The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) has invited AC Gears to attend a local trade show set up by the JETRO Japan regional office in the Toyama Prefecture. We usually head to Tokyo and Osaka every year to connect with our existing vendors as well as seeing the trends from the land of awesome gadgetry, but Toyama has never appeared on the radar. Thanks to JETRO’s generosity, the entire trip is complimentary, a proposal too good to be true – new city, new products, and lots of fresh sushi!

Toyama, close to the tip of Northwest Japan part of the Hokuriku region may not on the top of a “must-visit” tourists’ list. But, after a quick research on the Internet and Wikipedia page reveals that it is famous for … metal manufacturing (Aluminum, Copper). So not much of tourist stuff indeed, but things start to sound interesting anyway.

Here are some new products we will be looking at. Note a lot of the companies are very local so I couldn’t find more pictures of them on the Internet.


Brass stationary, ranging around $40. The price is great and the design is fantastically zen.


Japan’s 400 year old traditional lacquer with mother of pearl incorporated into an iPhone 4 case. Price? $40 USD, that’s a steal, no?

We took a look of about 25 local companies from Toyama arranged by JETRO that will be present at the government organized show and some of them seem very promising. After all design is Japan’s expertise and combined with the region’s metal manufacturing history, I think we will have something very nice here. Now we are excited of going on this trip!

What’s more, Toyama is known for its sea food, the mountains by the Japan Sea and the 20 meter tall wall of snow (well, not for the summer). I will be leaving New York this Sunday and head to Tokyo before transferring to Toyama from Haneda airport. There will be business meetings in the mornings and sightseeing in the afternoons (and parties at night??). All the invited companies will also get to hang out with the mayor of the City of Takaoka in a Japanese banquet the last day. A very interesting, and unconventional business trip indeed! I will be posting my findings of products and sights of Toyama Japan in the blog, so follow me and discover some rare Japanese gems!

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