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

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

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

Givers and Takers in make-up shops

Hi Everyone,

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

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

https://www.youtube.com/user/mentalistdaigo

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

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

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

But who gets most? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Small examples but the Giver theory works at least here. 

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

Kumano Fude Union

Hi Everyone, 

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

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

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

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

——-

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

Calligraphy and paiting brushes

Hi Everyone, 

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

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

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

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

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

————-

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

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

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

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

This is Koyomo, known for very soft goat hair. 

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

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

Here is more information, written by Sonia.

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

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

Please let me know should you have any questions.

Thank you !

Toshiya

SUQQU Holiday kit A and B

Hi Everyone,

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

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

Each costs 12000 yen.

Kit A

Kit B

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

Thank you!

Toshiya

Crowded train and a frog in warm water

Hi Everyone, 

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

It was crowded. 

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

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

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

I was thinking….

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

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

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

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

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

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

My colleague quit the company for a new career path.

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

My thought when I took a morning bath, LOL

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

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

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

Takeda brush ordering process

Hi Everyone,

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

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

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

About brushes,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you are interested, please let me know)

Thank you for reading,

Toshiya

Welsh national anthem sung by Japanese in Kyushu

Hi Everyone,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for reading,

Toshiya

Hakuhodo set with a Canadian squirrel brush

Hi Everyone, 

There were several news in Japan this week. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Am I right ?

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

Is Japan expensive to trave to?

Hi Everyone, 

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

An update for brushes:

Some hair is not in stock.

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

Canadian squirrel brushes of Hakuhodo are still out of stock. 

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

Koyudo White Canadian squirrel is available only in 

Momiji design.

Face M 36000 yen

cheek 21000 yen 

———————

Do you think it expensive to visit Japan?

Actually not really. 

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

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

hotel and food.

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

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

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

A chain store is not bad, either.. 

I went to Tengu for lunch and not bad all.

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

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

Thank you for reading, 

Toshiya

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

Hi Everyone, 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He also wrote:

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

We call it ‘Omotenashi’ (おもてなし)

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

Omotenashi is critical. 

Japan doesn’t have natural resources, 

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

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

Well, I say this, though. 

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

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

And I ask questions on how Japanese consumers are like.

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

thank you for reading!

Toshiya

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

Part 2

Hi Everyone,

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

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

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

Mitsukoshi Ginza

Tokyu Shibuya and Hikarie

Takashimaya Nihonbashi

Tobu Ikebukuro

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

How about other brands?

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

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

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

Kihitsu and SHAQUDA are sold at Isetan B1F.

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

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

They have :

Chikuhodo 

Koyudo 

Mizuho

Kumano Select 

Kyuka

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

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

Thank you for reading,

Toshiya

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

Hi Everyone, 

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

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

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

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

Maybe an exception is Hakuhodo.

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

Hakuhodo can be bought at many places in Tokyo.

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

Mitsukoshi in Ginza

Takashimaya in Nihonbashi 

Tobu in Ikeburo

Flagship shop in Aoyama (please see pictures below)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for reading!

I will write about other brands tomorrow,

Toshiya

Rainy and rugby weekend

Hi Everyone,

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for reading.
Toshiya

Brush Holiday sets

Hi Everyone,

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

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


Brush numbers are

F3210 (grey squirrel/goat)
G5545
F8431
B5520
I170N6

Tokyu department store has 2 sets

A set – 19920yen


I5604
B104
I6451

B set – 22320 yen


B505
J5523
J6090
G5513
I170N6

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

Thank you!
Toshiya

After the Strong Typhoon

Chikuhodo released Silver Fox brushes in September.

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

——————————————–

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for reading,
Toshiya

One day after the typhoon

Hi Everyone,

A big typhoon hit Japan, directly Tokyo.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I will write a part 2 tomorrow,

Thank you for reading,

Toshiya

Typhoon is coming to Tokyo

Hi Everyone,

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

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

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

This is a picture of Shizuoka.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Thank you for reading,
Toshiya

Dogs saved by a rescue team

Hi Everyone,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

Fude companies sell brushes at discount ?

Hi Everyone, 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for reading.

Toshiya

Do you know Dankai no Sedai ?

Hi Everyone,

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

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

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

Those baby boomers are now about 70 years old.

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

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

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

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

So I respect old people.

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

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

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

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

——————-

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

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

Japanese curry has a history..

Hi Everyone,

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


What is your favorite Japanese food?

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was not really a happy story, though.

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

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

Thank you for reading !

Toshiya

Reiwa

Maybe you have heard about it.  

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

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

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

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

There is a bit of difficulty, though. 

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

——————————

I was chatting with Kyureido today. 

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

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

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

How is a brush named ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SQU is a squirrel and W is white top.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do I think of this idea ?

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

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

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

It is an insurance. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Konkatsu in Japan

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

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

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

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

That is good) 

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

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

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

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

So what do they do ?

There are many marriage consultants, who introduce single people.  

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

Many Omiai marriages a few decades ago.

Now Konkatsu instead of Omiai.

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

Thank you for reading) 

Toshiya

Does school uniform mean much in Japan?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for reading again,
Toshiya

Sorry that my order process is not clear

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

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

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

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

On receiving money, I purchase goods :

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

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

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

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

Then I ship:

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for reading this again)

Toshiya