Tag Archives: Nagano


Matsumoto Craft Fair 2009

 Looking around a big Craft Market on the weekend made me think about “crafting” and “marketing“.

All the crafts on display were topnotch. I wasn’t really interested in a lot of them, but I could appreciate the “craftmanship shape quality of all the vessles and other crafts present“.

The real difference was in the presentation/marketing.

Some artists displayed their stuff like cakes at a bake sale, while others thought a garage sale type layout might best attract attention and buyers.

bad display of a cool item

These things were cool and reasonably priced, but they looked like crap just lying there. Having them on little stands would have been a lot better.

much better angle

Maybe the artist wanted people to pick them up, but you could barely see what they were if you were just walking by.

handle makers are not knobs

Other artists really had a handle on the presentation situation.

There were many good techniques:

Cool Display Units 

cool display

 These would still look good sitting on a table, but the display unit made everything so much better.

What the heck's in there?

This one triggered my curiousity. There were lighting fixtures/lamp things inside. Yes, I did look in all 3 holes.


Expensive Cool Stuff Out Front

 cool hats ... but they sold out of everything but the hats

 I don’t think this person sold too many funky hats for $80, but they sold out of all the felt belts and pin-on corsage things that looked like flowers.


Grouped Things

Somethings just look better in numbers; lined up, grouped together, lying in bunches, or spread out.

solidarity in numbers

 United we stand, divided we don’t sell … or something like that.

photo opportunity to create interest

 20 together look cool, but maybe the effect will be different when you buy one and put it on your apartment balcony. These were the 2nd most photographed thing at the market. Having 10 people constantly buzzing around your display with cameras can’t be too bad.

colorful things get noticed

 Being colorful always helps.

nicely lined up is nice

Nicely lined up never hurt sales.

Why didn't they have these in the Elementary School Orchestra?

User friendly grouped musical things are begging to be looked at and played. (played term used loosely)

You better buy one because you're kid really likes it ... for 5 minutes.

Things made for kids can’t be too bad.


Craft Market people are crafty … sometimes.



note: the jury is still out on this one.

I've been looking for lemons on chairs!

These people were selling coat hangers made of twine or something. I guess they knew that their product wasn’t so visually stunning.
I think they sold them all though. (the coat hangers, not the chairs with lemons on them)


double note: ahhh! The most photographed thing at the Craft Market was …

The Pinky Girls!

The Pinky Girls working for Matsumoto City selling “2 Day Bus Passes“.
I was going to buy some … until I was reminded that I drove to the Market.


triple note: How not to sell your stuff …

These artists are sometimes tempermental

don’t sit behind your wares in total despair.


quadruple note: I never mentioned the ring/jewelry people because really they don’t need any presentation skills or other help to make people look and buy their stuff.

quintuple note: “location, location, location” didn’t work at this place. The best located stand was a rogue shop on the way to the Craft Fair that 75% of people walked by to and from the Fair.
They were selling crappy factory laquer ware stuff and didn’t get too many sniffs, bites, or second glances.

sextuple note:

a craft market could be a boat show
a carafe market sells vessles too!



Trying To Catch The Moon



I saw this piece at a once a year Craft Fair in Matsumoto, Nagano. 
The event is a pretty big deal with really good artists from around Japan being invited.

It was tucked inside a little stall among hundreds of other little stalls showing and selling wares: wax work, leatherwork, woodwork, glasswork, metalwork, ceramic work, …

This was the best thing I saw this weekend. I would have bought it, but it was 200,000 yen (about $2.000 plus U.S. dollars).

I wondered why I liked it so much:

It was strange and funky and funny and odd.

It was hiding behind the artist’s other stuff that was more accessible and within the average person’s price range: coat hooks, spoons, …

It was sitting there begging to be looked at .. and being ignored.
I notice stuff like that sometimes.


I went back to this piece 2 days in a row … 2 times each day and even got the artist’s webpage address.

And then I realized I liked it because of what it represented … in a silly sort of way that I could I understand:

reaching, striving, yearning, and trying to obtain a goal.

I don’t have too many goals in life, but this was a metaphor … or metalphor …that I could appreciate.

If I was an artist, I would create stuff like this … because then I could have it, think about it, and keep it close by forever … or until I pass on my little space on this planet to someone else … or sell it and make some more.


note: here is another photo of it.

Trying to Catch the Moon


 double note: from the artist’s link  it was made in 2006 and no one’s bought it yet; I may still buy it … if I reach, strive, yearn, and try a bit more than I am right now …  or a bucket of money falls in my lap.

I’m reaching, striving, yearning, and trying for that big bucket of money falling in my lap … because that’s easier.


triple note: I think I put on sappy blogs after a holiday: holidays make me sappy … I guess. Go figure.

quadruple note: possibly there are blogs about a Craft Fair, cactuses (cacti), dogs, fashion, signs, mannequins, and visored people coming on in the near future.
… and other crap as usual.


When I’m Not Blogging, I Possibly Visited … (Part Last)

 Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture


Hidden treasures close by always leave me slapping my head thinking “Why haven’t I visited here before?” … but so do mosquitoes around a re-hab center.


Lonely Planet

Only a 3 hour drive from where I live; Matsumoto in my guide book is described as:

The city has a somewhat lazy, dishevelled feel to it, though the coming of the 1998 Winter Olympics will probably force the people to spruce things up a bit.

Hey! those “lonely planet” books are expensive!


Teenage Mutant Ninja Frogs

 The city has a fascination with frogs for some reason.


Matsumoto Castle

 Matsumoto Castle is one of the Top 3 Castles in Japan. I’ve visited the other 2: Himeji and Kumamoto before.
I didn’t mean to, things just happen like that to me.

Built in 1504 and completed in 1614, it’s pretty old. It was scheduled for the scrap heap when the Meiji Restoration period was in full swing; but some locals thought that would suck, so the city bought it … and the rest is history … but so is the past.

Why was it called the “Meiji Restoration” when they went around wrecking and tearing old stuff down? Stupid Meiji Restoration!


Matsumoto Castle

 The castle somehow looks better in black and white.

The Other Punters

I took this photo from one of the sniper windows, while slowly … ever so slowly … winding, shuffling, and climbing my way to the top of the castle, in my socks and everything!

Those are all the people who joined the line after I joined the line.

The castle looks like it has 5 floors, but there are really 6: one is secret. (you’re going to have to scroll back up to check this out, because I don’t have any more photos of it)


and Frog said it was good ... and it was

From what I saw Matsumoto looked like a very nice city, but with limited time before joining the final traffic jam of the trip there wasn’t time to explore anything else. I’ll definitely go back again.

a thousand trips in a thousand cans

 And that was the end of this year’s Golden Week adventure.

Another vacation packed away in a can along with all the other vacation memories in my head.



note: arriving home it was all the usually post-trip stuff: laundry, lawn mowing,  photos, milk purchases, and distributing the obligatory omiyage (souvenirs) to my neighbour and co-workers.





In the “How To Make an Action Movie Manual” there must be an entire chapter devoted to manholes.


note:  Tom Cruise or Bruce Willis must be the air duct/manhole using champion.

double note: Do the workmen climbing down manholes use “manhole coveralls”?

triple note: another great idea from Pat Coakley at Single for a Reason.

quadruple note: This manhole cover photo taken in Karuizawa city, Nagano Japan. It depicts Mt. Asama: a very active volcano.