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- Diary 15 (April. 2011)
Exaquantum Traveling Sales Diary
Diary 15 (April. 2011)
What can VigilantPlant Services™ do?
It seems our economy is getting slightly better. But all those people who suffered through hardships are still reluctant to spend. They only buy stuff they desperately need, and do not even buy things that once were considered necessary. In July 2011, Japan will change its broadcasting system from analog to digital, and we must buy digital TV sets and other related electronic appliances. In my house, I still have several analog television sets and DVD players. I don’t think that I will immediately replace them with digital ones because, if I wait a while, I may be able to buy something that has even better functions. Well, to be more honest, I want to buy high-end models at cheaper prices. The digitalization of appliances may bring us benefits and conveniences such as value-added information, but I will simply keep my eyes shut for the time being.
Anyway, the digital appliances on the market are equipped with a lot of functions. Well, actually, there are too many. It is often the case that I first find out about a function after using an appliance for months or years. That is because I do not want to spend a lot of time reading manuals. I am the type who learns by using. That’s what I did with my mobile phone, learning only those functions that were a necessity. This means I am ignorant about many convenient functions and tools. My wife always reads the manual first because she is not a technical person. She always ends up beating me in learning the new functions. I always say to her “I know enough.” The users who learn every single function of a mobile phone may say to me “mottainai” (such a waste). Rather than reading a manual, I would prefer to be taught how to use the functions that I need. If a sales person suggests to me, “You do not need this function, but here’s one that is better for you,” well that’s much better.
As I work for Yokogawa, which provides production systems that have many different digital functions, I always sit down with and help my customers whenever they ask me to teach them something or need something modified or replaced. But I wonder if there are other needs that they have not expressed. This is why I began promoting the VigilantPlant Services™ that I briefly mentioned in a previous diary entry. It is a service scheme for those who have no time to learn all the ways in which they can use a control system; rather, it focuses on teaching them the best way to use it. Before offering the VigilantPlant Services, we need to know what kind of problems our customers face. What products do they use, how do they use them, are they easy or inconvenient to use, what obstacles are there, and so on. Then, we offer them our solutions.
To learn how our customers use products like the CENTUM series production control systems, we find out what kind of alarms are generated, how often operators switch between operation windows and change PV and SV settings, what percentage of processes are automated, and so on. As for Exaquantum, we examine how they browse the data that is accumulated and what data format is used. We also try to find out which Exapilot functions they consider most convenient. Once we acquire all this basic data, we are able to give advice on modifications or the adding of more convenient functions. As I am an expert on Exaquantum, I have ways to help my customers by showing them how to visualize and analyze data, improve product quality or operation efficiency by using multi-variable analysis, and implement predictive maintenance for equipment and other assets. Do not hesitate to contact your Yokogawa sales representative to find out more about this, or simply click the following link to go to our VigilantPlant Services website. Thank you.
Oita food diary
I usually travel alone. So I can only order a few dishes at a time as I am not rich enough to order more than I can gulp down. But this time, two of my colleagues joined me and I was able to order several more. We went to Oita (pronounced Oh-ee-tah) prefecture – my first visit there in quite a long time. We three went out to Miyako-machi, which is about a five-minute walk from Oita station. Oita is known for having a variety of delicious foods, especially seafood like the sekiaji and sekisaba fresh mackerel that is caught in the Bungo Channel and brought to the port of Saganoseki.
We chose a cozy-looking pub and went in. We saw squid swimming in one fish tank, and sea bream and flounder in another. I was excited about our group of three being able to order more food than I could eat on my own. We began with a fresh, medium-size squid served raw that cost us 1,600 yen. Not bad, only a bit over 500 yen per person! The upper body of the squid was cut in strips, yet the squid was still alive. When I touched it with my chop sticks, the legs moved. I felt that its eyes were set on me. But who cares? I ate it without hesitation. The squid was so transparent in color and it quivered on my tongue. I even noticed a sweetness. Fresh squid costs more because the taste is quite different. And it is not easy to keep a squid alive.
Then we ordered raw mackerel, or saba, for 980 yen. We gave up on ordering sekisaba, an Oita specialty, as it would have been too expensive. But ordinary mackerel here was far better than what we can have in Tokyo. The color of the meat was totally different. We thought that perhaps it was because the fish was caught in the same waters where the sekisaba swims. This mackerel was so rich in taste. As soon as we dipped each piece in a small plate of soy sauce, fish oil would spread out over the surface, and I could not help but smile with satisfaction.
By the way, did you know that one of the Oita specialties is called ryukyu, which is the old name for Okinawa? I wondered what a dish with that name was doing in Oita. It is chopped mackerel mixed with soy sauce, onion, and sesame seeds. The freshness of the fish gives this simple dish a complicated delicacy. Ryukyu is good by itself, but when placed in a bowl with rice and served with tea, it is even tastier. The next specialty that we tried was chicken tempura, or tori-ten. Anywhere in Kyushu, in places like Miyazaki and Hakata, the chicken is always good. Here in Oita, the tori-ten had a delicate flavor. Even though this deep-fried dish did not have a strong flavor, it was really delicious as the chicken itself was extremely fresh.
I was still looking for some more specialties when my colleagues announced that they were full. And I had to stop there, with regrets. I had to be content because I had been able to eat a greater variety of food than usual. When we went out onto the street, there were many barkers standing outside restaurants calling for people to come inside. Actually there were more of them than passersby. Of course our stomachs were full and we simply avoided being caught by them, and headed straight to our hotel. I wished I could extend my stay for a few more days.
Lastly, it is my regret to announce that this is my last entry to this diary. I began writing this diary in 2008, just after Lehman Brothers went bankrupt. I kept writing as we all suffered from the economic meltdown. No matter how few people read what I wrote, and regardless of whether it may have been enjoyable or boring, I always had great fun writing this. If my diary helped you smile even for a moment, it was my pleasure. I will continue traveling about Japan and the outside world selling VigilantPlant Services. Please call me Nabe-san if you happen to meet me. It will be fun to talk about the things I mentioned in my diary. I wish you happiness and success and hope that we might meet again! Thank you!