Our company HDE, used to be a monotonous company comprised of Japanese speaking,  Japanese employees only. For 17 years, we were a totally domestic Japanese company run by Japanese people, developing services in Japanese and selling exclusively to Japanese customers.

However, in four years, we found ourselves to have turned into a diverse company as a result of starting hiring non-Japanese speakers from outside Japan in 2013.

Now we are a (broken) English speaking company with 15% of our employees being non-Japanese, from over 10 different countries. While most of our revenue still comes from Japan, our service supports English, Chinese and partially in Thai for our international customers.

Meanwhile, our annual sales volume grew 2.5 times in four years. We opened our first global branch in Taiwan. Even though we were not particularly focusing on hiring women, we were nominated for "JAPAN WOMAN AWARD 2016" and ranked 10th out of 1000 companies. Although there is still a long, long way to go, we are happy and proud of the result that we have achieved so far.


I believe we were able to achieve these things because we have a great learning culture where we continue to challenge new things everyday. If our challenges fail, we learn from it and try something new. By continuing to do this, I believe that we will eventually succeed.

This advent calendar blog is also one of the challenges that we have created, and I am happy with the result.

Japanese companies should become more diverse

I am strongly in favor of strengthening the diversification of our company. Since I am really into this idea, I even believe that if every Japanese company would diversify, we can make Japan a more vibrant and lively country.

Japanese society is known to "Nail down a nail that sticks out (出る杭は打たれる deru kui wa utareru)". Some would say that this is because we are an island nation that  historically did not have very many ethnic groups.

If this is truly the case, it's something that is inherent and may be difficult to change. But I would argue that the real reason has something to do with Japan’s militarism during World War II, which fostered the peer pressure culture. The remnants of this can been seen in  today’s school educational system. One example is the recent "Dye Her Natural Hair Black or Drop Out" news:

Peer pressure culture cannot be something that has been woven into our DNA since it has only been around for the past 70 to 100 years. We can change this, and we should.

I would like to pursue the challenge of diversifying our company so that we can be a good example to the Japanese society, whether we succeed or fail.

HDE Advent Calendar Day 24: Windows Management on macOS

How many windows do you have floating on the screen of your PC right now? If you are still counting, how do you manage those windows? You could make all windows fullscreen and put one in each desktop. Or you might not care so much about the arrangement: to find a window, just drag other windows that get in your way to the corners, like you are looking for a pair of socks from a pile of clothes on the floor.

Navigating through windows on macOS.

One of the many benefits of using Linux is that we have the freedom to choose the right window manager (WM) to help us "manage" the mess. My personal favourite is i3, which is a tiling window manager. "Tiling" means that your windows will be resized and positioned in a grid-like style so that they do not overlap with each other. Another example of tiling window manager is awesome: My colleague wrote about this WM in an article for HDE Advent Calendar 2014 (in Japanese). However, since we are using macOS at work, we don't have the luxury to use the any of the above, at least not natively.

I've been searching for a i3-like WM for macOS environment for a while. Recently, I've found a solution that I really like: chunkwm*1, which unlike other wm for macOS, gives us a lot of freedom for customization. In this 24th article of HDE Advent Calendar, I would like to share how I setup chunkwm to mimic my workflow as in i3.


There are two components to be installed*2:

  1. chunkwm: the tiling window manager
  2. skhd: the hotkey daemon which we will use to setup the keyboard shortcuts.

Installations for both are pretty straightforward and written clearly on the README of each project. Using Homebrew, I've installed both components as below:

$ brew tap crisidev/homebrew-chunkwm
$ brew install --HEAD --with-tmp-logging chunkwm
$ brew install --HEAD --with-logging  koekeishiya/formulae/skhd

where the logs can be found in

  1. /tmp/chunkwm.[out|err].log
  2. /usr/local/var/log/skhd/skhd.[out|err].log

To start the formulae at login via macOS' launchctl:

$ brew services start chunkwm
$ brew services start skbd

Setting up the rc-files


The config file for chunkwm should be placed in your home directory: ~/.chunkwmrc and given the executable permissions:

$ chmod +x ~/.chunkwmrc

I've set up my config file (.chunkwmrc), based on the example provided by the project itself. chunkwm uses a plugin architecture. Three plugins (border, tiling, and ffm) are loaded and their behaviour/appearances are configured.

chunkc core::load
chunkc core::load
chunkc core::load


The config file for skhd is the most important part since this is where we define how to navigate in chunkwm. Once again, the config file for skhd should be placed in your home directory: ~/.skhdrc. An example of the config file is also provided in the project repo. However, I've decided to create one for myself based on how I use i3. Here are the settings that I have in my config file:

Switching between Layouts

# enter fullscreen mode for the focused container
alt - f : chunkc tiling::window --toggle fullscreen

# change focus between tiling / floating windows
shift + alt - space : chunkc tiling::window --toggle float

# change layout of desktop
alt - e : chunkc tiling::desktop --layout bsp
alt - s : chunkc tiling::desktop --layout monocle

chunkwm supports the following three desktop layouts:

  1. To enable binary space partitioned (tiling) layout: alt + e
  2. To switch to monocle layout (full size windows stack on top of each others): alt + s
  3. To make a single window floats, shift + alt + space on the focused window

We can also trigger fullscreen with alt + f.

Basic layouts in chunkwm.


# kill focused window
shift + alt - q : chunkc tiling::window --close

# change focus
alt - h : chunkc tiling::window --focus west
alt - j : chunkc tiling::window --focus south
alt - k : chunkc tiling::window --focus north
alt - l : chunkc tiling::window --focus east
alt - p : chunkc tiling::window --focus prev
alt - n : chunkc tiling::window --focus next

To focus on a window without moving the mouse cursor:

  • alt + h/j/k/l to move the focus to the left, lower, upper, right window.
  • alt + p/n to move the focus to previous or next window.
  • shift + alt + q to close a window.

Focusing on window without mouse.

Moving the Windows

# move focused window
shift + alt - h : chunkc tiling::window --warp west
shift + alt - j : chunkc tiling::window --warp south
shift + alt - k : chunkc tiling::window --warp north
shift + alt - l : chunkc tiling::window --warp east

alt - r : chunkc tiling::desktop --rotate 90

# move focused container to workspace
shift + alt - p : chunkc tiling::window --send-to-desktop prev
shift + alt - n : chunkc tiling::window --send-to-desktop next
shift + alt - 1 : chunkc tiling::window --send-to-desktop 1
shift + alt - 2 : chunkc tiling::window --send-to-desktop 2

The final part configures the keyboard shortcuts to move the windows around.

  • To move a focused window to the left, lower, upper, right: shift + alt + h/j/k/l
  • To rotate the desktop layout 90 degrees: alt + r
  • To move a focused window to the next desktop: shift + alt + n

Moving windows with chunkwm.

I think you already have some ideas what chunkwm/skhd can do. What I've shown on the above is just a tip of the iceberg and it can be overwhelming to setup. If you plan to create your own configs for the WM, I would suggest that you start with a small and simple configs and add "new features" when you see necessary.


When I was using chunkwm I found that it is a bit inconvenient to navigate around without a quick way to lookup the ID and layout of the current desktop. For that, I've create a very simple bitbar plugin to display the current ID and layout on the menu bar. You can also restart/stop chunkwm and skhd services via the plugin. To install the plugin, just copy to your bitbar plugins folder and do "Refresh all" from the bitbar menu.


(edit: Jan 19, 2018) Added info about .chunkwmrc needs executable permissions. Thank you Zach Taylor for pointing that out.

*1:Since macOS does not provide APIs for windows management, as many other WMs for macOS, it will request permission access to the macOS' accessibility API.

*2:Both are written by the same author: Åsmund Vikane.

What If I were a Tour Planner?!


I'm Tomoko Takehara of operation team. 

As there is not the particularly fresh topic, I write the story of the favorite trip.

~For Weekend Hakone Beginners version~

#1. Sightseeing

You will be able to travel from Tokyo to Hakone within 90 minutes by car using the Tomei Expressway and Odawara Atsugi Road. By Romance Car, it will take 90 minutes from Shinjuku to Hakone Yumoto. Taking a car will save time since if you take the Romance Car, you will have to either take the Ropeway (Cable Car) from Lake Ashi or use the Hakone Tozan Railway. A classic way for beginners to enjoy is to take the cruise, ride on the cable car, enjoy black eggs at Owakudani, and save the unforgettable memories by taking a commemorating photoshoot.




#2. Meals

Unlike long-term trips, this short, weekend trip to Hakone does not deserve a B-class meal. I will introduce you some exquisite gourmet options that you would not find in everyday life in Japan.

The first is SOUAN.greenhills-souan

Although this location might not have the most convenient access, most places in Hakone are difficult to reach so please excuse the inconveniency. This place arranges Japanese cuisine into a Western style cuisine, providing tables on a Tatami floor and thereby mixing the Japanese and the Western style harmoniously, both the interior and the cuisine. After the inconvenient experience on the access side, the restaurant interior view and nature will surely compensate your fatigue. During lunch time, you will be able to view elegant pink blossoms in the Spring time and beautiful autumn leaves during Fall season while you enjoy your delicious cuisine. Generally, for female guests, the 2,700 JPY course will most likely be just enough, but for male guests, the portions will not be enough.





Second option is Salondo Te Rosage.

It is a café on a mountain hotel by Odakyu Line that marks the best location. It feels like you are floating on Lake Ashi. From December to mid-March when the air is clear, you will be able to see Mt. Fuji from the lake, a grand view. Most sweets and tea are good in general, but I very much recommend the apple pie. This crunchy, warm apple pie has plenty of apples with its best combination, the vanilla ice cream. Every Spring, there is a Sweet Stamp Rally opening in Hakone, and this shop is one of the participants. I would recommend a one-day drive for a cup of tea.


#3. Hotel

Although Fujiya Hotel has its long history of being renowned for its classic interior, there are other splendid hotels offered as competitive options recently. The one that I recommend is the Odakyu Line yama de hotelhttp://Hotel de yama

in the previous content with the mention of the infamous apple pie. In April-May season, you can enjoy the garden of the azalea period along with cycling around Lake Ashi during the summer! Although pretty physically demanding: There are 3 Odakyu hotel affiliates in Hakone: Highland Hotel, Hatsuhana Hotel, and the Mountain Hotel, but my recommendation is the mountain one.  This one went through renewal, has spacious rooms, and is not a tourism-based accommodation, perfectly fitting with a delicious cuisine. The highlight of this accommodation is having Lake Ashi right in front of the hotel.

Next recommendation is Hakone Ginyu.Hakone Ginyu

The price is quite demanding, but the hot spring spa, room, lounge, and cuisines are world class. Therefore, this Hakone is usually not vacant during the weekends or holidays.

Last recommendation is the Hakone Hotel.http://Hakone Hotel

This hotel has the best cost-performance as it also offers Lake Ashi right in front of the hotel. Room and hot spring spa are very impressive, but the highlight of this hotel is the hotel lunch buffet, roast beef included for 2770 JPY. You can reserve on the day, so it is quite popular for day trip lunch and families.


What I was thinking after having written so far is that I also wish to introduce even more minor Hakone places. If I have the chance, I would like to tell you about the tourism plan of the Uyuni Salt Lake, the place I want to visit the most. Although this time, I have only talked about basic facts, I will mention broader range of methods for the trip, such as storing overseas miles and introducing hospitality by each airlines.