Winter solstice will be upon us soon. Days will begin to get longer, and the promise of new beginnings is in the air.As we put 2017 behind us, just as we do every year, we want to say thanks to our readers, our customers, our hard-working craft makers, our employees, and to every and all living things that touched our lives in 2017.
Our senior employees and craft makers are in their 60s, 70s, and a few in their 80s. We owe a particular debt of gratitude to every one of them. Seniority, which comes only with age, matters. The vigor and energy of youth are indispensable, but they need to be nurtured and guided by experienced hands.
Taking the Long Road
In 2017, we continued our growth for the eighth year in a row. Our main challenge has been and continues to be managing the pace of our growth in light of our limits.
Hand-crafting Japanese traditional products is not geared for scalability and volume production. We beg forgiveness and ask for understanding for not being able to supply wholesale requests.
Efficiency has never been among our most important goals. This might sound counter-intuitive coming from a business. However, workplace harmony and quality of life issues are prime objectives for us — goals which often are opposed to the purposes of running affairs the fastest possible or most cost-efficient way.
Look at this way, if nature prized efficiency more than harmony, it would have willed rivers to flow in straight lines to get to the oceans. That would be their most efficient route. But, what an utterly ugly vision! Instead, they run forward through soft soil, but circle around hard rocks, meandering to their destiny in harmony with what’s around.
A well-known Japanese saying goes: When in a hurry, take the long road (isoga-ba mawaré). In essence, it means no short-cuts.
We take nature’s lessons to heart. We love what we do, and love to take time doing them the best way we know how — mindful of the fact that fastest does not always mean best.
Animals Are People Too
Our employees have pets whom they love and cherish. In 2017 we made our facility animal-friendly so that that they can bring their dear ones to work and be close to them.
They snack with us during tea breaks and join us for lunchtime. Two to three times per day, weather permitting, designated employees take them for an outing along the emerald green banks of Oyodo river, which runs through downtown Miyazaki a short walk from our office.
During winter, the Oyodo delta is a nesting site for magnificent migrating ducks from Hokkaido and as far as Siberia. The playful dogs in our group take particular pleasure in trying to give chase to the winged beauties, which easily evade them!
The lovely creatures have brought nothing but joy to our office. It takes a bit of effort to accommodate them, but the rewards are priceless.
Japanese traditions have been around for a very long time. Practicing them and offering our know-how is our joy, our way of life, and a humble contribution to making this world a better place, we hope.
Thank you again for making our success possible. We look forward to the opportunity and honor of being of service to you still in 2018.