Have you tried this ramen in Tokyo?

Hi Everyone, 

I recognize that some of you have been to Japan. 

Some are repeaters, and you know Japanese food very well. 

I am often surprised that you know places I have never been to) 

Living in Tokyo, Japan,  I can tell you that the restaurant prices are in general not too expensive. Most of lunch is provided at less than 1000 yen, and dinner is not as expensive as you imagine. 

And they have good service. 

Actually, the restaurant business is very competitive, and employees work hard, but not get paid well. Yet, most employees provide good service, which I am proud of as a Japanese. 

Most competitive may be the ramen business.

I want to introduce ‘Ramen Jiro’ in this blog.

It is located next to Keio University, which I graduated from, so I was walking to school while looking at a long line every day. 

The portion size is large with bean sprouts/cabbage and pork. It is what students love. Shoyu, soy sauce, is special.

Menu is simple with only two kinds -しょう(Shou)  and だい(Dai). Shou is small and Dai is big, lol. Simple is good)

There is a story that one American student, who came from Stanford and studied at Keio. He wasn’t able to read Kanji but was able to speak Japanese.

He came to Ramen Jiro every day to see the owner.

He came back to USA, and  often comes back to Japan for travel.

He eats ramen everywhere in Japan, but he says Ramen Jiro is best. 

If you worked for Ramen Jiro for three to four years, you can open your ramen Jiro shop on your own.

Actually, there is one in Boston,

I would not highly recommend this place LOL, as you need to wait in a long line, but if you are fond of ramen, and want to find a different ramen shop. 

This may be it. 

Thank you for reading,

Toshiya

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.

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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

Hakuhodo set with a Canadian squirrel brush

Hi Everyone, 

There were several news in Japan this week. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Am I right ?

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

Is Japan expensive to trave to?

Hi Everyone, 

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

An update for brushes:

Some hair is not in stock.

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

Canadian squirrel brushes of Hakuhodo are still out of stock. 

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

Koyudo White Canadian squirrel is available only in 

Momiji design.

Face M 36000 yen

cheek 21000 yen 

———————

Do you think it expensive to visit Japan?

Actually not really. 

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

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

hotel and food.

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

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

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

A chain store is not bad, either.. 

I went to Tengu for lunch and not bad all.

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

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

Thank you for reading, 

Toshiya

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

Hi Everyone, 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He also wrote:

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

We call it ‘Omotenashi’ (おもてなし)

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

Omotenashi is critical. 

Japan doesn’t have natural resources, 

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

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

Well, I say this, though. 

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

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

And I ask questions on how Japanese consumers are like.

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

thank you for reading!

Toshiya

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

Part 2

Hi Everyone,

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

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

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

Mitsukoshi Ginza

Tokyu Shibuya and Hikarie

Takashimaya Nihonbashi

Tobu Ikebukuro

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

How about other brands?

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

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

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

Kihitsu and SHAQUDA are sold at Isetan B1F.

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

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

They have :

Chikuhodo 

Koyudo 

Mizuho

Kumano Select 

Kyuka

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

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

Thank you for reading,

Toshiya

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

Hi Everyone, 

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

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

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

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

Maybe an exception is Hakuhodo.

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

Hakuhodo can be bought at many places in Tokyo.

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

Mitsukoshi in Ginza

Takashimaya in Nihonbashi 

Tobu in Ikeburo

Flagship shop in Aoyama (please see pictures below)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for reading!

I will write about other brands tomorrow,

Toshiya

Rainy and rugby weekend

Hi Everyone,

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for reading.
Toshiya

Brush Holiday sets

Hi Everyone,

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

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


Brush numbers are

F3210 (grey squirrel/goat)
G5545
F8431
B5520
I170N6

Tokyu department store has 2 sets

A set – 19920yen


I5604
B104
I6451

B set – 22320 yen


B505
J5523
J6090
G5513
I170N6

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

Thank you!
Toshiya