CEO Ms. Akiko Wakagi
CEO Ms. Akiko Wakagi
Would you mind if I ask you how you have started your life on a wheelchair?
I have been on a wheelchair since I was seven. We were climbing up a wall made with blocks with other children one day. When I stepped on the wall, those blocks fell over me. It was an unexpected accident, and this wheelchair life has been already 30 years.
That is a very shocking accident. Would you tell me your life after school?
I started working for general & human affairs department in one of the enterprises through the employment of person with disabilities. My theme was “What does it mean by working with disabilities?” in this era. I wanted to show “I can work like a full-fledged person”, but not “I cannot work because I am a disability person”. General enterprises tend to choose the assignment appropriate for the disability person, but I was not satisfied with the assignment they chose. Because I am completely normal except my feet. I was not happy about this as if they judge my work ability in a unilateral way without hearing from me directly.
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The first class metal plate technician
Kobayashi Building Material Plate Limited.
Tokyo Metal Plate Association
CEO, The first class metal plate technician
Mr. Shigeru Kobayashi
The sound of hammer is echoing under the summer blue sky at Tokyo Daijingu from the early morning. Mr. Kobayashi sheathes a roof with shiny copper plates. “I made that roof over there on the wedding center entrance just for one night for a long time ago.” He told me a lot of his stories in the shrine with sound of wind bell on the back.
I met you at Highlights of Japanese Manufacturing Technology and Traditional Craftworks Festival held in Tokyo International Forum in August. I saw you working on the door case with beautiful shiny copper plates. It was amazing to see all the processes were proceeded by just your hands not a machine. Also none of the nails were shown on the surface of the door case.
What made you to get involved into this field?
I am originally from Aizu, Fukushima, grew up in the farmer family. My house had thatched roof which you do not see often nowadays. I was the middle one out of five siblings, so I did not have a job there like the oldest brother who succeeded a family business. Therefore, I came to Tokyo to learn a trade. I was trained under my master in Ohta-ku for five years and worked extra one year to thank him. I had only two days off from work in a month during the training period.
After starting my own business, I of course did not have any clients at the beginning. Therefore, I went out for a drink to find clients. The work will not come to you if you stay at home. I started building up tight relationships so that both I and my clients can trust each other. We talk honestly without telling a lie when we are drinking.
Mr. Tomotsugu Nakamura
Can you tell me your background and the reason to become a space artist?
I am from Amagasaki-city, Hyogo prefecture. After graduating college, I had worked as a manager at the clothing company and experienced VMD and buying. After leaving this company, I worked under Mr. Satoshi Kawamoto, a plant artist who runs “Green Fingers” (ten shops both in Japan and New York). When he first announced the open spot for the assistant through the Instagram, I immediately made a phone call and run to meet him. Because of him, I was able to be involved into the plants so I sincerely appreciate it.
Honestly speaking, I was more interested in his way of life and sensibility rather than plants for the first period. As through the training under him as an assistant, I was very impressed to see the changes with plants in the space. It even motivated me to make something myself.
Food Design Studio “Nijinohashi”
Creator of Happy Dining & Personal chef
Mr. Naoki Ishibashi
Why did you decide to work as a professional chef?
My mother was not good at using all the food ingredients when she cooked dinner, and I felt it is a waste to discard left over vegetables.
I arranged and cooked with these left over ingredients when I was young.
Later, I started working in the society and I had a period of ill health. Even this period, cooking was the only thing I continued. That is why I realized that cooking must be something important existing in the deep bottom of myself.
After this period, I cooked pepperoncino with a red sea bream soup stock for my girlfriend. This made her pleased more than ever and I was really happy to see her smile as well.
Mr. Tadashi Kimura
Traditional Art & Craft, Edo Sashimono
Mr. Tadashi Kimura
Would you tell me the history and feature of Edo Sashimono (cabinetwork)?
Traditional Japanese art & craft, “Sashimono”, has more than a thousand and several hundred of history. People used to use as a miniature shrine and a gift for a court, aristocracy, and priest. Sashimono established a category called “Edo gonomi” later in the history, and it is one large cohesion of woodworking technique in the present times.
Especially the genre called “Edo sashimono” has the most sophisticated technique utilizing traditional methods by using domestic natural woods. These facts satisfied people who live in the city, and they were very particular about the beauty and finish.
Guest House “Kagaribi”
Mr. Kaoru Kagayama
A non-descript garage turns into the place where people get together through making things. Children and adults are fascinated with making things and they almost forget lapse time. This is where you want to stay for a long time and be cozy with hearing laugh from people.
Hakori Corporation changes a place where no one would come to totally a new place. At kikkake garage, the art workshops and events are held often. I interviewed CEO Mr. Kagayama today.
Please tell me your background and the story of opening Hakori Corporation and kikkake garage.
I worked as a sales representative at a real estate company for six years. I rode a bicycle everywhere in Tokyo to memorize properties and cities. I really liked working for them because they did not look like a normal real estate company. They had business with many of nice companies like fast-growing internet enterprises. Half a year after the marriage and having a daughter, it was a turning point for me to leave the real estate company and start my own business.
Mr. Mayumu Saitama
Would you tell me your story of opening up the sushi world?
I liked to cook for someone when I was young. More than that, I like to do something for someone in general. About 25 years ago, I started training at the kaiseki meal restaurant. It was in the middle of bubble period, and we sold lunch with the price of $500.00. I trained about half a year there, and I wanted to clean fish more so I knocked the sushi world.
For me, sushi restaurant needs to control space. A guest would have totally different reaction depending on how he is served by a sushi chef. For example, it will be more effective to be whispered in low voice “This special tuna part is really tasty” rather than just simply said “This is a home grown tuna”. There is a time a sushi chef needs to shake customer’s heart aggressively. Therefore, I am confident that our hospitality especially conversation with guests is very satisfying compare to other sushi places.
It is unnecessary for me to keep talking for a long time. That is my own thing and different point from other sushi places.
Director Mr. Yusuke Arai
Incorporated Non-Profit Organization “Pieces”, Administrative Director Mr. Yusuke Arai
What does Pieces do as an incorporated non-profit organization?
We go to see children who refuse to attend school, drop out, and are abused every day. Through our support, we are trying to develop the world where these children can live on their own feet. To make the ideal real, we hope all the citizen will be the supporters for these children.Government support is mainly the short term business solution, but there is a question “Is this what these children really want to receive?” Because of my experience talking to these children for a long period, they need relationships between people.
Mr. Tsujiguchi Yoshiyasu
Tokyo Traditional Art & Craft Designation “Edo Embroidery”
Tokyo Embroidery Cooperative Association
Mr. Tsujiguchi Yoshiyasu
Can you tell me how you are related to Edo Embroidery?
My father had been doing embroidery for kimonos used for Kabuki (traditional drama performed by male actors) for a long time. They always informed us the patterns for kimono about a month before the opening after they decided costumes and acts. To cut our time, we made patterns beforehand and stitched to the kimonos right before the opening. Then we had to deliver kimonos to the theater when audience are lining up for the opening. Our work was that much important. Then a sewing machine hit the streets and the price battle had begun.