by Dona with help from Lois and Tana
We have been at the June Tokyo International Mineral Show for 27 years. We were among the very first American dealers to be invited and we love the city and the special team that organizes the show.
Several years ago a new show was organized by Mr. Yoneo Suzuki of Planey Co., Ltd, a former member of the June show organization. The show has grown rapidly due to some favorable points; i.e. the facility is vast and is able to accomodate the rapid growth; the Sunshine City area in Ikebkuro has everything within walking distance; the cost of the hotel rooms are more moderate. The negative? It’s damn cold in December!!! But that also is a point in their favor: people are looking for things to do out of the cold!
Lois has worked the show since it’s beginnings (Wayne will go about every other year) – we have a small area to work with but that is the nature of this show – no humongous booths like in Tucson or Munich.
Japan does not have any of what we would call ‘heavy hitters’ so our inventory for this show is somewhat toned down to pretty things and special items for the sizeable collector base we have built there. We do well with thumbnail size specimens and customers love our small ‘bins’ filled with natural crystals or polished stones, sold at special prices. This year the exchange rate was not in our favor but it sure made the specimens look cheap to the Japanese.
The show is held on two levels of this facility. This year the show added dozens more dealers putting the total at around 375 representing many different countries. Show attendance is very good – the aisles are filled all day.
More popular in Japan than minerals, fossils always take front and center for the special displays. I do believe Japan has more fossil museums than any other place I can think of. There were magnificent ammonites on display in addition to a giant ‘marine cemetery’ of ammonite and nautilus fossils.
And then there is the unusual: several display cases filled with jars of fish, animals, and insects – all transparent and used in teaching. Fascinating to say the least.
The variety of material at the show is vast – beautiful carvings (love the opal frogs), a talented glass artist whose insects, etc. were life-like, a darling man cracking open Mexican geodes, antiquities, jewelry, gems, fossils and minerals – something for everyone.
And how better to end the trip for Lois and Tana? Why – a trip to see Mt. Fuji up close and personal. It was a beautiful day to see the somewhat elusive mountain (usually cloud covered) and have a boat ride on the lake.
Late for dinner???? No worries, catch the next Shinkansen back into town – WHOOSH!!!!
There is yet another show ramping up for the end of February beginning in 2015 sponsored by yet another organization. Perhaps Tokyo will become ‘show central’ – watch out Changsha!