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Oct. 7 Tire Business NewsPoint

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Hello, I'm Kathy McCarron. Welcome to Tire Business NewsPoint, your video source for exclusive tire industry news.

Falken Tire recently invited Tire Business reporter Will Schertz to Kobe, Japan to visit its parent company Sumitomo Rubber Industries and its tire technical center, as well as get a glimpse of the Japanese culture.

So, Will, what was the reason for this trip?

A: "Well, this trip was initiated by Falken Tire, who invited us out for an opportunity to tour Sumitomo's tire technical center in Kobe, Japan and meet with some of the company executives. The technical center was built back in 2009, and it houses various equipment designed especially to test things like tire noise, vibrations, wear and rolling resistance. They also have a machine that allows them to simulate how a tire drives on an ice or snow-covered road. The technical center was very interesting, but the trip also provided an opportunity to experience Japanese culture.

What were some of the things you experienced while you were there?

A: "They actually managed to pack quite a variety of experiences into a very short trip. I got a chance to ride a bullet train for the first time. We took one into the city of Kyoto, which is a city on the Japanese island of Honshu. At one point it was actually the imperial capital of Japan. We toured the city by bus, but we had a chance to stop off at a few places.

I hear you had some interesting food experiences in Japan?

A: "It certainly was interesting. There was a lot of raw food. Not just fish either. I think when people think of sushi they think of fish, but I had some other things raw that I wouldn't normally pick up at the grocery store, like raw beef heart, beef tongue and beef tripe. There were some other things I didn't recognize, but once you get past the psychological barrier it's not bad. Actually beef tongue is really good when it's cooked.

"One of the harder parts with the food really was figuring out how to eat it with two sticks. I got a lot of practice using chopsticks while I was out there, but I'm still pretty terrible with them. I think I might hang onto my fork."

For Tire Business NewsPoint, I'm Kathy McCarron,thanks for joining us. In our Oct. 14 edition of NewsPoint, Reporter Jennifer Karpus will be answering your questions about using social media for your business, so send in you questions this week to jkarpus@crain.com.