I landed in Seoul in Korea last week, travelling via Tokyo on a journey that took just short of 24 hours due to delays. As you can imagine I was pretty tired! After a well-needed sleep I had a day of press interviews promoting our business in Korea. We consult for a Korean brand Cambridge Members who want to achieve an English look for the domestic market.
That evening we went for an eel supper which was quite an experience. The eels were fresh off the barbeque as were wriggling because they were still alive. Distressing but delicious I'm told! Followed dinner with karaoke....I sang “Yesterday” and my anthem “Like A Virgin”, haha!
I spent the next day seeing a new store fit for Cambridge Members in one of the department store. I took the opportunity to have a sneaky peak at the opposition! Business is really growing here in Korea which makes it an exciting place to visit as it seems to progress so quickly.
Following Korea, I jumped back on a plane for Tokyo where I had a few days of trunk shows, and I stayed at the wonderful Hotel Okura. On the first day of shows I visited an innovative store called Vulcanise London which is a dedicated emporium to British product and good taste. It is the brainchild of Takubo-san who introducted me to the range which was displayed in a light and playful environment. Turnbull & Asser and Aidney & Brigg were also holding trunk shows there. I was pleased to note that one of the journalists who was with Turnbull & Asser was wearing a striking navy three piece suit that I'd made for him 10 years ago – it is small world!
Whilst in the store I received a text from a lovely customer Clive who was inquiring as to where to go in Tokyo. As we were both in torn I invited him and his family to the Orchid Bar at the Okura (formally the Bamboo Bar where Tanka-san meets 007 in “You Only Live Twice”). Clive was wearing a slim midnight blue one-button peak lapel slim-cut two-piece with fish-tail cuffs – again one of ours. Small world indeed!
The next day was another trunk show. One of the customers told me about “Air Worshipping” which is apparently the new Japanese craze that enables people to woship at famous shrins and tamples in Kyoto online (www.air-sampai.jp). The word “air” in the name of the website is a play on the term “air guitar”....only in Japan!
I headed out to Kyoto on the bullet train (which indeed is a beautiful station, as one of my Twitter followers remarked), where I held a trunk show at the famous department store Isetan. We had a splendid turnout again and I'd like to thank my customers and wonderful sales team. There was a really great atmosphere and it's always fun being on the shop floor. Fresco wool suiting seems to be the fabric of choice for this Spring – it is crisp and dry and perfectly suits a humid climate like Tokyo. Three-piece suits are still popular and my new Savile Row-esque block is going down a storm! I would like to thank Isetan and Ochiai-san for their hospitality.
That evening I had dinner with my local business partners Mr and Mrs Ohga. We went to a famous Chinese restaurant which turned out to be their family's favourite. Absolutely delicious cuisine – but I wouldn't expect anything else from Japan!
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