What are brushes other than Kumano brushes?

Hi Everyone,

I received a question regarding whether Bisyodo belongs to Kumano brushes.

The answer was that Bisyodo is not a Kumano brush member.

Bisyodo is located in Osaka, and not a member of Kumano Fude Union.

Bisyodo has been providing hair to brush makers, and they have a good quality, but not a Kumano Brush.

And I thought it good to write brush towns other than Kumano.

Kumano brushes account for 80% of production in Japan. So others are small.

But others have a history as well. I came up with two names.

One is Toyohashi, near Nagoya, and the the other is Kawajiri, Hiroshima.

Kawajiri is a small town next to Kumano, and you may know that Koyomo is one of the Kawajiri brushes.

Most of Kawajiri brushes seem to focus on calligraphy brush.

But, I found one making makeup brushes – Bunshindo.

Bunshindo has these makeup brushes made from Kolinsky.


I will check more on Bunshindo if you are interested. It may be interesting to know more about small players.

I will search more on Toyohashi brushes next time.

I was requested if I can take a video of brush making.

I am far from Hiroshima now and this is a youtube on brush making. He is making a calligraphy brushes, and there are more than 100 processes.

Updates on Japan are:

‘Stay Home’ is still placed in Japan, but it seems local cities with few corono virus patients will be back to normal life gradually.

EMS is not working between Japan and USA, Russia, Austraria and most of EU nations.

If it is a limited brush or product, please let me know.

I will buy and hold it till mails begin to work.

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

Carp red brush (MK-KO) – why Carp design?

Hi Everyone,

I received several feedback on MK-KO powder brush.

Thank you.

Some people were interested in the background of the Carp design so I want to write a bit about the history.

Hiroshima Carp Baseball club was born in 1950, five years after the war ended.

At the time, Japan had a professional baseball league. Most popular are the Giants in Tokyo, and the Tigers in Osaka. It is similar to the rivalry between NY and Boston.

Hiroshima Carp.

A week team in a small city.

They were not able to pay even train tickets to Tokyo.

At that time, no super express Shinkansen that takes only four hours now. They took a train all night.

The team was in financial difficulty from the beginning. So, Manager, Coaches and players collected money by visiting many towns in Hiroshima.

It is like crowdfunding.

I remember reading one story.

When the team was taking a train to Tokyo, an old lady came to see off the team and gave the manager ‘Onigiri.’ I think his name was Shiraishi.

Onigiri is a rice ball, a typical home made dishes in Japan.

The train left the Hiroshima Station, but Shiraishi-san could not eat it. His tears didn’t stop.

It was 1950.

The Carp was a hope of the city or Hiroshima Prefecture, which was trying to recover from the war damage.

People donated money though they still suffered from poverty.

The Carp would not have survived without the donation. That is why the Carp is called the team of the citizens.

Yet it took 25 years till they won the league.

Even now, the Hiroshima Carp is struggling because good players choose to leave for big city clubs, e.g. Giants in Tokyo, and Tigers in Osaka.

But in a way, they are spoiled. As far as they are playing in Hiroshima and don’t leave the town, they don’t have to win. Fans are happy with the team.

Very different from Tokyo Giants or New York Yankees who ‘must’ win.

Things changed when the new stadium was built.

For last several years, the Carp attendance has been more than 2 million. This is huge, considering the size of the city –  a little more than 1 million.

(this is a home of the Carp)

(This is at a play-off at Osaka, the number of Carp fans is increasing)

People buy Carp goods in red,

Every game is sold out, so that they can pay good money to players.

They won three years in a row!

The morning in Hiroshima starts with a conversation ‘how was the Carp last night?’

So it is easy for me to speak to Kumano brush companies.

A little talk about the Carp makes business easy.

I have to confess, though, I was a Tokyo Giants fan when I was a kid, LOL.

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

(this is a product by the MK-KO designer)

 

 

Chikuhodo new makie brush – MK-KO (Carp red handle)

Hi Everyone,

It is Golden Week in Japan, and most of people are not working.

It is also in the middle of ‘stay home’ period, so maybe it is not very different from April. Ths Golden Week will be quiet.

‘Stayhome’ request seems to get longer till the end of May.

I see people frustrated  nowadays.  Economically, restaurant and travel industries are deep in trouble, and some companies began to go bankrupt.

If it gets long, more companies go broke, so this decision is now very difficult to make about when to stop the ‘stayhome.’


As for Kumano brushes, they still make brushes. Currently, they are on holidays till May 6 – Golden Week holidays.

My client informed me that Chikuhodo released a new brush today.

It is called MK-KO. Makie handle with squirrel hair. It is a powder brush.

KO stands for Koi 鯉. It is Carp, and Carp is a symbol of Hiroshima.

I took a look at this

https://www.chikuhodo.com/product/cate_powder.html

And MK-KO looks similar to MK-2 or Z9.

Here is a link to online shop.

Chikuhodo MK-KO Powder Brush (Koi Carp/Grey Squirrel)

(This is Mazda Stadium, home of Hiroshima Carp)

Why Carp?

Some say that Hiroshima Castle was built in the 17th century, and that there were many Carp around it.  We call it a Carp Castle.

After the war, a professional baseball team was born. It was named ‘Hiroshima Carp.’

Their team color is red, and Hiroshima became a town in red, well, you see Carp uniform everywhere.

This MK-KO has Carp design with a red handle. Chikuhodo created this brush in Carp red, I imagine.

The handle was designed by

https://www.instagram.com/kiyan_stuzio/

Funny thing was that there was a baseball All-Star game in Hiroshima, and I was watching it on TV. Koyudo Chairman was there!

So next day I called them, and it was him)

Houkodou had a brush in Carp red, so you see Carp red everywhere…

Born and raised in Hiroshima, I am also a Carp fan, pretty avid, actually.

I will talk more about it in next newsletter.

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

 

 

 

Chikuhodo Old G series

Hi Everyone,

I wrote about how I get rare hair brushes to be manufactured.

I want to sell rare quality products

Brush makers have some old stocks, too. Sometimes rare hair.

I received a request to buy Chikuhodo old G series two days ago.

Yesterday I talked to Chikuhodo, and they had a stock of old G series, two generations back from current G series.

G- 2 is the current G-2 except that the old G-2 has a longer handle.

G-9 is the current G-16, with a longer handle too.

G-9 is 6000 yen, while G-2 is now sold out.

There were old Xmas sets of Chikuhodo a while back, too. Noel sets.

Please let me know if you are interested in any old stocks.

Kihitsu has Koyudo white Canadian Squirrel – only one left for the black one. Six left for the red one. The price is 21000 yen.

I am waiting for face brushes too.

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

I want to sell rare quality products

(The picture is Muragishi )

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are all safe.

We are in the middle of ‘stay home.’ in Japan.

All department stores are closed in Japan for food sections.

People are encouraged to work home.

If the request to ‘stay home’ gets long, it might be discussed whether the school year should be changed or not.  From (April – March) to (September – July), which will be the same as that of many countries.

Japan is very slow in changing the system, so I don’t think it will happen.

But many people are discussing a ‘after corona’ world.


Now USA join the list of the countries that EMS cannot be mailed to.

I can still send brushes to most of Asian countries.


Hakuhodo and makeup products, I hope, will be available from May 6, when department stores open again.

I will keep you posted.

Hakuhodo and Koyomo are on sale at a discount 0f 5% till May 6.


Rare products are requested from time to time by my clients, but due to a shortage of hair, they are not available.

Those hair include:

Canadian squirrel

White Canadian squirrel

Kolinsky cheek or powder

Saibikoho goat

I send requests to make brush makers, but it is slow….

A manufacturer needs a minimum order unit. e.g. 100 -300 brushes.

They want to get a bigger order.

I have been thinking of 2 alternatives:

One is crowdfunding.

It is funding but more like ‘pre-order.’

If there is a new idea or request for a product, I post to a crowdfunding site.

If I can get a funding sufficient to order in a bulk,  I give an order to a brush maker.

If the amount is under the required amount, all money paid will be returned.

We can tell whether a product is popular or not.

The other way is a group order.

I recognize you often belong to a fude community that sends me a group order.

If the number of orders reaches the minimum units to produce brushes, I can order them. This is easier for me, if there are a sufficient number of clients.

Either way,  I want to make it work. I need to be creative!

If you have an idea, please let me know!

Here are pictures of a drug store I visited yesterday.

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

 

 

 

The State of Emergency was declared all over Japan now

 

Hi Everyone,

Now that the corona virus was spreading not only in Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka, but also in local cities, the Government declared the state of emergency all over Japan.

It will last till May 6, but could be longer than the date, the current situation considered.

Kumano brushes can be bought from Hiroshima, but department store items might be late – Hakuhodo, Shaquda, Laduree, D&G, Paul & Joe, ADDICTION, etc.

These will be on sale in May or June(1st D&G, Chanel and Snowbeauty)

I will keep you posted.

The other news is that all Japan residents get 100,000 yen (about 1000USD), whether Japanese or foreigners living in Japan.

People seem to get more and more serious about following the ‘stayhome’ request.

Sorry it took long to send a updated letter. I have been working on new email system)

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

Heavy rain made people stay home in Japan

(The picture is limited face powder of Elegance with Swarovski, which will be released in June)

Hi Everyone,

It was raining so hard all day yesterday in Tokyo.

People in Tokyo have been requested to stay home, and the heavy rain made them stay home all day.

I usually walk in the neighbor but yesterday I stayed all day. I made a simple ramen.

There was a new lunch shop nearby, and the prices are reasonable.


Kyoto and Nagoya  also closed shops and now I will need to order products from local cities. I ordered Jill Stuart from Gunma, far north of Tokyo.

Now I am an expert on where department stores are in Japan )

I ordered Hakuhodo from Sapporo, and Hiroshima will be an option too.

During this ‘stay home,’ I began to read English study books so I decided to write a blog about English study in Japanese. I hope some people will read them, but outputs are always good to remember what we learn!


These are SUQQU summer,

Designing color eyes 8160yen

Frosty shadow stick 4440 yen


Shimmer Liquid blush 4680 yen


Cream concealer 6000 yen

Lipsticks 6000 yen

 

Thank you for reading!

I will write tomorrow,

Toshiya

Makeup brushes under corona situation

Hi Everyone,

I chatted with Kihitsu. He offered some limited products, which are shown below. Please take a look.

The situation with brush makers, I think, are the same as other companies who are in trouble.

Especially, Hakuhodo has closed shops except for Sapporo.

I can still order Hakuhodo brushes from Sapporo for the time being.

Hiroshima Hakuhodo will reopen a shop on Monday, but now that Hiroshima citizens are ‘requested’ to stay home,  they may close it again.

I guess online shops are in trouble as well, but compared to face-to-face shopping, they are performing better.

This corona situation force many people to change their lifestyles.

Maybe more rapidly than the Lehman shock does.

I had a friend working for Lehman, which was located in Roppongi Hills. She seemed to be enjoying both business and private lives.

The next time I talked to her was that she was on the hunt for a job.

Japanese people like the word ‘stable,’ but being stable might make people more exposed to  a risk. It is ironic, but people who are willing to change could cope with a risk better.


The number of corona patients is increasing in Japan, and Nagoya was added to the group that declare the state of emergency.

As for mailing to overseas, now  Australia is added to those countries that EMS cannot be sent to.


I walked around the neighborhood today.

Two kids were walking happily.


I talked to Kihitsu and here are 2 sets available now.

Saikoho set with a paulownia box -18200 yen

 

A set of Saikoho + lip brush + Saikoho Echizen with mini rose as a novelty, which Kihitsu wants to present to cheer up.

42000 yen

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

‘State of Emergency’ was declared today in Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka

(the picture is a chanel blush 330)

Hi Everyone,

It is not a lockdown as in European countries. But the ‘state of emergency was declared in Japan. This will be effective till May 6.

Well,  it is not an order, but ‘encouraged’ or ‘requested’ to stay home.

Whether good or bad, Japan is a country of ゆるいyurui or loose. Not strict.

Japan is a yurui ゆるい loose country like a Yurui character ‘Kumamon.’ We call it Yuru Chara. Japan may be a Yuru country.

Kumamon was born in Kumamoto, and it represents the Kumamoto prefecture, not like a Disney character. Difficult to define what Kumamon is.

This vague status, as well as a vague looking, not a bear not a human being, is referred as ‘loose’ or ‘yurui’ or vague.

So Japan is a loose Yuru country.

You can also say that we are willing to follow the community rule even with no fine imposed.

Anyway, this is not the ‘lockdown.’

Now all department stores are closed. Many restaurants are closed, many Izakaya are closed, but not 100%.

Here is my situation.

Kumano brushes and Bisyodo can be sent to Tokyo.  So you can order.

Hakuhodo can be bought and mailed from Nagoya. So you can order.

Makeup products can  be bought in local department stores outside Tokyo. e.g. Okayama

So you can order almost all of the products  except for e.g. Isetan limited.

Currently no Isetan limited.

Kihitsu is now offering a discount for many products and I am asking the list to be mailed to you.

I am thinking to give some discounts to Hakuhodo products too, maybe 5% during the ‘lockdown.’

I will let you know soon!

——

Yesterday I visited


I asked shop employees what they do at home for one month.

Most of them replied, ‘I play a game.’

It was ‘Animal Crossing series.’ It gets so popular in Japan that it is sold out at many shops.

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

 

More divorces in Japan by Corona virus ? Decorte New Foundation

(the picture is sakura in Tochigi, north of Tokyo)

Hi Everyone,

I walked underground in Shibuya, and yes less people.


This Corona virus is affecting many aspects of life in Japan.

One is called ‘corona divorce.’

Many husbands and wives, who usually work outside,  stay home. And they spend all day together.

This causes a big stress to people. who had a reasonable distance in their marriage life.

The Japanese divorce rate is not so high compared to those of other countries.

But the reality is that some or many couples would be divorced in other countries’ culture.

Japanese couples stay, from an economic reason, a social pressure, especially from the perspective of raising children.

I worked for Canon in NY, and many Japanese come and work with their family.

In USA, couples stay together on weekdays and weekends as husbands don’t go out alone as they do in Japan – Izakaya, fishing, pachinko, whatever hobbies they have.

Interestingly, some Japanese couples’ relationships get better by talking more, and some get worse as they ‘get to know ‘ better.

I saw some who improved their relationships, and some who got divorced.

Now this seems to be happening under the corona circumstance where they cannot go outside.

There is a joke called ‘seven eleven’ in Japan.  Wives are happy when husbands work from 7am-11pm so that they don’t have to cook dinner and take care of them.  They can concentrate on raising children.

This lifestyle is forced to change. By corona.


I visited Isetan yesterday.

Well, it was quiet, and they have shortened the operation time, and closes at 7.

It will be closed this weekend.

Decorte has a new foundation – the first time cushion foundation.

This picture is shade 00 – colorless.

I called a shop, and found out that it is their first cushion foundation.

It has five shades, and 00 is colorless.

It has skincare ingredients as other AQ series do, so if you put it in the morning, you will have skincare all day. So, friendly to your skin.

Besides, no primer is needed and good for busy people in the morning.

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

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

Hi Everyone,

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

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

I didn’t know, either.

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

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

That makes me think this :

Important to be No. 1.

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

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


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

PayPal focused on the heavy users of eBay first.

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

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

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

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

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

What a negative motivation to go to a university!

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

So I began to search for universities with fewer subjects.

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

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

I kept studying only English as I was interested.

It was November. The exam was in February.

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

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

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

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

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

To find a small market and invest my time.

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

I want to focus on the fude market!

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

Thank you for reading!
Toshiya

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

Doing every day is easier than doing three times a week

Hi Everyone, 

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

I am getting used to writing it)

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

I feel that it is true. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I usually mix something about Japan with makeup topics.

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

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

Now January makeup products’ reservation starts this week.

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

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

Designing eyes (8160yen)

15, 130 (limited)

Rich lipstick (6000 yen )

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

Glow touch eyes 

4440 yen 

07 and 08, 108(limited)

Eyelash mascara waterproof 

5160 yen 

103 and 104(limited)

Pure Color blush

6600 yen 

118 and 119(limited)

Shimmer Liquid Highlighter

4680 yen 

02 

When a man goes shopping in Japan…..

Merry Christmas!

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

I walked around a department store on Sunday.

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

I enjoyed observing them shopping. 

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

I have products in mind when I am at shop.

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

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

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

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

So I was curious about how men wait. 

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

But what do shop employees think of the couple ?

I asked this question to two employees. 

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

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

This reminds me of one joke ( or true). 

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

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

Here is how Shibuya looks today.

I paid a visit to ADDICTION and Louis Vitton.

Do you know Japan is an aging country ??

Hi Everyone, 

Do you know Japan is an old country ??

I meant that

Japan is an aging country. 

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

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

We have a fewer marriages and kids year by year.

There are several ideas under discussion.

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

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

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

So what do we need to do? 

Well, there is another way to look at it. 

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

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

They want to spend money and time on grandchildren.

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

And another way to look at this:

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

My afternoon thoughts))

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

This is how Fude Japan started

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

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

It was Dior Japan limited.

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

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

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

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

https://sweetmakeuptemptations.com

Thank you)

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

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

This is how I started.

Fude Japan transactions flow like this:

You send me a request or inquiry

I send you a quote ( invoice)

You pay by PayPal or credit card

I buy a product and sent it to you

I receive many inquiries through instagram.

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

I get orders by email as well.  

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

https://fudejapan.com/shop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For example,

Variety of products

Speed

Responsiveness

It really depends on each individual. 

I try to be unique by 

buying some limited products that are difficult to find

Free engraving service 

Sweets in a parcel 

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

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

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

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

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

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

I will let you know more. 

I will write more in my future newsletter.

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

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


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

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

Calligraphy and paiting brushes

Hi Everyone, 

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

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

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

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

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

————-

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

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

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

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

This is Koyomo, known for very soft goat hair. 

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

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

Here is more information, written by Sonia.

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

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

Please let me know should you have any questions.

Thank you !

Toshiya