The club logo is above. The image comes from the fact that the abbreviation of the club name, “Buncho”, is the same word as that of a sparrow.
The club has been meeting once a month ever since they started in 2008, so they have been around now for 10 years. I started attending a few years ago, and have thoroughly enjoyed the time I get to spend with like-minded people to talk about stationery.
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The club meets all around Tokyo. Today we met at a rental office space in Shinjuku that is decorated like a school classroom.
Despite an early 9:30 am start on a Saturday, everybody who pre-registered on the club’s Facebook page arrived on time. There is an unofficial club rule that the door gets locked once the clock hits 9:30, so people are good about arriving on time. First, the club-leader Hara-san welcomes the guests.
We then go around the room introducing ourselves. Since today’s room was decorated like a classroom, each person came up to the podium to give their introductions.
After the introductions, we split up into groups of 5-6 people.
The basic rule is that everybody brings one item of stationery they want to talk about - something they like, something new they just bought, something that didn’t quite live up to their expectations - anything is fine. We take turns talking about what we brought.
The show-and-tell is merely an ice-breaker for meandering conversations about all things stationery, whether about the specific product we brought or our experience with similar products. Each table has a facilitator, so there is nothing to be scared of even if you are a first-timer.
The following are some of the products people brought for today’s meeting:
Each product shown is recorded in the official club minutes listing the product name, where it was purchased, and the approximate cost. A snapshot of the page is posted on Facebook after every meeting.
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Sometimes we even get representatives from stationery companies come to present their new products. Today we welcomed a PR person from ZEBRA to tell us about the newly published ZEBRA Complete Guide Book, covering the 120-year history of the company along with an in-depth review of their entire productline.
By now some of you may have noticed from the pictures, but we actually hardly ever have time to eat breakfast! Although the meeting is called the breakfast club (choushoku kai), we are usually too caught up in talking about our stationery that we don’t have time to eat. The only exception is when we meet in a coffee shop or restaurant that lets us use their space on the condition of ordering food. That is the one time we make sure we take a break from our talking to actually enjoy breakfast.
Today we collected 800 yen (approx. $8) from each participant for the meeting room rental fee before we went home to spend the rest of the weekend with our loved ones. A nice thing about meeting early on a Saturday is that the whole weekend is still ahead of us even after we go home.
This time we each got a special gift from ZEBRA on our way out!
What do you think?
The club always welcomes new members, so if you are visiting Tokyo and want a chance to talk to fellow stationery lovers, come check us out! Event information is shared on our [Facebook page], so make sure you follow us. Due to space limitations, pre-registration is required and attendance will be cut off as soon as the limit is reached.
(Note from Bruce the translator: For those living near San Francisco, I am working on organizing a similar Stationery Breakfast Club in collaboration with Mai Do, the stationery store in SF Japan Town. If you are interested in such an event, please shoot me a note at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org)
- People who like stationery
- People who want to get the most out of a Saturday morning
- People who want to share the unique ways they use their stationery
- People who want to learn about stationery
Information: Bunbougu Breakfast Club