Makoto Shinakai’s film Your Name is still running in Japanese theatres after exploding the box office in a way not seen since Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away. The film has been a huge hit in other countries, breaking records around Asia and inspiring Chinese fans to go see the film in cosplay. Now a smart company that organizes events for singles to mix and meet each other is tapping into the popularity of the film with official Your Name dating events in Tokyo, where fans of the film can mingle with each other in a structured away, perhaps finding that special someone. I could probably list fifty reasons contributing to Japan’s falling birthrate without breaking a sweat, but two of the biggest are, no time to meet anyone in the busy world we live in, and (sad to say), the high number of people in their 20s who lack the basic social skills to initiate a romantic relationship. Structured events, which are part of the trend of 婚活 kon-katsu or activities related to finding a partner to marry, are one possible solution.
I like seeing young companies being innovative, using new ideas to create value for their customers so they can be successful now and in the future. There are lots of companies like that in Japan, for example making new kinds of shopping malls that create a really 21st century experience. Even the concept of dagashi — the old-timey candies that have been loved in Japan since before WWII and which have traditionally been sold in tiny hole-in-the-wall shops — got a new lease on life thanks to a chain shop that recreates the feel olf Old Showa right in the middle of a modern shopping mall, allowing a new generation of children to taste Sakuma Drops or Namaiki Beer for kids. Sadly not every company here is busy moving into the future. Recently J-List’s bento, pen and Sailor Moon buyer and I visited a “new products fair” put on by one of our distributors, a company that’s been around since the 1960s. We were shocked at how low-tech the place was: no new products of the kind we needed for J-List, not even standard things like accessories for cell phones. When we asked about one produce’s price, a middle-aged man shuffled papers for a while before apologizing that he didn’t know the price, and would have to send it to us. (Why not store all that on an iPad, bro?) Worst of all was, 100% of the selling was being done by tired, middle-aged men who smelled like ashtrays, and the other women in sight were refilling green tea cups and certainly not engaging us with creative ideas or suggestions for our business, which is pretty much the way things were in the late 80s. It was like we’d entered a time warp, and were were happy to get back to J-List.
More great news: the rest of our 2017 Fukubukuro Grab Bags are Holiday Boxes are up on the site, ready for you to browse and buy! This year the staff has worked really hard making extra awesome selections of anime toys (two to choose from), our “Doki Doki Random” set, plus “ecchi” grab bags from both Japan and San Diego, which have totally separate items. We also have our J-List Box monthly boxes you can order too, which also have no duplicate products! Order one now!