Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A BaselWorld Rerun - The Best Part about BaselWorld

This originally "aired" in 2012 -

Is undoubtedly the unexpected friends you make -

This is Katsuyuki Tanaka who I met in the entry way of Hall 1 just before opening time.  I was immediately impressed by his flair - this is a guy with the joy of life!  We got to talking a little, and it turns out he lives in Minato-Ku - not too far from where Wendy and I lived in Hachioji-Shi (Tokyo)! 

Today really marked for me a turning point - on many levels:

I was reminded about the passion and joy that can be had from simply taking the time to appreciate things.  To quote Erik B and Rakim -
"It's not where you're from, it's where you're at!"  Tanaka-san knows where it's at!

So I popped out, and promptly ran into Peter - the "case maker" for ochs und junior.  We had a coffee together and talked about the developments at ochs, and got caught up.  Peter is great because he will very cheerfully answer all of my truly ignorant questions!

And then back outside and I got stopped by this young lady -

She and her classmates study in Basel, and her teacher brought them in for some interactive English practice.  I was asked a series of questions - and I must tell you she is a MUCH better interviewer than yours' truly!  (I hope that she is not interested in watch journalism after graduation - I'll have to find another job - she's too good!) 
I met their teacher - the charming Ms. Lang and her classmates - BaselWorld watch out!  This is the next generation! 

And I was reminded about how funny life can be - I grew up in Ohio, moved to Japan to teach English, taught English in Japan, Portugal, Finland and Scotland, and years after leaving the profession, run into a Japanese "neighbor", in Switzerland!  And minutes later participate in the very type of activity I used to assign to my students - interviewing a complete stranger! 

And here is the even funnier part, Ms. Lang and her students said thank you - several times!  And when he found out I lived in California, and was from the US, Tanaka-san thanked me (ME!) for all that he felt the US had done to help Japan after the tsunami!  Have you ever had a moment, where your life has come full-circle?  Where you feel profoundly humbled?  Where you really can't believe and understand how lucky you've been, how lucky you are?  And how to respond to something like that?  So MY thanks go to you Tanaka-san, to you Peter, to you the class of S BA - Basel - thank you!

And if I had any doubt about life's random nature, and the daily challenges we all face - I went to visit Bremont the day after their fantastic event of Thursday night. 

Only to hear that several watches had been "misappropriated".  For the non-native speakers of English, that is a polite way to say that in the midst of putting on a wonderful event for their friends and fans, some idiot decided to rob them!

And I can tell you, that if it was me - I might (to possibly quote the folks at Bremont) "pitch a wobbly" - i.e. cry, "navel-gaze", or feel sorry for myself. 

And for anyone who has never met Mike Pearson (US Sales Evangelist) the ever quotable PR Maven Sarah Weare, and the truly indomitable English brothers Giles and Nick, you might think this likely.  But in fact, just the opposite - some hurt feelings and upset to be sure - but I suspect it might, in fact, be the gang from Bremont that really coined the phrase - "Remain Calm and Carry On!"

I know - BaselWorld is just a trade show - it's just people coming to order watches for their stores, some late nights, too much wine, missed meals and plenty of misunderstanding.  But in the midst of it all, I see something different - I see the world coming together - I see people yearning to understand and to be understood - and at the best of times, I see people moving out of their comfort zones - to try and connect. 
When you are in sales and marketing, and you have a bad day, it is easy to say - it's only a watch - what's the big deal?  But when you have a day that really reaffirms the possibilities for you - then you see that the watch was just a tool to bring you closer to what C. J. Koch referred to as the "unmet friend".  We all have unmet friends - and BaselWorld is as good a place as any to meet them!

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