Hello everyone, my name is Yamina and starting December 2018 I have been working as an intern for JCE. It was during this time the preparations for MONO JAPAN 2019 were in full function and I had the pleasure to work with the team to make this event possible.

For the purpose of this blog I will mostly focus on the event itself and the days before, instead of the two months leading up to it. This year we were blessed with more exhibitors than ever before and to make it all go smoothly we needed all the help we can get. This inevitably meant getting volunteers to accompany the team in preparing for the 3-day event.

The first three days of the preparations were filled with preparing the exquisite rooms of the Lloyd hotel, getting the exhibitors situated and setting up the Style Room amongst other things. Murphy’s Law may say ‘Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong’ but this was not the case for this year’s edition of MONO JAPAN. Of course, hiccoughs cannot be prevented, in a way you are dependent on several factors, but from my point of view the majority of things that were meticulously planned out went according to said plan. It was on the last day of preparations, the evening of this day would function as the opening party, that the reality started to sink in.

This was it.

Tonight MONO JAPAN would open their doors. Now, at this point in time I had only been with the team for a short two months, I was invested in MONO JAPAN, but I cannot imagine the pressure those who had been committed to MONO JAPAN from the get-go must have felt during this time. Preparations were made, last-minute tweaks applied, and before long the opening party was in full blast. That night I realized just how much time, effort, love and attention had been put into this event.

Combining the graceful and stylistic designs from Japanese craftsmen, innovative ideas, gracious handwork and functionality. You name it and there was an exhibitor that had something to offer which was just up your alley. It amazed me how passionate everyone was, how much of their heart and soul they had for the items and how much they wanted the public to enjoy it just as much as they had enjoyed producing them.

The team of MONO JAPAN 2019 – The one on the right in purple is me 

With the help of all the translators they were able to convey their perspective, the feeling behind what they had brought with them and how best to take care of these precious items. I cannot emphasize enough how willing to cooperate the exhibitors I met were. They were an absolute joy to work with, offered to help when they saw me in need of an extra hand and were enjoying the event just like the customers were.

At the small moments when I got to talk to the exhibitors face-to-face it was evident that they wanted, not only to make a name for themselves abroad, but also introduce their products and way of thinking to others, to have them appreciate their crafts for what it is, what it had been and what it could be.

The theme for this year was ‘Get Involved’ and I did not see one exhibitor who wasn’t involved with the public. For this reason, among others, I will continue to support MONO JAPAN in their quest to introduce Japanese crafts and design to the Netherlands, and Europe.

It was my pleasure and honour to be able to be part of a team working on such an event, and I hope I will be able to participate in any way, shape or form in the future. MONO JAPAN 2019 will never be forgotten, I will remember this experience fondly and hope that others may experience it, and learn from it just like I did.

With all the respect I can possibly give, to those involved in making MONO JAPAN 2019 possible. Including, but not limited to, the staff, the exhibitors, the Lloyd hotel staff and the volunteers!

-Yamina el Gaâd