News Letter

News Letter

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Dear Customers & Friends
Hello from Japan! This is Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA's News Letter No 84.Today I saw ume blossoms are blooming from the window of train, at first in this year. Ume blossom front finally has reached here! Only a few days ago it snowed , but really spring is just around the corner.Today I would like to write about 'Bussannten', which is the very popular event of department store. 'Bussan' means 'products', and 'ten' means 'fair'. So when a department store gathers and sells products from Italy, it is ordinary said 'Italia Bussan-ten' ( Italian Products Fair). Nowadays many Bussanten of various districts of Japan are very popular. Of course people like the Bussanten of foreign countries, but department stores don't afford to have them in these days.Please see a Japan map again here. is a small country, and mainly made of four islands. It is divided to nine regions, and made of 47 prefectures. Our office is in the Osaka, middle of Honsyu island. If we drive to north direction, we will reach Tokyo in about 12 hours, and Aomori (northernmost city in Honsyu) in about 24 hours(without rest). Our land is very small especially in the modern times, but it has long length vertically. And in the age of walk and horse ride land could not be said small, and each regions had born various traditions - different dialects, foods, cooking, folk music, handicraft, art, dancing, festivals and so on. Hokkaido is the northernmost region, and in the cool-temperate zone, and the southeast island Okinawa is in the subtropical zone. So the lives of these two districts are quite different. So if department store have Bussanten, people come to enjoy various products of rural districts. And in rural districts there are not enough job, so eventually pe!ople come to big cities like Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka. They also come to such events, because they enjoy tastes of their hometown.As I wrote in previous mails, I was a manager of sales promotion division of Daimaru department store in Osaka. I experienced several kinds of Bussanten. Hokkaido Bussanten, Kyusyu Bussanten, Shikoku Bussanten, Shimane Bussanten, Takayama Bussanten and so on. We invited many restaurants, food stores and handicraft makers, who were popular at those districts. Ordinarily Bussantens were sponsored by each 'Bussan Kyokai'( associations of producers), and they organized sellers by themselves. But if department stores only accept sponsor's idea, all Bussanten in various department stores become same events. So we had been tried to make our Bussanten special by approaching with new ideas. My best contribution to Bussanten was at Hokkaido Bussanten. I planed special event named 'Hokkaido Special Auction!" ( We offered unique big items like as auctions - full rice from one paddy field, huge kelp, giant pumpkin and so on). Publicity campaign went well, and TV clues came and broadcas!ted at TV news. From that day, customers dramatically increased, and sales volume became nearly double.I also had been a buyer of Japanese table ware department, so I knew better about crafts goods than foods.I met many craftsmen and visited their workshops and studio.. Most of them succeeded their fathers in the family business, which came down from olden times. They were stubborn and manly men. One day when we are holding Shimane Bussanten, a case occurred. A young man took the knife which was displayed at a store and injured a lady with its knife. The case happened far away from our store, and we have nothing connected to that case. At that time we invited a traditional knife maker(and seller) from at Shimane prefecture, and he was selling his knives with displaying on the tables. My boss ordered me to let him put his knives into the glass closed display cases. Ordinarily department store side has full authority to the sellers. I hesitated, but went to say what my boss ordered. He answered with piercing look. 'I am a professional. I NEVER let anyone strange touch my knives.' And he grabbed away my arms swiftly, as if he was a master of martial art. 'Don't worry about it.' It' s a true story. I returned to my boss, and said as he said. Basically many craftsmen in rural district were in economic grievances because of the offensive of manufacturing products. They were trying to produce the modern items with their traditional techniques, but their trials seemed to be not easy. A honesty urushi maker told me at his old house and workshop how he was planing his new items. But I felt his idea was too conservative for modern people in cities, and tried to convey my impressions. But difference between the ordinary lives of rural district and cities was difficult to convey him.
I enjoyed my works, and I thought my work contributed quite a lot to our store. But later we became to have cut expenses. Bussanten costed many expenses, for examples journey expenses of sellers and cost for making temporary restaurants. And it could not said to sale efficiently if we compared to fashion items. But Bussanten attracted many customers to our stores, and once they came into our store, they also bought other items in other floors. Management personnel ordered to stop holding some Bussanten and other sales events and cut expenses. Some bosses and staffs said my works were necessary evil, and had to stop to pay needles expense immediately. At a time management personnel ordered reduce the inefficient department like home furnishing and housewares. Both of my careers became useless at my company when I was 40. And I quit my job. Sorry it is another story. But recently I find some articles which says how Bussanten attract people and contribute to the department sto!re. Anyway, sales of department stores is declining for more than several years, and they can not find ways to increase their sales. There are many problems in the department type of operation.
Thank you for reading to the end. Today we have listed some beautiful fukusa, kimono and bolts. We are very happy if you could check them. I attend a big auction in Kyoto. We will win lots of valuable kimono for you! Thank you again.
Ichiro & Yuka WadaKimono Flea Market "ICHIROYA"
e-mail: info@ichiroya.comaddress: Asia-shoji Bldg.301 1841-1 Nishi 1 chome Wakamatsu cho Tondabayashi city Osaka 584-0025 JAPANTEL&FAX ****( international number ) - 81-721-23-5446


Post a Comment

<< Home