As you might know, Tokyo will have the Olympic in 2020. The last Tokyo Olympic was held in 1964, and maybe, for me, it will be the first time to watch it in my life.
I might be lucky to watch some of them, but I expect that people from overseas watch more and enjoy the rest of Japan.
I want to talk about one story. It is about Judo competition in 1964. It was the first time Judo was competed in Olympics, and Japan, as the Judo country at that time, was supposed to win all the 4 classes.
I mean Judo was not so international as now, especially now European countries are so good. Japan won three gold medals in a row, and the last day was the heaviest, where the match would decide the strongest Judo player in the world.
The opponent was a Dutch Judo player, called Geesink. He was good and he had been improving himself by staying in Japan many times before the Olympic to practice with Japanese.
Moreover, his personality and discipline were highly spoken of among Japanese players.
And he beat the Japanese finalist.
The auditorium became quiet, and the Japanese finalist seemed to be crying.
It was the next moment : when the Dutch coach tried to hug Geesink on the tatami, Geesink stopped him from coming.(the picture below) And he came back to the original position to bow to his opponent.
Judo as a Budo, which begins with Rei and ends with Rei, where everything begins and ends with a bow. A bow represents ‘courtesy’ or ‘respect’ to others.
He shocked many Japanese by his victory, but impressed Japanese more with his courtesy. His behavior is still highly spoken as a Judo sprit.
Maybe this was the moment, when Judo began to be international from a local sport.
I started out Fude Japan by helping friends with purchasing Japanese beauty products. When word got out, great interest from people all around the world followed and demand started growing – “Fude Japan” came to life. It is my goal to become the global leader in bringing a little bit of Japanese culture and tradition to each and every one of you.
I also write blogs here, and introduce Japanese culture, tradition and lifestyle, from Tokyo life to an interesting story of Japan and Japanese.
I want to talk about one story right after the Word War II. I get some good feedback on writing about Japan itself. I am going to learn makeup and brushes more to give you more useful information !
In Japan, we are supposed to respect old people. We help senior people. We have seats in all trains for old people, pregnant women, and others but any kind of seats would (should ) be given to old people by younger people.
I was always spending time with my grandmother when I was a kid as my mother owned a stationary shop and was seldom at home. So even now I like watching happy grandmothers with their grandkids on the street. Not grandfathers, lol. They seem to be happy but I am sure they have many experiences, good and bad. Especially during and after the war.
I asked many questions about the war of my grandmother – she did not tell me much .. She was in Taiwan and the ship she took was wrecked by a storm on her way back to Japan in 1945. She thought she would die but survived. That may have been the only thing she talked about. She had a painting in her room which looked like so wet.
This is a story of an American soldier and Japanese boy at that time.
In 1946, after Japan surrendered, the Allied forces came to Japan from USA and the British Common Wealth. My father told me he spoke with an Australian soldier in Hiroshima, where those from British Common Wealth stayed. He somehow acknowledged Australian accents)
USA occupied Tokyo.
There was a 20 year -old soldier who came to Tokyo. His name was George. George worked at GHQ, General HeadQuarters in Tokyo, as an interpreter.
George met a Japanese boy, who polished shoes of American soldiers at GHQ. The boy looked so hungry that George made a sandwich with jam and butter and give it to him. He bowed and thanked to him, but did not eat it and instead put it into a box.
George said, ‘you can eat it here, you must be hungry’ The boy said, ‘Yes. I am hungry, but my 3 -year old sister is waiting at home. She is the only family member. I am going to eat it with her . Thank you very much’ He bowed politely. ’Her name is Mariko.’
George, a Japanese American, at the time of the war, felt inferior to his American colleagues. He met this boy, was actually encouraged by this boy, who lived in a dignified manner in the devastated land and poverty.
George helped him for two months, but he decided to come back to USA to study law.
Later, he came back to Japan and looked for the boy and his sister Mariko, but was not able to find them. Those brother and sister would be around 80 years old now if they were alive.
His last name is Ariyoshi. George Ariyoshi became a lawyer and politician after he studied law and later became Governor of Hawaii in 1974.
Those were tough times, not only in Japan, but everywhere in the world, and I remember this story when I see old ladies ( and men) who must have had a hard time. Hard times that I cannot imagine. But they look happy now.
(the picture is grey squirrel brush with Echizen lacquerware – 20,000 yen)
I was informed that KZ-04 KZ-07
were currently out of stock, and that they would be back late in January.
The Silver fox of Kihtisu price is still not known, but Kihitsu told me that it should be lower than the Makie silver fox 100,000 yen.
I will write about baseball players in Japan from overseas. Please skip it if you are not interested)
I was reading an article about a baseball player from Canada who played in Japan for eight years.
He retired and lives in Florida now. His name is Scott Mathieson.
He was asked. What does he miss after he left Japan ?
He said, ‘Food.’
He misses sushi, which he used to eat twice a week in Japan.
Wagyu beef in Tokyo
Chicken in Miyazaki..
Interestingly he misses Pizza in Japan, lol.
There are many players from USA, Canada, these days from Dominica….
Some play well some some do not. It seems that the key to success is how well they can cope with the Japanese culture. If they enjoy life, culture, food, they will likely to succeed.
Some players love Tokyo, some like Kobe, Nagoya, Hiroshima… though those cities are so different from each other.
It interests me how they live here with the cultural differences more than how they play baseball.
When I was a junior high school student, there was a book about foreign baseball players. I read it many times.
It was written by Keio University professor who focused on the cultural aspects of baseball. That was more interesting than baseball itself.
One player I have never seen but I remember very well from reading is
He is not from USA nor Canada, nor Dominica.
He is from Russia.
He was born in Russia in 1916, but one of his relatives was a House of Romanov, so his family left Russia in 1917 after the Russian Revolution.
After a long travel from Russia, through Siberia, the Staruchin family landed in Hokkaido in 1925. The city is called Asahikawa.
He was a very smart kid and played many sports very well. He spoke Japanese perfect.
At that time, many boys were playing baseball.
As a matter of fact, American all-star players came to Japan to play baseball in 1934.
There was no pro team in Japan. College baseball was poplar such as Waseda – Keio rivalry. So the first professional baseball team was organized to play baseball with the American team.
That was the Tokyo Giants, the first professional baseball team in Japan.
Staruchin was well known to the baseball world, and he was scouted by the All Japan team directly from school.
The American team had Babe Ruth, and Lou Gehrig. Yes, Ruth and Gehrig played in Japan before World War II.
I am not sure if Staruchin pitched against Ruth or Gehrig, but I feel the history there.
A kid from Russia played baseball with Babe Ruth in Japan right before the World War II.
Staruchin joined Tokyo Giants later. The Giants are a team of ‘gentlemen’ now (at least they say) but at the time, not everyone was nice to him.
Fujimoto-san, manager of the Giants, said to Staruchin, ‘don’t care about what others say if you want to be Sawamura, the ace of the Giants.’ (Sawamura, the ace pitcher, was drafted and died at the age of 27 in the battle of Philippines. Baseball was called off between 1943 and 1945. )
Under Fujimoto san, Staruchin became ace of the Giants, and won more than 300 games after the war.
Fujimoto san moved to other teams, and Staruchin followed him. ( By the way, some Russians moved to Japan after the Russian Revolution. Morozoff, very popular chocolate company, and Game company called ‘Taito’ were both founded by Russians who came to Japan after the Russian revolution)
Well, back to Staruchin,
He was killed in a traffic accident when he was 40 years old.
He was loved by people in Hokkaido, and a stadium in Asahikawa was named after him – Staruchin Stadium.
After the games in Japan in 1934, Japanese players was invited to USA to play baseball.
Staruchin was a member of the Japan team. Since he was raised in the rural city in Hokkaido, he was surprised to see many ‘foreigners’ in America. ( I can imagine that there were very few foreigners in Japan at that time, especially in Hokkaido)
He said to the manager of Japan, ‘those foreigners don’t speak Japanese.’
The concept of Starbucks is to sell a third place, not coffee itself.
Workplace is competitive, and home is a place where you need to behave as a nice spouse in America (this is not what I say, but the book says!). Starbucks thinks people need a third place to be relaxed at.
When Starbucks came to Japan, they opened a shop in Ginza, a very expensive area. It was the first shop outside North America.
People are busy there, and need a place to be relaxed at. They opened shops in busy areas gradually.
Now that Starbucks have a shop in Tottori, the smallest prefecture in Japan, they have covered all of the 47 prefectures.
Japanese need a relaxing third place, LOL.
Starbucks sells a place where you can be relaxed. That is the concept.
I sometimes feel the same way. People love to buy makeup products or brushes, but some are more into a cultural or historial aspect behind the products, which is also fun to communicate.
I cannot compete with big companies on the same ground so I need to have something different.
Ganbari masu!( I do my best)
I want to update on several brands.
SUQQU will replace the current designing eyeshadows with new ones in January. The current products will not be available then.
Koyudo has Saibikoho with black handles.
Face L 100,000 yen
Face S 70,000 yen
Cheek 50,000 yen
Takeda will sell a limited set.
It is a set of saikoho hair (for the first 2 brushes), palmy (oronpi) eyebrow brush and itachi lip brush.
SUQQU Designing eyeshadows will be renewed inJanuary.
The price will be a little more expensive than the current 8160 yen.
It will be 8400 yen.
SUQQU will replace the current products with new ones.
Please let me know if you are interested in buying them.
I can buy 133 and 134 limited eyeshadow as well.
Life in Tokyo gets back to almost normal. People wear a mask, almost 100%.
I sometimes go to cafe to work with a computer. Many people are working at cafe, and it is encouraging to watch them.
Today, I was at cafe again. Ladies in their 70’s (?) were enjoying a conversation. They were saying that :
‘We are not worried about the corona virus much these days. Everyone wears a mask and doctors are good in general. “
They are planning to go to Hawaii or Okinawa together without their husbands. (Their husbands retired and stay home, I guess)
They enjoy life !
How about their husbands? In Japan, it is said that men, after retiring from work, don’t enjoy life as much as women. Women join a community outside work, and they enjoy the community while men don’t know other communities than their workplace.
I think it is true.
I belonged to a big gym before, and I was told by a gym worker that many women stayed all day and went out as a group after a gym.
Men exercise alone.
Japanese husbands have several nicknames.
It is funny, but it also tends to be true.
‘One coin husband’ The biggest coin in Japan is 500 yen (5 USD), and husbands go to Yoshinoya Gyudon(beef donburi) fast food chain, for a 500 yen lunch while their wives enjoy 2000 yen lunch with their friends.
‘Seven – Eleven’ It is a convenience store name but in Japan, some husbands are called Seven Eleven. Husbands work from 7 to 11 pm so that their wives have free time at home.
‘ATM Bank machine’ Wives can withdraw money when they need it, but they don’t usually need it.
All are jokes ( or maybe real for some couples) but it speaks well about the situation.
Those ladies next to me might have noticed that I was smiling subtly and writing this blog. I felt their eyes were directed to me.
I mainly buy products in Shibuya Tokyu and Shinjuku Isetan.
Those department stores are still quiet, compared to ‘ Before Corona.’ Yet I see some Chinese buyers who speak Japanese very fluently. They seem to be residents in Tokyo, so not many tourist yet.
Whatever the reason is, Japan COVID situation did not get worse. The Government of Japan has decided to accept foreign travelers of short-time stay now.
I reckon Japan will accept tourists in general soon.
I observed one Chinese buyer who was buying lots of SUQQU eyelash curlers. Do they sell SUQQU eyelash curlers in China very well? It is about 20USD. There may be some secrets in marketing. I need to learn how to sell it)
I don’t think I am good at advertising a product. I take a picture and post it to instagram and online shop.
The other thing is that I don’t do makeup so it is hard to know what people want.
So I talk to shops and Kumano brush makers, and get as much information as possible.
Mostly importantly, I value your feedback. Thank you)
Yesterday, I visited some brands who was displaying holiday collections.
They can customize brushes. That is unique as a fude maker.
They say the business is small, and they try to cope with customer needs.
You can contact them directly or you can use me) Please let me know.
It is difficult to write a blog every day. You see I don’t write a blog daily even though I want to.
I find it easier to write every day than to write e.g. weekly. It is easier if I make it a rule.
I haven’t come to this stage yet.
I try, and I try to write when I find a chance.
I tried to write a blog at cafe last night.
Two groups sat next to me in turn.
Though I tried not to listen, some words were heard, lol.
The first one was a business group.
An old guy, seemingly an eyeshadow manufacturer, was asking a lady, who seems to be a seller, for her opinion.
She put several eyeshadows and was telling him her opinions. And she was happily telling him that she had recently gotten married.
She was saying to him,
her husband is a Spanish. He is 195cm tall. He is a lawyer. He asked her father first for his permission, not to her. (the old guy said, ‘wow really?”) He left Japan without any decision, but later they met in London. Now they are married in Japan.
The second group are two ladies. One lady was asking the other for her opinion on how she could have her boyfriend propose to her. She and her boyfriend live together. She was not happy that it took long for him to make a decision.
It was a strategy session, lol.
I came back home and did some search. I thought I could write something as a blog.
I found some numbers. In Japan, 24 % of men at 50 years old have never got married. (14% for women)
It is in a square shape, the first time in Kumano history.
Kihtisu wants to put a French name as they did to their previous brushes.
I told them that my clients would prefer kanji (喜筆）name or product name in Japanese.
These brushes will be made by Koyudo as usual, with goat hair.
Please let me know if you prefer Kanji, Hiragana or English or French etc.
It would be interesting to know.
Fupa01 is now out of stock, but Kihitsu will ask Koyodo to produce it.
It will take a month or so. I will keep you updated.
I wonder if you prefer 喜筆 to Kihitsu (please see the picture above) .
The handle is darker than the Koyudo fupa01.
Do you think this color is fine ?
I was informed by Koyumo,
the cheek brushes of Gradation, Pearl White and Pearl Pink are now out of stock.
They will be back but take a few months.
(the middle one is a cheek brush of Pearl Pink )
I want to write about my experience when I broke my limitation.
Please skip if not interested, it is totally unrelated to brushes.
Many people study hard or focus on sports and do their best at some point of their life.
That is good.
I didn’t do much till I began to work.
I tried to find how easily or efficiently I could live through school.
I avoided studying long hours.
When I was at elementary school, there were mountains and a river in my town near Hiroshima City – just played there, right after school till a crow cried. (Japanese expression to describe ‘getting dark’)
When I was at a junior high school, I studied hard but it was only several months.
When I was at a high school, I did not study.
When I was at university, I studied only to an extent that I was able to graduate.
On graduating from a university, I wanted to work for a company where I would have an opportunity to work internationally.
I remember I applied to following companies.
And some more that I don’t remember.
Born and raised in Hiroshima, I wanted to work for a company in Tokyo or Hiroshima, but Hiroshima has only Mazda. I was not really interested in cars, LOL.
Makita is in Nagoya, where I have never been.
My choice was either Canon or YKK or Alpine.
I don’t remember how but I ended up in Canon.
At Canon, I chose to work for accounting.
I thought I could work more effectively in accounting, and that I could get a skillset I wanted quickly.
The same way of thinking as before. Avoiding hard work.
The first year was very different from what I had thought.
I was overwhelmed by the amount of work as a rookie.
Canon, though big and multinational, was very Japanese.
Good or bad, Canon ‘educated’ me in a Japanese way. They gave me lots of training, which helped me understand the company.
By the name of OJT, On the Job Training, I worked ‘hard.’
I checked all accounting entries for the main office. There were 3000 to 4000 accounting entries montly, which I needed to check and file.
I heard CPA stands for ‘cut, paste and attach.’ LOL. It was the job I did.
There are lots of positives, though.
I haven’t studied booking keeping so I took a corresponding course. With job experiences, I found it quite interesting. I got to understand accounting.
I liked accounting very much!
Another thing is that I learned that I was able to work hard, LOL.
It was the first time in my life.
I worked from 8am to the last train (12 at night) in Shinjuku.
During the closing seasons, I slept at the office. CFO had a nice sofa and I slept there. I needed to wake up before he came.
I was always wondering why only me…
It was only me working at 12am in the 23rd floor in the middle of Shinjuku.
After several months, I got used to it and learned how to finish my job in a short time.
The second year was much easier.
This experience made me a person who wasn’t surprised at the amount of works. After that, I got many other jobs, but I always looked back the first year, and was able to believe that I could do.
I have an opinion that the amount of work needs to be allocated fairly.
Even with this experience, I am opposed to the Japanese way.
On a personal level, though, it was my first time to work to my capacity and break it. That way, work life after that becomes something I can handle.
My way of thinking is not very Japanese, and I don’t think it is good to give one person more jobs than others.
But, on a personal level, I appreciated it very much.
I don’t spend more than one hour gym, rather I go there every day.
If it is a hard exercise, I will end up with going once or twice a week. Eventually, I don’t get to go to gym at all. So I have decided to make it short and simple. This has been working well for me so far.
Then, I went to a dentist for cleaning teeth after three months. Obviously, two months of lockdown made it difficult to go there.
By the way, we have (too) many dentists in Japan or Tokyo. Therefore, it is a hard industry to survive, and dentists have become so gentle, LOL.
When I was a kid in a small town in Hiroshima, there were very very few dentists so that it was hard to choose a good one or I was not able to choose….
Another hard one is a taxi driver. They are very nice compared to a decade ago.
Anyway, my dentist has a son studying in USA, and I spent time on talking with him about his son. He has just left Japan, so I asked how the airport was.
Empty, he said.
His son is playing golf at university, and I think it very helpful to get him immersed into a different culture. Something in common.
Then I went to body piercing shop in Shinjuku. It was in Alta, in front of Shinjuku Station.
Then I visited Isetan to buy the following products.
This liquid foundations is the most popular one, a shop told me.
I asked if one of the eyeshadow palette color is the same as one small eyeshadow.
Then went to Shibuya SUQQU.
It sounds like many trips I made , but actually with subway it was easy.
From Shibuya to Shinjuku, it takes only 10 minutes.
It is 40C in some places in Japan, and I feel I am in sauna….
I received many messages to congratulate on my brushes. Thank you very much!
I want to write the background why I have own products in this blog.
It is normal for business to buy many brushes upfront and sell them till the stock gets zero. Many retailers do this type of business.
I chose not to do so and I have been doing business of buying and selling products only when requested by clients. This is no-inventory business.
It takes time and I sometimes lose opportunities to sell more as I don’t have a stock.
It is, though, risky to keep an inventory as it puts pressure on cash. It also takes time to sell all products or it is not unusual to have many products left in the warehouse (well, maybe a warehouse is not needed for brushes)
As a small start-up business, I wanted to begin small, which allows me to fail or try many times. It is not avoidable to fail when we begin business.
Failure is nature of business.
One win, and nine loses. That is a low winning ratio, but it is how business is.
This time, I decided to have my own products. My current business is to buy many kinds of products, from brushes to makeup, clothes, chocolate … That has been fun, and I will continue to do so because that service can be unique.
But it takes time, and the profits are not good for time spent.
I have come to think it important to have ‘my products’ that will support my business in a long run.
I have been thinking about these products:
White Canadian squirrel
Red Canadian squirrel
Rare products like P-FO.
I want to sell those products, but the hair is so scarce that I need to wait.
So, my brushes are made by Kyureido, which makes some high-end Japanese brands. I trust their qualities, so it is a good start.
Thank you for reading!
These are pictures of ADDICTION eyeshadows, Decorte face powder in December and Guerlain limited lip cases.