Companies I wish I had time to look into and write about, given how they seem to be making interesting statements about Japan's retail markets:
ErgoBaby - How could a 10 year old company, headquartered in the famed entrepreneurial hub of Kapalani, Maui, take over Japan's market for a consumer product, wiping out all domestic competition* using only Internet sales and word-of-mouth marketing, without U.S. trade lobby help or anyone noticing?
Kaldi - Japan's biggest coffee roaster and import foods retailer, whose dark-wood interior stores are designed to mimic the packed stalls of Mideast and Southeast Asian markets, seems to have only women employees. There must be men who work for the company -- according to the website (which features as many typos as your typical first run Shisaku post) the company president is a man -- but has anyone ever seen one?
* I recently conducted an informal survey at a local festival. In the course of 45 minutes I saw 21 babies in carriers. One was in a BabyBjorn, three in no-name knock-offs. The other 17 were in Ergobaby carriers. What was surprising was not the small number of competing carriers but that I counted any competitors at all -- Ergobaby's market dominance is usually total.