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Steve Jobs' love affair with Japan

post #1 of 50
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Late Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs was somewhat well-known for being a Japanese Zen Buddhist, but few knew how deep his infatuation with Japan ran and how it helped shape who he was and the company he created.

An in-depth article published on Friday by Japanese news site Nippon.com illustrates how the country's culture, people and even food influenced Jobs, as seen in both his private and business lives.

Longtime Apple journalist Hayashi Nobuyuki sifted through years of reportage on Jobs and his tumultuous rise within the tech industry to find exactly how Japan affected the former Apple chief.

Nobuyuki writes that it all began when Jobs first discovered Zen Buddhism. After a long period of soul-searching, including a short stint to India, Jobs found the Japanese school of China's ancient religion at a temple close to his home in Los Altos, California. There he met Sōtō Zen monk Kōbun Otogawa, who Jobs saw as a life guide and teacher, eventually inviting him to be the spiritual leader at NeXT in 1985.

Zen continued to have a profound effect on Jobs, manifesting itself in his aesthetic sensibilities and sometimes ascetic lifestyle. Nobuyuki points out that the religion's call for spartanism, coupled with Germany's Bauhaus movement, found its way into the minimalist design of many Apple products. Although Jony Ive is and was the lead designer of the company's most iconic devices, Jobs always had the final say before any design hit the production floor.

Jobs didn't rely on austere external beauty alone and another Japanese influence played a part in creating the technologically progressive internals of products Apple would release. Sony co-founder Akio Morita was a noted friend of Jobs, and the Apple chief said that he was inspired by the excitement behind the Japanese firm's transistor radios and Trinitron TVs.



Another takeaway from Sony was Jobs' signature black mock turtleneck and jeans "uniform" that was inspired by Sony's requirement for an employee dress code. Japanese designer Issey Miyake was commissioned to produce hundreds of the shirts, which Jobs wore for the rest of his life.

Outside of business, Jobs simply enjoyed most everything Japan had to offer. From the culture to the food, he was enamored; often taking trips to the country's old capital of Kyoto to soak-in the surroundings and eat the food

Even though he lived on a vegan diet, Jobs often made exceptions for Japanese fare like sushi and soba noodles. The chef of Café Mac, Apple's cafeteria, was sent to the Tsukiji Soba Academy to learn the art of soba making. Jobs reportedly even created his own concoction called "sashimi soba," or raw fish with buckwheat noodles.

In the U.S., Jobs would frequent Japanese establishments, being a regular at Jinsho, a Silicon Valley sushi-ya and Keigetsu, a sushi and kaiseki restaurant. The eateries ultimately became the spots where he would bring close friends and family to say goodbye before he passed away on Oct. 5, 2011.

Two days following Jobs' death, Keigetsu shuttered its doors, but he had "one more thing," as Nobuyuki uses the phrase coined by the former CEO to introduce new products, in store for his company.



Earlier in the year, when he caught wind of the restaurant's impending closure, Jobs offered manager and chef Toshio Sakuma a job at Apple. Following the tech guru's death, Sakuma began serving Jobs' favorite dishes at the employee cafeteria; a fitting final farewell from Jobs to the company he created.
post #2 of 50
I shudder to think how the Android people here will twist this.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #3 of 50
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Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I shudder to think how the Android people here will twist this.

I find it altogether humorous that Android people insist on hanging around Apple news sites in the first place.

Like moths to a flame.
post #4 of 50
I won't be pc and I ll say that Japan has many accomplishments and cultural significancies to admire, but it also harbours some of the most sadistic, twisted, and uniform mentalities.
post #5 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by myapplelove View Post

I won't be pc and I ll say that Japan has many accomplishments and cultural significancies to admire, but it also harbours some of the most sadistic, twisted, and uniform mentalities.

Wow! Where have you been visiting? Maybe you should go home when the trains stop running...

But I agree... they aren't exactly New England pilgrims, are they
post #6 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by myapplelove View Post

I won't be pc and I ll say that Japan has many accomplishments and cultural significancies to admire, but it also harbours some of the most sadistic, twisted, and uniform mentalities.

As does any culture on the face of this planet covered with humans.

Let's try and focus on the positives before the thread turns into another them vs us argument involving countries instead of operating systems...
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post #7 of 50
Wasn't the Powerbook 100 designed by Sony?
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post #8 of 50
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Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

Wasn't the Powerbook 100 designed by Sony?

Yep, alongside the AIDG.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #9 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by myapplelove View Post

I won't be pc and I ll say that Japan has many accomplishments and cultural significancies to admire, but it also harbours some of the most sadistic, twisted, and uniform mentalities.

Quite a statement.

I lived in Osaka and Tokyo for more than 3 years and didn't experience anything like what you described. Sound's like Steve didn't either.

Where in Japan, exactly, did you personally encounter individuals with these "sadistic" and "twisted" mentalities?
post #10 of 50
"Even though he lived on a vegan diet, Jobs often made exceptions for Japanese fare like sushi and soba noodles."

Soba noodles are an exception to a vegan diet?
post #11 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I shudder to think how the Android people here will twist this.

Sushi is to Apple as pizza is to Android. See if anyone gets this ...
post #12 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by rosujin View Post

Quite a statement.

I lived in Osaka and Tokyo for more than 3 years and didn't experience anything like what you described. Sound's like Steve didn't either.

Where in Japan, exactly, did you personally encounter individuals with these "sadistic" and "twisted" mentalities?

I'm guessing that he's speaking historically, in particular the World War II atrocities committed against American POWs (including the Bataan Death March), the capturing of millions of young Korean girls to become sex slaves for Japanese soldiers, the Japanese cruelty in running occupied China, etc. Definitely all very twisted and sadistic.

I'm not making a jingoistic value judgment, nor comparing them to any other culture - we had our massacres of Native Americans, among other things. The Japanese of that time, though, seemed to be especially sadistic.
post #13 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by elroth View Post

I'm guessing that he's speaking historically, in particular the World War II atrocities committed against American POWs (including the Bataan Death March), the capturing of millions of young Korean girls to become sex slaves for Japanese soldiers, the Japanese cruelty in running occupied China, etc. Definitely all very twisted and sadistic.

I'm not making a jingoistic value judgment, nor comparing them to any other culture - we had our massacres of Native Americans, among other things. The Japanese of that time, though, seemed to be especially sadistic.

Foot binding is another good one. Or he's just watched a few hentai and Ichi the Killer and passed judgement based on that I liked the last bit about hiring the chef for the closing restaurant to come cook for Apple.
post #14 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by SSquirrel View Post

Foot binding is another good one.

I thought that was a Chinese practice.

Quote:
Or he's just watched a few hentai

Ah, that might do it.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply
post #15 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by elroth View Post

I'm guessing that he's speaking historically, in particular the World War II atrocities committed against American POWs (including the Bataan Death March), the capturing of millions of young Korean girls to become sex slaves for Japanese soldiers, the Japanese cruelty in running occupied China, etc. Definitely all very twisted and sadistic.

I'm not making a jingoistic value judgment, nor comparing them to any other culture - we had our massacres of Native Americans, among other things. The Japanese of that time, though, seemed to be especially sadistic.

Exactly, it's a cultural thing, Experiments on live human subjects that involved amputations and various fom of physical torture, the harakere, by far the more ruthless in WWII as torturers, slave porn trade atrocities to make the hair raise on anyone...I am not making a value judgment on this, it's just my frank impression. And of course there all sorts of small points divorce laws, reality shows, hentai, their criminals, foot binding, the geisha culture etc.
post #16 of 50
But he didn't watch Japanese movies and read Japanese comics, which you usually associate with Japan-o-philes.

It seems he picked and chose from their culture rather than accepting it wholesale. I think he just liked anything, Japanese or not, that was minimalist or perfectionist.
post #17 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I thought that was a Chinese practice.

My bad you are correct. Actually, according to wikipedia, it looks like in 1915 the Japanese banned foot binding practice in Taiwan. Interesting
post #18 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

But he didn't watch Japanese movies and read Japanese comics, which you usually associate with Japan-o-philes.

It seems he picked and chose from their culture rather than accepting it wholesale. I think he just liked anything, Japanese or not, that was minimalist or perfectionist.

Good point, and the zen practise and aesthetic is assuch.
post #19 of 50
This post is so deplorably researched that it's positively embarrassing.

First of all, Shinto is the official Japanese state religion, not Zen Buddhism which is mostly a Western affectation of, get this, white people.

Steve gravitated toward Japanese aesthetics, without bothering committing himself to following the dogma of organized religious orders. More specifically, Steve liked the archaic "chanoyu" ("tea ceremony") aesthetic that has been long abandoned by the Japanese mainstream. Steve was basically embracing a 200+ year old aesthetic which is like being a fan of Western European baroque choral music.

Concerning the butchering of the nearby sushi restaurant that closed: the restaurant's name was Kaygetsu, located at the Sharon Heights Shopping Center in Menlo Park, California. This is a failure on AppleInsider's part to do BASIC RESEARCH THAT A NORMAL JOURNALISTIC ENTITY WOULD HAVE TO PERFORM, research that would have taken 3-5 seconds with an Internet search engine.

More proof that journalism is utterly dead.
post #20 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

This post is so deplorably researched that it's positively embarrassing.

First of all, Shinto is the official Japanese state religion, not Zen Buddhism which is mostly a Wester affectation of, get this, white people.

Steve gravitated toward Japanese aesthetics, without bothering committing himself to following the dogma of organized religious orders. More specifically, Steve liked the archaic "chanoyu" ("tea ceremony") aesthetic that has been long abandoned by Japanese consumers. Steve was basically embracing a 200+ year old aesthetic which is like being a fan of Western European baroque choral music.

Concerning the butchering of the nearby sushi restaurant that closed: the restaurant's name was Kaygetsu, located at the Sharon Heights Shopping Center in Menlo Park, California. This is a failure on AppleInsider's part to do BASIC RESEARCH THAT A NORMAL JOURNALISTIC ENTITY WOULD HAVE TO PERFORM.

More proof that journalism is utterly dead.

Then why are you reading anything here? GO READ SOMETHING THAT MEETS YOUR REAL STANDARD OF WHAT JOURNALISM IS. Oh, you are ...
post #21 of 50
Hell, I never came here to read journalism. Journalism died in the mid-Nineties. It doesn't live on the Internet.

I simply object to tech writers trying to pass themselves off as journalists.

I JUST WANT TO REITERTATE TO THE PEOPLE READING THIS THAT THE OPERATORS OF THIS SITE DON'T CARE ABOUT ACCURACY.

I just read this site for entertainment purposes. Still, it's a shame when someone tries to pass off fiction as fact.
post #22 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

I JUST WANT TO REITERTATE TO THE PEOPLE READING THIS THAT THE OPERATORS OF THIS SITE DON'T CARE ABOUT ACCURACY.



Oh, sorry, I meant .

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply
post #23 of 50
Well, you're the one sticking Unicode characters in a largely ISO-8859-1 site.

You still haven't figured out your smilies, have you?
post #24 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

Well, you're the one sticking Unicode characters in a largely ISO-8859-1 site.

You still haven't figured out your smilies, have you?

I'm sorry, what does this have to do with anything? I was making a joke.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply
post #25 of 50
Sorry, you're really hard to follow.

Ha ha, chuckle chuckle. Okay, we are on the same page now.

It still doesn't change the fact at how poorly the original post was written. Unresearched, full of stereotypes, riddled with errors.
post #26 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by myapplelove View Post

Exactly, it's a cultural thing, Experiments on live human subjects that involved amputations and various fom of physical torture, the harakere, by far the more ruthless in WWII as torturers, slave porn trade atrocities to make the hair raise on anyone...I am not making a value judgment on this, it's just my frank impression. And of course there all sorts of small points divorce laws, reality shows, hentai, their criminals, foot binding, the geisha culture etc.

Be a man, be a human bing and make a value judgement, stand for something.
post #27 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

"Even though he lived on a vegan diet, Jobs often made exceptions for Japanese fare like sushi and soba noodles."

Soba noodles are an exception to a vegan diet?

Where I come from we eat our sushi cooked, medium rare. Made out of a cow.
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post #28 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I thought that was a Chinese practice.



Ah, that might do it.

I thought it was a ballet practice.

And they consider that 'art'.
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post #29 of 50
I'm just glad they didn't copy the Jap's quality control, or lack there of. every Sony product, and Jap car I've owned have all broken down many times. Mot recently I was talked into a new 2011 Nissan. That thing broken down twice in the first week I had it. A door, a mirror, and a wheel all fell off of it, so at the 6 week mark I was sick of it and bought a VW for $8K less! Like my VW and pervious VWs I've owned, I have yet to have an issue with an Apple product.
Still looking for a witty comment to put here.
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Still looking for a witty comment to put here.
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post #30 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

This post is so deplorably researched that it's positively embarrassing.

Half of it is plagiarism since it's copy-paste from Walters' biography. What I find strange is that the site is a blog, not editorial journalism. A bit like RD, but there at least DED sometimes answers to people who post. I've never seen a reply from the authors, in this case Mikey. Only from moderators. However, they supply a lot of background info, that I always enjoy reading.

And by filtering out the ads (Safari reader etcetera) I experience it as a truly free information source. So thanks AI, I for one enjoy your work.
I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
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I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
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post #31 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by myapplelove View Post

Exactly, it's a cultural thing, Experiments on live human subjects that involved amputations and various fom of physical torture, the harakere, by far the more ruthless in WWII as torturers, slave porn trade atrocities to make the hair raise on anyone...I am not making a value judgment on this, it's just my frank impression. And of course there all sorts of small points divorce laws, reality shows, hentai, their criminals, foot binding, the geisha culture etc.

As if you are ignorant of the atrocity in Europe during WWII. Heck, you want to know about tortures read about the type of toys that was built during the inquisition. I can nit pick things about the US and come up with the same impression.

Your sweeping accusations that "it's a cultural thing" for Japanese to experiment on human subjects, slave porn, etc, just show how terribly ignorant you really are. Foot binding isn't even Japanese, another evidence to your ignorance. And those above you listed are vices that all kind of human, not exclusive to Japanese, are capable of.

In some way, i pity you.

Btw, hara kiri (not harakere) is not a form of torture.
post #32 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by tania View Post

As if you are ignorant of the atrocity in Europe during WWII. Heck, you want to know about tortures read about the type of toys that was built during the inquisition. I can nit pick things about the US and come up with the same impression.

Your sweeping accusations that "it's a cultural thing" for Japanese to experiment on human subjects, slave porn, etc, just show how terribly ignorant you really are. Foot binding isn't even Japanese, another evidence to your ignorance. And those above you listed are vices that all kind of human, not exclusive to Japanese, are capable of.

In some way, i pity you.

Btw, hara kiri (not harakere) is not a form of torture.

Again, as I said earlier, ALL countries are guilty of this shit. Nobody has a copyright on brutality.

Let's try to not focus on the 'wrongs of the human species' and focus on the initial article subject of Steve Job's love of certain aspects of Japanese culture.

Or should we just cut to the chase and start arguing about religion right now?
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post #33 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by tania View Post

As if you are ignorant of the atrocity in Europe during WWII. Heck, you want to know about tortures read about the type of toys that was built during the inquisition. I can nit pick things about the US and come up with the same impression.

Your sweeping accusations that "it's a cultural thing" for Japanese to experiment on human subjects, slave porn, etc, just show how terribly ignorant you really are. Foot binding isn't even Japanese, another evidence to your ignorance. And those above you listed are vices that all kind of human, not exclusive to Japanese, are capable of.

In some way, i pity you.

Btw, hara kiri (not harakere) is not a form of torture.


I understand where you are coming from.

Japanese learn in school that the underaged Korean girls enslaved from their 35-year colonial rule in Korea were willingly providing "comfort" services for the Japanese imperial army and well-compensated.
post #34 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by eric475 View Post

Japanese learn in school that the underaged Korean girls enslaved from their 35-year colonial rule in Korea were willingly providing "comfort" services for the Japanese imperial army and well-compensated.

Source, please.

Japanese are taught very little about the war or Japanese Imperialism to begin with.

Anyone who still talks about Japanese atrocities in World War II and opine that it reflects on modern-day Japanese society is ignorant. Modern Japan is more akin to a Quaker society.

You won't see the Japanese flag flying over Japanese public schools because the liberal teacher's union forbids it as an ongoing rejection of Japanese nationalism of 70 years ago. (This may have changed as I left eleven years ago after living in Tokyo for seven years.)

In those seven years, I was never once threatened or felt any danger to my personhood at any time, day or night, and walked everywhere, including Kabukicho. I'm not without fear walking down Market Street in San Francisco.
post #35 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by tania View Post

As if you are ignorant of the atrocity in Europe during WWII. Heck, you want to know about tortures read about the type of toys that was built during the inquisition. I can nit pick things about the US and come up with the same impression.

Your sweeping accusations that "it's a cultural thing" for Japanese to experiment on human subjects, slave porn, etc, just show how terribly ignorant you really are. Foot binding isn't even Japanese, another evidence to your ignorance. And those above you listed are vices that all kind of human, not exclusive to Japanese, are capable of.

In some way, i pity you.

Btw, hara kiri (not harakere) is not a form of torture.

i see I elicited a strong emotional reaction from you, I wonder why?

The truth hurts...
post #36 of 50
I don't think that the conversation needs to continue in this vein.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #37 of 50
Agreed.

I find Japan fascinating and hope to visit it one day. I stumbled across this video that is a little slice of Tokyo at night in the 80's - very interesting.

http://youtu.be/MgDzmTj5tSM
post #38 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

Sushi is to Apple as pizza is to Android. See if anyone gets this ...

Oh really? Apple sells pizza in their cafeteria and it constantly has the longest lines. So long that Apple has added a second pizza oven outside. Even with the second oven, it still has the longest lines.

There's rarely a line for the sushi. In fact, the hamburger line and the burrito line attract way more people than the sushi.

No matter what type of media...movies, music, books, photos and web pages

look better and sound better on the Kindle Fire HD and HDX than any iPad

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No matter what type of media...movies, music, books, photos and web pages

look better and sound better on the Kindle Fire HD and HDX than any iPad

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post #39 of 50
Making Sushi is an art where you need to pay attention to the details, meanwhile pizza is hand tossed with sauce splattered all over the place and full of grease

That or Sushi is an acquired taste and Pizza is for everyone and their mother.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

Sushi is to Apple as pizza is to Android. See if anyone gets this ...
post #40 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

First of all, Shinto is the official Japanese state religion, not Zen Buddhism which is mostly a Western affectation of, get this, white people.

More proof that journalism is utterly dead.

Zen Buddhism has been around a long time in Japan, and has greatly influenced Japanese society, particularly art and design. Those rock and sand gardens in Kyoto (Japan's ancient capital) are Zen gardens, not Shinto gardens. The tradition of Zen calligraphy is very strong in japan, and the development of the Tea ceremony was greatly influenced by Zen Buddhism. These Zen arts had a great influence on the developoment of the Japanese design aesthetic. Of course, the samurai adopted Zen philosophy in the 13th century to release them from fear and instill a code of ethics.

What Americans do with the idea of Zen Buddhism doesn't take away from its importance in Japanese history.
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