Owner Mr. Mr. Jonathan Berguig
・How long have you been in Japan and what made you to live in Tokyo?
I basically came to Japan twice. The first time when I came to Japan was 2004 working for a brokerage house from France. I stayed here for 3 years and after that, I was moved to NY. I always felt I had missed something during this stay in Tokyo. Since I was here as an expat, I was surrounded by the people who can speak English and never got out of my comfortable zone. I only interacted with the same people and never felt like a local. After staying in NY for a year and half, I moved to Singapore for 4 years. Then I decided to quit this industry since I create something on my own.Being a vegetarian for few years, I wanted to open a vegetarian restaurant in a meat-and-fish-loving Tokyo. When I arrived in Tokyo, I realized how difficult it was to order a vegetarian dish. One of my friends pushed me to start my own restaurant where I could serve vegetarian food. I worked on the business plan, financial plan, and finding a good location for two years. Obviously when I found a place, there were many hurdles to get over. Since I am from France, many of the applications were rejected by the building owners.
Shikahama Nature Organization
Shikahama Nature Organization “Noraemon”
Representative Mr. Toshio Furutaka
There are children who are far away from the nature in the urban life. What made you to start your activity as an organization?
Throughout my teaching career, I strongly felt the activity of touching the nature was very important but not just looking at the surface through the video or printed word. I have joined the local nature observation group and I wanted to do something with using this experience. There is a word called “Satochi Satoyama” (undeveloped woodland near the populated area). When people get back to their hometown, people bring back
agricultural products as for the souvenir. These vegetable and rice are produced in their hometown where is called “satochi satoyama”. We want people to pay attention to this area more and want them to realize this area is such an important place. In order to send this message, we opened the field in Fujiwara, Minakami-town.
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Welfare Select Shop “Iseya”
Nishio Glass Mirror Co., Ltd.
There is a company which processes glass for the luxury brand shops and department stores located in the main street of Ginza, Tokyo. I came to interview Mr. Nishio who leads a group of proficient workmen.
I have read that you started your journey in 1932 as a mirror manufacturing plant, and the business has been expanded into the processing and handling the glass and mirrors for shops and other commercial facilities. Would you tell me how has the glass and mirror industry changed as the time goes by?
Next year is our 85th anniversary and I am the third generation. The primary director, my grandfather, is originally from Mie prefecture. He went for a training in glass the plant located in Asakusa when he was 12. The mirror in the plant was very dirty and he was disappointed about it especially after seeing beautiful Fuji mountain. He wanted to make more beautiful mirror, and this feeling was the beginning of our journey. He learned about mirror manufacturing through the books and started a small plant with four members in 1932. At that time, mirror was a symbol of luxury, and he just wanted to make something beautiful so that he can please his clients.
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Art Gallery Space “kokonoka”
There is a student community which uses a renovated old folk house for the art exhibition space in Kitasenju, Tokyo. While utilization of the old folk house becomes a fad, what feeling do the students related to this project have? What effect does this art space have as through the exhibition of art?
Why did you decide to run “kokonoka”?
There were three to four members at the beginning and one of the renovation associations invited them to run a gallery. They sent messages through LINE to the art students in different schools and gathered 13 students in total.
We started preparing for the opening in April. We had to pay our running fee from individual budgets at the beginning, but now, there are enough fund from the people who want to exhibit arts in “kokonoka”. This old folk house has 75 years of history, and we try to take advantage of old house architecture for the art exhibition space.
Most of the galleries are very expensive in Tokyo and students have a hard time using them. We would like to rent a space with a reasonable price for the students so that they can exhibit art or hold some events. We also want to create a close connection with local people. Therefore, we introduced the local culture of Kitasenju after taking all the photos of public baths by ourselves.
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Mr. Kodai Kawai
When I saw you at the very first time, you were in the middle of making a logo for one of the companies with some metallic materials. The powerful piece and your concentration for work caught my eyes. What brought you to the world of ironmongery?
My father established the ironmongery company called “Feel Ltd.” and this is the 11th term. I joined them five years ago. We handle custom order metal products for the apparel companies and restaurants, and we also handle ready made products like keys and hinges. Since we were on the position of broker at the beginning, we did not manufacture ourselves or attach products at the field. But ever since I joined them, we started these services as well.
Multigeneration intercommunication day service facility & nursery school
“Minna Ishio no Ippo & Ippo” (first step for everyone)
One of my great friends opened a complex facility of day service and nursery school in Ageo city, Saitama. What is it like in the actual facility which solves the most serious issue in Japan regarding aging population and lacking of nursery school? What is happening in the communication of elderly people and children? I went there to see with my eyes and summarized as follows.
AMAZING DESIGN Corporation
AMAZING DESIGN Corporation
CEO Mr. Yuji Tsukamoto
I came here today to interview Mr. Tsukamoto who designs logos, maps, posters, and guidebooks of Adachi-ku, Tokyo which we often see around in our daily life. He also designs music class books of elementary school. Because of his arts, many children and adults who forgot excitement take back their smiles.
When I got your business card at the first time, there was a word that you were a musician before. I was wondering how you have sifted to a designer from a musician. Can you tell me your story about this?
I was playing music but it did not go as I expected. I decided to quit a musician and find a job when I was 26 because of the marriage. Since I had never worked for the companies, my options were only limited to the inexperienced person boxes. Then I applied for a creator on website position at the IT company. I had never used PCs and only had a portfolio from the college when I majored in design. The interviewers told me, “You are not qualified for this job since you have no skill for the PC.”
Then, the manager came to see how our interview goes. He told me, “As long as you can draw, PC skills are unnecessary.” He hired me on site. If this timing had gone wrong, my door for design would have been kept closed. Therefore, I sincerely appreciate for this encounter.
Sen Nin Butsu Project
Art School “LUKANOSE”
Sen Nin Butsu (Millenary Buddha) Project
Representative Mr. Renji Misugi
*This article is not related to a religious organization.
I have met a great piece of art aggregated many Buddha images at Tokyo International Forum exhibition, and it was definitely sending me an irresistible power and some kind of message. Sen Nin Butsu (Millenary Buddha) Project is the art project that aggregates a thousand pieces of Buddha drawings from people in earthquake-stricken region. I interviewed the central figure who organizes this big project.
What is Sen Nin Butsu (Millenary Buddha) Project?
We, as artists, visit temporary housings in the region suffered from Great East Japan Earthquake continuously and instruct the people how to draw a Buddha in order to heal their hearts. We aim to gather a thousand pieces of Buddha charcoal drawings which were drawn by people in the earthquake-stricken region. This art will be exhibited in the museums so that it will be a symbol of contemporary Buddha in order to pass down the earthquake disaster in future ages. This is a contemporary art project which all the people in the earthquake-stricken region share the significant goal of “reconstruction of heart”.
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