It’s been a month already since my lasst post, but today I finally found some time to prepare another recap post of this years Japan trip. This time I’m sharing more than a dozen photos and some great memories from my return to Suzuka, meeting good friends Hiroyuki Fujita of Budd & Joey Company and Taizo Shimazaki of Handsome Lures fame.

Even after two months the memories of this day are vivid in my mind and I even remember the slight hangover from the farewell party in Osaka the night before. :)
Thanks again to everyone who came to say hello that night and special thanks to Shingo for organizing everything. I think it was a Saturday morning, when we left Osaka in direction Suzuka and I remember the excitement of going together to this special place that I remember so well from previous visits.

I was surprised how quickly the 3-hour ride went by, when the first tea fields came in sight. The ventilated green fields are a typical view for this area and it’s the one thing that I remember most from my first trip to Suzuka when I first met Mr. Fujita three years ago.

Budd&Joey Workshop
Hiroyuki Fujita – mastermind behind Budd & Joey Company

After a warm welcome we sat down in the air-conditioned front-room of the workshop and started right away with a lively conversation. The guests had the pleasure to have a first hands-on experience of the Fenwick 60th Anniversary Rod (a Budd & Joey Collaboration) and everyone was delighted by look and feel of rod and grip.

Budd&Joey Workshop
Hands-on with the Fenwick 60th Anniversary Rod

Budd&Joey Workshop
Taizo Shimazaki of Handsome Lures

Around lunchtime we went to a nearby restaurant that I remembered well from last years visit. It was great to sit together again at this place enjoying a delicious meal and talking. Stuffed with a healthy portion of Ramen and Gyoza we went back to the workshop to have a sneak peek at the upcoming “Bumpkin Jack” release. It was the first time that I was able to get a glimpse at finished lure bodies ready for coloring. I was amazed by accuracy and perfect body shape of every single lure blank and seeing two of the soon to be releases colors was fantastic.

Budd&Joey Workshop
Budd&Joey Workshop
Sneak peek at the upcoming “Bumpkin Jack” release

The “GBLS” (Grain Black Shore) color pattern looked incredible and when I heard that there will be a “Dalmatian” color release of this lure, I was delighted.

Budd&Joey Workshop
The stunning details of the Dalmatian color pattern

The Dalmatian pattern is one of my favorite Budd & Joey colors, with it’s fine and perfectly aligned spots creating a beautiful contrast against the ivory base color and orange belly line.

After having a look at more lures and color pattern details as well as more inspiring talk about coloring techniques and methods, we went to the main hall of the workshop. I remember the heat in this room all too well from my first visit during a hot summer in 2013. Again it took me a while to get used to more than 40°C after spending most of the day in well air-conditioned places, but I somehow survived. :)

Budd&Joey Workshop
Shingo inspecting color and finishing

Budd&Joey Workshop
Budd&Joey Workshop
More tools and machines…

We had the chance to have a closer look at materials and machines, while Shingo and Mr. Fujita had a lively exchange about woodworking techniques and ways to make creative use of even simple tools.

Budd&Joey Workshop
Discussing tools and woodworking techniques

Budd&Joey Workshop
Work-in-progress…

It was great to be back at this inspiring place and to meet good friends in fantastic atmosphere. There’s a special bond between us and I was more than happy to hear, that we would spend more time together during the next days (detailed report and photos to follow).

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