The Tokyo International Mineral Fair, organized by Tokyo International Mineral Association (TIMA), is celebrating it’s 25th year! And....so is KRISTALLE as a 25 year exhibitor! We were among the very first U.S. invitees and hardly knew what to expect in a brand new area of the world for us. There are a few of us still here that started 25 years ago.
The attrium being prepared for the show
Empty hall with tables ready for exhibitors to arrive
The crew finishing the booth set ups
This 25 year association has turned out to be a wonderful run....the TIMA group are so well organized, considerate and basically will leave everyone to do their thing without picking away at small things (sorry....U.S. show organizers but some of you need to lighten up). Set-up is spread over 2 and half days so there is no stress involved and it leaves us plenty of time to chill out, do some shopping or touring. The show has reasonable hours as well - 10 to 6, although running it until Tuesday is questionable.
Planning our setup
Lois unpacking minerals
Wayne busy at work repricing into Yen
We have established relationships with collectors and museums and we look forward to greeting each other every year. There is a very strong group of collectors here who love to collect minerals from Japan. They actually have a one day show during the TIMA show in another area of town and the place is packed with collectors of Japanese specimens.
Rob Sielecki of Ausrox, one of the other dealers who have exhibited long term at this show.
A relative newcomer to the Tokyo show - Marcus Origlieri of Mineral Zone, who shares the booth next to ours.
The one day show for Japanese Collectors
The down side? So why in the hell don’t I know more than a smattering of the Japanese language? This is dreadful I know. In the early days we had translators but now almost everyone speaks English, especially the younger Japanese. But where did they learn the word ‘discount’?
Lois sets up the mineral displays
The finished display
The attendance is usually around 8,000 to 10,000 for this five day show and the space gets, as the English say, chock-a-block. The show area is in the atrium between two buildings and can get quite hot as well. We are generally just before the monsoon season. This year the weather was very mild and no rain.
The queues to get into the show
Visitors crowding around the booth
Some Tokyo tidbits: pet stores are not allowed to show dogs and cats after 8 pm - the Ministry of Animal Protection has deemed that the bright lights after 8pm distress them. OK...I’m fine with that since we found the Calico Cat Cafe where for ¥1000 you can bring your cat and let them run free and be petted and played with. And let’s not forget the restaurant about one hour out of town where trained monkeys serve you! You gotta’ love it! There are still demonstrations against nuclear power with regularity at the Tokyo Government Building next to our hotel, but very organized - more like a parade than a demonstration. The 7-11 stores in Tokyo are the new ‘hang out’ - free Wi-Fi, lots of variety of food (and they even heat it up for you!) and some even have musicians and they are generally open 24 hours. There is a 7-11 just outside our door at the show and I’ve even managed to get their Wi-Fi at the show! We’ve found restaurants that serve only turtle, some that serve only eel and a great one where you cook your steak on a hot piece of lava. There is absolutely no smoking allowed on the streets and you will find designated areas set aside for the workers to light up, but smoking still allowed in most restaurants.
Part 2 to follow...