Today's Notables

Europe Travel Log, Part 1

August 2013
Hisashi Furuichi
President and C.E.O.

European art work

This year's AABC Europe Advanced Automotive Battery Conference was held in Strasbourg, France. The AABC originated in the U.S., but has recently started being held in Europe as well. Unlike a typical exhibition the symposia held here are the main events, after which hors d’oeuvres, wine and champagne are served, and the participants network in the exhibition hall. As you know, PRIMIX has consigned all sales to the EU/US battery market to Buhler AG. PRIMIX jointly exhibited with Buhler at this conference, and PRIMIX’s Ohata-san delivered a presentation at one of the symposia. I will leave the report on AABC to Ohata-san and Simmel-san, and instead discuss my visit to Italy before I arrived in Strasbourg.
PRIMIX is currently in contact with an Italian company that has been a subject of discussion at our product development meetings. Located in Bologna, the company manufactures a very innovative CIP/SIP vacuum emulsifying machine. In the past we have directly approached European companies several times, but have never once received a good reply. This time, we decided to request a company that FMI (our former affiliate) relies on for part of their imports to introduce us to the Italian company. The name of this company is TK Europe, and as the name shows, they have ties to us in the past. The president, Mr. Molinari, who is currently 64, received financial support from FMI (then TK Food Equipment) to establish TK Europe when he was 32. My brother, Akira Furuichi, also had a close relationship with Mr. Molinari through family ties. I’ll skip the details of the business discussion, but thanks to the conversation being held between Italians, talks with the company in Bologna are progressing well, and I believe it won’t be long before we visit them together with our engineers.

Restaurant Photo image Building

In Milan, Mr. Molinari took us to a restaurant called Al Porte for dinner. Large pictures of the famous French cuisine chef Hiroyuki Sakai, Italian cuisine chef Mamoru Kataoka, and the owner of the restaurant were hanging in the entrance way. Chef Kataoka's restaurant is in Nishi-Azabu, and is also named Al Porte. In his youth, he once worked as a chef at the Japanese embassy in Milan. Wanting to acquire the art of authentic Italian cuisine, he visited the kitchen of Al Porte every day to train. When Chef Kataoka returned to Japan to branch out on his own, the owner of Al Porte agreed to allow Chef Kataoka to use the name given the seriousness and diligence with which he underwent his training. Al Porte in Milan has been in business for close to 40 years now, and on the day we went, it was full. In fact, the restaurant is so popular that reservations must be made 2 months in advance. It goes without saying that the food was "molto bene" (very good).
Since we had a weekend between the appointment in Milan and the AABC, I went to visit a friend working in Maranello. Maranello is in the Emilia-Romagna region in the province of Modena. The name may spark an image for some people, but it is a very small town in the countryside. However for some, it is the world’s most famous small town. The friend, Hamajima-san, was a classmate of Yusa-san from Yu Design who manages the design of Primix's Tokyo office, Nagoya office, Osaka office, and even the design of our machines.

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