Japan has always been a nation synonymous with perfection and her quest for mastery. However, unbeknownst to the rest of the world, the greatest masters of this perfection hide within many little parts of the country not often traveled by tourists. For ZZUMA & Co.'s first collection, featuring premium fencing gloves modeled after the stories of world-class athletes, we had the chance to uncover the genius of one particular master.

Join our Founder, T.K. Wong, as he recounts the journey he took to a small town in Japan to seek inspiration, and eventually create the first ever ZZUMA glove.

"I was once told of a glove maker, living in the south of the small island of Japan called Kagawa, who made gloves of superior quality that the Olympic fencer Yuki Ota and his team mates used.

This glove maker's name is Mr. Hosokawa. He resides in the town of Higashi-Kagawa (formerly called Shirotori, or "white swan" in English) where his studio is also located. Back in 2008, Ota's father first sought him out to customize a high performance glove for his son's campaign for the Beijing Olympics that year, of which Ota won an Individual Silver medal. The acclaim of Mr. Hosokawa handcrafted gloves then extended to the fencer's team mates as well.

When I first saw and felt the glove myself, I could feel the level of quality, care and precision that went into the making of this glove. I was curious indeed, and made up my mind that I would go see for myself this glove maker on this island in the south of Japan and understand what made these gloves so special.

And so, my story begins.

Mr. Hosokawa and I first met at Tokushima Awaodori Airport in Tokushima, Japan. I think we were both filled with anticipation of what's to come, to finally meet the kindred spirit we probably are to each other -- him, excited at the prospect of someone traveling all the way to where he was to witness his craft, and i, curious as to how such perfection could be born in this area called Higashi Kagawa.

Together, we took a drive towards the direction of his humble studio and abode, only stopping halfway to dine at a quaint roadside udon place along the coast. That marked the first meal of my trip, and it was also there where I had one of the best udon noodles I have ever tasted. I didn't realize it at that time, but that unassuming little store was well-known across the country for its udon.