Category Archives: Blog

SUQQU Holiday kit A and B

Hi Everyone,

I was running around Shibuya and Shinjuku last two days, and will write more about which brand I visited tomorrow.

Today, I want to show SUQQU holiday kits. Kit A and B are still available. I have one left each so please reply to this message, if interested.

Each costs 12000 yen.

Kit A

Kit B

https://i-voce.jp/feed/14678/

Thank you!

Toshiya

Crowded train and a frog in warm water

Hi Everyone, 

I took a subway the other day during the busy hours.

It was crowded. 

Usually, the trains between 7 and 9 AM are the most crowded, and that is one of a few things I don’t like Tokyo about. 

I spent my high school days in Hiroshima where I took a 7am train every day. It was crowded, but not comparable to Tokyo. 

Also, the number of trains are so few. In Tokyo, it comes every 2 to 5 minutes. 

I was thinking….

Many Japanese take it for granted that they have no choice but to commute on crowded trains.  Is it so?

There are plenty of choices you can make in life. Move to the countryside,  move to another country, quit a company and establish own business….

It is the beauty that Japanese work so diligently for e.g. 35 years until they retire. It was not unusual that people work for one company for a lifetime.  And this type of people contributed to the growth of the Japanese economy. In return, a company provides lifetime stability. 

At the time, maybe till recently,  people ’s mindset is that they should work for the same company and they have no other choice. The same mentality as they need to take a crowded train every day. 

One of my colleague’s favorite story is a frog in warm water. 

Not so hot, a  little warmer than usual, a frog doesn’t recognize it and stays. The frog stays there long and eventually dies…. 

My colleague quit the company for a new career path.

Maybe many Japanese are like frogs in warm water. It is hard to recognize a difference, but if you stay long, you will be another ‘you.’

My thought when I took a morning bath, LOL

I am checking which  Japan foundation is good, and try to write a blog about it. My knowledge is so little that I need time…

Albion, RMK, Decorte, Shiseido, THREE, SUQQU…

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

Takeda brush ordering process

Hi Everyone,

We had a parade yesterday for the new Emperor and Empress. 

The parade was scheduled a month ago but the big typhoon damaged Japan so badly that it was postponed.

The Emperor is a symbol of Japan, and he has no political influence. He tries to be with people as much as possible so that Japanese people like the Emperor very much. The Empress was a diplomat educated at Tokyo University and Harvard, and am playing a role to be friends with foreign countries. The parade was watched by 27% of the nation. 

About brushes,

Today, I want to talk about the ordering process for Takeda.

Takeda is a Kumano brush maker and made Nadeshiko brushes to celebrate the World Cup win by Japanese women soccer.

Takada, for me, works like Hakuhodo. I buy a brush at Shinjuku Takashimaya at retail price + 10% tax. So I charge 20% in addition to a price excluding tax in the same way as Hakuhodo. 

The difference is that I exchange information with Takeda President to specify a client requirement so a brush can be almost order- made. 

A handle color can be chosen. Handle wood can also be chosen between a usual one and maple.  Hair shape can be requested – its length, width etc by presenting pictures sent by a client, which I send to Takeda. It is not exact-made as OEM that has a test product to start with. But it is unique that you can request a brush you like, by utilizing what Takeda has.

The downside is that it takes 2 to 3 weeks and I would ask you to accept a completed product though it might not be exactly the same as you want. Takeda tries best to make a brush you like, but it is made only with the resources they have. They send me pictures and you can check them before finalizing your order.

Takeda is flexible with client requests, which makes a difference from other brush makers.

If you are interested, please let me know)

Thank you for reading,

Toshiya

Welsh national anthem sung by Japanese in Kyushu

Hi Everyone,

I don’t watch TV much these days. I just cannot stand commercial breaks, LOL. So more and more youtube, and sometimes NetFlix.

This time, though, it was World Cup Rugby that I watched as I heard of many good stories.

All Blacks ( New Zealand ) were mingling with kids before the World Cup. Canadian Team helped the city of Kamaishi with cleaning after the big typhoon. The Scotland’s players visited Biwa lake between games. 

Wales stayed at Kita Kyushu city and prepared for the games. They spent time with local people while practicing rugby. 

Kita Kyushu is not only one city to practice a national anthem. All the 20 host towns practiced national anthems of the teams who stayed and tried to make them feel at home.

This is a letter from a woman who has two kids, living in Kita Kyushu. She wrote a thank-you letter in English and sent it to the Wales Rugby team. 

I can see how excited her sons were to meet star players who have been friendly to local people. For them, Welsh players might have been the first foreigners to meet, and most probably the first Welsh. 

I can tell what she wanted to say. She thought famous people or stars were not approachable but she found them very humble and easy to talk to. Her sons were so excited. Maybe her sons are shy but, this time, they expressed their emotions so much. They will cherish the memory and may play rugby or may learn English so hard in the future. It is a town, north of Fukuoka. Not a small but not a big city. So she was happy that the Welsh team chose the town as a training site.

We have the same host city system for the Olympics, I live in west of Shibuya, where American teams stayed. I see some stadiums and parks were under construction for their training.

I hope local people enjoy being with Olympic athletes and that the athletes enjoy the cultural aspects of Japan in addition to the games.

Thank you for reading,

Toshiya

Hakuhodo set with a Canadian squirrel brush

Hi Everyone, 

There were several news in Japan this week. 

Tokyo Olympic Marathon will move to Sapporo from Tokyo due to the Tokyo summer being extremely hot. Actually it is hot in Sapporo, too! I am not into Marathon but I imagine most runners have learned quite a lot about the Tokyo course… 

A new shopping building opened today in Shibuya. It is the tallest building in Shibuya and 6F is devoted to makeup.  Many people were waiting outside to get in. These were taken when I visited at night. The left one is Google Japan, next to this building, I didn’t know they moved to Shibuya…)

Now ADDICTION and Tom Ford can be bought in this building – ‘Scramble Square.’  Only missing is Laduree, which I have to go either Isetan or Mitsukoshi .

If you visit Japan and finish shopping at one place, you usually go to Isetan or Mitsukoshi but now you can cover most shops at Scramble and Hikarie. 

Plus, 47 F will be a new sightseeing place though 2000 yen to enter, I feel, is a little too much. 

Toyoko Department store, next to Hachi, will close next March, when Hakuhodo will close its shop there. I visited Hakuhodo today and found that they had 2 sets ( Please see the picture)

The right set has one brush of Canadian squirrel. (J206, G5519, S127 and S144, S127 is a Canadian squirrel brush) – 31440 yen The left pink one includes G510, B512, B232, B533 and B5511 -24000 yen

The shop told me that the factory made a Canadian squirrel brush from hair left at factory. I told them that my clients would be interested but it was one brush of the set, and not sure they would buy the set for the sake of getting a Canadian squirrel brush.

Am I right ?

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

Is Japan expensive to trave to?

Hi Everyone, 

A new shopping building will open in Shibuya, and I will visit there today.  I will write about it tomorrow. It is called ‘Scramble Square .’ ADDICTION, Amplitude and Tom Ford will be easier for me to visit.

An update for brushes:

Some hair is not in stock.

Silver Fox FO-1 is expected to be back in stock this week. Sorry to keep you waiting!

Canadian squirrel brushes of Hakuhodo are still out of stock. 

Koyudo Canadian squirrel (red color ) is out of stock.

Koyudo White Canadian squirrel is available only in 

Momiji design.

Face M 36000 yen

cheek 21000 yen 

———————

Do you think it expensive to visit Japan?

Actually not really. 

Japanese economy is stable but not growing much. Its population is decreasing. Prices in general haven’t increased much from 1990’s. 

If you travel to Japan, the biggest expense except for a plane ticket will be

hotel and food.

A hotel can be chosen and such arrangements as Airbnb are gradually changing the industry. 

I think food may be what you want to enjoy most. Sushi, ramen, tonkatsu, Kaiseki.. 

Of course, there are high-end restaurants, but you can eat good lunch and dinner at small restaurants, Maybe their English is not good, but you can point what you want, lunch is less than 1000 yen during lunchtime. 

A chain store is not bad, either.. 

I went to Tengu for lunch and not bad all.

and the prices are around 650 yen next to Shibuya Station. It is not a fancy place, but good for lunch. It is a Izakaya at night. I took a picture of the lunch menu today.

Well, if you plan to travel to Japan, please don’t think that Japan is expensive. I think many of you who travelled to Japan agree ? 

Thank you for reading, 

Toshiya

If you lose your cell phone, Japan is a good country to lose it

Hi Everyone, 

Have you visited Japan before? If so, I hope you had a good time and you visit here again )

This is a story of an Irish writer who came to Japan for Rugby World Cup. 

Ireland lost to New Zealand and he was going home next day. 

Sadly, he lost his cell phone. He left it at taxi. 

He had a receipt so the front desk kindly called the taxi company and the taxi company kept it. 

He arrived there with a good surprise. The taxi company not only kept it but also fully charged his cell phone. The taxi company thought he would need it directly the phone was returned. 

He said, “If you lose your cell phone, Japan is a good country to do so.”

He also wrote:

There are some troubles if you leave a tip at room. Some hotels send the money back to a home country.  (In Japan no tip is necessary)

We call it ‘Omotenashi’ (おもてなし)

Hotel, restaurants … employees are trained to give more service than expected. 

Omotenashi is critical. 

Japan doesn’t have natural resources, 

Japan lives on trades, buy materials and sell complete goods.  They need to survive on good qualities of goods and services. 

Travel industry is important too, therefore, good service is critical. 

Well, I say this, though. 

Japanese consumers are spoiled and take it for granted that good services are given. It is tough for shop employees. Sometimes stressful, I imagine.

So what I do is try shopping in a way that I give a shop as little stress as possible. 

And I ask questions on how Japanese consumers are like.

They select words, but yeah… some consumers give them stress, I can tell)  Foreign consumers are more welcomed, I can feel it.

thank you for reading!

Toshiya

‘WHERE SHOULD I GO TO BUY JAPANESE BRUSHES IN TOKYO?’ Part 2 -Other than Hakuhodo

Part 2

Hi Everyone,

Today, I want to talk about shops other than Hakuhodo. 

Hakuhodo has been leading the brush industry with its aggressive marketing.  They are different internationally and domestically. 

A big difference is that Hakuhodo owns sales forces which others don’t. Most big department stores have Hakuhodo shops. 

Mitsukoshi Ginza

Tokyu Shibuya and Hikarie

Takashimaya Nihonbashi

Tobu Ikebukuro

Interestingly, Isetan has no Hakuhodo shop but Mitsukoshi and Isetan belong to the same group so Isetan has Hakuhodo events from time to time. 

How about other brands?

Most of them don’t use own people except for Takeda. 

Takeda has a shop in Shinjuku Takashimaya where you can buy Takeda and get tax free. 

https://www.takashimaya.co.jp/shopping/beauty/0300002588/

Kihitsu and SHAQUDA are sold at Isetan B1F.

For other brands, maybe the easiest is to buy at Tau Ginza. Many prefectures have shops in Tokyo, which sell special goods to own regions. Tau is a Hiroshima shop so you can buy Kumano Fude as well as food/sweets special to Hiroshima.

https://www.tau-hiroshima.jp/shop/2f/kumanofude

They have :

Chikuhodo 

Koyudo 

Mizuho

Kumano Select 

Kyuka

Please be noted that it is a select shop so not all products are displayed and can be bought. A shop manager selects brushes and sets on her own.

If you want to buy products not being sold in Tokyo, please let me know. I can send them to your hotel.

Thank you for reading,

Toshiya

‘Where should I go to buy Japanese brushes in Tokyo?’ Part 1

Hi Everyone, 

Today, I want to write about a question I often receive. 

‘Where should I go to buy Japanese brushes in Tokyo?’

Kumano brushes are made in Kumano, Hiroshima. You can buy at their factories or at Hiroshima Station. But Hiroshima is far from Tokyo, and maybe you don’t have time to visit Hiroshima. 

I have to tell you that Japanese brush shops are not everywhere, like ‘ Matsumoto Kiyoshi’

Maybe an exception is Hakuhodo.

And that may be why the name of Hakuhodo represents Japanese brushes. 

Hakuhodo can be bought at many places in Tokyo.

2 Tokyu shops in Shibuya  ( will be 1 from next March, as one located next to Hachi will be closed)

Mitsukoshi in Ginza

Takashimaya in Nihonbashi 

Tobu in Ikeburo

Flagship shop in Aoyama (please see pictures below)

I was chatting with a Chinese buyer the other day at Hakuhodo. 

I asked where he was buying hakuhodo. His answer was one of the two at Shibuya. 

He said, ‘Mitsukoshi charges a fee when he gets a tax back, Tokyu doesn’t.’

By the way, the tax rate is now 10% after October 1, and the tax free treatment to tourists gets more important. 

I just called Aoyama today and found out that tax free treatment is not provided.  They basically have all products and you can take a picture freely. (some department stores don’t allow pictures to be taken) So maybe it is worth visiting, but only for pictures) The staff at Aoyama speaks English.

Among Shibuya shops, one at Hikarie has more product lines so it is easier to buy at Hikarie.

It is irrelevant here, but for your information, Hakuhodo only sells at their own shops, and never uses a retailer. Therefore, I buy them at department stores at retail prices. That is why I add a  fee to the price. 

I feel sorry to my clients that I cannot sell at tax and fee free, like other brands, but that is why.  Hakuhodo doesn’t give good future to my business to be honest, LOL, though I totally understand it is most famous brand)

Thank you for reading!

I will write about other brands tomorrow,

Toshiya

Rainy and rugby weekend

Hi Everyone,

Another rain this weekend.
It is not heavily raining, which is good news, but we expect more rain in October.

As for makup brushes,
Hakuhodo’s Canadian squirrel is still not available.
I will let you know when I get updated.

Also, Silver Fox is late, many apologies to those who are waiting and here is a message Chikuhodo sent me.
———————————–
This fox hair is totally new materials in cosmetic brush industry.
We’ve studied this beautiful hair to use our regular products and established its knowhow.
However still it takes longer time compared to other typical hair because of its unique hair characteristics.
In addition, we’ve gotten a lot of orders than we expected so it takes long time to have a stocks now. We are trying to make as many as brush right now but apologize our inconvenience for this issue.


This weekend was a rugby weekend. Japan played a semi-final first time.

I would say Japan is a more baseball country or football (soccer ), but rugby attracts many people now – we call those fans that get fond of sports all of a sudden ‘Niwaka fanにわかファン’. I am a Niwaka fan of rugby as well)

Rugby World Cup teams have many foreign-born players. Japan is no exception. We have players from Korea, New Zealand, South Africa, Fiji, Samoa…. The captain and head coach are Kiwis and most Japanese believe that they are the biggest reasons why Japan is playing at this level.

After Japan lost to South Africa, Thompson, a 38-year old Kiwi who is about to retire, was speaking on the TV, and that interviewer was apparently crying. So were many viewers. My eyes were full of tears so I had to check the internet to confirm I am not the only one, LOL. Many Japanese were moved by his interview. He wanted to express what he felt in Japanese. It is not a language that made people cry.

Maybe the biggest moment in this World Cup for many Japanese.

Now four teams , NZ, England, South Africa and Wales, will play in Yokohama, and I see some seemingly rugby fans from those countries in Tokyo. I hope they also enjoy other ‘Japan’ than rugby.

Thank you for reading.
Toshiya

Brush Holiday sets

Hi Everyone,

It is a holiday season, and Hakuhodo and Chikuhodo release holiday sets.
Chikuhoku hasn’t announced yet.
I was told that those sets will be limited but not limited to Christmas, which means they will sell them all even after December 25.

Hakuhodo has a set or two at each store and one for all the shops.
This is the all-shop limited. 24960 yen


Brush numbers are

F3210 (grey squirrel/goat)
G5545
F8431
B5520
I170N6

Tokyu department store has 2 sets

A set – 19920yen


I5604
B104
I6451

B set – 22320 yen


B505
J5523
J6090
G5513
I170N6

Please let me know if interested,
my email is fudejapan@hotmail.com

Thank you!
Toshiya

After the Strong Typhoon

Chikuhodo released Silver Fox brushes in September.

FO 1 and 5, powder and eyeshadow brushes, are currently out of stock, and I was informed by Chikuhodo that they could produce the brushes this weekend.
I will keep you updated, and sorry for the delay to those who have ordered.

——————————————–

Strong typhoon was all over Japan last weekend. Currently, Rugby World Cup is played all over Japan. Those players from 20 countries have experienced the typhoon as well.

Some games were canceled, and players and fans were disappointed but with these damages, that may have not been avoided. Fans’ life is important.

There was a nice story after the typhoon passed and damaged all over. Canadian team helped the city of Kamaishi, a small town in Tohoku, with cleaning the dirt. The news was spread all over Japan, and people were so moved and thankful. They say the champion of Rugby is Canadian team

Sports or travels, I think it great to mingle with local people. Not easy, especially a language barrier. And I think it needs a little bit of courage as well, but most of Japanese people will be happy to meet and talk. Maybe some are too friendly for a language lesson..e.g. a friend of mine has talked to tourists in Tokyo more than 10 times..

Canadian team in Yukata. Yukata can be worn in Ryokan, a traditional Japanese style hotel.

I had a general knowledge of rugby and this time I researched more. I will write more about how Japan team is made of this time. A half of them were foreign-born, in my next newsletter.

Thank you for reading,
Toshiya

One day after the typhoon

Hi Everyone,

A big typhoon hit Japan, directly Tokyo.

I had many messages if I was ok when the typhoon hit Tokyo.
Thank you very much. Some regions had more damages than Tokyo, and more than 60 people died…..

The typhoon hit Tokyo on Saturday night.
It landed Shizuoka first, and moved to Tokyo. Tokyo faces the sea but it is a bay so usually safe from the sea disaster. eg. Tsunami. The Shizuoka sea was wild like this,

Maybe some of you know ‘Hakone’, a hot spring place. Hakone had the heaviest rain this time.

This typhoon brought heavy rain. Very very heavy.
Many rivers in the east were flooded, and houses near those rivers were inundated.

I live near the Tama River, which was also flooded. There were baseball fields next to the river, now they were completely under water. This picture was taken by a friend on Sunday. This place is 20 minutes by bicycle from my place.

As I grew up in Japan, I have been used to typhoons. My father always said, ‘it is a big one this time,’ but mostly, those typhoons turned out to be ‘not so big.’

I was optimistic this time as well. This time, it was BIG. Even Shibuya people were told to move to shelters, but it seemed that people were afraid to move out of houses. Rain was more than expected. The Shibuya Crossing was empty , and no trains.

It was 7pm when it hit Tokyo. Most scary was when an earthquake hit at night. It was gone quickly, but if it was big, that would have caused big damages as people were not able to get out of a house easily

The sky got clear on Sunday. We call it ‘Taifu Ikka.’ (台風一過)that means next day a typhoon passes, very clear sky will come back. This time was no exception. After midnight, the sky was like this.

I will write a part 2 tomorrow,

Thank you for reading,

Toshiya

Typhoon is coming to Tokyo

Hi Everyone,

Typhoon is approaching Tokyo and it is said to a big one.
It is 3pm in Japan now and Typhoon is in south of Tokyo.

Japan is a country with mountains and rivers so with a big typhoon, rivers are flooded and houses on the mountains face dangers. In Tokyo, most trains are not running, and department stores are closed all day today.

Both of baseball playoffs, though played in Dome, Tokyo Dome and Seibu Dome, were called off. Even though it is in-house baseball, people cannot come to a stadium.

This is a picture of Shizuoka.

Maybe blog time.
The problem is that I cannot write only by sitting. I walk around and come back to writing and walk…

But I cannot get out of home today.
So I decided to check Netflix and came across a movie called
‘Stand by me.’

I have heard of the movie and music, and that young Kiefer Sutherland was acting. But never seen it myself.

Maybe many of you watched this movie, and liked it.
A story of four 12 year boys’ adventure, and growing up during the two days. Some people grow up gradually and some grow up after experiencing one incident. It is said to be a story of the author, Stephen King.

In the ending scene, one boy asked his friend
‘I’m never gonna get out of this town, am I?’


His friend said ‘you can do anything you want, man’

I was asking this question many times when I was a boy in a rural town of Hiroshima… I should remember it even now and going forward.
‘I can do anything I want’

Now checking news, the typhoon is coming to Tokyo at 9pm.
Will write more tomorrow,

Thank you for reading,
Toshiya

Dogs saved by a rescue team

Hi Everyone,

Summer is over finally and we have a cool night. The quality of my sleep is getting good) The fall is one of the best seasons in Japan, I think)

Bad news is that the fall has many typhoons in Japan.
A few weeks ago, Tokyo was hit by a typhoon and the train did not operate properly. Some local cities were hit by heavy rains.

I saw a twitter that eastern parts of Tokyo were flooded by rain.

There was one picture in twitter that caught my attention.
The city was flooded and people escaped to the roof. They brought their 2 dogs to the roof, seemingly Shiba dogs.

I saw another twitter saying that it is a priority of the rescue team to save a human being first. The mission of a rescue team is to save as many people as possible.

A rescue man said to this lady,
‘We came to save you’
‘But your dogs are your family and we will save them, too’
Those dogs were rescued.

It may be argued that the rescue team should have gone and saved another family. And it was his call or judgment depending on a situation. Many people were impressed with his act actually.

I was thinking,
There are always rules and exceptions. Japan or Japanese people tend to follow a rule. Japan still has a mentality of ‘village’ or ‘community’ where a certain rules govern. Well, that is good in most cases. You see Japanese try to behave well.

On the other hand, Japanese people behave more uniformly, so creativity may be disturbed. Rules are sometimes broken by people who want changes , and maybe Japan is not changing as much as it should be.

I am usually on the side of breaking a rule, lol, and I like that dogs were saved)

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

Fude companies sell brushes at discount ?

Hi Everyone, 

I have received a few questions if brush makers sell at discount. I want to write about it on this blog as I chatted with Chikuhodo today.

I had thought that they sell brushes at discount prices only at Fude Festival. Fude Festival is an annual festival where they express thankfulness to brushes and to animals whose hair is used.

About discount, I just called Chikuhodo today. 
Their reply is that
‘it is one-time deal only at Chikuhodo factory.
They sell discounted brushes to people who travel to Kumano as a gratitude for a long trip.

Yeah, Kumano is pretty far, even in Hiroshima, it is 
far from a train station so you need to go by car or taxi. I had never been there even when I was living one hour away from Kumano when I was in Hiroshima.

So Chikuhodo sometimes makes brushes with different sizes or shapes that  cannot be used for regular products. Not defect but it doesn’t fit to the requirements of regular products. They also combine hair not used with other types of handles and make products not sold regularly. Some brushes that are a part of a set are also sold individually.

I asked if we could buy.
Chikuhodo said 
‘ only once a year on the fude festival day at the factory’
‘We sell regular products at discounted prices at festival and sell non-regular products at the factory. Noel set, for example, is discounted and also available on an individual basis at the factory.’

I feel a passion from Fude Lovers but Hiroshima is far away from Tokyo so I cannot go ….that being the case, maybe it is worthwhile to visit a festival and tour around Hiroshima. Beautiful Miyajima island, Pease Memorial Park, Okonomi, Fried Oyster etc.

Thank you for reading.

Toshiya

Do you know Dankai no Sedai ?

Hi Everyone,

The other day, I came across a twitter saying, ‘these days ‘Dankai’ people are not polite, and take it for granted that they can get good service’

I want to write about it because I feel the same way.

In Japan, or probably the rest of the world, many men came back from the war in 1945, got married and had babies. In Japan we call those who were born from 1947 to 1949 ‘Dankai no Sedai ‘ . ‘Dankai’ means ‘mass’ and ‘Sedai’ means ‘generation.’

Those baby boomers are now about 70 years old.

Japan grew economically from 1950 to 1980. Companies assure life time employment. Salaries increase as they get old. Well, the society might not be diverse as now, but it is a happy era for many people.

On the contrary, older people than those ‘Dankai’ ages survived the war and poverty.

My grandmother was born and raised in a rural town in Hiroshima. She did not even graduate from elementary school and worked at ryokan (tradition type of hotel in Japan ). She moved to Taiwan later, and came back in 1945 after the war ended.

I loved stories she told me, it even now encourages me to recall what she experienced. I am living in peaceful ‘Yuru chara and Kawaii Japan’ LOL. I take many things for granted that my grandmother never thought of.

So I respect old people.

Now those Dankai generation. They have been spoiled and take many services for granted. Everyone got a job and got promoted as the economy expanded. They expect young people to respect ? Maybe.

I once gave them seats on the train but they didn’t even say ‘thank you ‘….

That tweet have many replies that people agree that ‘Dankai’ people are not polite.

It is my biased opinion and please don’t consider ‘all Japan’ opinion )) Maybe I met some rude Dankai guy today ..,

——————-

I was informed that 2017 Chikuhodo set is still available. Please let me know if you are interested.

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

Japanese curry has a history..

Hi Everyone,

Many brush companies raised brush prices, and now it is Tanseido, They will raise the prices from October. Please let me know if you are interested in any Tanseido brushes before the prices are raised.


What is your favorite Japanese food?

We, Japanese, like sushi, sukiyaki, shabu shabu, etc but if it comes to daily lunch or dinner, curry rice can win a medal.

Ichiro, maybe the best Japanese baseball player, once told he ate curry every day, even in the morning. Curry, he said, increases a power of concentration. After this ‘rumor’ spread, many parents bought curry for their kids, LOL.

Regardless, Japanese like curry. Even my parents did. They once talked about Nakamuraya curry in Shinjuku. I did not pay much attention at that time as I was a boy. The other day, when I took a long bath, this story suddenly came back to me. I only remember the name of Nakamuraya so next day I checked their web page, and found an interesting story.

Namuraya began to make bread in 1901. And the first curry was made in 1926. It was created by an Indian named Rash Behari Bose. Mr. Bose came to Japan in 1915. He was working for the Indian Independence in India and was chased by Britain. At that time, Japan and Britain had a treaty so Mr. Bose hid himself in Japan and Nakamura helped him escape.

On the run, he got married to a Japanese woman Toshiko. They had one son and daughter. When the World War I ended, he became free and lived in the house of Nakamuraya and suggested that traditional Indian curry be made.

There was curry in Japan before he created it for Nakamuraya, but he was not happy with the taste and he made it taste like Indian curry. Nakamuraya curry was original to India, well maybe some changes might have been made to the curry since then, but they still call it ‘Indian curry.’ It is a household name in Japan and still sells many curry products very well. Nakamuraya curry is one reason why we love curry)

It was not really a happy story, though.

His wife, Toshiko, died at the age of 26 due to the illness from the pressure on the run. Mr. Bose continued to work for the Indian Independence till he died from illness in 1945. His son also died in 1945. He fought as a Japanese soldier and died in the battle of Okinawa.

History, especially not taught at a school text book, is interesting, isn’t it?

Thank you for reading !

Toshiya

Reiwa

Maybe you have heard about it.  

Japan has entered a new era called Reiwa 令和 with the new Emperor from May 1.

The eras are 
Meiji – Taisho – Showa – Heisei – Reiwa after the Samurai (Edo) period was over in 1867.

We had Showa for 63 years and Heisei for 31 years.
Japan had the war in Showa and big earthquake/tsunami in Heisei. So we wish Reiwa to be an era of peace. 

Reiwa’s wa is 和. Peace is 平和. This 和(wa) means ‘harmony’

There is a bit of difficulty, though. 

If I am told that someone was born in the 50th year of Showa, I need to add the years of Showa, Heisei  and Reiwa. It is not simple even for Japanese. So we usually convert the year from Showa 50th to 1975, e.g.

——————————

I was chatting with Kyureido today. 

I was informed that 
there would be no more logo of 極 and fine kalla. (Please see the picture)

I asked them the reason, they say Japanese consumers like a handle with no logo brush. Well, I told them that many of my clients liked Kanji 極, but the decision seemed to be made….

 Brush companies should be attentive to foreign clients, And I think it important for me to tell them what you like ))

How is a brush named ?

I saw a question of what kind of hair a particular brush had. It was about Takeda. 

Some companies make it clear  by naming their brushes after brushes’ hair.

Chikuhodo Z series are made with grey squirrel. T series are with goat saikoho.  Hakuhodo says G series are mainly made with grey squirrel and goat though they call them ‘blue’ squirrel.’

Hakuhodo naming is simple. It is easy except that many G series have no number on handles.  I  sometimes spend time on figuring out brushes’ numbers before sending them out. A shop says people touch and try at counter so they don’t care about numbers. Not good for me…

Takeda naming always puzzles me. So I asked a shop how they name it. They didn’t know… but promised to get back to me. 

They inserted a memo into a package sent to me::

For example,
16RSEPSQU(W) in the picture above.

16  is the length of a ferrule 16cm.
RS is a round style.
EP is European dressed Pine squirrel. (European dressed makes hair more straight while Nippon (Japan )dressed is not :NP)

SQU is a squirrel and W is white top.

Others  are:
WF is Tsubaki 椿 seires 
OV is oval
SOV is super oval. 
D is dense
EXS is extra saikoho 

If these make sense to you, great. I did not pay much attention so I preferred simple naming like Chikuhodo and Hakuhodo. 

On the contrary, Koyomo makes its product lines small. I guess they sell very few but expensive products in a similar strategy  to MAC (computer ) . Chikuhodo may be the same, but they make many limited brushes. 

I know many of you are more knowledgeable than I, 
but please let me know if you have a question if any, whether it is related to brushes or makeup. 
It will be good for me to know more!

Is it important to go to a good school in Japan?

Trains are crowded in April, when a new fiscal year starts.

Companies give training to new employees in Tokyo before they send them to local cities, so trains and subway are more crowded than usual.  Crowded trains make me think the Japanese school system)

In Japan, kids are taught to study, and go to good schools and work for big companies  (I am generalizing this for this discussion. There are many different ideas)

So good life for kids to be ‘happy’ is  to study hard, go to good high schools and enter prestigious universities. Then work for big companies. Prestigious universities include Tokyo, Kyoto, Keio, Waseda etc. Big companies are Mitsubishi, Mitsui, Toyota, etc. 

This is still what many parents believe in. Kids may be different. 

What do I think of this idea ?

I don’t like it at all, LOL. There are many ways to be ‘happy. ‘ They can work for a favorite thing. They can create own companies. They can pursue own interests. Maybe they can be major league baseball players to earn more than $400 million))

Besides, you can challenge things in Japan. Even if you failed, you could survive and ‘live’ in Japan. (Japan is a safe country relatively, as you may know and the welfare system also assures ‘life ‘) 
So you can challenge and pursue a different life with a reasonable insurance.

Having said that,  I think  you can take advantage of the Japanese school system. 

It is an insurance. 

I know some Tokyo University grads. They say if people study for three years very hard,  they can enter Tokyo University. I believe it is true. If you have a Tokyo Uni diploma, you can use it as an insurance to get a job and wait till you find your ‘dream’ job.  Or you can have a reasonable job that may not be a perfect job, but assures a reasonable life. 

Three years might be long for a16-year old kid who wants to have social life, but still  be good investment that will pay off.   You get a long term insurance.

It is difficult. (  I was not able to do that ! No patience for three years.)  That is what companies value when recruiting students. Patience and  persistence.

I mean :
there are many intelligent students who,  if they study,  are very difficult to beat. But they might not study and do something else. So other students who may be ‘average or less’ have chances.  Even I had a chance  as an ‘average’ student but with no patience! 

Speaking of Ichiro, a baseball player who retired this year at the age of 45. He practiced baseball for 364 days a year as an elementary school student. Only one day rest ))  It is far more difficult to be a great baseball player than to study for three years.

Again, I was not able to do so. My high school years were not productive and not challenging. So I have a respect for students who continued one thing for three years.

Whether they managed to take an advance of the system or not, they are now commuting on the subway.  Crowded subway.  With me)  It is a spring and I usually revisit this thought) 

Konkatsu in Japan

Last week, I went to Isetan that had a makeup event most of makeup companies participated in. They performed makeup shows and sold items only for this event.

I had a chance to talk to the SUQQU makeup artist who is always on instagram, though I had a more interesting ‘event.’

Abruptly, I was called by a shop employee I had known and asked  if I speak English. And how she could improve her English.  Of course, there are many ways to study English, but I told her  I was into watching the same movie again and again, and remembering conversations.  I also told her she could meet many foreign shoppers at Isetan. 

She now has a friend from Ireland, and is getting interested in foreign countries. 

That is good) 

Well, in Japan, I have this impression that women are more interested in foreign cultures and languages than men. Generally, women speak English better than men, too.

And she said she was interested in meeting foreign men. and asked me to introduce if I knew anyone.   She was very straightforward , and surprised me. I like it!

In Japan, there is a word of ‘Konkatsu,’ which means the activity to get married. And this ‘konkatsu’ market is getting big, as more and more people don’t get married or get married late.

And Konkatsu gets difficult because people have very specific or sometimes too many desires. It is said that women want to marry a man who is nice looking (Ikemen), tall and earning well.   e.g. $ 70,000 annual salary.  Average salary in Tokyo is $60,000  and $40,000 on an all-Japan basis.  So maybe the first step would be to move to Tokyo)  Moreover,  $70,000 in their early thirties is only earned in big companies e.g. trading firms and banks.  Maybe less than 10%,

So what do they do ?

There are many marriage consultants, who introduce single people.  

Omiai (formal introduction) used to be a typical way of meeting for a marriage but not these days. In Omiai, there are matchmakers who want to take care of single people in each community or village. And they talk and arrange a meeting between people who don’t know. Actually my parents met through an Omiai. My mother told me that  a 70years old lady arranged a meeting for her.

Many Omiai marriages a few decades ago.

Now Konkatsu instead of Omiai.

About the shop lady. 
I have a friend from Taiwan and he is interested) 
Will see how it goes.

Thank you for reading) 

Toshiya

Does school uniform mean much in Japan?

In Japan, most school 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 uniform or can wear anything we like.  The result was that we should wear 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

Sorry that my order process is not clear

As I am not big, there are many things I try to improve. It is not as sophisticated as other companies. Sorry ! Though it is not complete, here is how the process works.

How do I get orders?
I am not good at building my web page, lol. I have my site.
https://fudejapan.com/
I try to make it easier for you, but I know it is not there, so my web site doesn’t take many orders. Actually, I also have a shop there.
https://fudejapan.com/shop/
My friend helps this shop so it is good)

Others include:
email ( I take orders most by email )
instagram direct message ( this works, but I usually ask a client to give me an email address as I can send an invoice quickly ) 
Messenger:  LINE, Viber or Telegram if preferred. I haven’t used these as I might miss a message. I try to be better and attentive!

Then I ask money to be sent : usually paypal or credit card.   I know paypal exchange rates are not good, but I cannot find a better way yet. For a big amount, bank transfer is better, but you need to go to a bank and it takes time…  I have one client from Hong Kong to use  ‘Transferwise.’
https://transferwise.com/ Transferwise’ Remittance is less expensive than bank transfer and quick/easy. The exchange rates are the same as banks. But it seems to be working only in a certain countries.  

On receiving money, I purchase goods :

I work in Shibuya, which has Tokyu, Hikarie, Seibu, so I walk to stores to buy them. It is a good exercise, lol.  I know most of you enjoy shopping,  but not me.  My shopping is quick and simple: just ‘buy,’ The thing is that female customers try makeup, and shop sales people help them so if they are occupied, I wait. Some shops are good and very attentive, but some make me wait forever! So personal relation is very important. Those sales people I know well find me and move quickly, thank you!

For orders of Kumano brushes,  I email them orders and they send me a box. It is a weekly process. 

It is a bit tricky to buy limited products. They limit one or two products per person, SUQQU is notorious for the limitation per person (LOL) so I call different shops from Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, sometimes very small cities. e.g. Okayama 

Sweets : I buy at supermarket. Unless limited products, there is one good shop in my neighbor) 

Then I ship:

I usually use  ‘EMS’ (Express Mail Service ) It is insured up to 20,000 yen for free, . Very quick and reliable. 

My experiences tell me it takes only
three days to four days to Asia
four or five days to North America

It should be quick to Europe, but EU customs are strict and take time so I don’t know exactly how long it takes.. 

The other one is registered mail, which takes a few days more than EMS, but I see European clients prefer this method to EMS. 

I know there are many areas I need to work on, especially for clients. I am really thankful for your patience!
Please feel free to ask me questions. I promise I will write more in details later.

Thank you for reading this again)

Toshiya

About this blog

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.

Thank you!

Toshiya

Story Of An American Soldier In Japan After The World War II

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.

Thank you for reading again!
Toshiya

I met an American working for a brush company!

Hi Everyone,

Summer is over in Japan finally. It is 23C in Tokyo now!

When I was a boy, August 15, Obon, was already in the fall, and I was not able to swim any longer. Coming from a rural town in Hiroshima, I used to swim in the river. These days it is so hot even in September !

In the river, I managed to catch Unagi once. I released him as I wasn’t interested in Unagi as food. I also caught ‘Ayu,’ very fast moving fish. Have you eaten Ayu ? I would recommend you to eat when you travel to Japan, with salt. One of my favorites.

As I wrote on instagram, I went to Gift Show and visited the Bisyodo counter. Adam and Ueda san. Actually, Bisyodo is formally Ueda Bisyodo. They have been providing hair to Kumano brush makers and recently begun to manufacture its own brand. My contact is Adam.

This is the first time to meet Adam. I had thought he was an Australian for some reasons. Well, his email in Japanese is impeccable or native, and I met many Australians who spoke Japanese very well. My biased image..

He is from New Jersey and a Polish descendant. As his grandfather moved to America from Poland in 1943, during the war , we talked about the history and Schindler’s List movie for a while. And Chicago as a city of many Polish Americans, and Milwaukee.

I have been interested in ethnic backgrounds. So I usually guessed from a last name and asked if I was right when I was working in Long Island, NY. There were four major ethnics there, I remember, working as my colleagues – Polish, Irish, Italian and Jewish Americans. It was so interesting)

So a Polish American works for a brush company in Osaka. He said the strongest language was Japanese. Isn’t it unique? My client asked me if he speaks Polish, I will check!

Actually, I heard Koyudo hired some Chinese students from Hiroshima University. I hope they enjoy working there) and they should do more. The Japan brush market is shrinking, but a big potential exists outside Japan.

Thank you for reading !

Toshiya

Shibuya New Building – Scramble Square



Hi Everyone, 

If you visit Japan now, you see many constructions going on.   We will have Tokyo Olympics  next  year. Maybe that is one reason, but it seems to me that there are always constructions in Shibuya, especially underground.

This time, it is a new building that is being built around the station. Currently, Hachi is the place we meet at Shibuya, maybe the most popular meeting place in Japan. But there might be a new meeting place once it is complete.

As far as I am concerned,  the easier shopping is, the better. Brands only sold at Isetan, which I am hoping , will open a shop in Shibuya. 

The new  station building is called ‘Scramble Square.’ It seems to be three times bigger than the current one.  The new building will open on November 1, and they have announced which makeup brands would have a counter.  Tom Ford and Amplitude will open the first shops in Shibuya. Both are sold at Isetan now but I will not have to go there)

Another thing I have noticed is Hakuhodo is not listed. I confirmed with a shop that they will not open a shop in Scramble Squire so that there will be only one shop in Shibuya next year. I assume they continue to sell at the current place till March end, 2020.

Here is a list of brands join Scramble Square.

RMK

ACSEINE

ADDICTION

ANNA SUI COSMETICS

ALBION

AMPLITUDE

YVES SAINT LAURENT

ITRIM

IPSA

SK‐II

ESTEE LAUDER

EST

ELEGANCE

KANEBO

COVERMARK

CLARINS

CLINIQUE

CLE DE PEAU BEAUTE

DECORTE

SHISEIDO

CHANEL FRAGRANCE & BEAUTY

SHU UEMURA

JO MALONE LONDON

JILL STUART

SHIRO

SUQQU

CELVOKE

DIPTYQUE

TOO FACED

TOM FORD BEAUTY

NARS

FANCL

PAUL&JOE

BOBBI BROWN

M・A・C

LANCOME

REFA

LAURA MERCIER

L’OCCITANE

ANNA’S by LANDTMANN

It is a bit early, but in October, 2019 Holiday Collections will be displayed.

Please take a look at some brands:

Thank you for reading,

Toshiya

Which souvenir do you like to bring home from Japan?

Which souvenir (omiyage) would you like from Japan? Maybe very Japanese or very different from your home country’s.

I would think it would be Japanese sweets (soy bean), chopsticks, sense(fan) or kittychan…. Good place to look for is Don Quixote (Donki ) or 100 yen shop. You can find some different or creative products there.

I came across an article that one American guy was looking for a JR(Japan Railway) employee who helped him during an earthquake. He was a high school student who stayed in Yokohama and made a trip to Tohoku, a northern region of Japan, where an earthquake hit. Not the biggest one in 2011, but the one 14 years ago,.

Due to the earthquake, Shinkansen stopped, and it was the last for his JR pass. This person working for Sendai station arranged him a youth hostel and paid money for lodging and the next day’s Shinkansen. Now he came back to Japan and tried to find this JR employee, but he was not able to.

Good story but I found Yahoo comments more interesting. Some comments were

  • I cannot speak English so I cannot help even I want
  • I don’t know if they need a help
  • I am so shy that I cannot help

But some say they always talk to tourists and help them when they seem to be looking for something. And many responded that they did the same. I usually see ‘not nice’ Yahoo comments (LOL)

Whether good or bad, Japanese don’t talk to strangers, especially in Tokyo. I often see some tourists are checking papers or smart phones in the middle of a station. Maybe I should hep them but I also think they don’t need a help. A little hesitation…

These feedback are encouraging to me. Wow, Japanese are not shy any more)

Oops I completely changed the subject.

As for brushes,

I will sell on Bisyodo and Koyomo by 10% off. Please let me know if you are interested.

Thank you for reading again,

Toshiya

YukiSaikohoface ¥50,000¥45,000

Saikohocheek¥35,000¥31,500

Saikohoeyeshadow¥20,000¥18,000
TsukiSaikohoface ¥45,000¥40,500

Saikohocheek¥30,000¥27,000

Saikohoeyeshadow¥15,000¥13,500
HananuriSaikohoface ¥45,000¥40,500

Saikohocheek¥30,000¥27,000

Saikohoeyeshadow¥15,000¥13,500
HananuriSokohoface ¥40,000¥36,000

Sokohocheek¥25,000¥22,500

Sokohoeyeshadow¥15,000¥13,500
Hana SakuraSokohoface ¥25,000¥22,500

Sokohocheek¥15,000¥13,500

Sokohoeyeshadow¥10,000¥9,000
Hana WalnutSokohoface ¥20,000¥18,000

Sokohocheek¥14,000¥12,600

Sokohoeyeshadow¥8,000¥7,200
Pearl WhiteOtotsuhoface ¥9,000¥8,100

Ototsuhocheek¥7,000¥6,300

Ototsuhoeyeshadow¥4,000¥3,600
Pearl PinkOtotsuhoface ¥7,500¥6,750

Ototsuhocheek¥5,000¥4,500

Ototsuhoeyeshadow¥2,500¥2,250

Ototsuhoeyeshadow(flat)¥2,500¥2,250
GradationOtotsuhoface ¥15,000¥13,500

Ototsuhocheek¥10,000¥9,000

Ototsuhoeyeshadow¥5,000¥4,500

Ototsuhoeyeshadow(flat)¥5,000¥4,500

https://www.cosme-bisyodo.com/en/product/index.html

Rainy season in Japan

Hi Everyone, 

This year Tsuyu ( rainy season ) is really rainy ! Now at mid-July, it rains almost daily. Most weekends we have had rain since June,  and an umbrella is always in a bag. Usually July is a month when we suffer from hot night(Lol) but this year is different.

When I watch baseball in the rain, I feel sorry for attendants who get wet terribly…. Baseball traditionalists say it should be played under the Sun and domed stadiums are not poplar in North America, but I think Japan needs more domes! Now we have 6 domes (a half of 12 teams ) for professional baseball but we need more. Well, 50% of fans are against this idea in Japan, but I don’t like watching baseball in the rain.

Good thing in Tokyo is that we can move around by subway. I am located in Shibuya and Isetan is 3 stations away from Shibuya by subway so that I don’t get wet when I shop there. 

On a rainy day, I went to Isetan for Shu Uemura and Chicca. Shu is busy but Chicca is a shop that usually has no waiting clients.  But this time was different…There was a long line for Chicca. Very unusual. 

It turned out that Chicca was going to close the operation. It is surprising as I get orders from time to time.

Chicca is a Kanebo brand so I assume employees are going to work for Kanebo.  

Anyway, if you are interested d in Chicca, please let me know. 

https://www.chicca.jp

Other brand updates
Hakuhodo Canadian squirrel is not back in stock yet. 

Do you know Hakuhodo has products limited to USA ? Mostly S series:

These are ones I know.

151 150 165 5221a 5523b 147 149

I am planning to sell Bisyodo and Koyomo by 10 % discount in August.

I will keep you updated)

Thank you for reading again, 
Toshiya