Prologue Before Start up
Before starting TOJI business, I worked for a financial institution in the United States. As I was involved in oil-related trading business, I was kind of life chasing numbers and news day and night.
I was fully immersed in Western rationalism that numbers are justice but I also tell myself that I was doing a good thing for Japan where resources are scarce. I try best to manage price fluctuation risks for Japanese clients using financial engineering. There was also a pride that this was a national interest.
Until that day comes…
Episode1 Earthquake & mind change
On March 11, 2011, the Great Earthquake hit the Tohoku region. At that time I was on a business trip in Western Japan but that day I couldn’t go home and stayed there.
When I returned to the office next week, the world was completely changed.
Roppongi, my working area, was literally dark at night.
International commodity markets are traded for 24 hours, and the market price fluctuates greatly with news such as politics and geopolitics at the time. The earthquake disaster is a “big market event” from the view of market participants, so the market moves violently.
Our team made great profits then….
TO pursue profit is not wrong for the company, but my values that have been believed to be for “people or national interest” have greatly collapsed. It was a period of time to think deeply about what my values were.
I met TOJI at that time, as to be guided.
Episode2 Encounter with TOJI
Hot springs have been familiar since childhood so it seemed the same to me for Onsen and TOJI but when I met Tamagawa Onsen TOJI for the first time, I totally changed my mind.
First of all, you have to wait for a year and a half for the reservation. I went there when I almost forgot it, but I was so shocked by the effect of this hot springs and a paradigm shift in health care literally occurred. I changed the definition of “health” by 180 degrees since then.
I was crazy about TOJI.
I was convinced that the concept of healthcare would change if people around the world could use it on a daily basis as a health care.
I spent almost all of my time outside of work to read all the literature and papers and arrived at the keyword “mineral” that determines the quality of the hot springs.
It was the moment when I was able to conclude that the hot spring ingredient = mineral = the most important element of healthcare
Episode3 Build TOJI at garage
It is not easy for us to stay for few days over a half-day from Tokyo, especially waiting for a year and a half! It was a dream story to use for health care in daily life. At one time, I thought to buy the large amount of hot water in the hot springs and transporting it in a tank lorry, but that would not be a global lifestyle. The most wonderful feature of natural hot springs, “local production for local consumption”, has become a major hurdle here.
At that time, I found one paper. It was written about an experiment to regain the fertile land of the past by liquefying and extracting the mineral components in the ore and returning them to the soil. I cried out, “This is a great hot spring!”
I immediately went to the manufacturing plant and told me my thoughts and the plant manager said. “This liquid is like a thickened hot spring from across the regions.” I named this a “Shale Onsen” and decided to start a TOJI business at my home garage.
Last episode Japanese 湯治 to TOJI
In October 2013, the home garage was renovated and Le Furo TOJI started. Since it was a business that started with a philosophy, it was difficult at first, but I am having fun because I have this absolute strong belief.
“Like SAUNA in Finland and YOGA in India, We have TOJI in JAPAN !”
Le Furo will continue to make efforts to expand Japanese hot springs-TOJI-around the world.
Dreaming of a day when Japanese hot springs become TOJI in the world.