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

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

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

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