2021 is the birth year of FUUUN - our new mobile experience. Like a new-born child, the first year is one with lots of exciting unknowns, low-level mistakes, and genuine blessings from those around.
The first manifestation of FUUUN is the L-size prototype, we called it FUUUN.L.000; Working closely with the local tea-house experts Namazugumi, specifically with the young craftsman Nishimura-san under the guidance of Kishimoto-san, we went from broad concepts to hinge details, spatial arrangements to cultural references.
When it came to the exterior of the vessel, we settled on the chrome wrapping as our solution, through hours of hard work in sometimes freezing temperatures, we applied the film for the first time, with noticeable room for improvements;
On the softer side, we wanted to create unique human scale goods that would embody our passion for both technology (future) and culture. As such, we have developed our original Tenugui in collaboration with the tenugui expert Kamawanu, with a generative art pattern that is based on the weather data of Mt. Fuji area.
WIth the support from the community of Birth, we met lots of great friends including Kitamura-san, Kaneda-san and Izumi-san who took us to a eventful trip to Choshi: the high-light was at the observation deck where we had a perspective to see the arc of the earth through the 270º degree ocean view.
On a trip south, we visited Coco-room, a passion-filled hostel with a community overflowing with love, where we were hosted by founder and assistant Tengyo-san and many other amazing people.
And the Sakura blossoms took us to Kyoto. To Uji, to Keihoku, where we met up with Toryo-san and Sumin-san and our many new friends, including Kei-san and Feilan-san from ROOTS, Matsubayashi-san from Asahiyaki, Mikubo-san who taught us her up-lifting way of tea, Erikyan-san and Takuya-san as they settled just so briefly on the perpetual van-life.
One full-moon night we sat besides Biwako, immersed in the paper art-installation by Mochime-san, and Sho-jin cuisine by Wakabayashi-san. It was an sublime experience going way beyond the taste-buds.
And we got to befriend the owner of Kinoya in Fuji, whose passion for movies permeates the kominka that he owns and operates.
Then came the triple group of reporters from Tabippo, with Shun-san taking us as far as Shigoku, hosted by our very XO Ryotaro-kun. ________ -san who came with their whole family and filled our capsule with laughters.
Between these experiences, I got to take my son Issey with me on a father-and-son trip to Miho no Matsubara, where the seeking and navigating, the cooking and the drive talks really bonded us (and I admit I probably spend too much time working and needed this time to spend with my son)
Through some kind introductions, I got a chance to pitch Fujiyoshiーsan from Forbes Japan and landed an article. It was such an honour to work with Tano-san on the article.
In fall, we made our longest trip yet: driving all the way to Hokkaido to meet up with the Deneb team, with Ludovic, exploring the Jomon culture around the Hakodate region. The ferry rides with FUUUN gave an extra sense of expedition to what was already a symbol of freedom.
Back in Tokyo, we partnered wth Blink to offer a unique co-working space package where one could literally have a seat at an office in Roppongi, while occasionally having an extra-creative, hyper-focus escape into the Fuji mountain area with FUUUN.
And to tip it all off, just before Christmas, was the appearance of FUUUN at the centre of Roppongi hills for the Latvia Japan Friendship 100th Anniversary Project - Expanding Lights ~ A gift from Latvia, the birthplace of the Christmas tree ~
And here we are, on the last day of the year. This has been the first year of FUUUN.
I’d also like to take this moment to thank our founding team: Masa-san, Toryo-san, Kana-san, Sumin-san, Ryotaro-kun, Hikari-kun, without any of whom we would not have had such an eventful year.
To me personally, as someone born and raised in Hong Kong, it's also a business born in a foreign land – Japan. Familiar, for I have visited the country numerous times and even studied and worked here briefly at various periods; yet foreign, for the culture notorious for its subtle manners and implied nuances was not particular easy to fully embody. I am truly grateful for all the generous introductions and serendipitous connections, frank feedbacks and distant supports. This is just the beginning. FUUUN has just started walking, in this coming year, it's about time to start 'talking' sensibly :-)
(Teaser: FUUUN-L is also going to have a sister soon: FUUUN-S! so stay tuned!)