The beginning of May, first IKEA in Japan has opened at Funabashi, Chiba. 5000 people waited the opening on the first day.
Here are explanations about IKEA for people who don’t know IKEA very much. If you already know IKEA, skip below paragraph.
IKEA was established by 17-year-old Ingvar Kamprad in 1943. IKEA stands for “Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd.” Ingvar Kamprad is his name and Elmtaryd Agunnaryd is the village where he grew up. Today, there are 203 IKEA stores all around the world, and producing sales for 15.5 billion U.S dollars in 2004. Swedish new reported that Ingvar Kamprad had overtaken Microsoft’s Bill Gates as the world’s riches man. Believe it or not, he likes living a modest life. He flies in economy class, avoids wearing suits and lives in a discreet home.
Last year, I gave presentation about Sweden at my school in Canada, and searched about IKEA since that is such a representative company for Sweden. During the searching, I found first IKEA would open in Japan, and be called “Ikea” and is written as “イケア” in Katakana. I was a little confused why IKEA is called in some ways.
IKEA is generally pronounced “ikea” but in the U.S, it is pronounced “akia”. “Akia” is English reading probably, and “Ikea” is, if anything, alphabet reading.
I don’t know why IKEA or IKEA Japan decided to call IKEA as “Ikea” in Japan, but this choice might be a good idea for Japanese who read just English letters independently. (like Japanese call “tomato (tomeitoh)” as “tomato (トマト)”. Actually, I used to read IKEA as “Ikea” when I just had arrived Canada first time.
I hope there is cheap and nice ice soft cream in IKEA Japan which is my favorite when I visit IKEA.