Dream and Hustle

From Tokyo With Love: Launching A New Era for Urban Entrepreneurs

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

It’s official. We are going to launch The Manufactured Solution platforms soon. We are wrapping up our platform and marketing campaign and instructions and getting ready. Our urban economic platform is ground-breaking and a massive gamechanger because it was designed from someone from the West Side of Chicago, that’s all you need to know.

Our platform Toshikiso was originally engineered to empower American Black communities, until the American Black community started acting funny towards Ed Dunn and this platform, Dream and Hustle. So me and my team then switched up, re-engineering Toshikiso as a global-based solution for urban centers around the world as we decided to move and build up in Tokyo.

Don’t act surprise because I mentioned it too many times – it was my goal to relocate to Tokyo in Spring 2020 to build up our operations there. Both 3rd Strategic and the Manufactured Solution were to consolidate operations in Japan with Atlanta and South London as satellite locations. But COVID-19 put a damper on that. Oh, if you wondering – we always had the means and the money to make global moves, motherfucker – you brothas and sistas was picking and choosing in your own head who got pockets out here.

In this article, I want to share our journey and our relationship with Tokyo as a key influencer to get us to where we at today. Many African-Americans or ADOS are very ignorant about their history and relationship with Japan – Japan was one of ADOS biggest ally throughout our history. As we face this uncertain future in 2020, you going to realize we got nothing but love and thanks for Japan once again for helping all of us find our way for things to come. You gonna learn, brothas and sistas.

Japan is No Stranger to ADOS

Please watch the video that was back in 1984, you will find this interesting topic on Japanese computers in the 1980s bubble era. Wait for the 3:25 mark in the video. Yep, that’s an ADOS brotha being interviewed who is selling his own line of computers in Akihabara back in the 1980s – remember that the next time someone from the Blavity AfroTech group start talking to me and you like they pioneering something special in 2020.

So if you are reading this article and want to start acting brand new like you didn’t know about Japan and ADOS history - ADOS was always in Japan and the Far East. I know this is uncomfortable for characters making up their fake Pan-African narratives while ADOS relationship with Japan has receipts.

It was Japan that financially supported and invited many of our early 1900 Harlem and New Orleans Jazz artists when they couldn’t get gigs. It was Japan that gave the blacks in the US Military their own space and their own freedom to do things during the post-war era. There are a couple of old Japanese movies from the 1940s and 1950s featuring Black actors who were active duty military – I’m watching some 1950s Japanese movie and see a brotha in the background just chilling. But when Maynard Jackson because the first Black mayor of Atlanta in 1973 a lot of companies began to divest to harm Maynard Jackson governance – guess who showed up to support? No one from Africa – it was Japan that opened the Japanese Consultant in 1974 to show support of the first Black mayor of a major city.  

I can write a whole article on historical events, but the whole story is some of our people got you guy falling for delusional fantasies about “Pan-Africanism” when in reality, we are a unique complex people and it was places like Japan that was there for the American Descendants of Slavery –we got real history unique to our legacy we need to start acknowledging. From this point on, don’t be an ignorant ADOS not realizing the role many countries like Japan played in our journey as a people and our progress. With that said, let’s discuss our Tokyo journey.  I’m going to be all over the place talking about Japan because it’s that awesome but will try to stay focus.

How the Tokyo Journey Began

Before I begin, just want to mention I will be profiling a few Japanese artists in this article and mentioning some side notes because I want you fully appreciating the discovery, people, and culture of Japan as I navigated over the years. I didn’t go there to take selfies, I put in real work and worked with real cats. Please be mindful that I’m not some brotha or sister running over to Japan teaching English or whatever – I’m a world-class technologist so my global circle of connects are a little more elite and upper-range than most cats wanting to mouth about being Black in Japan. Having elite talent and skills unlocks a lot of elite doors worldwide, remember that.

The artist in the video above, Kariya Seira is the kind of talent I would love to have as an artist if I was running a talent agency from our upcoming platform. Creative, and her voice range is awesome as well as her song catalog. Her lyrics actually help me learn Japanese – my Japanese girlfriend told me that’s the best way to learn Japanese is by listening to and singing Japanese songs.

This language learning technique is especially true for ADOS because Japanese pop music use 1980s and 1990s black music song arrangement styles. So when you listen to all of the Japanese artists, notice the music and singing style – yeah, that’s us. But a lot of black music producers did go to Japan and help create the scene there. The lady I met there in 2009 to interview for Dream and Hustle worked for a record label (Sony, who else?) and she managed Japanese bands as well.

Okay, back in 2007, while researching technology around the world for Dream and Hustle article, I came across a new emerging technology started in Japan that was only spreading around Asia. That technology was called quick-response codes or QR Codes. That is when I first decided to go to Japan to discover this technology and how it is used and report back our findings on Dream and Hustle.

When I first toured Tokyo, I did not expect what I discovered. What I discovered is so much similarities to our black communities when we were thriving in the 1970s and 1980s, a period I grew up in as a child in Chicago like Commercial Ave, Madison Street, 87th and so on and I remember these communities vividly. Except Tokyo was everything what our black communities could have scaled up to if we stayed the proper course.

At that point, I knew Tokyo has the answers that we are looking for. I remember sitting outside Shibuya 109 at the first QR code advertisement in the world and streamed back a video to Dream and Hustle showing how it works to Black America. That is when ADOS quietly became ahead of the curve and we moved and matured fast. However, the rest of Black America was stuck on silly stuff for the next 10 years since 2009 while I went back and forth to Tokyo to learn patterns and practices. And here we are today.

Patterns and Practices We Discovered

I love Iri album as a jet setter - she is a global artist who put in a lot of work to get to this point and her debut album speaks for itself. If you listen to the rhythm of this song and you can tell where that vibe came from – that’s the 90s Stevie Wonder style you hearing. This is why I do Tokyo over any city in the world because a lot of ADOS styles can be identified, lost footprints preserved of our styles and culture. You know what else I like about this video? This is how independent black labels in the 1990s used to make videos before the over-the-top Hype Williams showed up – we need to get back to this simple music video format to grow our independent music scene up quickly and efficiently.

Here is what I discovered as a real brotha that went to Japan and I want you to be aware – all these other cats went to Japan to brag to you they went to Japan, they about themselves. When I went to Japan, I went there to learn and bring things back home. What I discovered is a lot of ADOS patterns has been adopted “professionally” in Japan or Japan and urban America were on the same trajectory. But Japan went further forward while we fell behind as a people. And there is no richer ground for discovery is to find out what Japan did that we can learn from.

Some of the biggest things I discovered on my journey.

Third Spaces. In Japan, they make use of almost every square inch of space for people to experience outside of their tight homes. From ramen shops, coffee cafes, bookstores, cat cafes – always a space away from home to have some experience. Kids have playgrounds and plenty of parks to sit down and plenty of places to sit.

Magazines. I think we lost our way in the black community with magazines as they were taken over by Boule blacks and non-ADOS blacks who are not engrained in the culture and thought we were just generic consumers. In Japan, magazines are edgy, written and laid out professionally and have a clean business/advertising model behind it supporting the industry.

Subway Station Hubs. Every subway station was a true economic hub designed to get off and shop at a convenience store, resale shops, vendor marketplace, food hall, gifts and dessert treats and more. Here in our black community, there is very little to no commercial development around subway hubs for people to come in and spend money in our community. Five Points and the Underground in Atlanta used to be that way but that deteriorated fast.

Pop-Ups and Drop Culture. Pop-up culture in Tokyo is the best and most mature I’ve seen. From boy bands to sneaker limited collection to Instagram stars renting out a boutique space, they do it professionally and properly than any other place in the world. This is something I blogged about here in a previous article.

Urban-Based Supply Chain. As I walked down the street in Tokyo, I looked at all the cars and realize, there was few commuter cars during the day, just delivery motorcycles, cabs, delivery vans – they were running products to stores and stocking within the city all day – that’s jobs and we need to create these kinds of jobs for us.

Urban Shipping. This I literally discovered by accident and didn’t realize. Every time I go out in the alley in Tokyo, I walked by this space full of boxes and bicycles and trucks. They were part of a shipping chain that receive packages to sent throughout Japan and move to a pickup office. This discover helped me improved the delivery/tracking feature on our Kossier app to support this industry as a mobile-first solution when we launch.

Small Format Food and Beverage. I mentioned this in a Medium article, in the Harajuku area I see lines of young women lined around the corner to buy a waffle cone or eat at a fluffy pancake restaurant – how much money/customers they transact in a minute? In the black community, we got big momma cooking up a dish for 12 minutes or frying chicken for a few customers – how much she making or transacting in a minute? We ain’t frying chicken or cooking pork chops in black communities no more – make them something fast, take their money and get them out the door in minutes – that’s the future goal of food service in our black community! Steam pan serving ain’t efficient either!

What I Didn’t Expect to Discover

I want to reveal something personal – this is my favorite Japanese music video I love sooo much and is the #1 reason why I love Tokyo. This is how I used to date and be in love with my girlfriend as a black teenager in the 1980s in our black communities. We used to meetup downtown Chicago, go to the movies and do the arcade and walk around window shopping holding hands. Times Square had the same setup in the 1980s with an arcade game room and movie theatres as well as I did the same thing in the 1990s in New York as a young black man with New York women as dates.

In Tokyo, right now – you can experience exactly the dating life I experienced as a child. You cannot date like this in the black community anywhere in America – everybody pretentious, standoffish, fake, chasing some other bullshit or hooking for money. Disclaimer: don’t get me wrong, they foul as hell in Japan when it comes to cheating and doing crazy stuff in relationship but you can still experience what I just told you because Tokyo is a walkable, beautiful city and spaces and places still intact to have a fun date.

Busan and Shanghai are two additional cities that come to mind you can date like this and my brothas and sistas, ain’t no better experience than this video. You meet someone, exchange Line/WhatsApp messaging information and you both plan to meet somewhere in Tokyo. I usually wait inside the Shinjuku train station near Odakyu and she know where to find me, only black guy standing there. Don’t think I dated only Japanese girls, I had some fine Blasian and Thai sistas (Thai sisters are beautiful) we met up in Japan and walked around holding hands looking for somewhere to eat or a venue to have fun or a cat café to sit down and play with cats or do karoke – this info is the only reason/justification you want to go to Japan is to be single and date like this; it’s worth it.

I wrote all of that above based on that video – told you that was my favorite video and now you see how it makes me feel and I could have kept going. Let me stop thinking about that beautiful awesome video because I’m catching some feels right now about Japan and dating there, just an awesome and beautiful experience.

But here is are other things when I visited Japan, I didn’t realize and discovered but being on the ground taught me a lot.

Instagram Advertising. The signage in the picture above is at the bus terminal station in Shinjuku and the sign is from a women clothing store called NEWoMan or “New Woman” – they would show Instagram photos of their clothing line on this digital signage. This is awesome because they can just run their advertising from Instagram and build up followers this way for social shopping. We looking at doing the same thing with QR codes to help people see ads like this, scan qr code to follow merchants on social media – our new platform has this capability thanks to this all-time favorite inspiration we ran into in Tokyo.

Garbage Disposal. I would wake up early in the morning since sunrise is about 4:30am and no one is up except drunk salarymen sleeping on sidewalks, gigantic crows eating out of garbage bins and watching garbage trucks running their route. I noticed in Tokyo like New York, they had private companies running their set routes and realize we don’t have our own routes and wrote an article about this as well – this is a major revenue stream we just totally ignored. I did not come to Tokyo looking into garbage disposal operation but this was a great realization as well.

Exchange Marketplace. It was not the fish market auction that inspired me about creating exchanges – it was the flower auction at Ota market that you don’t see on TV but I learned about you can go and watch it operate. That’s when I realize our community does not have but need exchange marketplaces to run supply chains. Wholesalers bid on flowers and can sell at a nearby vendor and ship to florists – imagine if we ran this full stack supply chain in our hoods from wholesale market to retail market. Our upcoming exchange platform DBEXX has been improved out of this firsthand witness of this experience.

Upscale Resale. Most resale shops here in America are nothing but than bland displays while in Tokyo, they have franchises that sell everything from used iPhones to used Louis Vuitton and some in Shinjuku sells Hermes and Versace used. They do a lot of clienteling in Tokyo from the pawn experience to the actual selling – I love the professionalism of the salesman wrapping up the used Louis Vuitton I’m getting for one of my chicks back in Atlanta especially at the Roppongi store near the Hard Rock Café gift shop. Yeah, that’s how I do my women – lol at these standoffish sistas in Atlanta who have to buy their own used Louis Vuitton from Dillard’s, lol. But this is a nice pipeline because Japanese people don’t buy used luxury so they sell these to foreigners and we can probably get them wholesale from Japan.

Solutions We Bringing Home

I love the coffee culture vibes in this video, and I also forgot to mention – laundromats in Tokyo are cool as hell just like they used to be in our communities back in the day. See, there is so much living nostalgia in Tokyo for someone who grew up as an inner-city black kid in the 1980s. But I love Tokyo cafes to either chill or just open the Surface Pro to sit down and put in real work. In fact, here are my top 3 favorite cafes in Tokyo.

Mos Café, Ginza Nine. This is my favorite spot in Tokyo and this is a designated historical site for me. When I first walked by this location from the Shimbashi station towards Ginza, I looked through the window of this Mos Café and an African-American older couple waved at me to come in and join them – that was the weirdest out of place unexpected thing I did not anticipate. I sat down and we had tea and talked as grown black people in Tokyo. This is the same place I met the Afro-Swedish chick that I spoke about in an earlier article. I’m always here if I’m in Tokyo – this is where you meet me – this is my absolute place to wind down after a long hard day in Tokyo. The fried chicken salad with tartar sauce is the absolute best dish I eat in Tokyo – love it!

Excelsior Caffé. I’m at the one near Shinbashi 2 street which is another pre-business planning spot in the morning. In fact, there is a super cute Japanese lady there who is my type who knows me and prepares what I always come in and smile and I never tried to talked to her – she is that nice and awesome. Again, 1980s Black inner city encounters you don’t get anymore but you will get in Japan. At this location, they play a lot of international smooth contemporary jazz that you hear on WCLK in Atlanta you can chill to while working on a blog article. A grown mature crowd of professionals, my kind of crowd. By now, you should realize I’m a Shinbashi, Ginza, Roppongi, Aoyama, Ebisu type brotha, not a Shinjuku, Shibuya dude unless I’m looking for patterns and practices.

McDonald's Roppongi Hills. This is my morning breakfast place where I bring my Surface Pro or iPad Pro and do work. This place has value to me because it’s where me and my son go to eat and it’s one of his favorite McDonald’s in the world. Professional crowd that is part of Roppongi Hill and surrounding area and I be putting in serious work. In fact, the majority of Dream and Hustle articles from Japan and innovation breakthroughs I discovered and documented in Tokyo, has been documented here at this McDonalds.

Oh, goodness I just remember I’m supposed to tell you the solutions we brought back home from Tokyo! Here are the major things we bringing home.

Collective Time Management. I was inspired by Tokyo being a system operating around time. The trains ran on time, the advertisement system ran like clockwork, the traffic lights, did you know I got rid of my smartwatch because I was on the train and all the Japanese men had analog watches? I created Banneker, a time engine that is designed to keep our communities on time as a smart city and smart business solution.  

Transaction Screens. We are going to focus on order screens and queue screens and advertising and information kiosks and way finder screens and more for retailers and commercial centers. All a new entrepreneur has to do is buy a bunch of used 60’ LED screens and hook it to a plug-in computer and they got a “touch point” from our platform to do retailing operations.

Advertising and Storytelling. We are bringing back the power of the stream – we will be streaming advertising and streaming storytelling by creating both a context-based advertising network and a platform where authors, media writers and content producers can create and distribute their own stories directly to the people without an editor-in-chief watering down their works and they get paid with quick turnaround through direct and transparent channels.

Modular, Pop-Ups and Drop Culture. One of the surprises we learned is possibly one of the biggest opportunities. I saw this modular barbershop and thought to myself – we have those beauty entrepreneurs in Charlotte get with a furniture manufacture out there near Hickory to create barbershop as a service where the entire barbershop from chairs to furniture is setup and they pay for a booth as a they go like a subscription service.