Wednesday 11 February 2015

Japan Trip Yokohama, Tokyo, Osaka and Tanabe Day 5

Well today I say goodbye to Yokohama and head to down town Tokyo for the first time. I am have been to Japan many times now but have yet to see Tokyo. My day started very early as I had a train or 2 to catch and had to allow for serious stuff ups on my behalf. I manage to be up for a cracking sunrise over Yokohama Harbour which was awesome.

The bag packing starts, knowing I was going to be training it I tried to condense everything I had so It was not too difficult to lug all my gear around town. I had booked a hotel located directly above Shibuya Railway Station so things should be straight forward. I managed to find my way to the correct station and platform to catch my train to Shibuya. It should be noted that the station I was catching a train from had 30 platforms and supported 12 lines all hidden by a shopping mall with 60 different exits. I stroke of pure luck had me sorted first time round. On the train I was fortunate to have all the messages in Japanese and in English so getting off at the right station would be a very easy task.

The train arrived at my station, the station I boarded at was big but nothing had prepared me for
Shibuya, it was at least 4 times the size of the one where I boarded in Yokohama. I figured it would all be cool as my hotel was directly above the station, in theory I just had to go up and I would be at my hotel. Oh dear, I had not realised that the station covered 4 city blocks and after walking in circles and losing all sense of direction I found daylight in an area I had not researched. Thank God for smart phones and google. I pulled up in a smoking area for a quick smoke and worked out I had come out at the complete wrong end of the station 3 blocks over from where I needed to be. I made my way down to the hotel to check in.

Being about an hour early for check in I decided to go for a walk around and see what this town was all about. It was still daylight so it was fairly easy to find my way around. I saw a Hooters bar where I figure I could rest for a bit till check in was open at the hotel. A few beers later I was on my way back to the hotel for check in. Shagged from the walking I needed a nanny nap before making an attempt to head out and see the town at night. Just as I was about to hit the hay I went to the smoking area for  quick smoke when out of the corner of my eye I could see a Shimano sign. Bang I had found a tackle store, no snoozing now, I grabbed my wallet and camera and went tackle store hunting. I found the store with ease and made my way up to the first of 3 floors of the tackle store and found myself lost in tackle for about 3 hours. It was getting dark so I made my way back through town hunting down a feed. I settled for a Maccas as it was simple and easy and I knew what I was ordering.

Shibuya is a cracking town and very friendly even in the shady area's I never felt uneasy or unsafe.

Tuesday 3 February 2015

Japan Trip Yokohama, Tokyo, Osaka and Tanabe Day 4

The Yokohama Show is a lot smaller than the Osaka show, probably about the same size as our Melbourne Boat Show in Physical size, the last 2 days I had just about done all the business I needed to do so it was now time to relax and just look at stuff.

Learning trends in tackle over here is important to see what the market will be doing in Australia, so a day of just looking at tackle and the interaction between consumers and various products makes it easier to understand what will be coming to Australia in the next 2 years. There is a big focus on light jigging products and let me tell you in Australia we have only just scratched the surface. It is clear that most of the technique we are currently using with light jigging is and has been technically wrong or less efficient than it could be. In the past 7 years since I started coming over to the Japan Shows it is amazing how many Australian fishing personalities, writers and store staff just make stuff up to sell rather than educating the people with correct information to be more successful in their fishing.

Having the opportunity to sit down and have a yak with the people who design the products to suit a particular fishing application has been pivotal to my growth as an angler and its great being able to return home to Australia and share the knowledge with our anglers.

I had the show almost all wrapped up and was ready for a nanny nap when I finished my last meeting, it was sit down time to finish off the Australian exclusive color designs for later this year, we have sent most of them back to the drawing board for completion and will review in the coming weeks when we get the samples back but I am happy with them thus far.

The guys from Gan Craft were heading off this evening while I was to stay on for one more night, I am heading off to Tokyo for a few days before heading back down south for the Osaka Fishing Show - the big one I have been waiting for. No flash restaurant tonight it was the hotel room with instant Ramen bowls and packing up all my crap for an early start on the trains.

Monday 2 February 2015

Japan Trip Yokohama, Tokyo, Osaka and Tanabe Day 3

Crowd start to gather, excitement is in the air and an odd silence of masses as they line up at the doors as snow falls around them. The first public day of the Yokohama show is about to begin.
The queue an hour after opening was still hundreds of meters long and 6 deep
Although not as big as the Osaka show the Yokohama show hold its own with the public day's. The queues were still long and the excitement was just as high. As the doors open the crowd busts into the building and quickly fills the arena. Being from Australia we are more conditioned to being restricted from the only tackle show that exists, our industry likes to control the tackle game by restricting access to the end user. Over here the end user controls what they want to see in stores and it works.
does not take long to fill up
Rather than retailers visiting a show where they look at fishing tackle and decide what you as the end user will ultimately buy the public is given access to the manufacturers. In turn the retailers can then see what the end user want to buy and then build their orders based on what the public want rather than what the retailer wants to sell you. Why is this a good thing? Simply the end user looks at the gear decides what they like, they tell the the retailer what they want, the retailer then orders what their customers want and the manufacturers make what is ordered. This has a profound impact on the sales chain. The customer gets what they want, the retailer sell what the customer wants and has less dead stock and the manufacturer has less waste and increases profit. This keeps all parties happy and every one gets what they want. For 5 years I have been preaching this to our industry and resistance is met at every turn. Allowing public access to a fishing tackle show in Australia is a long way off even though it was promised in a video interview last year. I guess our industry is happy living in the past.

kids fishing for toys

I spent most of the day today looking at and discussing the promotion of rec fishing in Japan. They have this part down pat. The rec fishing promotion and community engagement is of the highest level and it works. The shows are set up with serious education and customer engagement at all levels and for all demographics. Starting at the youngest level of the scale, a row of tables is set up where toddlers can touch and feel live baits, they are given a sticker for each one they play with, as they move down they are given colouring sheets to take home with a rec fishing message then they move down to small pools that are set up with small fishing related toys whirling around with the assistance of a pump. They are given a small rod to hold with  magnet on the end and they can fish out a toy that relates to rec fishing. The flow in the pool offers some resistance giving the rod a bend and a feel for a fight. This section is very busy and runs flat out all day. As the kids get a touch older there are pools set up with small fish including Carp, Ayu and Meddika. Kids are given
Live bait catches more than fish, it has also caught this young one
a short rod with no reel and a small bait to catch these fish giving them the feel of biting fish and also a fighting fish. The fish are very small so the fight is not that great but its all a part of the education. As the kids get a bit older they move on to a large pool set up and full of Trout. Each young person is allocated a guide/teacher and they line the edge of the pool, the teacher shows them how to tie on a hook and how to put bait and a float on explaining the rig and how it all woks together, the young person is then shown how to place the rig in the water and then they wait for a bite and are taught how to strike and land a fish. Once the fish is landed they are taught fast dispatch of their catch and it is put in a bag for them to take home. Fish in hand they then have the option of taking the fish to a group who teach them the old art of fish printing or they can take the fish to another booth where they are taught how to prepare the fish for a meal. As the kids reach teen years they have a handful of programs they can join, the stand out one for me was the
one on one fishing education
Daiwa Young Fisher Club. Once they sign up they get a hat, a sticker, a spool of leader and a lure. They all go through a few small education programs with Daiwa pro staff where they talk about getting the most out of their fishing experience. Once they have compeated these small programs at the rear of the booth was an area set up with prostaff that specialise in various species. The youth them choose which section they want to sit at and learn more about that particular species. The program comes to an end with all participants from that group getting together for a group photo. The DYFC does not finish there, they have a dedicated web site to rehash everything they learned at the show and constant communication is maintained. As the youth reach their mid to late teens they can then join
Daiwa Young Fishers Club
up with a college run by Nippon Bass Club where the kids are taught advance lure fishing techniques and advanced stream craft and habitat. Once they are old enough and skilled enough to understand every thing then the talk shows held at various parts of the show by fishing professionals are attended by big numbers of people young and old. To get more participation from females they run a program called Fishing Idol where young women are pitted against each other in a competition to become the Fishing Idol. Its a role model program that encourages more young women to become involved in the sport. If they win the title of Fishing Idol they will attend various fishing events throughout the year working with young women in rec fishing, many of these Idols go on to host their own TV fishing programs and join companies as pro staff or employed in the rec fishing industry. This plan is a long term program that works, there are no short cuts taken and it is done properly. The reason why there is so much excitement about going to a show is because they have been coming to these shows for years and it has always been a fun learning experience from when they were a toddler holding their parents hand and now they can do the same with their kids with the added bonus of playing with all the cool new toys that the tackle companies have on hand
Jackall Tungsten free slide kubara

Funny enough I actually looked at some tackle today, although there was nothing that made me all giddy I have to give an honourable mention to the new Twin Power by Shimano and in my best Borat voice it gets a "Very Nice!!!" vote, gonna get myself one of these, I also ordered my collection of Yamashita Collectors Gold edition jigs, 3 in total I am not gonna tell you how much they are worth but they were not cheap.

Mr Ed (Horse meat) on a plate with a raw egg yolk

After the show I joined the Gan Craft team for a feed at a BBQ restaurant where we cook our own meat on a charcoal grill built into the table, the normal tasty morsels from sliced beef tongue, chicken guts, pig intestine and wagyu we topped it off with a plate of raw horse with a raw egg yolk on top. Just when we thought we were done the President of Fish Arrow was sitting at a table nearby and suggested we try the pumpkin ice cream. To my surprise it was awesome and served in an actual pumpkin. Great night out with some good friends finished off with a walk (yes I walked) through the Train Station/Mall/high rise to the hotel. I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story for me.

Nippon Bass Club and Japan Bass tournament college

The trout pool

Jackall Inchiku

Awesome fish print skills

Hand made cane rods for Hera

Erik from Palau

Serika EGIPARA host

Fishing fighters

the hockey mask seems some what out of place

DRESS Stand talk show

Japans most famous egi fisherman Mr Norihiro Shigemi.

Yuu Yoshida Snipeer president with a gift of a Gan Craft Snipeer Collaberation lure.
The OSA 115 and OSA 80 Poison frog

Pumpkin ice cream