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Interview to Wooden House Cluster to Japan, new tenant of R&D unit

<Introduction of Activities at Sendai-Finland Wellbeing Center R&D unit>

 Wooden House Cluster to Japan has started their business at Project Room of R&D unit since May. We interviewed to Mr. Jukka Tuomisto, Project Manager, who is making business in Japan.  

What is “Wooden House Cluster to Japan”?
Tuomisto: Wooden House Cluster to Japan is consortium of 10 Finnish companies and one support member. They produce components for wooden house like wooden doors, windows, kitchens, stairs, also log houses. And the one company offers ecological paints, which are made entirely of natural materials and contain no poison.
  We want to sell whole houses and wooden house area planning with ecological houses like Sweden Hills near Sapporo.Mr. Kimmo Kuismanen, Architect in Oulu, is supervisor of this consortium. And I am project manager. My main role is making business in Japan. 

How was it established?
Tuomisto: I and Kimmo met at an exhibition in Canada 15 years ago.
And we have been seeking a possibility of proposing Finnish-style house to Japanese market for years.
Kimmo had a Japanese architect in his office, so we draw house plans which are highly-integrated of Finnish and Japanese styles, and also matching Japanese construction rules.
I collected these 11 companies in Finland through asking their opinions on Japanese market, if they are interested in Japanese market.

What is the goal of the project of the cluster in Japan?
Tuomisto: As a first step, we are planning to have a model house in Sendai area, because we want to have partners like construction companies and distributers, who are interested in cooperating with us. It is most important to have a model house for those partners and customers to understand what Finnish house is. When someone plans to buy a car, he would never decide what to buy only from the picture in brochure. As same as he must try driving the car before buying it, customers would like to see the inside the Finnish wooden house and understand how good it is.
One of our targets is support for rebuilding after The Great East Japan Earthquake.
Because of the rising sea level and tsunamis there is the need to develop new kind of coastal building at disaster areas. Kimmo can propose a reconstruction-planning for these disaster areas. He will come to Sendai next November to discuss this proposal with Sendai people.

What is advantage of Finnish house?
Tuomisto: I think Nordic style houses like cottage is familiar with most of Japanese. But they might not know that many Finnish parts like doors are used for Nordic style houses.
One big difference between Finnish house and other Nordic style house is a sauna. Finnish house always has a sauna inside. In Finland, even apartment buildings have two or three saunas in them for residents.
Sauna is “Furo” (Japanese bath) or “onsen” (hot springs) for Finnish.
I think Japanese like sauna, as well as Finnish like Japanese onsen.
But Finnish sauna doesn’t so hot as Japanese sauna, and doesn’t have TV inside (smile).
Design in harmony with nature and Practical furnishings
(from Suomi Koti web page)
  One point I would like to recommend to Japanese people on Finnish house is atmosphere of home. Home collects family, and we can have a relaxing time there. Many Japanese business persons work late and go to Izakaya (pub) after work. But home is most important place for Finnish people. We can relax at home. That is why our brand name is “Suomi-Koti” (Finnish home).
I believe that the population in Japan will increase again if more Japanese people rediscover how wonderful the time with family is through living in such relaxing homes.

Why did you choose “Sendai” as the base of activity in Japan?
Tuomisto: I have lived in Japan seven years- five years in Hokkaido, and two years in Tokyo. So, Japan is a country familiar to me.
The reason why I chose Sendai is I had a very good impression to Sendai When I visited Sendai 15 years ago. I was member of a business training course program arranged by EU Center in Tokyo. When I visited Sendai in the program, I found a lot of companies and factories were in Sendai. And I also found that business persons in Sendai were very positive to international collaborations, and that there were many business opportunities in Sendai.
Of course, it was also one of the very important factors that Sendai and Oulu have a collaboration to promote mutual businesses.
As one month has passed since I start living in Sendai, my understanding of Sendai has deepened.
The sidewalks are so wide that people can walk in a relaxed manner, and the city center is not densely-packed with many buildings. I also like the climate and architectural structures like Sendai station.
I think Sendai has very good city planning.

 What kind of support do you expect from S-FWBC?
 Tuomisto:  I would like the opportunities from S-FWBC to meet local companies who are interested in Finnish products, or international collaboration.
Competition is very tight nowadays. I believe international collaboration will help mutual growth in the market.

Mr. Jukka Tuomisto, Project Manager, Wooden House Cluster to Japan
c/o Sendai Finland Wellbeing Center
3-24-1, Mizunomori, Aoba-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi-ken, 981-0962
Tel. 070-6465-5558 Fax: 022-303-2667 Email:

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