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I’ve been back in Japan again. Just for a week this time. I go most years, but since the business has grown, and we sell in more countries, I find that I can’t visit everywhere as often as I like. So it’s hard to believe it’s been two years since I did my thing in Japan.

We organized several trunk shows in HP Goldie and HP bijoux shops, in Tokyo and Osaka. And I visited lots of old customers like Isetan, Fifi et Fafa and Ships. All the HP shops. This time we decided to try something we’ve only done in the UK before, and It’s been a great success. We took our travelling workbench into stores, and engraved special messages for all our lovely customers onto their jewellery!

Alex at the bench
Trunk Show at H.P France

Perhaps I was a bit naïve. We whizzed to Osaka, did two trunk shows in a day, had press interviews, visited shops… back to Tokyo on the midnight train for more. It was crazy! So I’ve come home tired but it wasn't all work as I managed to catch up with some old friends which was fun! I'm very glad it was such a successful trip.

I travelled with Mayo, my wonderful Japanese design assistant. And as usual, as we went about our business I was constantly struck by how wonderfully things are done in Japan. So I thought would share my, ‘5 things we ought to have in the UK’ list. These are some of my favourite things in Japan, and whenever I see one Mayo laughs as I shout ‘Why don’t we have that in the UK!’.

1) Mini delivery vehicles. This applies to all mini delivery vehicles. I saw mini lorries, mini vans, mini florists, mini people movers and even a mini camper-van. I want one! One of my big worries about London is the air pollution. So I cycle to work, I cycle everywhere (not to breath it in more, but to do my bit to reduce it). And congestion. But the big worry for cyclists (other than pollution) are lorries. You learn how to avoid them, but recently I found out that they kill more pedestrians than they do cyclists. So now I worry about my kids as they walk to school! I didn’t see a single big lorry on the side streets in Tokyo. Everything was delivered by small sized vans. And it was quiet, and clean, and safe. And the air was fresh.

Plus they’re super cute. Why don’t we do that in the UK?

Mini- Vans in Japan

2) Mum and two kids electric bikes. Actually there are bikes everywhere. But since the terrible earthquakes a few years ago you can really notice Japan caring more about energy. Nobody drives their kids to school. If it’s too far to walk they all use these wonderful electric assisted three person bikes. Great swarms of them at pick-up time. Not like the terrifying mass of curb mounting SUV’s we get in London!

I want one (and two more kids please… mine are too big now!)

Electric Family Bikes

3) Matcha Frappuccino. Why do I never go to a Starbies in London, but visit every day in Tokyo? Matcha Frappuccino. It’s the best especially if you are sitting in the 6th floor garden at Harajuku crossroads (opposite Laforet).

the 6th floor garden at Harajuku crossroads

4) Teriyaki burger. Need I say more? If we do have them in the UK they’re not as they should be.

5) Tokyu Hands. I can’t write about this place enough. It’s on umpteen floors and is full to the brim of everything you ever might need to made or fix anything. Walls of card, plastic, wood. Wracks of washers, nuts and bolts. Baskets of saws, drill, and chisels. Think of our European equivalent BHV in Paris and multiply it by twenty gazillion.

I have a love of hammers (I must have fifty or more!) so the first thing I bought was a nice selection of mallets and hammers for my work. Please please please Tokyu Hands... come to the UK!

Well there’s my list. I could have added; Food (there is no such thing as bad food in Japan), florists, multi-coloured kit-kats, okinomiyaki, takoyaki, bullet trains, the list goes on.

But if truth be told. I ain’t half looking forward to a proper cup of tea!

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