We are recently back from a visit to Tokyo. We made our plans with mixed feelings. Had enough time passed since the earthquake? Was it a good time to go? Was it safe? Are the people ready for visitors? The answer in all cases is Yes.
People are slowly getting their lives back in order. While the physical signs of the earthquake are not seen in the city, the terrible catastrophe is felt by everyone.
Japan never fails to exceed our expectations. In places around the world, ofter the city people of a country are breezy, busy, important, and have little time for you, while you often get more gracious welcoming from people outside the main city (think Paris, think New York).
Not true in Tokyo. We found everyone we interacted with to be hospitable, polite, and wonderfully helpful. And given the recent events, amazingly resilient.
The quick snapshot below nicely captures the wonderful harmony of Tokyo. The man-made coexisting with nature. The sleek and modern, shiny and metal, hugging nature and framing nature. There is a certain reverence for nature that shows itself in so many different ways in Japan.
Meeting with our bambu partners in Japan. The Ariel Company is Japan's premier trading company for wellness and sustainably-produced products representing a number of highly respected brands in the green sector in Japan. bambu and Ariel joined together in 2009.
The bambu core team at Ariel is comprised of Tomoko, Yu, and Keisuke pictured here with Rachel Speth, bambu owner & co-founder.
The Ariel offices are situated in Aoyama district in Tokyo. A small beautiful office with a terrace and view, topped by two wind turbines. The building generates its own electricity! These folks walk the talk. We had productive meetings. Our products and values appeal to the market here. Sophisticated retail landscapes, appreciation for design, simplicity, that utilize natural materials, and that are 'made well' and made with care.
We lunched at the 45 Dan. The organic cafe owned by the same group known for the fantastic hand-produced denim and indigo clothing for men and women, 45RPM. The cafe prepares fresh and organic vegetable dishes, brown rice, wonderful salads, and healthful juices. Plus it offers a selection of their clothing and assorted 'organic junk.' A perfect stop for our green-minded group.
We joined with thousands of other people at the Tokyo Earth Day in Yoyogi Park. It was an impressive turnout of like-minded people, companies, artists, and musicians. The event was capped by a peaceful anti-nuclear march through the busy and intensively compact Shibuya district. People made way for the hundreds that joined in the colorful demonstration.
Here's a tip. Our favorite retail store in Tokyo? Tokyu Hands A place where you can find everything!
And of course, a visit to Tokyo is not complete without a trip to Tsukiji Market - the largest fresh fish market in the world. A fantastic display of fresh everything from the sea, and every product imaginable for food enthusiasts. While the daily tuna auction is closed to the public, if you want view what goes on, here's a first-hand look at Tsukiji Market via YouTube.
Our friends in Japan celebrate Golden Week May 1st - 8th. We wish you well!