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 special debt of gratitude to each and every one of them. Seniority, which comes only with age, matters. The vigor and energy of youth is indispensable, but to bear fruit it needs to be nurtured and guided by experienced hands.
Efficiency. Alway a good thing?
In 2017, we continued our growth for the eight year in a row. Our main challenge has been, and continues to be managing the pace of our growth in light of our limits.
By its nature, 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.
Plainly speaking, 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 times are diametrically opposed to the objectives of running affairs the fastest possible or most cost-efficient way.
Look at 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-know Japanese saying goes: When in a hurry, take the long road (isoga-ba mawaré、急がば回れ). 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 special pleasure in trying to give chase to the winged beauties, who 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. Yet, they don’t belong in museums; they are living art. 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 again in 2018.