Archive | October, 2009

It's time to look for a new journal for 2010.

29 Oct
Fueki HandCream Browsing around LOFT once in a while is so much fun to me. If you have been to Japan, you may know what it is. It’s a department building of kawaii stationery, cosmetics, general goods, tools for kitchen or anything, nice interior items or small furniture, especially targeted for young single or DINKS, and so many more. I cannot explain it well, and I’d strongly recommend you should go see it by yourself when you are in Japan. It’s not only in Tokyo, it’s available at many major cities! I’m sure you enjoy it, as much as Tokyu Hands! I’d go to Shibuya LOFT because of its scale and convenience.(Shibuya is easy access from my house.)

The other day I went to Shibuya LOFT to look for a new diary for 2010. I know what I exactly want, because I keep using the same one for the past few years and I still like using it, but it’s just fun to look around other things, too. πŸ˜€ I bought some cute cards and cheap cosmetics, as well as a cute calendar, but my diary was not ready then. I have to come back mid November.

Who was it that I exchanged messages on the shoutmix some time ago? I found Fueki glue that was so familiar at kindergarten…No, this time it’s revived as a hand cream! Fueki-kun (It was he! which I learned from the Fueki Blog. As it says “boku”=僕, it means male.) I think I’ve seen Fueki hand cream somewhere last winter, but I didn’t know that he has become such a famous character! (Japanese people LOVE characters, you know that!) It was in Shibuya LOFT the other day, and there were many more interesting goods and cosmetics that kept me stay there for a long time.

I dropped at Shibuya HMV that is just across the street from Shibuya LOFT, and I happened to find a Cher diary for 1200 yen! (Cher is an apparel brand but it’s more famous for its eco-bag as in this episode.) This was cute, but the style was not my taste. I’ll go for the same one as this year or the last year.

There was a Hello Kitty Fan book and this looked cute with full of introduction of rare Hello Kitty goods inside. As is always these days, freebie for this magazine is a small reversible original Kitty-chan bag. πŸ™‚

Cherjournal
HelloKittyFan

Oops, sorry for such a rambling…but I was so excited with kawaii all over, which is something very unique in Tokyo and that was what I was definitely missing from my trip to other countries. Speaking of kawaii, I think I love Tokyo most no matter how stupid and stressful our working situations are. I found many foreign visiters at tutuanna where I like to shop leggings and socks as well as Mity Soxer. They are cheap but cute! You should go there too (when you are here), if you like kawaii! πŸ˜‰

Kawaii competition -Paris project: accessory-

27 Oct

Kawaii competition -Paris project: accessory-
13/JUN/2009 on air

3 professional atrists were picked out for the final battle to win the representative of accessory department of Tokyo Kawaii TV who’s entitled to join the fashion show in Paris.
1: Kaji-san of deco specialist
2: 203gow-san of crochet specialist
3: Kumagai-san of sweets deco designger

They compete for decoration over headphones by their original ways.

Judges are the artists from 11 different countries who have experiences as exhibitors at Tokyo Design Festa.

Kaji-san used to enjoy bling-bling decoration as a part of hobby before she became very famous for receiving custom-order from Paris Hilton.
Paris liked Kaji-san’s jewel decoration. Patricia Field is another customer of hers.
There are also several Japanese companies that try to collaborate with her to produce such as deco mirror or deco clock. Deco jewelry can be even virtual on the screen of mobile phone.

203gow-san is a superstar of crocheting. She has scored top 1 to 4 of the crochet lovers site.
She commutes to a public library from time to time to study picture books for half to a whole day long. She keeps looking at them, imagines how 3 dimensions would be, and expresses them with crochet. She has lately started making books totally made of crocheting.

Kumagai-san, the sweets deco designer uses a tooth brush to make a sort of “baked” touch. She has collaborated with a company of sweets decoration bag that was used for Shibuya Girls Collection. She made a special sweets deco mirror for CIARA in front of her.

Zumreed store offers various designs of stickers for headphones’ decoration.
It’s a cool idea that we can change the images of headphones that fit fashion or the mood of the day. In fact, the sales of headphones have increased since these stickers were available. Mobile decoration is everywhere today, but headphones decoration is still rare. That’s true!

Kumagai-san is so good at decorating fake cakes, then how about the real ones? The truth is she has never baked and decorated real ones yet! “Girls like to try everything! That’s why it’s good to put various kinds of sweets decorations on.” says Kumagai-san.

This episode is an accessory department audition, but there are more auditions from other departments such as men’s fashion, school uniform, Gothloli, etc.

203gow-san or Kumagai-san’s headphones were attractive among the foreign judges, but DJ Kaori finally voted for Kaji-san’s less-decorated headphones, and Kaji-san won the competition. She is going to participate in the fashion show in Paris.

Kirin’s opinion:

Personally I liked 203gow-san’s unique crochet headphones, but that’s only for autumn and winter. I’m so much impressed that they achieved their skills as much as to the level of making business by themselves, and everything was based on their passion and that they really liked doing that as a hobby. Not many people can be so much into something to this extent, but it’s so cool we can be so famous from something we like doing, and these people must be so happy because they can make other people happy with what they love doing. I think that’s the ideal way of life! They would do it for nothing. I mean, they would never have expected to become popular or to get paid for what they do. I just adore their passion and energy! πŸ™‚

Fast fashion special

24 Oct

Fast fashion special
23/MAY/2009 on air

What is this long queue in Harajuku? It was 29th of April 2009 that FOREVER21 1st store opened in Harajuku, Tokyo Japan. FOREVER21 is from the U.S, H&M which is just next to FOREVER21 is from Sweden, and we have ZARA from Spain, Topshop from U.K, collect point from Japan, all located in Harajuku. These shops are famous for kawaii trendy clothing for reasonable prices, and such fashion is called “fast fashion”. Harajuku has become a center of fast fashion battle.

There are some critical points that do not make fast fashion look cheap. With some creative ideas and a little bit of efforts, basic and cheap clothing can be really cool. Do you know “UNI-kakushi”? That means to do some makeover to UNIQLO clothing. UNIQLO is another fast fashion brand that Japan is proud of. Their clothes are very basic and durable with many color variations, but very cheap. What’s good about UNI-kakushi is that we can take a risk to do anything on the UNIQLO clothing, and if we fail, we lose only a small amount of money.

The man wearing a gold painted jacket did the spray painting by himself over the original UNIQLO red colored jacket.

Girls from deco-clo enjoy many ways of UNI-kakushi.

Tokyo Kawaii TV interviewed the CEO of UNIQLO to ask what he thinks of UNI-kakushi phenomenon. He said, “We are dealing with clothes as parts. It’s all up to individuals how he or she wants to wear them.”

H&M is a good place to find a cheap celeb-kei (celebrity-oriented) sort of fashion. The head designer of H&M has visited Tokyo more than 20 times in the past 15 years. It’s called inspiration trip and she is inspired for a new design from this trip. She checks out small second hand clothing stores in residential area in Tokyo, and the button store where Paul Smith also likes to shop.

Shimamura is a Japanese long-established clothing store since 1953. Speaking of cheap Gyaru coordination, Shimamura has become a key player. Gyaru who like to shop and wear Shimamura clothing are called “Shimarah”.

However, Shimamura has not been like this. It’s only 8 years ago when they changed their taste. They enriched Gyaru and teenager clothing. One big question however is that buyers are all middle aged men who don’t exactly understand the sense of kawaii at all. They try to catch up with the latest trends by repeating a supervised tour to Europe every other month. They try to figure out what’s coming next and strive for marketing research.

Mama retro fashion cost nothing, as long as your mom was fashionable and kept her wardrobe in a good condition.

Kirin’s opinion:

There was a long line at FOREVER21 even in this summer. I didn’t feel like shopping there because of too many people : A long line to get into the store, another long line for fitting, and another one for payment. 😦

UNI-kakushi looks interesting. If I were good at sewing, I’d like to makeover and create my own clothing from UNIQLO, but unfortunately I am so bad at it, I have no choice. My mom was very good at sewing, my grandma was also so good at knitting, but I feel myself very clumsy and I feel safer being away from these things. :p
When I was a child, I was wearing original clothes from my mom and grandma, which I didn’t like very much then, but now I think I should’ve been more grateful to them. :p

Name stamp for foreign name

22 Oct
Eric On my way to Europe last month, I found something interesting at Narita airport before I left Japan. There were many kinds of foreign men’s and women’s names (I guess English names) available with Kanji stamps! I took 2 pictures with my mobile phone, which were Eric and Donna.

When you choose Kanji for your name, you can just pick up any Kanji that has a similar sound of the pronunciation of your name, which is as I explained before in my video. However, you have to know that it doen’t always mean that every sound has its Kanji. For example, there’s no exact sound applicable for the name such as “Sean” (ショーン) because there is no Kanji that sounds “-” or “ン” and instead, I would write it as ε‹ι‹οΌˆγ‚·γƒ§γ‚¦γ‚¦γƒ³=means victory and luckοΌ‰for example, to make it sound similar to “Sean”.

“Eric” in this photo is very similar to Amanda’s case. ζ „ is usually called “ei (エむ)” but here in the name it’s called “e (エ)”. ι‡ŒδΉ… can be called “riku” and so, the whole name sounds like “eriku (エγƒͺγ‚―)” without a small “ッ” which is because we don’t have a proper Kanji that has a sound of “ッ”. Therefore, not all of the foreign names are as easily translated into Kanji as Donna, the other picture I added down to Eric.

Yet, I found it very interesting they sell these stamps at Narita airport. Those who enjoyed travelling in Japan finally spend extra yen for such cute souvenires. It was 1000 yen or so, as far as I remember.

Eric Front
Donna

Shibuya 109 English Guidebook

19 Oct

shibuya109 guidebook The other day, Lisa, one of my blog readers who also has lived and worked in Japan kindly introduced me an interesting blog that is written by a foreign Gyaru who lives in Tokyo now. This is it: Universal Doll

I think that some of my blog readers who are very much interested in fashion can enjoy her blog. In her blog, she mentions about a new magazine, “Shibuya 109 English Guidebook“. I also found another post about the magazine but is written in more objective way than hers.

If you are planning to visit Shibuya, which is the very center of Japanese Gyaru fashion and where 109 department building with full of Gyaru taste of fashion stores is located, it’s not a bad idea to give it a try. It’s also well-known that Hollywood celebrities and musicians love to drop at 109 when they visit Tokyo. I see how much they can get excited about kawaii fashion at cheap prices!

Shibuya 109 is a fashion department building especially targeted teens and young men and women. (It was not that much Gyaru-targeting atmosphere when I was a highschool student. That’s because I used to shop there often but I was not Gyaru at all then. Maybe Gyaru was not even popular then. ^ ^; ) The taste of fashion is Gyaru-kei for women, Onii-kei for men. (Gyaru-kei fashion for men) As is always, 109 is not exceptional. They open at 10 am and close at 9 pm. (Restaurants open 11 am to 10:30 pm.) They open everyday only except for 1st of Jan.

In case you are not familiar with Gyaru, here‘s wiki for your reference. Also, let me put a video link here again, which you can also find at Universal Doll but is not played smoothly due to lack of memory or because she doesn’t use a self-hosting blog? I don’t know but anyhow it’s a Japanese TV show introducing foreign Gyaru in Shibuya, Tokyo.

Yamanba” or “Manba” type of Gyaru is not so popular in Japan any longer. I rarely see them in Shibuya any more there days, but it’s a surprise to me this trend can be seen somewhere overseas…((-_-;))

As for myself, I have never been a Gyaru-type of girl and I have no interests in Onii-kei young guys but I don’t dislike them. I just feel awkward and out-of-place when I shop at 109 now, with my natural and casual way of looking among most of other shoppers who are totally “Gyaru” from top to the bottom. Pesonally I find Gyaru items are reasonable and cute. I think it’s good to enjoy fashion as much as we like while we are young. When we get old, we have so many other things to do and we cannot spare much time for it any longer…just like me now!

Japanese working hours

13 Oct

I’d like to share with you about Japanese working hours, which is requested by one of my blog readers, Leonard the other day from his comment. (Dear My blog readers: Please feel free to send me your request that you want me to write about! Thanks!! πŸ™‚ )

When we go to Europe, we are surprised to find that stores close at 6 pm, and they also close on Sunday. It’s also a surprise they don’t have convenience stores around.

How is Japanese working hours? Most office workers have Saturday, Sunday, and national holidays off. They work from Monday to Friday 9 to 5. But it’s very rare that we are free from overtime work. As I mentioned in my post about Japanese working environment the other day, Japanese companies do not like to hire more employees, which is because they want to eliminate extra expenses they have to spend for every employee for their commuting, insurance, pension program, and so on. As it turns out, every company has as small numbers of employees as possible and makes them work longer hours instead of filling with additional employees. I wonder if there are any employees these days who leave office at 5pm, because many of them work up until 9 or 10pm, and there are even those who work up until 1 or 2am next morning to cover his or her workload. (It doesn’t mean they can have next day off or start working from noon or something.)

Of course there are employees who can leave office at 5pm but that’s because their job is easy and simple. They can be easily replaced by someone else who works for cheaper wage in the future.

When it comes to service industry such as real estate, they may close office on Tuesday and Wednesday and they open for weekends and national holidays because that is the time they can expect more customers. It’s tragic when you work for service industry and your wife works for non-service industry, because your holidays never meet each other. You can never have holiday together!

How about shops? Shops usually open from 10 or 11am to 8 or 9pm. Small shops have a day off once a week, but big shops such as fashion department store will be always open except 1st of January. I remember they used to have Wednesday off, as they are considered service industry, but for the past 10 years and today I see them always open, almost 365 days annually. Let me tell you one big difference. When I was shopping at a store in Venice, Italy, I was told to go out of the store because they are closing in 2 minutes. In Japan, even when they are closing, they say “We are closing the shutter now, but please take your time. We can wait until our last customer checks out. We never make you rush. Please never mind our closing and enjoy your shopping as usual!”

If you doubt, go to Marui department for example and stay inside the shop when they are closing. You’ll hear this announcement all over the building. πŸ˜‰

There are even shops that open 24 hours a day 365 days a year.
Convenience stores and some super markets are open 24 hours. Especially convenience stores are everywhere, and in that way we will never miss something to eat and drink even if we forget to buy them. Major discount store such as Donkihote, bookstore or video rental store such as TSUTAYA, dry cleaning stores, hair salons, beauty salons, restaurants….so many places in Tokyo offer services for 24 hours. It’s not only Tokyo, (but I guess there are many in Tokyo) you can check it out from here, if you read Japanese.

When do they take days off? Those who work for shops and restaurants can have only 8 days off a month, according to my friends who have worked for shops. 8 days means national holidays are totally skipped, and of course they have to avoid Saturday and Sunday as much as possible. They would take turns to have weekends off and so it’s not that every weekend they can be off-duty.

I think Japan is very convenient and functional place for customers, but if you try to work here, you know how much sacrifice we have to make to support our customers. “Customers are GOD!” Things like this is spoken as a matter of course and without even a bit of hesitation in this country. It’s so crazy!

That’s why there are arrogant customers who take advantage of their superiority against employees. “Are you saying that to your precious customers? You’ll never know how much inconvenience I had to have because of you.” Nasty customers would even make the employees apologize so many times. In other countries, the employees would say, “Sorry for that, but it’s not my fault. The computer made mistakes.” or whatever. But in Japan, it’s not possible to answer to your customers like that. Even if it was not your fault, you have to apologize because you or your computer or your coworker or whoever that belong to the company is representing the company. I think Japanese people put emphasis on apologizing more than appreciating something. I’m sure we hear “sumimasen” οΌˆγ™γΏγΎγ›γ‚“οΌ‰a lot more than “arigatougozaimasu”γ€€οΌˆγ‚γ‚ŠγŒγ¨γ†γ”γ–γ„γΎγ™οΌ‰.

Even while I am writing this, I feel so sick of this supressed society.
But I’m telling you the truth. This is another true story of Japan.
I can tell you this because I’ve seen it and lived in it as Japanese.
I’m fed up with this, but only being a customer, it’s so easy! (Sometimes I’m totally mad at what employees say to me: it’s not my fault! and then I realize how much I was spoiled in Japanese society!!)
Is this only in Japan? How are the things in your country?

kawaii face

11 Oct

Kawaii Face
24/Sept/2008 on air

What kind of face do you want to have? Young girls in Tokyo want to have a face like following Japanese celebrities. Namie Amuro, YOU, Suzanne, Kaera Kimura, Aoi Miyazaki, Keiko Kitagawa, Erika Sawajiri, Nozomi Sasaki.

They indeed are so pretty!
In Japan, orthopedic operation is not as popular as in Korea. Suzanne looks like mixed blood, but she is full Japanese. She makes her face look like half, but she does that by makeup.

Mr. Tamura (TamTam) is a specialist to “dekame” (big round eyes).
His makeup gives us the impression of orthopedic surgery. He is so popular as to take care of cover girls for many fashion magazines.

Many of the Japanese do not have double folded eyelids but we think Western beauty is the beauty. That’s why we have to rely on such an interesting gadget to make double folded eyelids. It’s made of fiber tape and it’s to be glued on the eyelids.

Japanese people like “dekame” (dekai=big me=eye(s)) and so, fake eyelashes are selling crazy. 100 yen shop in Harajuku deals with as many as 38 kinds of disposable fake eyelashes. There are also tourists from Australia who shop them to cover the usage of 1 year!

Let’s take a look how high school girls wearing fake eyelashes. They use 2 or 3 different kinds of combination and spend more than 1 hour to complete their dekame!

“New half” means beautiful men and transsexuals dressed in women’s clothes. Sometimes they act more feminine than real women. The hair wig store in Shibuya developped the one for Namie Amuro, a famous Jpop singar, and their wigs are heat-resistant against hot hair iron.

Japanese hair styles are very popular in Beiging, China. Japanese hair stylists who moved to Beijing to open Japanese-style hair salon for Chinese women are very successful now. Their price is 4 times as expensive as average hair salons in Beijing. Nevertheless, their salon is alwaya full of reservations. Mr.Asakura, the owner of this hair salon is originally from Kagawa prefecture, Japan. He had experienced salons in Tokyo and London before he came to Beijing 4 years ago. He was also introduced by a Chinese business magazine, as one of the most successful 20 foreign company owners in China. His salon has now as many as over 700 customers and is open 365 days a year! What’s good about him is that he is good at arranging Japanese popular hair styles into Chinese ways. Chinese have different nature of hair, compared with Japanese. Climate is also different. It’s more dry in China. He takes all these into consideration to find Chinese ways.

Makeup is fun; if you mistake, just wash it off.
3 models have changed so differently with makeup.

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Kirin’s opinion:
“Dekame” (big round eyes) are the must-have for girls to be pretty in your country, too? I can see that Japanese people appreciate Western beauty so much, and Japanese beauty with almond shaped eyes are not often regarded as kawaii here. 😦 It’s not interesting that everyone tries to be the same sort of looking. What do you think? How are things in your country?
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Disclaimer: Tokyo Kawaii TV is a TV program owned and broadcasted by NHK Japan, and has nothing to do with this blog.

***There are archives of episodes listed under the page titled “Tokyo Kawaii TV” that is just located under the title banner of this blog.
***If you want to know the music that was used in the episode, please refer to this page and help yourself to find it by selecting the date when the episode was on air in Japan.