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Pearl Sorting Challenges and Unexpected Hotel Comfort

It’s the fourth day of my business trip. I am currently sorting the pearls harvested last week. The performance of these pearls is not very satisfactory. They have a thin nacre layer, making them less attractive pearls. Despite using a large nucleus (to create 8-millimeter pearls), it seems that the growth of Akoya oysters did not meet our expectations. Currently, the farm manager and I are sorting the pearls together, but due to the unsatisfactory results, we have been somewhat avoiding discussions about the pearl yield.

The first harvest of pearls had a thin nacre layer and was of poor quality.

Amidst this, the second round of pearl harvesting began today. Pearls harvested in the evening were brought to the office. As shown in the video, these pearls have a robust luster. The farm manager and I are both excited because these pearls show a strong performance, unlike the previous batch.

The pearls harvested for the second time have a strong shine. In other words, the nacre layer is thick.

So far, attempts to produce larger pearls have resulted in poor quality, while efforts to create pearls proportional to the size of Akoya oysters have yielded favorable outcomes. It appears that when a large nucleus is inserted into an Akoya oyster, a correspondingly thick nacre layer is not secreted, leading to the production of pearls with a thin nacre layer. Of course, in cases where Akoya oyster growth is robust, inserting a larger nucleus can still result in lovely pearls. This year, given that the growth conditions of Akoya oysters were not particularly favorable, this outcome is somewhat inevitable.

On the whole, about 80% of the nuclei inserted are proportional to the size of Akoya oysters. Therefore, the outlook for the pearls to be harvested in the future is not expected to be poor.

During this business trip, I dedicate myself solely to the daily task of pearl sorting. However, today there was a small hiccup. The farm manager of the pearl cultivation site had ordered a tumbling machine for washing pearls from a supplier, but it was revealed today that the supplier was attempting to send an entirely different machine to the pearl farm. Recently harvested pearls need to be thoroughly washed with detergent, and without this tumbling machine, the sorting process cannot proceed. The farm manager was in a bind. It occurred to me to ask if, by any chance, our closed pearl cultivation site from a few years ago had such a tumbling machine. The farm manager responded with a “yes.” The closed pearl farm is about an hour away by car. The current time is 14:00. The pearls harvested today are expected to arrive at the office around 16:30.

The farm manager and I immediately headed to the closed cultivation site by truck. We arrived at the cultivation site at 15:10, loaded the machine onto the truck, and returned to the office by 16:20. Just as we arrived back, the freshly harvested pearls also reached the office. While my days are typically filled with the routine of pearl sorting, today’s unexpected turn of events made the process quite enjoyable.

The dynamics have changed. Initially, there were few customers requesting pearl products from me, and I only had about two customers to interact with simultaneously. However, lately, this number has been gradually increasing. Meeting the individual demands of each customer has become challenging relying solely on my memory. Naturally, proper organization is necessary, and while it makes things a bit busier, the joy of daily exchanges with people who love pearls is truly fulfilling.

Interestingly, some customers also share their opinions about my contemplating leaving my job. I haven’t consulted with colleagues, friends, or acquaintances much about the prospect of resigning. Generally, individuals tend to instinctively justify themselves. Those with experience in changing jobs tend to view it positively, while those without such experience tend to be more negative. This parallels discussions about whether to continue a marriage or get a divorce. I’ve had such discussions in the past and even collected statistics on them. The result was that opinions were significantly influenced by the experience of the person being consulted. This was a valuable lesson for me. It highlighted that people often fail to provide objective advice on others’ inquiries, excluding their own experiences and perspectives.

The room in the hotel where I am currently staying, priced at $33.80 per night (room only), is very small, old, and somewhat run-down. However, strangely, I find it oddly comforting.

These experiences have taught me not to haphazardly seek advice on important matters. The act of consulting others, in my case, was likely a desire for affirmation. While it’s reasonable to seek opinions on aspects like the color of a necklace thread, decisions that significantly impact one’s life, like a job change, should be self-determined. In this context, the distance between me, Etsy, and the customers of Flower Jem seems just right. It appears that many of you are offering quite objective opinions. Moreover, a lot of you seem to be saying, “Do what you believe in,” which I find challenging to articulate. There might be some contradictions in these statements. What I’m trying to convey is that the opinions of customers from a distant land are remarkably valuable to me compared to the input of colleagues and friends nearby. There’s a tendency for emotions and personal connections to influence advice from close friends and family. However, I sense a different dynamic with customers here. It’s challenging to express precisely.

This is a hotel in Osaka City that I visited to use the restroom about half a month ago.

This connection goes beyond pearls, and I’m starting to receive messages beyond product requests. I started this pearl shop with a light heart, thinking no one would notice. However, now it feels like there is a guardian spirit, and I sense that “I am not alone.” As the number of customers who appreciate the pearls I handle grows, I feel a shift from the solitude I once felt. In the past, I enjoyed the pearls I liked by myself. But now, the enjoyment of pearls is shared, and today, I sent photos of freshly harvested pearls to a few customers. It felt like sending pictures to friends who also love pearls. It’s a small thing, but for me, it brings significant happiness.



I am part of a Japanese company with an Akoya pearl farm. Apart from the company, I personally run an Akoya pearl shop. I would appreciate it if I could share smiles with various people through pearls.

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