While doing job-hunting in Tokyo, I came across this opportunity to visit Tsubame, a city in Niigata that is famous for monotsukuri (物作り) especially in metal goods, to experience the culture and industry in the area for ten days.
The first three days in 長谷川挽物製作所 was probably the most difficult as I was asked to dress like workers in the factory and learn from them by doing exactly the same thing with them.
Since I was only expecting to sightseen and look around factories in Tsubame, it was shocking to me to really make my hand dirty and become a 物を作れる人 (people who are able to make goods), as the owner 長谷川克己 stated. However, I was grateful that 長谷川さん offered me the chance to learn from the experts and experience how these metallic parts are being made throughout the production line.
From learning how to measure the products to working with computer numerical control machines, I had gained some basic ideas and knowledge of industrial factories.
After experiencing the core spirit of 物作り, 新越ワークス delivered me a lesson of the power of branding by introducing its three brands and the passion of bringing Tsubame’s culture to Japan and even the world. At 新越ワークス, the owner and his sons really have the passion for their products and the bonds between people, including bonds between people in Tsubame, bonds between makers and users and bonds Tsubame and the world.
The whole day tour at 新越ワークス remind me that I used to major in marketing and all the branding knowledge I have learned in college.
Not just the traditional part, companies in Tsubame have also started to follow the Japanese government’s trend of DX, so-called digital transformation, by importing POS systems and software to manage customers’ orders and productions processes, for example, 阿部工業, arguably one the most fully digitalised companies that I have visited, as 阿部工業 even successfully achieved paperless in the factory.
To sum up, I really appreciate the support and hospitality from people in Tsubame throughout the ten days, it was an honour to visit so many talented workers and entrepreneurs who are so passionate and proud of their business. Would recommend everyone who seeks to discover the Japanese Shokkujin spirit to visit Tsubame.