Mar 07,2016. UPDATE

Hokuoh Kurashi no Douguten Talk “My Work-Life Balance”

2.07 Sun 16:00 START

Noriko Ichida, Masako Nakagawa, Tomoko Sato

INTERSECT BY LEXUS recently hosted a special talk with the popular online shop Hokuoh Kurashi no Douguten about work-life balance.

The intimate venue was packed with an audience of around 30, selected by lottery from the over 600 who applied. They were welcomed by Kohei Aoki, president of the company that runs Hokuoh Kurashi no Douguten. “Normally we only interact with our customers online so I’m both happy and nervous to see you in person today.”

Aoki started by first explaining how he always felt that his store and LEXUS had little in common. “For me, LEXUS always seemed very impressive and stylish, yet also different to what we are doing. But actually coming here, I found that there is something we share: we are both trying to help people live more comfortably in the ways they want.”

He then introduced the guests for the event: Hokuoh Kurashi no Douguten’s manager Tomoko Sato, photographer Masako Nakagawa, and writer and editor Noriko Ichida.

Noriko Ichida kicked off the talk by asking the other two guests about their jobs. “I decided to move to Okayama in west Japan after the Great East Japan Earthquake,” explained Nakagawa. “Currently I have two bases. My family home is in Funabashi City, Chiba, to the east of Tokyo. Once my work in Tokyo is done, I head west, where I work in the Kansai region. I live and work nomadically.”

Sato’s work lifestyle offered a contrast. “I have regular hours, during which I work to the best of my abilities, and then go home to enjoy my domestic life with my husband and family. It’s an ordinary lifestyle. At Hokuoh Kurashi no Douguten, we don’t do overtime. After all, the original inspiration for the shop came from the shock of taking a trip to Scandinavia and seeing how different the lifestyle was there.”

“The other day there was a popular article on Hokuoh Kurashi no Douguten about how to spend your evenings after 7pm,” Ichida recalled. “What do you do after you finish work and go home? Make dinner?”

“I share the housework with my husband,” said Sato. “I make dinner and he then washes the dishes, while I play with my children, give them a bath and put them to bed. Whoever doesn’t put them to bed gets to do the washing up instead.”

“I get help from my parents,” explained Nakagawa, “so I can work about the same as before I started a family. If I have to come home late, I jump in the bath with my son and try to spend some good one-on-one time with him, so we can talk about the day we had.”

“Oh, so that’s why you post so many bath pictures on Instagram!” said Ichida.

Now it was time to talk about the second topic of the evening: work. How did Nakagawa and Sato arrive at their present careers?

First off, Nakagawa: “When I was studying abroad, I took a class in photography and found it really interesting. I was able to communicate with my classmates by showing them my photos. Taking photos meant I could fit in like I hadn’t been able to before. Then when I came back to Japan, I started working for a studio and little by little was given more photography jobs.”

“I spent a long time searching for what I wanted to do until I became an interior design coordinator in my last job,” explained Sato. “In my thirties I started questioning if that was the right job for me. Then my brother Kohei invited me to start a company with him. That’s how the shop started. I came to realize how great it feels when you find something and someone you don’t know wants to buy it. 10 years on from starting the shop, I still recall that early joy and it makes me want to keep on working hard.”

“Of course, almost no one knows what kind of job is best for them in advance,” Ichida observed. “You pick up a camera and take a snap. You start a shop on a whim. It’s in these kinds of actions that a door to your future will open.”

To close the talk, the guests discussed some of the items they liked in the CRAFTED FOR LEXUS lifestyle collection exclusive to INTERSECT BY LEXUS. “My desk is always a mess,” said Ichida, “so I fancy the desk light.” Nakagawa admired the memo pad, while Sato said she likes the TEMBEA car organizer.

Hokuoh Kurashi no Douguten’s granola Oyatsuya Sun is also currently available for a limited time at the INTERSECT BY LEXUS first floor Café and second floor Bistro.