Tuesday dispatch #5: Japan at COP26, NFT thefts and boredom

Ross Hall

November 9, 2021

Photograph of a couple walking around a temple with koyo red leaves in front of the scene

It seems the recovery is in full swing. How do I know? The unsolicited emails have started.

These aren’t the regular ones from “companies” offering blue pills and NFTs. These are from businesses I once had a relationship with. Ones I asked to exclude me from their mailing lists, and who confirmed I had been. Who I’ve not heard from in years.

The messages follow a similar pattern. Customer service hours are returning to “normal”, the company I’ve not contacted in 5 years tells me. There are insights into the local housing market, if local is 9,500km away. “Post-Covid” discounts are available in a country with one of the highest infection and death rates in the developed world.

I know there are pressures to rebuild cash flows and customer relationships. Businesses of all sizes have taken a battering over the past two years. Reserves are running low. So is energy.

But rushing in and hoping you’ll be forgiven for the odd spam email is a fool’s game. Laws, regulations and expectations haven’t changed. Filtering rules weren’t tweaked because your message is so important.

This last point is the one you’re missing. Emails platforms have made it far easier to send an unwanted email to spam than unsubscribe. There’s evidence this is happening as I’ve found messages from firms I deal with finding their way into my junk folders. The sender does not know there’s a problem. Tempting though it might be to add dead contacts to your mailing list, it’s ill-advised. You’ll soon be in the fast lane to the junk folder. The odd bit of business you might pick up will be far outweighed by all the legitimate customers and prospects who’ll never hear from you again.


Image above: Autumnal red leaves in Taikokuji

Japan’s COP26 failure

It looks like Japan is going to commit to burning stuff for the foreseeable future. While 40 countries committed to phasing out coal, Japan dug in its heels and refused. Apparently being an island nation and “resource poor” gets it a pass on removing a major pollutant from its grid.

A partial offset might come from a move by Erex, a Japanese energy company, to buy old coal stations and refit them for Biomass. Instead of burning fossil fuels, they’ll burn wood. Although it is considered a greener fuel, it still releases CO2. Japan also has to import wood to burn as it has a lack of managed forests.

Overall, it doesn’t look like Japan’s having a great COP26.

Lego brightens your life

If you’ve got 200,000 Lego bricks spare maybe you could build you own laundrette. Londoner Yinka Iloris did just that, aided by pupils from his former school.

Sadly the exhibition ended, so enjoy the photographs in The Space.

Why do models never smile?

A question on LinkedIn prompted a search for some old photos.

Stress or Boredom? Why people leave their jobs

Why do people leave their jobs? Stress has been touted as a “top reason”, but could the reason be more mundane?

UK newspaper The Metro looks at whether boredom might be a bigger challenge – and how to tackle it.

NFT thefts. Is there anything anyone can do?

Calvin Becerra is part of an NFT community sharing pictures of monkeys and somehow making money from it. Or at least, earning crypto currency. A few days ago he tweeted he’d been scammed, and three artworks stolen from him. The criminals stole these high tech artefacts through low-tech social engineering.

What’s been stolen is in public view. Only there’s a problem, an inherent defect in blockchain’s design when it comes to theft. There’s no way to restore the items to his ownership.

For now he’s been forced to ask collectors not to buy them. How long that will last is anyone’s guess.

A top Chinese influencer turns on her past

China has “rural influencers” who spend their days promoting the idyllic lifestyle citizens can enjoy outside the city. One of the biggest is Li Ziqi, who claims millions of followers worldwide. She’s been so successful a retail empire has sprung up selling the products she promotes.

Earlier in the year she went missing, raising fears she’d suffered the same fate as other celebs who vanished. Now she’s resurfaced and given her “empire” both barrels.

It seems to be part of a trend by officials to clean up social media. For those entering the lucrative Chinese market it could create issues. You could end up backing an influencer who subsequently turns and condemns you.

Farmland lost to climate change

Climate change is having a measurable impact. Failing crops in China isn’t a one-off caused by unusual weather. Torrential rain has wrecked farmland, and some are questioning whether it will ever recover.

Abstract artwork of dark shapes emanating from a circle in the top left of a red panel
Abstract artwork. Available as a print on Redbubble and DeviantArt.

Cultural London under threat?

London’s status as a cultural hub could be under threat. That’s the claim coming from the CEO of Harrods. It’s not just about the response to Covid, which started well and has since flagged. Brexit has had a profound effect on finding staff in retail, and Harrods is not exempt.

And finally, Japan’s men change their habits

One of the more unusual behavioural changes from the pandemic has been reported. Apparently more men in Japan are sitting down when they use the toilet.

I'm Ross, a digital editorial designer and content creator from the UK now living in Japan. I help growing companies plan, source, produce and promote a range of content. Find out more

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