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Reflections on a Decade in the Pearl Industry: Moving Forward with Gratitude

Today is February 29th. From January 4th to February 14th, I went on a business trip to a pearl farm to harvest pearls and conduct sorting work.

Upon returning to headquarters, I was swamped with office work every day. As a result, it’s been a while since I posted an article on this site.

Pearls harvested in December and January are auctioned off at exclusive pearl auctions held once a month from January to March respectively. Since top-quality pearls are auctioned off in January, Mikimoto and Tasaki Pearls tend to bid relatively frequently. Of course, other pearl companies, specializing in processing and wholesale, not widely known to the general public, also bid a lot.

The February auction has ended, leaving only the March auction remaining. The pearls auctioned in March are of the lowest quality. Despite being of low quality, some pearls, when made into necklaces, can fetch over $1000.

At the company where I work, meetings are held in March to review the previous year’s pearl farming performance and to prepare for a new start from April, including reporting financial results and revising wages. I create materials for these meetings on a daily basis. I diligently compile sales data for hundreds of kilograms of pearls, sales figures for each pearl farming site, and sales figures by size. Additionally, I also create documents regarding the quantities of nuclei (cores shaved from oysters to accumulate nacre and eventually become pearls) used for pearl cultivation by size. Budget plans for each farming site for the upcoming season are also prepared in consultation with the responsible parties at the pearl farming sites.

These tasks will be completed soon. Once finished, I will resign from this company. Around February 10th, I informed the president and the head of the pearl farming site that I intended to resign. Due to my adjustment disorder, no one could persuade me to stay.

Since that day, my mental state has been improving. Or rather, I have almost fully recovered since deciding to resign. I have worked for the company for ten years. Shortly after joining, I worked on creating the company’s website with an external vendor. I take pride in it, considering it quite a excellent site among Japanese pearl companies. While not comparable to Mikimoto or Tasaki, I believe it’s an impressive site, second only to them. Even after ten years since its creation, I often receive compliments from companies and consumers looking for pearls, saying it was the best among various pearl company websites. I also started managing Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for the company. I had been using Twitter personally since my late twenties, but the company wasn’t operating Twitter even when I was 34 years old. Initially, I often heard remarks from the president like, “Don’t use social media during work,” or “Twitter now? Isn’t it too late?” However, once the number of followers exceeded 4,000, the president began boasting to outsiders, saying, “It’s my company’s social media.” By the way, yesterday, after years of struggle and providing encounters with various pearl lovers, I closed those social media accounts. During the most challenging initial three years, the company was negative about my operation of social media. They didn’t want me to pass on my precious treasure to them. I don’t know if it violates company rules, morals, laws, etc., and I haven’t consulted the president about closing the social media accounts. Regardless of any issues, once I close the social media accounts, it’s over.

Starting such social media at the company, I gained knowledge and experience about pearls while sorting them every day. I also conducted pearl sorting work for two months at the end of each year. I felt I could do some sorting myself around the fourth year.

The first three years of sorting harvested pearls at the pearl farming site were tough experiences. I had no idea about the thickness or thinness of the nacre layer, and there were days when my hands couldn’t move. Even after ten years, I still don’t have the ability to sort pearls perfectly, but I have grown significantly compared to back then.

During my time at the company, from around the fourth year, I started dealing with many customers in pearl transactions. From around the fourth year, the number of customers contacting me through social media increased rapidly.

I personally came to like pearls. So, even on holidays, I went to distant customers to show them pearls. Since I enjoy riding motorcycles as a hobby, I always look for reasons to ride. If I can ride my motorcycle no matter how far, it’s enjoyable for me. It was truly a happy time to deliver pearls to people who love pearls after enjoyable touring.

On the other hand, the company didn’t seem to approve of my actions very much. From the perspective of the president, whose slogan is “The value of pearls decreases when you sell them yourself,” my actions were not appreciated. Additionally, my energetic sales of pearls compared to the president’s disapproval were relayed to me by colleagues.

With such a president, I ultimately decided to resign from the company.

From April, I will operate a small trading company with an acquaintance. We will deal with food products. The acquaintance, or rather, a college classmate, is not particularly close to me. He had been working for one of Japan’s leading trading companies. He seems to have started his own business leveraging that experience.

More than ten years ago, a few of us went to his house to hang out. It happened to be my birthday that day. At night, he prepared a large cake for me. Apparently, I threw the cake at his face, possibly due to happiness and drunkenness. I don’t remember doing so.

After waking up from sleep, I heard about this from a friend. “You threw the cake at him while you were drunk!” Hearing that, I was shocked and fled from his house. I spent some time in a nearby park, swinging on a swing, feeling lost.

One of my friends eventually found me after searching. He tried his best to console me. As a result, he and I returned to the friend’s house who had prepared the cake late at night. The next morning, I apologized to him on my knees. He forgave me with a smile.

Since then, while he and I are classmates, I have started using honorifics with him.

With such a relationship between him and me, I think it’s the right distance to work together. It’s often said that working with friends doesn’t go well. I have had such experiences in the past.

To avoid repeating the same mistakes, I will strive with the cake I threw in mind.

And of course, I will continue my work with pearls at Flower Jem. Since profit is not the focus, I believe I can continue this work with ease and sincerity. I consider it my hobby, job, and mission.

Through pearls, I have been able to interact with many wonderful people. My beloved dog, Lulu, also received gifts such as collars, clothes, and toys from those customers.

In the future, I want to continue this activity to deepen understanding of Ako pearls and pearls even a little bit.

While writing this article, a colleague in the same industry called me and supported my future.

The heads of the pearl farming sites where I work assured me that our relationship would not change even after I resign.

Many of the clients and customers I have dealt with seem likely to maintain the same relationship even after my resignation.

So, I’m not at all lonely about resigning. But, knowing that everyone will continue to maintain the same relationship even after I resign fills me with indescribable gratitude. I cried with joy after the phone call with the colleague in the same industry ended.

Yesterday, I also spoke with the owner of a pearl farming site, one of our business partners, and he said, “Even if you resign, make sure to come and visit again!” and I cried.

This fiscal year, the company’s sales are at an all-time high. I can expect a significant raise rate and a considerable bonus for next year. Many of my friends and acquaintances say, “You just have to show up at the company and sit down to get paid, right? So, resigning is a mistake!” What they say is correct. However, it’s not what I’m looking for. Sitting at a closed-off company, not interacting much with people, just receiving a salary and doing office work diligently is not what I’m looking for.

Anyway, this article seems to be getting longer than necessary, so I’ll end it here.

I can almost hear the voice saying, “Rather than that, let’s quickly make pearl products.”

Recently, amidst the market’s high volatility, I managed to source inexpensive baroque pearls. Furthermore, I was able to procure high-quality pearls as well. There are plenty of pearls that should be turned into products. I’ll diligently and promptly work on turning each one into a product. I always feel you watching over me.

Similarly, I plan to continue spending time with pearls while keeping in mind the Akoya oysters, which have been steadily producing pearls in the sea for a long time.



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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