My name is Tario (some of you may know me with my online alias “gocchin”) and I’d like to welcome visitors to our Team Niimi site, the official blog for our brand grindworks.
Team Niimi is named after my good friend and the founder of grindworks Kiyonari “Doc” Niimi. Doc Niimi has been involved in the Japanese golf industry for over 40 years and brings extensive knowledge in golf club design, manufacturing, as well as sales and marketing, not only in Japan but globally. Doc Niimi will be blogging on Team Niimi in Japanese on various topics including commenting on the current golf industry, interesting club designs and technologies as well as his personal insight into the growth and development of grindworks.
On the English side I’ll be occasionally adding my own blog posts about various things of interest, including golf clubs, the JDM golf market as well as interesting (I hope) tidbits about Japan and it’s wonderful culture.
I’ve been involved in various aspects of the golf industry over the last 10 years and have been lucky enough to be based in Japan all this time. Being originally from Canada, living in Japan has been and still is a fascinating adventure. Tokyo is a world of its own and I still explore and find new things all the time. I’ve also had the pleasure of working with many golf industry experts, whether it be designers and creators like Doc Niimi and grindworks Technical Advisor, Kenji Kobayashi the father of Titanium drivers and former President and chief designer at famed forging house Endo, to meeting and working with many of the brands in Japan whether big or small, including their founders, top designers, and master craftsmen. Currently as a consultant for several Japanese brands I continue to learn every day.
I also spent many years working at top online retailer Tourspecgolf where I had the chance to interact with many golf enthusiasts around the world who have come to appreciate and love JDM golf. It’s these enthusiasts or “maniacs” as I affectionately call them in Japanese, who have given me so much insight into what the consumer wants from a golf club when it comes to design and performance. Meeting these people from all walks of life and from countries around the globe, and sharing similar passions is perhaps the most pleasurable part of being involved in the golf industry. One thing I have learned is how important it is for the brand to respect the consumer, not only for their buying power, but for their opinions and knowledge.
In Japan there is a saying in business that the customer is “kamisama”. Kamisama means god. I’ve come to learn the meaning of this saying and hopefully helped Doc Niimi in applying this mindset to the growth of grindworks. One thing for sure is, every golfer is different, every customer is different and its impossible to satisfy everyone. Even though small companies like ours are sometimes limited by resources, we do try the best we can.
I’m going to borrow some text I wrote in my alter ego for fellow brand ONOFF which really expresses some of the Japanese spirit I have absorbed while living here; “Monozukuri. What do people think of when they hear the phrase “made in Japan”? They think of unique designs and unmatched quality. They think of style, innovation, and premium craftsmanship. Monozukuri can simply mean making things or creating things, but for the Japanese the meaning is so much deeper. It is a an attitude and state of mind. It is the spirit of not only making excellent products, but also constantly striving to improve them, through better designs and better manufacturing. Better designs, better craftmanship in turn creates better performance.”
In conclusion of my first blog on Team Niimi I wanted to post a disclaimer noting that, anything Doc Niimi or I post on this blog is our personal opinion. It is not meant to be judged as right or wrong, and whether we give praise or criticism, it is meant to be in a constructive manner. So hopefully readers can enjoy and get a little something out of our posts. So until the next one, hit it long and straight!