Do you know the second highest mountain in Japan after Mt.Fuji?

Hi Everyone,

Do you know the second highest mountain after Mt.Fuji in Japan?
(The picture above is Mt. Fuji)

Actually,
Mt. Fuji is so famous that many Japanese don’t know it.

I didn’t know, either.

So,
I checked Wiki and found out it is Mt. Kita.

It is not as beautiful as Mt. Fuji, but looks good, right?

That makes me think this :

Important to be No. 1.

Many people can tell the gold medalist of a 100m competition, but who is the second?

What is the largest country in the world?
What is the second?


Peter Thiel, a founder of PayPal, says that it is important to start a business in a small market and win it. And grow from there.

PayPal focused on the heavy users of eBay first.

It has grown by taking a good market share by focusing on the small market.

Now PayPal is huge.
——
When I was a high school student, I lost my motivation to study. I spent very lazy and worthless three years. No dream, no plan, and no fun.

And I have found myself in trouble that I will not be admitted to any university.

The problem is not that I don’t go to a university, but that I cannot find what I want.

Very hesitant to say this but I need time to think what to do before being on the job market.

What a negative motivation to go to a university!

It was too late to study all subjects,
English, Math, Japanese, World History, Japanese History, Chemistry, and Physics for national universities.

So I began to search for universities with fewer subjects.

Keio University has only three subjects. English, Math and World History.

The good thing was also that the English scores account for 50% of the total.

I kept studying only English as I was interested.

It was November. The exam was in February.

I tried scoring the minimum score to pass. English first and World History second. Studied hard for three months by my standard, lol.

In the end, I was accepted to a school I targeted.

My presents still say to me, ‘it is such a waste of money to send you to a prep school.’ I quit attending the prep school after the first week…

I wish I could do three years at high school again….

Since that time, it has been my direction all the time to focus on and excel in a small market.

To find a small market and invest my time.

Looking at Fude(brush) market, it is not the largest of all cosmetics, but I feel the enthusiasm of the Fude lovers. This market has the depth.

I want to focus on the fude market!

By the way, the largest country is Russia.
Canada is the second.

Thank you for reading!
Toshiya

Have you eaten ramen at ‘Ichiran’?

Hi Everyone, 

Thank you for your feedback on this newsletter) I will continue to write more about Japan as well as makeups)

I found a new subway station today – for Ginza Line. 

Ginza Line station in Shibuya was very hard to find but this solved the situation well.

By Ginza Line, Shibuya is only two stations away from the new National Stadium where the Olympic games will open in July.  Or you can enjoy walking from Shibuya to Omotesando/Harajuku and to the stadium. 

Today, I want to talk about Ramen shop ‘Ichiran. ‘

Ichiran  shop owner walked around Japan  to taste many types of food and decided to open pork-based ramen. Ichiran ramen is only pork soup based. 

And the taste was improved continuously. That is important,

but

there are many other aspects of marketing to attract people and improve efficiency.

I will write the secret of the Ichiran success here.

The shop is ‘divided by partition.’  Many Japanese women don’t want to go to a ramen shop alone. Ichiran provides private space by a partition.

About 40% of clients are women, which is much higher than other ramen shops.

The partition also works to improve the turnover rate of seats as they don’t talk at seats.

Besides,  they have no choice but to share a picture at Instagram、LOL.

There is also paper at the seat to write an order on so no mistake is caused by communication with an employee.

Ramen shop is manually operated so that it causes mistakes between a shop and client. 

Elon Musk of Tesla Motors ordered ramen at ramen Jiro, which must have been difficult)

When people enter a shop, the machine automatically says ‘Irasshaimase !’ so that shop employees can easily say this welcome word. 

Moreover, shop employees don’t have to communicate with a client due to the partition. It is said to be hard to hire an employee for a restaurant but it is easier to hire an employee at Ichiran. Employees feel more comfortable.

Please take a look:

 

Maybe you can try ramen at Ichiran when you travel to Japan ?

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

Today I want to talk about Mikimoto Pearl cosmetics

Mikimoto Cosmetics

Hi Everyone, 

I may have been talking more about ‘Japan’ or ‘Japan culture’ than cosmetics or brushes these days. 

The number of newsletter registration stays about the same. 

I have one or 2 ‘unsubscribe’s each day and I get the same number of ‘subscribes.’   So I lose my newsletter clients daily.

Your feedback is appreciated and your question is also welcomed so that I can talk about them in my blog (newsletter) whether it is about Japan or makeup.

So

Today I want to talk about a cosmetic brand,  called Mikimoto. 

(I will do write about ‘Japan’ later.)

Have you ever heard of Mikimoto?

It is a company that makes pearl accessories.

Mikimoto succeeded in culturing pearl in 1893 the first time in the world. 

It has developed its business of accessories and added cosmetics later.  So many people outside Japan don’t know their cosmetic brand yet. 

They have a shop in Ginza Mitsukoshi so you may have visited it. But they don’t have many shops.

Their products have a pearl ingredient that moisturizes skin and works for anti-aging. The pearl works under the skin to produce more collagen, I was told. 

They have makeup products as well. 

Here is a link.

https://www.mikimoto-cosme.com/en/skincare/series/

And I get the following from the web page.

Pearl Collagen® is a fascinating ingredient that creates a moisture veil with exceptional moisturizing capacity and sustaining power.

And from the nacreous layer, we extracted Pure Pearl Minerals® This ingredient, which focuses on creating a protective barrier, regulates your skin’s regenerative cycle and supports healthy skin.

Thank you for reading!

Sorry that this is rather short ! I am writing about Ramen Ichiran now for my next blog

Toshiya 

Learning Japanese is good for your skin?

Hi Everyone,

I talked about ‘Morning’ service the other day. 

It is a free food service when ordering a drink in the morning. You can pay only for a drink and food comes free.

I was told it was invented in the city of Ichinomiya near Nagoya. Their free food is too good there (please see the picture below)

The reason I found it was a bit funny.

I go to a makeup shop on a regular basis to buy products for my clients. And I can remember much better where she or he is from, rather than her or his name.

Because I can relate a person to a special product to the place  or  food or sports team.

The other day, I asked an employee of Albion where she was from as usual) She said, ‘I am from Ichinomiya’ ‘ Ichinomiya is a city where ‘Morning’ service was invented. ‘

Now I will never forget her.

Besides, I got something to write for a blog.

My world expands that way, LOL.

If she is not a Japanese, more interesting. 

Department stores  have many Chinese employees nowadays. I asked them where they are from, too,  so that I can get to know more about China geography.

There was also one employee who is from Ukraine at Panasonic Beauty.   Luckily she is from Kyiv.  

I like remembering the capitals of countries all over the world.

I confirmed that my method works. Pola cosmetic taught me the concept of ‘being interested in something’ or ‘being curious.’ is good for skin.

Their product stimulates a part of the brain that is in charge of ‘being curious.’ The more we get curious, the younger our skin gets. Pola told me.

I was thinking about it too.

Something new or new place or new language, etc.

Maybe you can learn Japanese. 

That gives you a new stimulus and a benefit to your skin. 

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

Many Japanese have Sazae-san syndrome?

Today is January 5. 

It is the end of a long vacation for most Japanese. 

And tomorrow is Monday…. 

And people feel gloomy… I think many do.

It is called Sazae-san Syndrome. 

Sazae-san サザエさん  is a long-lived TV anime program that starts at 6:30 on Sunday night. 

You see how people feel at that time when thinking of Monday. 

 I used to feel gloomy, so I avoided watching Sazae san, lol.

I just recall a conversation in the parliament. 

Prime Minister Abe was asked,

‘do you know how old the Sazae-san’s father is? The father’s name is Namihei’

Abe-san answered,

‘ I believe Namihei-san is 54 years old’

They don’t discuss anime all the time, I believe, lol.

I think they were discussing the issue of declining birth rate.

So Sazae-san. Namihei, 54, has 3 kids and one grandson.

The manga, Sazae-san, started in 1946. I guess it is a typical family scene at the time.

Now many of 54-year-old’s are not even married. Also very few kids.

Anyway…

in the Anime….

Namihei is still 54 years old now with the same family members.

No thrill, no drama, no crisis.

The ideal TV program that people can watch with peace, and feel gloomy)

Everyone in Japan knows ‘Sazae-san’ but they may not look happy if you ask about it. Please understand it)

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

Japanese convenience stores are better than Izakaya?

Hi Everyone, 

Have you eaten and drunken at Izakaya? It is a very Japanese drinking place, with good food and a reasonable price of a drink. 

A place to go while you are travelling in Japan.

Now they have competitors.

Convenience stores.

We call them ‘Conveni.’ コンビニ. They are Lawson, Family Mart, Seven Eleven etc.

And Yakitori and Oden are very good at a convenience store. 

*”Oden” consists of boiled eggs, radish(daikon) and fish cakes, etc.

Some people say Yakitori at convenience stores beat that of Izakaya. Yes food is good there.

The problem was that there was no space to eat. People buy food and eat it at home.

But you see now more and more convenience stores have an eat-in. 

So Izakaya is in a crisis. 

Maybe a convenience store takes over the position of Izakaya soon? It is possible.

But there are things about Izakaya. Why do the Japanese go to Izakaya?

After work, they need a place to be drunken, and talk about work or complain about their companies. 

Izakaya allows them to be drunken. Almost everyone is drunken.  Sometimes noisy.  So people can be comfortably drunken.

Japanese can show a different face at Izakaya because everyone there is drunken.

You cannot do it at a convenience store.

None of the people shopping there are drunken. What if they see drunken people with red faces at eat-inns? I think those drunken people would feel embarrassed.

So it is a cultural thing again. Japanese don’t want to stand out or to be different or unique. And they behave within the socially allowable boundary.

Izakaya will still keep its position.

At least now.

Thank you for reading, 

Toshiya

Do you know 'Morning' ?

Hi Everyone,

Have you heard of ‘Morning’ when you travel to Japan?

It is a free service of toast at cafe in the morning. If you order a drink e.g. a cup of coffee, you can get light food with it.

Many coffee shops had this service before.

But these days, with more coffee chains, family-owned coffee shops are vanishing. And the ‘Morning’ service is vanishing, too.

When I was a boy, I met my father during his break, he brought me to a coffee shop. It was in the center of Hiroshima City, near Mitsukoshi. Yes, Hiroshima has a Mitsukoshi department store, LOL.

Time seemed to be passing so slow that I was able to be relaxed with having ‘Morning’ service, I remember.

The prices with those coffee shops are higher than those of current chain shops, and people are moving to less expensive options, it is natural.

I will not say it was a good time. It was just my good memory.

This makes me wonder.

In Japan or maybe all over the world, many old people complain about current society and young people.

If young people are not different nor advanced, we cannot enjoy the convenience of this society. We would still live in the same world as 1000 years ago.

I am talking about Japan. I cannot generalize this on a world basis.

My parents lived the TV age, and they still do. They don’t have an iPhone, and they read the newspaper in the paper.

Young people in Japan are not attracted to TV. They use the iPhone to watch YouTube/Netflix and also get information from twitter. The number of newspaper subscriptions is decreasing dramatically.

And Information sources get diverse. I can talk to people all over the world so that I can get a different view from the ‘news’ published by media.

I like this society.

But I like the ‘Morning’ service, too)

Thank you for reading,

Toshiya

Hakuhodo Mitsukoshi sets

Hi Everyone,

It is almost 2020. Most companies entered into New Year holidays.

Dec 28 to Jan 5. It will be more than one week.

It is said to be the record number of people flying from Japan to overseas. You will see many Japanese in your country)

As people can take a long vacation, it seems they go on a long trip, according to a big travel agency. Here are where the Japanese go.

  1. Taiwan
  2. Italy
  3. Spain
  4. China
  5. Egypt
  6. Germany
  7. Austria
  8. Viet Nam
  9. France
  10. England

I remember Hawaii was No. 1, but maybe it has changed.

I made a short trip myself. To Ginza, LOL.

Ginza, as you may know, is a shopping street of high – end brands.

I visited Hakuhodo and here are four sets they have now.

Please reply to this email, if you are interested.

Elegant set – 15600 yen

Make set 26040yen

Compact light pink set 10800 yen,

J601, J5523, G5514 and push up lip PmA and cloth.

Beauty set 20400 yen

F3210, J110, J5523, J5529, K005, K015, Cloth and Soap.

Thank you for reading,

Toshiya

Doing every day is easier than doing three times a week

Hi Everyone, 

I have been writing this blog (newsletter ) every day for a week. 

I am getting used to writing it)

Someone told me it is easier to continue daily than e.g. 3 times a week. 

I feel that it is true. 

It becomes a habit and I don’t have to decide if I should do today. If three times a week, I have to come up with a good reason to do it or not to.

Another daily thing is to go to a gym and walk (sometimes run ) for 30 minutes. That is getting easy, too. 

Besides, when I walk, I can come up with something to write for a blog.  Walking gives me a new perspective.

It is still so difficult to come up with an interesting subject, as every day is every day, and I don’t usually have anything special daily.

The good thing about working in Shibuya is I can see something in the town. 

Today, I found oyster udon at Marugame at 690 yen, LOL. It was new.

It would have been difficult if I still lived in Hiroshima, my hometown. I can only write about baseball and my home team Hiroshima Carp, but how many of you would be interested in the subject? lol

I try to add my thoughts to daily things or Japanese things. I hope to improve my skill)

I usually mix something about Japan with makeup topics.

I know many of you are interested in both Japan and makeup, but not all of you. So if you are only interested in makeup, please skip my Japan subjects.

(Today’s brush ) this is Hakuhodo 7 brush set.

Now January makeup products’ reservation starts this week.

Today I want to introduce the SUQQU lineup. Please email me or DM me in instagram.

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

Designing eyes (8160yen)

15, 130 (limited)

Rich lipstick (6000 yen )

01 to 10 and 101, 102 and 103 (limited)

Glow touch eyes 

4440 yen 

07 and 08, 108(limited)

Eyelash mascara waterproof 

5160 yen 

103 and 104(limited)

Pure Color blush

6600 yen 

118 and 119(limited)

Shimmer Liquid Highlighter

4680 yen 

02 

When a man goes shopping in Japan…..

Merry Christmas!

Today is Christmas Eve, and shops and restaurants are the most crowded of all year. 

I walked around a department store on Sunday.

I saw many men there. Usually, 90% of visitors to the makeup floor are women, but at this time of the year, men come with women.

I enjoyed observing them shopping. 

Because I always had a hard time when I was waiting in line, I wanted to know how men behaved! People watching is very interesting!

I have products in mind when I am at shop.

I get an order and go and buy it there,  So my visit could be done in less than one minute. 

When I see customers waiting in line, I go to another shop to spend time. But when I have only one shop to visit, I will wait there. 

That waiting time gives me  ………… total agony.  

I have nothing to do but to take a picture. It is done in less than one minute so I work on iPhone or pretend to do so…

So I was curious about how men wait. 

Some men are sitting next to their partners.     Some are waiting outside a makeup counter.

But what do shop employees think of the couple ?

I asked this question to two employees. 

One shop person did not like it. They are just flirting and not buying. Yes, it is one way to look at….

The other person loves it. It is likely that men pay and that women buy it more often than usual.  That employee tries to talk to a man to keep him involved.  More conversations, more fun, and they will buy. Clever.

This reminds me of one joke ( or true). 

Man is a bank ATM to get money from. A popular joke in Japan.

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

Here is how Shibuya looks today.

I paid a visit to ADDICTION and Louis Vitton.

Do you know Japan is an aging country ??

Hi Everyone, 

Do you know Japan is an old country ??

I meant that

Japan is an aging country. 

The median age of Japan, which divides the population equally, is 46.  This is the highest in the world!

The median age of the Philippines, another Asian country,   is 23.  You can tell how old Japan is.

We have a fewer marriages and kids year by year.

There are several ideas under discussion.

One of the ongoing polices is to take immigrants with special skills – 350,000 immigrants over five years. 

Regardless, the population of Japan has been decreasing, and Japan’s aging seems non-stop.

It is a personal preference whether to get married and have kids so the government policies seem to have a limitation.

So what do we need to do? 

Well, there is another way to look at it. 

If you want to do business in Japan, the market of old people is huge. And they have more money than young people.

It is typical that two kids have 2 grandfathers and 2 grandmothers. 

They want to spend money and time on grandchildren.

There is a big ‘want to take of grandparents’ market here in Japan. 

And another way to look at this:

We have many tourists in Japan. I know one guy, who is around 70 years, is always helping tourists in trouble at the station. There is a market that ‘ I want to help ‘tourists.’

My afternoon thoughts))

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

This is how Fude Japan started

Fude Japan started when I received a request to buy Japan limited makeup to my personal Instagram.

https://www.instagram.com/toshiya.fukuma/

It was Dior Japan limited.

Without knowing the cosmetic market very much, I went to Omotesando, which is the town of high-end brands. 

Dior Omotesando was very good with clients, and I remember that I had a good image of makeup brands.

Though I liked Dior Omotesando, it took me 30 minutes to go there. It was not efficient at all to buy makeup products as a business. 

Sonia G, who writes blogs about brushes, introduced my service and the number of clients had increased.

https://sweetmakeuptemptations.com

Thank you)

First,  I went to TAU in Ginza, where Kumano brushes are sold, and also bought Hakuhodo at department stores.

Later, I talked to brush manufacturers directly, and I was able  to open the business with them.

This is how I started.

Fude Japan transactions flow like this:

You send me a request or inquiry

I send you a quote ( invoice)

You pay by PayPal or credit card

I buy a product and sent it to you

I receive many inquiries through instagram.

Now I have more than 11,000 instagram followers and get DM’s in instagram. 

I get orders by email as well.  

Unlike other Japanese brush sellers, I think, my online shop performs very poorly! 

https://fudejapan.com/shop

I worked for accounting, so I had a good knowledge of computer but it is quite different from creating a webshop! 

I use woocommerce of WordPress. I  will need to improve it day by day to make it easy for you.

Currently,  I buy products when I receive an order so that I don’t have any inventory, which helps me financially. 

I am located in Shibuya where I can buy most brands so I sell makeup products in addition to brushes. 

Department stores are easier than drug stores because I can tell you prices right away. Drug store items are often sold at open prices, so sometimes prices are different from shop to shop.

Kumano brushes are sold with no discount,  whoever sells. The same prices.

Therefore, there are other factors than prices when you decide who you buy from.

For example,

Variety of products

Speed

Responsiveness

It really depends on each individual. 

I try to be unique by 

buying some limited products that are difficult to find

Free engraving service 

Sweets in a parcel 

I also buy non-make up products e.g. bags, jeans, contact lenses, pillows, etc.

I get positive feedback, and your feedback is really appreciated. Thank you!

I also received a suggestion that it be nice to give a present to a repeater on every fifth order, e.g. 

I like the idea and am trying to find a different Japan  traditional product, such as

https://kogeijapan.com/locale/en_US/list

And if I get good feedback about a particular product, I will add it to a regular product.

I will let you know more. 

I will write more in my future newsletter.

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

This week's shopping

Hi Everyone, 

I was writing about Fude Japan marketing and history, but I was not able to finish it…

So in this blog, I want to show you what I bought this week and the products coming in January.

From top,

It is a foundation brush of Bisyodo. I ordered the first engraved brush. It is Saikoho. I will pay an engraving fee, so engraving is free. 10,000 yen

The second is Hakuhodo’s Yachiyo brush with goat. Yachiyo handle is Japan- traditional and wrapped with crane. It is used for powder and blush. 4800 yen

The third one is a fan brush made by Hakuhodo. The hair is a mix of squirrel and goat. The handle is ebony. Blush and powder. 18720yen

The Hakuhodo holiday consists of
F3210 (grey squirrel/goat) 
G5545
F8431
B5520
I170N6

24960 yen

These eyeshadow palettes are THREE’s January new products. They will join the permanent line. THREE is a group company of POLA, emphasizing skin-friendly ingredients. 7800 yen each 
https://www.threecosmetics.com/en/

The first three Dior’s are face powder. 6600 yen each. The cushion foundation will come with this limited case in January.

Hakuhodo Ginza set is 15600 yen 
F3210
F6210
F8411
S150

SUQQU will have new and limited products in January.
This is a limited eyeshadow palette. 

The Chikuhodo silver fox brushes are back in stock.

The last four are Kihitsu brushes.

Please reply to this newsletter if you are interested. 

Thank you for reading!
Toshiya
 

Here are some limited products.
https://fudejapan.com/product-category/limited-brushes/

My previous newsletters :
https://fudejapan.com

Osaka Obachan wears clothes with a leopard print design?

Hi Everyone, 

Japan is a small country but you may be surprised to see that each region has developed its own culture.

Most regions have a dialect. 

Osaka, Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Tohoku…

I  have a hard time understanding the Tohoku dialect.

Osaka, the second-largest city, has developed its own culture and the rivalry against Tokyo. 

The Osaka culture is more ‘relaxing,’ and people are so friendly (sometimes TOO friendly ).

We have funny ( but true ) stories about Osaka people. 

In Osaka, ‘you are funny’ is the best praising words. They are supposed to be ‘funny.’

Other popular stories about Osaka people are:

-They are proud of USJ in Osaka, but they like Disney in Tokyo more.

-When asked for dinner, they say, ‘ I will go if I can,’ but they will never go.

-They speak the Osaka dialect wherever they travel in the world

-Taxi drivers ask a female passenger if she is married.

-A girl asks a guy his salary at the first meeting, etc

Those are unheard of in Tokyo. 

Anyway, 

Osaka Obachan (aunts), who are women over a certain age,  have now become an Osaka brand.

Osaka Obachan is well known for wearing very flashy clothes with  a leopard print. They have a singing group.

In the Edo era, 300 years ago, Japanese wore flashy kimono. In the 1830’s, though, it was ordered to save money, live thriftily and not wear flashy clothes.

Osaka people did not follow it as it was an order from Edo(Tokyo).

Osaka Obachan culture has continued from generation to generation. 

They are so friendly that they make the city cheerful. And Osaka attracts many tourists.

I know many of you landed Osaka as the first city in Japan. 

Please talk to Osaka Obachan. They will be very friendly to you)

Thank you for reading,

Toshiya

I was not effective at work

Hi Everyone, 

Yesterday I wrote about Japanese lifetime employment. 

Today, I want to talk about another aspect of the basic Japanese values.

Japanese workers are known for their diligence. 

It is true that we work hard.

But, I am not sure if they are effective. 

Japanese work ethics is generally high and people think of the workplace very seriously.

Especially at big companies, there are many rules to follow.  And the Japanese are good at following the rules.

For example, 

People go to lunch between 12 and 1 pm so that restaurants are crowded.

Most companies start work at 9 am so that trains are crowded.

Most companies have the same holiday schedules that are the same as bank holidays so that tourist places are crowded on those holidays. 

Yes, the Japanese are good at following rules.  Or maybe they expect a return from following rules as companies think it is valuable to be a ‘good’ worker.

I am relatively a free person, but I agree with the rules as long as I am an employee of a particular company.  

I mean ‘as long as I get paid.’

How about the productivity of work? 

Having worked with American and Australian firms, those ex-pats are free to follow the time rule, but they work intensively. 

Productivity or performance was there. 

I was an accountant and I was good at improving efficiency.  I improved the process and created more time, and reduced the number of required people.

I was lacking, though, in more important things.

The work I get to be good at needs to be given to someone else.  By doing so, I create space (time) during my work.

I will need to think during that ‘space’ and grow in that new area.  And I may be more marketable with new abilities. 

I was not good at creating space and giving work to someone else.

Now I do this Fude Japan selling brushes.

I have plenty of space to think, LOL.

But sometimes it is painful because I am not good at thinking during ‘free’ time and I feel that I don’t work. 

What I try to be good at is

being comfortable with space and creating more values to clients, by utilizing this space. 

When I get orders, I get busy in many ways, and I like it. And I like getting orders. ‘Being busy’ makes me feel I ‘work.’ But I should not be comfortable there and will need to create time to think.

I appreciate your feedback on products because your feedback makes me think, where I can grow. 

Arigato and

Thank you for reading, 

Toshiya

Do Japanese change a job often?

Yesterday, I wrote that the Japanese try to live economically and are not very interested in earning money. It is assumed to work hard and not to talk about money very much.

Some people say it is because we are not educated about money at school.

Japanese also have a very unique idea of a job. I think this is also related to education. 

Today,  I want to talk about the life-time employment.

Japanese don’t change a job or company often. This work style is called ‘lifetime employment’ and still highly respected.

These days, only 5% of people change a job on average, which may be much lower than that of the rest of the world.

This idea, though, is changing gradually.

I changed my job several times. 

I started my career at Canon. There were two people I worked with. One guy was one year older than I, and the other was one year younger than I in accounting. I recently found that both of them became the executives of Canon.

I feel happy for them. And I feel happy for me, too.

I sometimes wonder what would happen if I stayed with Canon. 

Well, it means

Working in Shinjuku HeadQuarters for long (this is Shinjuku now)

Taking crowded trains every day…

And being probably relocated to oversea branches for five years the same as other accounting people are.

And I chose a different career. No right or wrong.

It was just my personal preference to change a job when I like. I liked working for Canon. 

But, having the different value, I can also say that I may not enjoy meeting and talking with those from Canon.

After I left Canon, I worked for foreign companies and learned a lot from them. This is a summary of my career if you are interested.

I like those experiences very much)

https://www.linkedin.com/in/toshiyafukuma

People have a perfect job in mind, but often it ends up in a so-so job. Any job has good and bad aspects. Any workplace has people easy to talk to and difficult to talk to.

But, how do you know it is good or bad if you know only one job?

I lived in the USA and stayed in Finland for several months.

With those experiences, I was able to develop my opinion on what is good about Japan and what is not.  If I only lived in Japan, I would not get it.

The same applies to the job market. You can see many aspects of different jobs or companies when you change a job.

That is what I loved.

I will talk about Fude Japan job in my next blog.

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya


Here are some limited products.
https://fudejapan.com/product-category/limited-brushes/

My previous newsletters :
https://fudejapan.com

Japanese people prefer to live poorly?

Hi Everyone, 

I read an interesting article about why the Japanese don’t talk about money in public. 

Japanese don’t tend to talk about money. That is true.

Money is not a subject that good people want to talk about. It is ethically believed.

In Japan, the school doesn’t teach kids what money is. 

It is a beauty that people work hard even though they don’t get rich. 

You may know ‘Oshin.’  It is a TV program of NHK that a poor girl works so hard, lives her life vigorously and gets over all kinds of difficulties.

That has been a good role model in Japan. 

This mentality dates back to 400 years ago, according to one source.

It was the Warrior era where many samurai’s fought to govern Japan. 

All kinds of people could be a ruler. Toyotomi, the winner, was a farmer before being a disciple of Nobunaga Oda. 

In 1584, Nobunaga, a revolution fighter, was killed in Kyoto by his disciple, called Akechi.

Ieyasu Tokugawa, a Nobunaga’s alliance, was staying in Osaka with only a few people so he needed to run from the Akechi army. He gave up on surviving once. This picture is from a TV drama where Tokugawa decided to die.

but, he miraculously managed to go back from Osaka to his town near Nagoya, going through mountains.

On his way back,  Tokugawa was attempted to kill by not only his enemy but farmers who wanted money. 

This experience became the basis of how he governed Japan. 

He wanted Japanese people to have little money and live poorly ( or frugally )!

He closed the country to the world for 300 years. 

He divided the society into 4 classes (samurai, farmer, artisan, and merchant ) and prohibited them from moving. 

He made other lords live poorly to establish a system called Sankin Kotai. Sankin Kotai (参勤交代) makes lords come and see Shogun in Edo(Tokyo) every other year. 

Those lords got poor by spending a big money on bringing many people to Tokyo. This spending was a strategy to get rid of money from lords who might decide to fight against Tokugawa.

So,

This is the basis for the mentality to work and live poorly. 

It still works under the contemporary Japan. 

This theory makes sense to me. 

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

Are Japanese students spoiled?

(the featured picture is Kihtisu animal year brush)

Hi Everyone, 

It is December.

And it will be an entrance exam season soon. 

In this blog, 

I want to talk about the Japanese school system. 

It is 

6 (elementary school)

3 (junior high)

3 (high)

4 (university)

It is compulsory to graduate from Junior High school.

Inevitably, a student needs to take an entrance exam for High school and University.

It is January, February and March when students take an exam.

It is once a year, therefore, students study hard under a huge pressure. 

And if they fail in the exam, they will have a

‘Ronin’ 浪人 year.

Ronin is originally a samurai who lost his job.

In the Tokugawa era,  Tokugawa Shogun often gave a hard time to a lord who did not obey the Shogun and sometimes deprived him of the territory. 

Especially, early in the 1600’s, many lords who supported Toyotomi, the rival of Tokugawa, were broken by the shogun. 

A samurai who lost his lord had nowhere to go.

They wandered around a town and did nothing. 

The Ronin word comes from the Edo Period.

Students, who fail the exam, spend an entire year to prepare for an entrance exam.

Very hard year and needs self-discipline, but they can only study for a whole year. 

It is hard. And big pressure,

but 

I like what a teacher of one preparation school said, 

‘How many students are allowed only to study in the world?’

Yes it is the privilege of those Ronin students  that they don’t have to work, earn money and help their parents. 

Many children in the world have to work and earn money to support their parents. 

What those Japanese students do: 

Only to study. 

In fact, I had one year of Ronin, and I am still thankful to my parents. 

I still feel I was spoiled.

And many Japanese students are spoiled. 

They need to know this .

And the same can be said to many adults in Japan who always complain about living in Japan.

I am spoiled! I recall this word for myself all the time.

One of my motivations to work.

Thank you for reading, 

Toshiya

What do you think favorite dishes are among Japanese?

What do you think favorite dishes are among Japanese?

Maybe these TV survey results are not very different from what you think. 

If you travel to Japan, I want you to enjoy Japanese dishes of many kinds.

Food here is not so expensive as you might be imagining. You will not regret travelling to Japan for food)

These are rankings of the dishes Japanese like:

No. 5 Grilled fish (Yakizakana)

This is daily food, we eat more fish than meat.

Japan consists of many islands, and fish has been always main dishes. We still eat it almost every day.

Well, Unagi is my favorite though it gets expensive year by year. Unagi is not daily food now, but we eat it on a special occasion. Still good! I bought this Unagi at supermaket)

Grilled Mackerel is a typical breakfast for Japanese. It is not so expensive but healthy.

No 4 Miso soup

At breakfast for most families. 

We are raised by miso soup so kids remember it as mother’s taste.  Married men still like ‘mothers’ tastes’ more than their wives’,

and women call them マザコン Mother’s boys, and want them to change but…

Mothers are strong! Maybe everywhere in the world?

No.3 ramen

No.2 sashimi 

No.1 sushi 

These three are known to most of you and I would recommend you to try them in Japan, and compare them with those in your home country. 

Sushi has been expensive, but ramen is not. Especially we have cup ramen which also tastes well. 

But Conveyor Belt sushi makes sushi not special anymore these days. Sushi bento(last pictures) can bought at less than 1000 yen for lunch.

Oh Natto is not here, it was ranked 20th, so even for Japanese, Natto is difficult to eat at first.

Personally, I try to eat more miso, natto, tsukemono (Japanese pickles ) these days as those fermented dishes work well inside a body.

Sake is aslo fermented, but I am so weak at it that I drink Amazake !

Please try)

Thank you for reading,

Toshiya


There are some makeup shops I don't want to visit

Hi Everyone, 

As you may know, I am located in Shibuya, so three or four department stores are within a walking distance. 

It sounds easy, right?

But, it takes some energy to go to the makeup sections of the department stores. I can feel that male customers are not welcomed, as we don’t look like regular buyers.

A new place is especially difficult as shop employees wonder what I want.  Sometimes they ignore me.

They don’t think I would buy high-end cosmetics though most shops say there are many male customers. Is it true? I seldom see men alone there.

At the shops I regularly go to, I have explained to them that I send Japanese brushes and makeup to overseas so  I  have an easier time.

Actually, many are very nice. 

Of course, it depends on a person. I have some people easy to talk to and difficult to talk to. 

I googled some surveys on which brands are friendlier and which are less.

I can see that some or many Japanese women feel pressured to visit a department cosmetic section as they are more expensive than drug stores and also they sit and receive a touch-up. 

These are what I found.

Good : Albion and Decorte are friendly. 

MAC shop employees don’t look friendly,  but actually they turned out to be great, LOL.

Ok: IPSA, Dior, ADDICTION has mixed opinions.

Maybe no good: NARS (I haven’t bought much there so I don’t know…)

I know I cannot generalize brands’ images, as they totally depend on a person whom a customer talks to.

Here are the rankings based on my experinces:

Good!

Albion, Decorte, SUQQU, Jill Stuart, Laduree, Paul and Joe, RMK

Chicca ( sorry they will close)

Mixed feelings??

ADDICTION,   Tom Ford,  Shiseido 

I don’t want to go….

Chanel

Armani 

Shu Uemura (except for one person, LOL)

At the last three brands, I try to spend as short time as possible, lol.

In general, shop employees are well trained, and I may be just demanding and spoiled.

I will update these rankings from time to time)

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya


Hakuhodo brush will be returned to the factory

Hi Everyone,

I received a call from Hakuhodo. 

I had an order of 4 x G5558, and one of them was not made as it should have been.  There is the Hakuhodo Standard which they need to follow, and they have the quality-check division.

But the right one was sharper than the others, and the shop kindly called me to inform that it would be returned to the factory and the delivery would be one week late.

Their explanation is that a brush is made by hand, and it is inevitable that not all brushes are exactly the same. 

I have been to Koyudo, Chikuhodo and Houkodo to tour the factories, and saw the process by hand, but I have never been to Hakuhodo.

I heard that they did not provide a tour.

I was guessing they achieved their own standardization processes, which might be a secret.

Otherwise, they could not make so many brushes every day. 

Takeda said the same, but they claim to be a family-company with a small operation and it makes sense.

Well, a shop explained to me that brushes were different from each other but the difference should be small. 

And that right one will be returned.

By the way, I worked for Canon, which makes cameras and copiers, etc.

I had training at a camera factory and participated in the manufacturing line.

The processes were strictly managed, and my part was rejected at first, LOL.

That is the beauty of Japanese manufacturing, represented by Toyota Kaizen.

Each Kaizen proposal is paid, 500 yen, I recall, and better ones get paid more.

It was every day when I wrote several Kaizen proposals for the 500 yen.

Valuable bonus for the first year employee, right?

Thank for your reading,

Toshiya

Have you tried this ramen in Tokyo?

Hi Everyone, 

I recognize that some of you have been to Japan. 

Some are repeaters, and you know Japanese food very well. 

I am often surprised that you know places I have never been to) 

Living in Tokyo, Japan,  I can tell you that the restaurant prices are in general not too expensive. Most of lunch is provided at less than 1000 yen, and dinner is not as expensive as you imagine. 

And they have good service. 

Actually, the restaurant business is very competitive, and employees work hard, but not get paid well. Yet, most employees provide good service, which I am proud of as a Japanese. 

Most competitive may be the ramen business.

I want to introduce ‘Ramen Jiro’ in this blog.

It is located next to Keio University, which I graduated from, so I was walking to school while looking at a long line every day. 

The portion size is large with bean sprouts/cabbage and pork. It is what students love. Shoyu, soy sauce, is special.

Menu is simple with only two kinds -しょう(Shou)  and だい(Dai). Shou is small and Dai is big, lol. Simple is good)

There is a story that one American student, who came from Stanford and studied at Keio. He wasn’t able to read Kanji but was able to speak Japanese.

He came to Ramen Jiro every day to see the owner.

He came back to USA, and  often comes back to Japan for travel.

He eats ramen everywhere in Japan, but he says Ramen Jiro is best. 

If you worked for Ramen Jiro for three to four years, you can open your ramen Jiro shop on your own.

Actually, there is one in Boston,

I would not highly recommend this place LOL, as you need to wait in a long line, but if you are fond of ramen, and want to find a different ramen shop. 

This may be it. 

Thank you for reading,

Toshiya

Working for a big company in Japan is respected?

Hi Everyone,

I read an interesting blog by a foreigner living in Japan.

‘Entrepreneurs in Japan complain it is difficult to find a girlfriend. One reason is parents want their daughters to marry a man who works for a big respected Japanese company. If a boyfriend works for a small unknown startup, parental approval is usually denied.’

Interesting, right?

Personally, it not safe anymore to work for a big company. Yet, this is still a mentality of parents, and maybe daughters as well.

Another foreigner disagreed: 

‘This is hardly representative of all Japan. Actually Japan is a much more fragmented country than one would initially assume. Besides, let us not forget this is a country of small companies and artisans, and historically a country of entrepreneurs. Hard work in small companies is highly regarded.’

This is also true.  How about Kumano brush companies? Most of them are still operated by family members. (An artisan working for Koyomo)

Hiroshima’s most international company is Mazda, but I cannot name another big one easily.   A local city is full of small companies, artisans, startups.

Both represent Japan well. 

Knowing this fact, parents still want a daughter to marry a man working for a big company.

Working for a big company means ‘stability’ and small companies means ‘risk’ in Japan.

Maybe true now but I wonder how long this idea will last. 

Also, I wrote about Konkatsu ( activity to seek for a marriage partner) before and received interesting feedback!

I will write more about it in coming newsletters)

Thank you for reading,

Toshiya

Japan's best Judo player lost in the 1964 Tokyo Olympic

Hi Everyone,  

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. 

Thank you for reading again!

Toshiya

Japanese students wear uniform?

Hi Everyone, 
I woke up early today at 5 am. This time, I did not go back to sleep,  LOL. Instead, I went to a gym, where many people were doing excercies before work. I was surprised!

Anyway, it is not what I want to talk about. 

When I came back, I saw many high school students walking to school. 

In Japan, most schools have uniforms, As a matter of fact, uniforms are important to students, and some students consider how attractive uniforms are when they select a school to go to. 

Personally, I was not interested in school uniform, and I wore a typical black uniform with a stand-up collar for six years. Actually, the high school I went to did not have any school uniform. However, It was a boys’ school, and they did not care much and most of students wore black ones. 

Years later, I read an essay Haruki Murakami, a novelist,  wrote. I don’t remember it exactly but it was like this :

‘My (Murakami’s) high school had a vote whether students should wear a uniform or can wear anything we like.  The result was that we should wear a uniform. I was disappointed at the result as we did not choose ‘freedom.’ We did throw away the right of having freedom.’

I am not sure if this is an issue of ‘freedom’ but rather Japanese don’t want to stand out from colleagues. Maybe most people feel comfortable when they belong to a community where they feel ‘same.’

At the same time, freedom is not something that is given free, history proves.

Well, when I see students wearing school uniforms, I recall that essay that Murakami wrote, and I think of ‘freedom’ or ‘culture.’ 

Thank you for reading again,
Toshiya

Memory of Bento box

Hi Everyone, 

It is still raining and cold outside so today I bought a bento box for lunch.

It is the food section of the new building ‘Scramble Square’ I went to. Here are some pictures.

Have you ever head of bento box ?

It is a lunch box, and in Japan, it is common to have okazu and rice in a bento box.

Okazu is a side dish, with rice. 

Side dishes could be chicken, beef, pork… 

Rice is often provided in the form of ‘Onigiri’ with seaweed like these:

I had my bento made by my mother during Junior High and High schools. It was so much fun to open a bento, I remember. Maybe a students’ favorite time)

My mother ran a stationery store, so sometimes she was so busy that my grandmother made it.

Grandmother tried her best but how it looked was a bit old-fashion at the time, and I remember I was embarrassed when I opened it in front of my classmates.

And I did not thank her when I came home. Or I might have even told her not to make bento for me because I was not able to open it at classroom.

Now, when I am relaxed while taking a long bath, this bitter memory comes back to me.

If she was still alive and made me a bento, I would give her plenty of gratitude. And I should have proudly opened her bento box in front of classmates. I just did not have such courage.

In Japan, we say 

孝行のしたいときには親はなし

it means 

‘By the time you wish to be a good child, your parents are long gone.’

In this case, it is my grandmother. I have many things to say to her.

For brushes, here are some sets for Christmas – Hakuhodo and Chikuhodo.

Please let me know if you are interested)

Thank you for reading,

Toshiya

American soldier and Japanese boy after the War

Hi Everyone,

I want to talk about one story right after 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 stationery 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 the story of an American soldier and a 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.

Thank you for reading again!
Toshiya

Givers and Takers in make-up shops

Hi Everyone,

I follow several youtube where I can learn good things about life. 

One of them is made by DaiGo, who talks about research findings done by universities all over the world.

It is only in Japanese, so I am not intending to introduce this youtube here, but  I want to introduce an interesting concept of ‘Giver’ he talked about the other day. 

It is a book called ‘Give and Take’ written by Adam Grant, a professor at Wharton Business School. 

Giver, in the context of Give and Take, gives people more than she or he receives.  So Giver loses most. That is true. 

But who gets most? 

That is also Giver. It is called ‘Top Giver.’

Top Giver also gives more but makes the size of a transaction bigger by involving more people and gets more and gives more. So it is a win/win. People like Givers so they gather around Givers. This also works in the long run.

I was thinking about this when I went shopping the other day.

Yes, people are nice when I buy.  That makes sense. 

But there are also a  few people who welcome me even if I say I only want to ask a question and don’t buy.

This person in Dior Shibuya is a good example. He smiles at me when he sees me from a distance, and expresses joy when I visit. He says, ‘ you don’t have to buy. I  just want to talk’ 

I don’t buy Dior as much as Hakuhodo or SUQQU or others. 

So I feel sorry for him but it doesn’t seem to bother him that I don’t buy.

He knows products, and even if he doesn’t, he calls me later after he checks and informs me of what it is. 

When I talked to him the other day, two lady visitors came to him for help even though there were other employees available.  I can tell that he is popular there)

Not sure if he is a top Giver, but definitely, it works with me for a long term. When I have an order for Dior, he is the first person I call and ask. 

I can think of those Givers at SUQQU, Laduree and Jill Stuart. Those people make me a fan of the brands, and they are the people I call. And it benefits them in a long run.

Small examples but the Giver theory works at least here. 

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

Kumano Fude Union

Hi Everyone, 

Now it is raining and gets really cold this week, though it was warm yesterday, and some tourists wore half-sleeved in Tokyo!

I receive good questions about brushes almost every day and it is interesting for me to investigate the brush world. It is always a learning experience.

Today, I was asked if the brushes of Rae Morris, an Australian makeup artist, are made in Japan. Brushes with magnetic.

My source told me it is made-in-Japan, but he did not reveal which company. Maybe some of you have an idea.

——-

Have you noticed that  Kumano brushes are applied by the Kumano sticker?

Some brushes are copied and produced so this sticker proves that a brush is produced by a Kumano brush company.  More exactly said is that it proves to be produced by a member of the Kumano brush union.

Union members can claim that they are Kumano brushes (Kumano fude). Interestingly, Hakuhodo is not a member of the union so it is not called ‘Kumao brush’  or Hakuhodo cannot claim to be ‘Kumano brush.’ Maybe they don’t need the Kumano name any longer as they are already well known. 

The union has an annual fude festival (fude matsuri)  in September, where you can buy brushes by a discount. You might have noticed that Hakuhodo doesn’t have a shop at the festival. 

I checked the Fude Union page, and there are about 50 companies in the union, publicly. Maybe more. Some companies are not known for makeup brushes because they focus on calligraphy and painting.

There will be an opportunity for you to explore brush business with so many companies)

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

Calligraphy and paiting brushes

Hi Everyone, 

It is getting cold even in Japan, now we need a coat to go outside.  It gets warm (rather hot) in Japan these days and winter always arrives late.

Yesterday, I went to Isetan : the makeup floors have been completely renewed.  Skincare  brands are now at 2F. Makeup at 1F. 

Sensai, Albion, IPSA, Refa, etc . moved to 2F.

Decorte and SUQQU  are divided into two floors -1F for Makeup, and 2F floor for skincare. 

SUQQU gives you face massage at 2F.  It is free, but I think you need to register information to a client card to get the massage. You need to be careful as you buy more than you budget after the massage, lol. 

————-

By the way,  as most of my orders come by emails,  instagram messages,  facebook messages,  during an order process, I get questions about brushes. Many of them are very detailed – I can tell that you love brushes. 

And it is good for me to learn more about makeup and brushes, and also gives me subjects to write blogs about. 

Today, I had a question regarding kolinsky water painting brush that could be used for face. As you know, kolinsky is out of stock or in short supply for most brush makers, so this might be an idea.

Traditionally, brush companies produce brushes for calligraphy and paintings. Makeup brushes have been relatively new to most companies. 

This is Koyomo, known for very soft goat hair. 

Koyomo (古羊毛), 古  (Ko) means ‘old’ or ‘ancient’, 羊毛(yomo) means goat hair.  This kind of goat is very special to a certain region in China.  The hair is softer than others. 

The Koyomo company bought a lot of hair in the 90’s and they now use them for brushes.

Here is more information, written by Sonia.

Koyomo also makes brushes for painting and calligraphies. Here is a digital catalog you might find interesting.

http://www.tsukinoura.biz/pamphlet/pc/index.php

Please let me know should you have any questions.

Thank you !

Toshiya