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What It Means to Have “KODAWARI”


“KODAWARI” is a tough word to translate into English, or to any other languages.  The standard expression can be “being particular about”, but it can range from passion to obsession, persistence to paranoia.  But when it is used in the context of fashion, food, lifestyle, it is not easy to pinpoint.

So here it is the ultimate example of the format of an event.

Life Lead by “Kodawari”

This event was produced by the former footballer Hide Nakata.  He decided in his teens that he would play in Italian league so started learning Italian.  He is fluent in not only Italian, but English, and speaks Spanish and Russian to make sure nothing hindered his possible destination.

Apart from being the top Japanese football player, he was always the fashion icon and opinion leader.  When he was playing in Italy (1998 to 2005) and in England (2006), how he dressed flying back to Narita Airport always hit the headline of the magazines.  (It was dubbed as Narita Collection.)  He has appeared in GQ magazine and Vanity Fair.

His fans analysed his quotes to understand the intentions, and they find plenty of anecdotes about his perfectionism and versatility.  To make sure he gets and reaches his goal, he makes sure that nothing limits the possibility.

So he has made to the top league in football, and become the influential figure in and outside of the sport.  He commands the incredible amount of respect from the extensive range of the population.

Producing CRAFT SAKE

Last year, Nakata curated an event CRAFT SAKE WEEK.  It will come back this March and April.  Only ten brewers present themselves per day.  They are personally selected to match the daily theme by Nakata.  It is to make sure each drop of sake will be appreciated to the maximum in the best possible way.

The best Sake deserves the best glasses, so they are supplied by a company who crafts their produce in a very traditional way, by hand.  They are included in the entry price to take home so that the customers will be able to continue enjoying the best sake at home with the best glass.

Food to accompany these dainty drinks are from some of the best-acclaimed restaurants in Japan.  Not only that, the chefs will present the original dishes only available for the event.  They serve their creation in Japanese-made ecologically sustainable plates and bowls.

The best food and drinks deserve the best atmosphere.  This occasion will not be any old exhibition where you could be standing and drinking one after another in the very industrial environment.  Instead, there will be 1000 cherry trees installed to create urban cherry blossom orchard to appreciate the atmosphere.

What shall we call this?  Obsession?  Passion?  Not quite.  This is “Kodawari”.

Celebration of Unique Perfection

Traditionally, Japanese appreciate the attention to detail, the perfection of the craft, and professionalism.  It does not mean that all the products must be perfectly identical, but originality and individuality are the essential part of the skill, to be only one in the world.  Sometimes, small “fault” can make the work unique and complete.  Yes, the real gems are made with Kodawari.  Then it is your turn to look and find them for yourself.

This word has become such a compelling concept for Japanese marketers; it can be seen in many advertisements every day.  There are so many products offering to be your precious one, be it daily goods, food, drink, or holiday of your life.  To survive this flood of so-called Kodawari no Ippin – the only one you ever need, you need to your sense of “Kodawari”, to meet your perfect match, to keep your standard high.

The pursuit continues through the daily life.  It is the journey so important that you could end up being a piece of artwork yourself.  It may be only then that you would find the unique gem for your life.

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