Archive | April, 2009

Top-selling anti-virus face mask in Japan

29 Apr
morse-guard I hear that people are not get used to wearing face masks in spite of the fear against pandemic swine flue these days. How things in Japan?

At a moment there’s not a single nation reported infected with the flu over here, but as we are having a long national holiday season (called Golden Week, from 29 Apri. to 10 May, as for 2009. This includes Saturday & Sunday, and if we take a couple of days off in between this period, we can have as long as about 2-week holiday) we are most likely to travel abroad and there’s high possibilities Japanese tourists bring the virus back home. I’m very much scared of that. 😦

Anyhow, we are in the culture that we wear medical masks or face masks with no hesitation at any time. So it’s quite common for Japanese people to buy wear face masks whether bird flu or swine flue are threatening us or not. We wear face masks every winter to avoid flu virus as well as not to give the cold to other people. Every spring comes people also wear them to avoid pollen because many people have pollen allergy. Hence it’s not too much to say that I see no drug store or even no convenience store like 7-eleven that does not have face masks at any time. In other words, face masks are always at hand in Japan.

So basically most of Japanese people like wearing face masks, (I personally don’t because of being uncomfortable with humid air around my face as well as hard-breathing feelings all the time!) once swine flu is reported, the stock price of pharmaceutical companies that manufacture face masks skyrocketed from the very bottom and people rush to buy face masks to stock for themselves in preparation for the day. As long as I search among the web, MORSE GUARD, unwoven fabric mask with 4 filters is most protective and effective against avian flu or swine flu, which of course is great against ordinary flu, pollen, and dust. The mask is invented by Dr. Ronald A. Morse, who used to work for the U.S Department of Defense. N95 masks are better? In fact our government recommend unwoven fabric masks rather than N95, because N95 is way too protective to breathe. It’s also said that N95 needs skills of wearing. That means if we wear it incorrect way, the performance goes down.

Well, how the things in your country? Are you, your family or friends doing good? I just hope vaccine gets ready asap and help people to soothe the panic.

Meanwhile, the face mask “MORSE GUARD” is available from here. (This is a biggest online mall in Japan, and you can buy the products from Japan by following their guidelines and instructions. Please also check this page first for how to shop and more.)

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I've added a new butoon, TwitThis!

28 Apr
twitthis-button I’ve added TwitThis plugin so that you can find TwitThis button at the bottom of each post & page I’ve updated. If you have an account with Twitter and find any interesting posts or pages at my site, please feel free to tweet them as you like. When you hit the button, you will be asked to enter your account info. which is exactly the same as your Twitter’s one. I’m not a frequent user of Twitter, but I do once in a while. It gives me another chance of communication between those who follow me. You can follow me from here or also from the icon at the right top area of sidebar in this blog.

That’s all. :p
It’s just a small change, only a small button, though…

What's -san & -chan after name?

26 Apr
whats-san-chan In my previous posts, I was not kind enough to explain to you about “name + san” or “name + chan” way of expression that I used as a matter of course.

Kinako-san, for example, I used in my previous posts means adding “san” to her name in order to show her some respect. Meanwhile do you remember my little dog Pi-chan? In this case I added “chan” to her name, showing her affection and friendship.

This is a very basic rule of Japanese. We can call each other, for example, Kirin-chan when we are close friends, but Kirin-san sounds more polite and normal at school, office, or anywhere. When it comes to Kirin-sama, it is highly respected and -sama is often used by people who get paid for the service they offer. At hotels, restaurants, shops, airport, etc., where customers are called with their name followed by -sama. In hospitals however, it’s unlikely used because doctors can make living even without being modest to their patients? I don’t know. 😛

The cutest collaboration, hat & sweets deco!

25 Apr
with-kinako-san-and-inko-san The other day, my friend from university invited me to this cutest exhibition of two great artists; Kinako-san a.k.a a queen of sweets decoration, who is already introcued in the handmade episode from Tokyo Kawaii TV, and Inko-san, a great knit hat designer especially good at Gothloli (Gothic & Lolita) taste. This exhibition displays Inko-san’s hats decorated by Kinako-san’s sweets decoration.

Look at the small cakes that are made of clay. They look so cute. In fact, Kinako-san publishes books on how to make these clay-made cupcakes, etc.

The hats were so unique and cute! We were allowed to try and take photos, so I took a photo of myself. (I’m not photogenic, don’t blame me, please! 😳 At this time, my friends were having a spot lesson to make small cute knitting, but I was playing alone by myself, not participating the class because I am not good at knitting, sewing, and etc. I’m not used to taking photos of myself with my moble phone camera, unlike younger generation! 😆 ) So, anyway this hat for example was interesting. It got a story and the story goes around the hat with cute decorations all over it.

This exhibition took place at ABC craft, on the 3rd basement floor at Mitsukoshi Alcot, Shinjuku (Tokyo) from 17 to 22 April 2009. We were lucky we could see both of the artists in person (and a picture with them)!

I can see these days in Japan sweets deco or decoration with bling-bling stones a.k.a decoden are so popular. ABC craft is a place to sell small parts for such decorations. I actually found so many small cute things out there. :p

this-is-sweets-deco
sweets-deco-books
trying-a-soda-hat story-hat-front
kinakoinko

Being in love with handmade cuteness?

20 Apr

Handmade Love
14/JAN/2009 on air

People are getting crazy about cute handmade goods these days.

Take Decotti for example, this is a kit that allows us to make some cute sweets decoration in 10 minutes.
The decoration is cute, but the process of making it is also fun.

Tokyo Kawaii TV introduces a knitting specialist, a felt designer, and the latest fashion doll clothing. The show refers to kawaii goods that can be produced through handmade.
Mr. Ikki & Beni-chan visit Kinako-san, queen of the sweets decoration. Kinako-san works from her house.
“This all stems from my desire that I wanna live in a candy house,” says Kinako-san. She has now become so famous as to publish several books on sweets deco, and she also teaches how to make them at school. The sweets decorations she makes look so genuine that her mom once ate them by mistake!

mii-san, a felt designer, never thought of being engaged in her current job when she started making some cute felt badges for her friends 2 years ago. Her hobby became her work.
How? By mouth communication. Especially Harajuku Handmade shop was good place to have her name/works known.

Speaking of showcase, handmade artists can rent the 50cm square shelf to display their works at Shimokitazawa Rental Box
(The Box Latte -no website-). Over there, there are as many as 350 artists making use of the showcase.
Kaito Strawberry is a unit from 2 rabbits (?) who create their works under the theme of black marchen(=fairly tale). They became popular thanks to this showcase in Shimokitazawa, Tokyo.

Now, let’s hit the streets & take a look into how people take handmade into their fashion.

Handicraft items shop in Nikotama, (Hutakotamagawa) Tokyo is introduced in the show. A lady who shops there is a famous actress in Japan, named Ryo. “I just buy whatever I find kawaii, and then after going back home I choose the items to mix with.
What I can make out of these little things…I like to make things, thinking like that,” says Ryo.

203gow-san, a famous knitting artist who scored top 1-4 at a popular amigurumi voting website, says she cannot find things she cannot make out of knitting. Her knitting is way outside the framework of general things.

She makes water faucet, mushroom, Japanese garden, daibutsu, natto soy beans and more.
Her dream is to keep her sheep so that she doesn’t have to buy wood yarn. “I cannot make sweater” she says that nevertheless she can make anything other than that.

When Blythe doll was sold in the U.S 30 years ago, it was not that popular. But in Japan, it’s hit. Blythe fan are crazy about fashion for their dolls. Junie Moon & gallery LELE in Daikanyama, Tokyo, is so hot that we cannot even take a reservation.
Hundreds of fashion items for Blythe; clothes, accessory, wig, etc. are produced by several toy makers.

Here Mr.Ikki & Beni-chan go to see Aketsun-san, a designer of Blythe handmade fashion. She lives in a doll house with dolls as many as 500! That’s because where she works is where she sleeps. (In Japan, we can do anything in 1 room. Using Futon instead of bed makes that possible. What she means here is that she can lay out the futon on the floor when she sleeps.)
“Aren’t you get scared with all these dolls looking down on you when you sleep?” asked by Mr. Ikki & Beni-chan,
Aketsun-san says it’s OK, but after watching horror movie, she’ll get scared.

She is making every single thing that Blythe dolls have or wear; from shoes, clothing, bag, and even to the magazine the dolls have in the pocket!
Sometimes she carves Blythe eyes, embeds spangles inside there, and give the doll makeup.
Her main job is an illustrater, and that can help her to create dress pattern for Blythe handmade clothes.
She spends whole 3 days to make one coordination for one Blythe doll.

Kirin’s opinion:

I’m just amazed to see how people can be obsessed or fallen in love with one particular thing.
And once they find what they are into, they become so professional in that field.
At the same time, I think they are lucky & happy people because they can make living with what they love.
Did you find your kawaii in the show? I personally want to try Decotti, a sweet decoration kit.

Do men need depilation?

19 Apr
men-need-less-beard It’s natural wemen recieve waxing at aesthetic salons, but do men need that, too? Do men need less beard and want to look like young boys? There actually are some aesthetic salons designed for men in Japan. I personally strongly wonder if they really need this. What do you think?

New Shop! Marui Curren, Shinjuku

16 Apr

★casual wear & goods★
Marui Curren
address: 3-18-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0022
phone: 03-3354-0103
open: 11am-9pm

marui-curren There are several Marui fashion departments in Shinjuku. What makes Shinjuku Marui differentiate from other Marui in Japan is, I suppose that they have specific concept and targeted customers.Take Marui Current for example, this department focuses on younger customers so that they have inexpensive shops, compared to other Marui. It’s remarkable that Marui has UNIQLO store located inside. (This UNIQLO is a special sort that targets only wemen in their 20’s and so, it’s different from ordinary UNIQLO or UNIQLO T-shirt store in Harajuku.) It’s so unbelievable from how Marui used to be so far.

When I took the photo, it was very previous day that Marui Curren opens, and so, in fact, I finally can visit there some time later.
Looking through every shop, I found 2 major interesting shops.
1-Bling Me! … deco (a.k.a decoden for example) shop
2-Village Vanguard … various funny goods shop

I have some photos from Village Vanguard.

candy-look-bath-salt

birthday-hat

cute-anime-socks birthday-glasses
As for decoden store, I’ll write about this individually.
If you drop in Shinjuku, why don’t you take a look into those stores, if you have some extra time off? :p