Social distance is a social pressure in Japan

Hi Everyone,

I walked more than 10km yesterday. It was the longest way during the stay-home.

I use iPhone to check how far I walk and it is more than 5km a day on average this week.

It is not much fun to walk (LOL) but hearing youtube makes it easy to carry out.

As I said before, ‘lockdown’ in Japan is not ‘strict.’ There are some shops that are open, and I even see Izakaya with a few people inside.

Yet, I see 99.9 % wear masks. I sometimes forget to wear a mask in which case I go back home to get it. I haven’t been told by anyone to wear it, but I feel some kind of pressure on the street…..

Maybe ‘Japan lockdown’ is working…


I noticed another thing when walking.

Poodle is the most popular pet.

Maybe the next is Shiba dog or Chihuahua.


And yes people wear masks. It was 100% yesterday.

If I was at a small town, people would ask (tell) me to wear a mask.

In Tokyo, though, people have a distance with others and only ‘say it inside.’

In a rural town, people are considered a part of community, and they actually ‘say’ it. It is like a family member.

This is good and bad.

I had been raised for 18 years in a small town till I came to Tokyo for a university.

I remember my mother was telling me that she went to several hairdressers in the neighbor in turn.

There were three or four hairdressers, and as she ran a stationery shop, she wanted those hairdressers to think she was fair in choosing a hairdresser.

Living in a small time makes you feel you are a part of the community, but you worry things that you don’t have to in a big city.

Some people like being a part of community, and others like being on their own.

To me, living in Tokyo or in a small town in Hiroshima is completely different.

It is like a foreign country to each other.


Here are things I purchased.

Some of them cannot be sent now so I will keep them.

Here is a list of countries EMS cannot be mailed to.

https://www.post.japanpost.jp/int/information/2020/0423_01_en.html

Thank you for reading.

Toshiya

What am I thinking during ‘stay home’ ?

Hi Everyone,

I talked to Chikuhodo.

They still have 2018 Noel. Please let me know if you are interested.

It is Rouge and Rose.

(Rouge 34800 Rose 15000 yen)

It is 30C in Tokyo and maybe people stay home more.

During this ‘stay-home,’ I walk a lot. Day and night.

When I walk, many ideas come up to me. Walking is good for a brain)

I remember lots of memories from my boyhood time with my grandmother.

And my memory related to my grandmother is pleasant.


She took me to many places because my mother was running a stationery shop all day every day.

I was raised at a small town in Hiroshima.

My favorite place was an ‘Okonomiyaki’ restaurant.

At the small okonomi place, there were no people eating – only me, my sister and grandmother.

I wonder how they ran a restaurant. My grandmother was living on her small pension, and did not spend much. Maybe this Okonomiyaki was big for her.

I remember one thing about my grandmother very clearly.

Totally unrelated to Okonomi.

She loved professional wrestling!

It was at 8pm on TV on Saturday night.

Yes, professional wrestling was on air during the Golden Hour.

As you might know, in professional wrestling, there are a good guy and bad guy.

There was a bad guy called ‘Abdullah the Butcher.’ Well, he said he was from Sudan, but he was from USA. I have recently checked it on the web)

A good guy was Giant Baba from Niigata with 2m tall.

I was watching it maybe in a diferrent way than other kids did.

Kids talked about who was the strongest.

They said Baba was not so strong.

I said, ‘it is not the point.’ It is entertainment. I learned a lot about people’s relation from it.

But they were not interested in my argument, LOL.


Now I have someone in my office. I joke with him, and he comes back with a serious opinion, which seems to be not to the point.

I just want to have a fun conversation, not a serious discussion.

Not that I was wrong or that he was right.

It is supposed to be fun, that is it.

Gradually,

I don’t get to talk much to him.


So, professional wrestling.

Maybe Butcher was stronger, but he did not win.

He used a weapon in the end and the matches usually ended up with his loss from a disqualification using a weapon.

My friends said that Baba was not so strong. Butcher was stronger.

Again, it was not the point.


I like this story. I read a blog about a wrestling later.

Someone who went to wrestling saw Baba and Butcher playing baseball before a match!

They were actually good friends, but on TV it was different. They were enemies.

Some people pretend to lose though they actually ‘win’ because they know it makes the relation better or people happy.

Butcher and Baba : they are good at people!

If I try to entertain someone by a joke and he or she comes back with pointing out that I am wrong or a small point, I will not discuss a matter seriously when time comes.

It may be only me, but

It is the air or space where I enjoy and want to joke with people. I also enjoy the air or space where I want to discuss seriously. But they are different times and places.

My boyhood memory :

Butcher and Baba were my teachers.

I still pay a respect to them.

They show me a good example.


Baba died 20 years, and Butcher retired at the Sumo Arena in Tokyo in front of a full-house crowd.

Butcher said, ‘ I enjoyed a lot talking with Baba over cigar.’

I don’t watch wrestling any more, but this memory comes back from time to time.

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

What are the most popular products for Hakuhodo?

Hi Everyone,

Yesterday I wrote about popular kumano brushes.

There are many from Hakuhodo, so I am writing them separately here.

FYI, to be declared as a Kumano brush, a brush company needs to be a member of the Brush Union. Hakuhodo is not its member.

Technically, Hakuhodo is not a kumano brush, though it is located in Kumano.

Hakuhodo makes many limited sets : 2 or 3 sets per shop a month.https://en.hakuho-do.co.jp/user_data/stores_index.php

They have a shop in LA and Singapore too.

In Japan, sales people at each store create a set on their own.

Usually, the brush heads from the current products with a handle color.

What is good about a set is that a pouch or case comes free.

(Hakuhodo pouches around 1500 yen)

https://www.hakuho-do.co.jp/products/list88.html

Hakuhodo people don’t work on a commision so they are not so aggressive. You usually see a mildly-speaking employee there.

Their English is good enough to explain what a brush is like. And you can try as many brushes as you like at shop.

Here are brushes that have been sold :

Hakuhodo are sold at department stores and all of them are closed.

They will open again once the ‘stayhome’ is released.

It looks like local cities will be back to normal earlier than Tokyo.

I will keep you updated.

Thank you for reading,

Toshiya

Which products have been sold most by Fude Japan ?

Hi Everyone,

Japanese Government decided to extend the ‘stayhome’ to the 31st of May.

They will revisit the timeline on the 14th. So the period may be shortened.

I  have received orders for items sold at department stores, such as SUQQU, THREE, D&G, Lunasol, etc.

I will try and buy them as early as possible.

Sorry to keep you waiting!


I wrote about crowdfunding as a method to have rare products produced.

I checked which products have been bought most, whether limited or regular. The following order is ranking by amount, so more sets, powder and cheek brushes than eyeshadow brushes.

  • Z4

Chikuhodo Z-4 Cheek/Highlight Brush

  • B-FD-01

Bisyodo B-FD-01 Foundation Brush

  • Z1

Chikuhodo Z-1 Powder Brush

  • Fox set

Chikuhodo Silver Fox 5 Brush Set with Pouch

  • KK002

Kyureido KK-002 Cheek Brush

  • White Canadian squirrel face M -currently out of stock

#Kihitsu #Koyudo white Canadian squirrel Face M 36000 yen

  • Kiwami set – sold out

  • FO-1

Chikuhodo Silver Fox FO-1 powder

  • White Canadian squirrel cheek Koyudo (only in red available now)

Kihitsu White Canadian Squirrel Cheek Brush Red Makie

  • Z8

Chikuhodo Z8 Cheek Brush

  • RC-2

Chikuhodo RC-2 Blush Brush

  • 2016 Noel

  • P-8

Chikuhodo P8 Powder brush

  • P-FO -sold out

Breathtakingly gorgeous Chikuhodo limited-edition silver fox P-FO Brush (Round 47mm)#chikuhodo #竹宝堂 #TesshyuTakemori #PFO #silverfox #筆司鉄舟 #新感覚 #業界初 #シルバーフォックス #灰リスに匹敵 #50本限定発売 #limitededition #50only #fude #handmade #madeinjapan #japan #japaneseart #ccsbrush #personalized #diptyque #diptyquecandle #candleholder #photophore #collection34 #origami #Anamorphée @fudejapan

  • Kihitsu Green set – sold out

Kihitsu Green Saikoho Set 5

  • 2017 Noel set – sold out

#chikuhodo Noel 38100 Yen

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

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

Hi Everyone,

I received several feedback on MK-KO powder brush.

Thank you.

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

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

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

Hiroshima Carp.

A week team in a small city.

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

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

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

It is like crowdfunding.

I remember reading one story.

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

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

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

It was 1950.

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

People donated money though they still suffered from poverty.

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

Yet it took 25 years till they won the league.

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

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

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

Things changed when the new stadium was built.

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

(this is a home of the Carp)

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

People buy Carp goods in red,

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

They won three years in a row!

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

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

A little talk about the Carp makes business easy.

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

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

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

 

 

Chikuhodo Old G series

Hi Everyone,

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

I want to sell rare quality products

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am waiting for face brushes too.

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

The State of Emergency was declared all over Japan now

 

Hi Everyone,

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

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

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

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

I will keep you posted.

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

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

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

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

Heavy rain made people stay home in Japan

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

Hi Everyone,

It was raining so hard all day yesterday in Tokyo.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


These are SUQQU summer,

Designing color eyes 8160yen

Frosty shadow stick 4440 yen


Shimmer Liquid blush 4680 yen


Cream concealer 6000 yen

Lipsticks 6000 yen

 

Thank you for reading!

I will write tomorrow,

Toshiya

Makeup brushes under corona situation

Hi Everyone,

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

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

Especially, Hakuhodo has closed shops except for Sapporo.

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

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

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

This corona situation force many people to change their lifestyles.

Maybe more rapidly than the Lehman shock does.

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

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

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


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

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


I walked around the neighborhood today.

Two kids were walking happily.


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

Saikoho set with a paulownia box -18200 yen

 

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

42000 yen

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

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

(the picture is a chanel blush 330)

Hi Everyone,

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

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

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

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

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

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

So Japan is a loose Yuru country.

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

Anyway, this is not the ‘lockdown.’

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

Here is my situation.

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

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

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

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

Currently no Isetan limited.

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

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

I will let you know soon!

——

Yesterday I visited


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

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

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

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

 

More plastic surgeries in Japan now under the corona virus situation

(the picture is SUQQU Summer that will be released on May 1)

(Please see some other brands released in late April)

Hi Everyone,

It looks like the Government will order an ‘lockdown’ soon.

It will be in several cities, including Osaka and Tokyo.

Well, Japanese are, in a good or bad way, optimistic and still go out.

The increase of patients has not been dramatic, but still is growing.

Yesterday, I talked about ‘corona divorces.’

Today, I want to talk about a ‘plastic surgery.’

Now people are encouraged to stay home and to wear a mask when they go out.

Orthopedic surgeons get busy – ‘now good time to do surgery, especially under the lockdown.’

Always both sides of a coin whatever happens.


I picked up a parcel that was returned from the airport because (the Japan post said) it contained a spray, which is actually a pump.

Now that it was mailed to Russia, I cannot send it to Russia so I pick up  and keep it at home. Some EMS cannot be mailed to some European countries, which includes Russia.

A good side of this trip to the JP Post is that I was able to find a nice Sakura place.


If Tokyo is locked down….

As far as Fude Japan is concerned, domestic courier and international mail are important.  Currently, domestic courier works, so I can get brushes from Hiroshima to Tokyo.

Internationally, I can still send parcels to most Asian countries, and North America.

Under the lockdown, it is important if a domestic courier and EMS work or not.

I have a feeling that it will still work.

I will keep you updated!

Thank you for reading.

 

More divorces in Japan by Corona virus ? Decorte New Foundation

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

Hi Everyone,

I walked underground in Shibuya, and yes less people.


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

One is called ‘corona divorce.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This lifestyle is forced to change. By corona.


I visited Isetan yesterday.

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

It will be closed this weekend.

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

This picture is shade 00 – colorless.

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

It has five shades, and 00 is colorless.

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

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

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

Tokyo department store – quiet…

(The picture is MK-UM Chikuhodo)

https://fudejapan.com/product-category/limited-brushes/

Hi Everyone,

I came to a department store in Shibuya.

I have never seen this before, much more shop employees than visitors.

I talked to Hakuhodo.

Now they have a new shop in Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi, I was told.

Well, it is February so maybe a bad timing… These are four sets available in Shibuya.

It was rumored to be locked down, but as of now, I haven’t heard.

There are less people day by day, still many people are walking in Shibuya.

The lockdown of Tokyo is approaching, many people say.

The department stores in Tokyo close on the weekend.

This is the big change, and I need to be ready, whether is good or not.

The Tohoku Earthquake in 2011 caused a change or increase in SNS.
Especially twitter.

This time, a shift from work at office to home.
We will see.

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

Two trends of Kumano fude I see

Hi Everyone,

I was chatting with one of the brush manufacturers from Kumano the other day.

He talked about a buyer for a big department store. How she  perceives the makeup brush market.

The buyer said to him, ‘ many makeups products come with brushes. And most users in Japan are ok with brushes that come with the makeups. So there are less needs for brushes themselves these days’

I am not fully convinced with her opinion, as Hakuhodo seems to be selling well.  Takeda as well.

But, yes brush makers provide more and more brushes to makeup makers – big names.

Here are what happened.

Kihitsu stopped selling at Isetan.

Koyudo is not selling at Tokyu Plaza at Ginza any more.

Shaquda is not selling at Mitsukoshi Ginza any more.

I think it good that brush companies concentrate on what they need to do and stop doing what is not necessary.

That is what I try to do: Treat each client as if she is a friend. In doing so, and having a small operation, I know I cannot expand my business to a mass market.

If I can provide my service to a small market (niche) of each country, it will be good numbers of clients, I hope.

The other trend is that brush companies are moving to synthetic hair gradually.

Goat is still in stock, but kolinsky (powder and cheek) and some squirrel are barely in stock.

I know most of you prefer natural hair, and Kumano brushes are wanted especially for those hairs.

Do you still want Kumano brushes even with synthetic hair?

These two trends seem to be going on now.

Shrinking retail capabilities, and moving to synthetic hair.

Shrinking retails mean more OEM’s ( providing brushes under names of makeup companies, e.g. Chikuhodo does to Kanebo)

Regardless, there are some department brands.

Hakuhodo keeps selling at department stores. Shaquda does as well. But I don’t know who buys most. Maybe foreign people. Not by Japanese.

I buy Hakuhodo which are requested by my clients from overseas. I often see Chinese buyers at Hakuhodo desks.

Maybe more foreigners or foreign buyers buy than Japanese.

If you look at a big picture, there are big markets outside Japan, getting big every year, and the market size in Japan is shrinking. The population of Japanese is decreasing every year.

Is it a good idea to have many shops in Japan like Hakuhodo? And is it good to switch to synthetic hair ?

I personally am looking at the market outside Japan, and I don’t see the market of synthetic hair yet.

I will take a look more close and will write more in the future.

Thank you for reading,

Toshiya

After I graduated from high school, I came to Tokyo, but…

Hi Everyone,

I went to a barber yesterday.

My purpose to go there is only to have my hair cut short. So I usually go to a 1200 yen hair cut that takes only 10 minutes.

A person who cut my hair spent more than 10 minutes and did a good job. She dyed her hair blonde, looking fashionable.

I guess she felt,
‘This guy just came to have his hair cut, and what a waste of my time. I want to work for a sophisticated place in Omotesando…..’

————
The other day, I talked about my high school days when I lost my motivation to live proactively.

Actually, it lasted for another 2 years at university (this picture is a university I attended) in Tokyo.

I know you travel to Tokyo and enjoy Tokyo fully. But, Tokyo did not change me. What a waste again…

Students in the junior year had to take a seminar for two years.  Among the classes I took, I chose ‘marketing.’

(Actually, I did not go to school much except for exams…)

I was not into marketing but into the professor.

He was a professor but more like a motivator.
There are many good things I learned from him, not about marketing.

He talked about his story when he studied at Harvard. He was not good at English. Harvard is known for a case study where you need to discuss a case with other students.

He had a strategy.

He was not able to understand and speak when a discussion progressed as he did not understand English well.

He sat in front of a professor and asked a professor to call him to speak firsr. He arranged it with a professor before a class started.

That way, he did not have to understand deeper discussions in the middle of the class.

Today, I was watching youtube.

A researcher in the youtube was talking about how to be a leader.

It is a simple way.

Speak first.

If you speak first, others regard you as an extrovert person and a potential leader.

You actually don’t have to be an extrovert. You can be as you are. But speak first.

If you speak first, others evaluate you as a leader, and you will get more tasks. Those tasks make you study or work, so you will be working at another level.

I just recalled my professor after I watched the youtube.
He might have used this strategy,

thank you for reading,
Toshiya

Have you eaten ramen at ‘Ichiran’?

Hi Everyone, 

Thank you for your feedback on this newsletter) I will continue to write more about Japan as well as makeups)

I found a new subway station today – for Ginza Line. 

Ginza Line station in Shibuya was very hard to find but this solved the situation well.

By Ginza Line, Shibuya is only two stations away from the new National Stadium where the Olympic games will open in July.  Or you can enjoy walking from Shibuya to Omotesando/Harajuku and to the stadium. 

Today, I want to talk about Ramen shop ‘Ichiran. ‘

Ichiran  shop owner walked around Japan  to taste many types of food and decided to open pork-based ramen. Ichiran ramen is only pork soup based. 

And the taste was improved continuously. That is important,

but

there are many other aspects of marketing to attract people and improve efficiency.

I will write the secret of the Ichiran success here.

The shop is ‘divided by partition.’  Many Japanese women don’t want to go to a ramen shop alone. Ichiran provides private space by a partition.

About 40% of clients are women, which is much higher than other ramen shops.

The partition also works to improve the turnover rate of seats as they don’t talk at seats.

Besides,  they have no choice but to share a picture at Instagram、LOL.

There is also paper at the seat to write an order on so no mistake is caused by communication with an employee.

Ramen shop is manually operated so that it causes mistakes between a shop and client. 

Elon Musk of Tesla Motors ordered ramen at ramen Jiro, which must have been difficult)

When people enter a shop, the machine automatically says ‘Irasshaimase !’ so that shop employees can easily say this welcome word. 

Moreover, shop employees don’t have to communicate with a client due to the partition. It is said to be hard to hire an employee for a restaurant but it is easier to hire an employee at Ichiran. Employees feel more comfortable.

Please take a look:

 

Maybe you can try ramen at Ichiran when you travel to Japan ?

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

Do you know ‘Morning’ ?

Hi Everyone,

Have you heard of ‘Morning’ when you travel to Japan?

It is a free service of toast at cafe in the morning. If you order a drink e.g. a cup of coffee, you can get light food with it.

Many coffee shops had this service before.

But these days, with more coffee chains, family-owned coffee shops are vanishing. And the ‘Morning’ service is vanishing, too.

When I was a boy, I met my father during his break, he brought me to a coffee shop. It was in the center of Hiroshima City, near Mitsukoshi. Yes, Hiroshima has a Mitsukoshi department store, LOL.

Time seemed to be passing so slow that I was able to be relaxed with having ‘Morning’ service, I remember.

The prices with those coffee shops are higher than those of current chain shops, and people are moving to less expensive options, it is natural.

I will not say it was a good time. It was just my good memory.

This makes me wonder.

In Japan or maybe all over the world, many old people complain about current society and young people.

If young people are not different nor advanced, we cannot enjoy the convenience of this society. We would still live in the same world as 1000 years ago.

I am talking about Japan. I cannot generalize this on a world basis.

My parents lived the TV age, and they still do. They don’t have an iPhone, and they read the newspaper in the paper.

Young people in Japan are not attracted to TV. They use the iPhone to watch YouTube/Netflix and also get information from twitter. The number of newspaper subscriptions is decreasing dramatically.

And Information sources get diverse. I can talk to people all over the world so that I can get a different view from the ‘news’ published by media.

I like this society.

But I like the ‘Morning’ service, too)

Thank you for reading,

Toshiya

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

Memory of Bento box

Hi Everyone, 

It is still raining and cold outside so today I bought a bento box for lunch.

It is the food section of the new building ‘Scramble Square’ I went to. Here are some pictures.

Have you ever head of bento box ?

It is a lunch box, and in Japan, it is common to have okazu and rice in a bento box.

Okazu is a side dish, with rice. 

Side dishes could be chicken, beef, pork… 

Rice is often provided in the form of ‘Onigiri’ with seaweed like these:

I had my bento made by my mother during Junior High and High schools. It was so much fun to open a bento, I remember. Maybe a students’ favorite time)

My mother ran a stationery store, so sometimes she was so busy that my grandmother made it.

Grandmother tried her best but how it looked was a bit old-fashion at the time, and I remember I was embarrassed when I opened it in front of my classmates.

And I did not thank her when I came home. Or I might have even told her not to make bento for me because I was not able to open it at classroom.

Now, when I am relaxed while taking a long bath, this bitter memory comes back to me.

If she was still alive and made me a bento, I would give her plenty of gratitude. And I should have proudly opened her bento box in front of classmates. I just did not have such courage.

In Japan, we say 

孝行のしたいときには親はなし

it means 

‘By the time you wish to be a good child, your parents are long gone.’

In this case, it is my grandmother. I have many things to say to her.

For brushes, here are some sets for Christmas – Hakuhodo and Chikuhodo.

Please let me know if you are interested)

Thank you for reading,

Toshiya

American soldier and Japanese boy after the War

Hi Everyone,

I want to talk about one story right after Word War II.
I get some good feedback on writing about Japan itself. I am going to learn makeup and brushes more to give you more useful information!

In Japan, we are supposed to respect old people. We help senior people. We have seats in all trains for old people, pregnant women, and others but any kind of seats would (should ) be given to old people by younger people.

I was always spending time with my grandmother when I was a kid as my mother owned a stationery shop and was seldom at home. So even now I like watching happy grandmothers with their grandkids on the street. Not grandfathers, lol. They seem to be happy but I am sure they have many experiences, good and bad. Especially during and after the war.

I asked many questions about the war of my grandmother – she did not tell me much .. She was in Taiwan and the ship she took was wrecked by a storm on her way back to Japan in 1945. She thought she would die but survived. That may have been the only thing she talked about. She had a painting in her room which looked like so wet. 

This is the story of an American soldier and a Japanese boy at that time.

In 1946, after Japan surrendered, the Allied forces came to Japan from USA and the British Common Wealth. My father told me he spoke with an Australian soldier in Hiroshima, where those from British Common Wealth stayed. He somehow acknowledged Australian accents)

USA occupied Tokyo.

There was a 20 year -old soldier who came to Tokyo. His name was George. George worked at GHQ, General HeadQuarters in Tokyo, as an interpreter.

George met a Japanese boy, who polished shoes of American soldiers at GHQ. The boy looked so hungry that George made a sandwich with jam and butter and give it to him. He bowed and thanked to him, but did not eat it and instead put it into a box.

George said, ‘you can eat it here, you must be hungry’
The boy said, ‘Yes. I am hungry, but my 3 -year old sister is waiting at home. She is the only family member. I am going to eat it with her. Thank you very much’ He bowed politely. ’Her name is Mariko.’

George, a Japanese American, at the time of the war, felt inferior to his American colleagues. He met this boy, was actually encouraged by this boy, who lived in a dignified manner in the devastated land and poverty. 

George helped him for two months, but he decided to come back to USA to study law. 

Later, he came back to Japan and looked for the boy and his sister Mariko, but was not able to find them. Those brother and sister would be around 80 years old now if they were alive.

His last name is Ariyoshi. 
George Ariyoshi became a lawyer and politician after he studied law and later became Governor of Hawaii in 1974.

Those were tough times, not only in Japan, but everywhere in the world, and I remember this story when I see old ladies ( and men) who must have had a hard time.  Hard times that I cannot imagine. But they look happy now.

Thank you for reading again!
Toshiya

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!

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

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