When I arrived at Bag and School Shop Fukuhara, a shop located in the Ojima area, I heard Mrs. Fukuhara, the owner’s wife, and her friend Mrs. Ota speaking together enthusiastically. They were working with a lovely ambiance, and it made me feel good and welcomed.
“What are you making?” I asked them. These small fabric bags intrigued me.
“These are small bags for elementary school students. They put their placemat in,” explained to me, Mrs. Ota. Placemat? In fact, in Japan students eat lunch together, and children must have his placemat. It’s sized to the school desktop.
Mrs. Fukuhara has been working in the shop for 40 years. Initially, it was Mrs. Fukuhara grandmother’s shop. She made school bags, but currently, they have stopped making it. But the shop still sells a wide variety of bags!
Bag and School Shop Fukuhara specialized in the sale of elementary school uniforms, swimsuits, swimming caps, hat, sports uniforms, etc. A wide variety of products! Currently, Bag and School Shop Fukuhara provides more than 700 elementary school students in the Ojima area!
Each school assigns a particular type of hat, uniform, swimsuit, swimming cap, sports uniform, etc. to pupils. Design and color often are very different, and Mrs. Fukuhara must memorize all these particularities! It seems very complicated!
You can get a headache looking at all these boxes! They contain school hat; each school has its school hat.
About swimming caps, color depends on school and grade; for example, red for first grade, blue for second grade, etc. The most challenging thing is that each year there is a rotation in each school. To not mistaken, Mr. Fukuhara, the owner, makes a table each year for each school swimming cap color.
“We sell swimming suit, but we have to make some especially for some schools,” said Mrs. Fukuhara.
On a shelf, a thing suddenly caught my attention. It looks like a type of blanket, and it can be stored in a bag. “It’s an earthquake protective hood make in foam,” explained Mrs. Fukuhara. “In each school, children have one stored on the chair back in a fabric bag. In the past, we had to make it at home by ourselves! Now things have changed.”
During the interview, a lot of customers came to buy swimming suit. “It’s the season!” said Mrs. Fukuhara. Fathers, mothers, grandfather, and students themselves went to the shop. Bag and School Shop Fukuhara is very much alive. The kindness of Mrs. Fukuhara and her friend Mrs. Ota easily explains this. So if you want to buy a beautiful bag or clothes for your elementary school children go to Bag and School Shop Fukuhara!
See you soon!
Story and Photos by Aline Lambelet