Date: May 15, 2015
Written by: Kalie,Heather, Allie and Kane
It’s the President of Alpen, Taizo Mizuno!
A passionate skier, yet unable to make a living as a ski instructor, Mr. Mizuno opened the first Alpen store in 1972. Alpen now has 423 store locations in Japan and 4 stores in China, and has expanded from ski apparel and gear into a mega-store model, including Alpen, Sports Depo, and Golf 5.
After learning more about the company’s history and growth, we had a chance to tour Sports Depo and Golf 5 locations and spend a few yen. 50% of the stock carried in Sports Depo is from Alpen’s in-house brands known as high quality, low price alternatives to name brands.
We had a Kaiseki-style lunch at the Tokugawa Art Museum and Gardens. We weren’t sure what everything was, but we were raised to try at least one bite of everything!
Lunch was followed by a tour of the gardens, led by the sweet and informative Grandfather Nagoya. We learned about the history of Nagoya, Japanese tea houses, and native plant life of the area, including the Slippery Monkey Tree. Grandfather Nagoya learned English after the Second World War because he wanted to help create peace and unity, and only gives tours to foreign visitors.
Inside the museum was a collection of artifacts exhibiting family treasures that formed the inheritance of the 19th Owari Tokugawa Marquis Yoshichika. The exhibit included art, furnishings, armor, garments and other items (lots of incense burners and a teeth dying kit…) ranging from the 12th century to the 17th century.
Now, off to dinner and a chance to meet with students attending the NUCB Business School.
Fun Fact! According to Dick, the flushing sound featured on Japanese toilets was added to combat the water shortage that was occurring due to ladies’ room decorum (flushing while you go).