How do I get limited products in Japan?

Hi Everyone,

Today, I want to talk about the process of buying limited products in Japan.


How do I get a limited product?

This is what I do.

First, I try to reserve a limited product in advance.  Usually two weeks or one before a sales date.

It is the easiest and I don’t have to wait in a long line on the first day of sale. 

But sometimes it is difficult.

When a product is really popular, a shop doesn’t accept a call to the representative number of a department store by which I can have them call me back. 

Some shops say that we should call a direct number only. And a phone never goes through….even with many attempts in a day.

Therefore, I sometimes call shops, outside Tokyo, have products sent by mail because local shops have fewer clients. For example, Okayama or Sapporo.  But they have fewer products available ( !) so the situation may not be much different.

If I cannot talk to a shop, I call them on the first day of sale. 

And if a phone doesn’t still go through, I go to a shop in person. 

That is how I usually do.

I try to avoid to buy on the first day. Even if I am at a shop, they limit the number of products per person. 

I find Chinese tourists come with family members so that they can get more. That is how it should be done….

I do only by myself.  So I sometimes come back on the second day.

The most difficult one  was Shu Uemura Pokemon. 

I waited in line for one hour and got nothing. 

I explained and apologized to my clients at the time. 

I really felt sorry for my clients because my clients reserved one month in advance. 

One issue here is that makeup shop employees are not evaluated by an individual performance for a commission except for some foreign brands  – Dior and Chanel evaluate individual performance more, I reckon.

Most of the cases, Japanese shops are evaluated on a shop basis  so it is hard for me to ask a special favor. A member is not motivated by getting more sales. 

Regardless, I  know some people who know me and what I do, and are willing to help me.

It must have been a moment when their perception changed from a strange guy asking a swatch and taking a picture to  a Fude Japan business person (LOL).

If they trust me, it gets easy. Trust is a key.

Well, these days I get more and more comfortable in getting limited.

I am always amazed that my clients get information on limited products earlier than I do.

FYI, if you look for limited products on the web,

limted is 限定

makeup is メイクアップ

makeup brush is 化粧筆

thank you for reading!




Dior Limited – is it Japan only?

Hi Everyone,

I received a question if Diorskin face powder and eyeshadow are limited to Japan.

When I reserved them at Dior, I asked this question. She is a makeup artist.

She thought it was Japan limited, but not 100% sure. She has not been informed.

This is what she thinks:

Peter Philips, a top makeup artist in Dior, was inspired by an idea of a Japanese garden, especially Gingko, and created these ‘Gingko’ imaged products.

Besides, Diorskin has developed the whitening product line, targeted to Japanese women. These are Diorskin products.

But it could be sold later in other Asian countries as the Diorsnow products were previously sold.

What I think is that Dior decides later if they expand a product to another country or not.

By the way, I wrote about which brands I like to visit, which ones I don’t.

Dior is one of the best because I know 4 or 5 makeup artists and those are very easy to talk to.

Some of them will take a trip to Malaysia Dior. It must be interesting if you have a chat)

Dior seems to have one or two makeup artists in each shop, and their backstage has not only MA’s but other kinds of specialists – e.g. skincare.

That is different from other brands. Chanel has MA’s but they don’t work at a shop every day. Only at events.

She told me that a person who wants to be an MA studies at makeup school, then studies at Dior and takes some Dior tests to be MA’s.

It sounds like Dior is more open to people who want to work as an MA.

She gave me other information:  the cushion foundation with this special case may be resold in April.

Thank you for reading!


Today I want to talk about Mikimoto Pearl cosmetics

Mikimoto Cosmetics

Hi Everyone, 

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

The number of newsletter registration stays about the same. 

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

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


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

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

Have you ever heard of Mikimoto?

It is a company that makes pearl accessories.

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

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

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

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

They have makeup products as well. 

Here is a link.

And I get the following from the web page.

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

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

Thank you for reading!

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


This is how Fude Japan started

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

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.

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!

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



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

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!


This week’s shopping

Hi Everyone, 

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

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

From top,

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

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

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

The Hakuhodo holiday consists of
F3210 (grey squirrel/goat) 

24960 yen

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

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

Hakuhodo Ginza set is 15600 yen 

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

The Chikuhodo silver fox brushes are back in stock.

The last four are Kihitsu brushes.

Please reply to this newsletter if you are interested. 

Thank you for reading!

Here are some limited products.

My previous newsletters :

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

Hi Everyone, 

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

It sounds easy, right?

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

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

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

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

Actually, many are very nice. 

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

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

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

These are what I found.

Good : Albion and Decorte are friendly. 

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

Ok: IPSA, Dior, ADDICTION has mixed opinions.

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

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

Here are the rankings based on my experinces:


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

Chicca ( sorry they will close)

Mixed feelings??

ADDICTION,   Tom Ford,  Shiseido 

I don’t want to go….



Shu Uemura (except for one person, LOL)

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

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

I will update these rankings from time to time)

Thank you for reading!


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,


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,


Givers and Takers in make-up shops

Hi Everyone,

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

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

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

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

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

But who gets most? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Small examples but the Giver theory works at least here. 

Thank you for reading!


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!


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.

Please let me know should you have any questions.

Thank you !


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

Thank you!


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!


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,


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,


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!


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, 


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!



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.

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.

They have :




Kumano Select 


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,


‘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,


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.

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)

Tokyu department store has 2 sets

A set – 19920yen


B set – 22320 yen


Please let me know if interested,
my email is

Thank you!