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January 27, 2010 at 6:23 pm

Face blotting paper: Cute, practical, and makes a great gift

When Himawari goes to Japan, she likes to check out the latest candy selection. That’s high on my list as well, and I also love picking up face blotting paper.

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Developed in Kyoto 90 years ago by Yojiya Cosmetics, the ultra thin, small squares of paper are used to dab away shine from your face and absorb any oil that’s built up, but without smudging your makeup. Keep a small case in your purse for easy access and you’re good for a clear, blemish-free complexion. (Or at least that’s the hope.)

Originally used in the 1920s by stage actors, Geisha and Maiko who needed to keep their faces fresh without ruining their greasepaint makeup, face blotting paper caught on with Japanese women from all walks of life in the 1990s. As usual, presentation is key. You can buy the paper in bulk at any beauty store and dress it up by carrying it in a thin, snap shut case decorated with traditional artwork or kawaii cartoons. Squares of pretty packaging with 20 or so sheets inside are popular souvenirs from Kyoto, and are found at the markets and stands just about everywhere there.

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It may be too late to use them as stocking stuffers this year, but they do in a pinch as a cute and practical gift, whatever the season.

Sarah S.

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Thinking of doing business in Japan? We can make it easy for you!
japanizmo, a Los Angeles based company, provides practical solutions for U.S. ? Japan business projects. Our experienced Japanese staff will support all phases of your business project to seize business opportunities and turn your vision into a reality. >> Learn more
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January 6, 2009 at 11:03 am

How to Shrink Your Face

The other day, a friend was telling me about how women in Korea are so concerned about the width of their face that they’ll pay a doctor to shave down their jawbone. It freaked me out, but then I remembered that Japanese women are also pretty ‘adventuresome’ when it comes to trying to decrease their face size.

Here are some of my favorite methods:
• Sing a song

Many Japanese feel that strong jaw muscles contribute to a thinner face. But as most people would agree, Japanese isn’t a very jaw-intensive language. (If you don’t believe me, ask a Japanese person to pronounce “right” and “light.”) So for $20 you can buy a CD containing four songs that’ll help work out those troublesome areas around the mouth, cheeks and even the eyes. One song is titled “Hello! Beauty Face.” Another is called “Ko gan rin kin sa kitto,” which doesn’t have any meaning, but try saying it three times fast.

• Wear a mask
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I never thought beauty would end up looking like a serial murderer, but here you have it, a rubber mask you wear while taking a hot bath. It’s sort of like a Bikram yoga class because for less work you’re theoretically sweating out more fatty lipids. Just don’t scare your boyfriend away.

• Bite on a Stick
small-face

Like the wings of a bird, the longer you hold on the farther you’ll go. Just bite down on the silicon mouthpiece and let it flutter. The up and down motion will put your muscles to work, and if that’s not successful at least you’ll have a nice stirring stick for your morning coffee.

• Wear a Big Hat

It’s a quick fix, but at least it works.

It’s always fun hearing all the interesting ways women stay beautiful. It can be as simple as drinking a nutritional supplement or as odd as spreading bird poop on your face. Of course, the above methods are some of the latter. It just goes to show how overzealous some of us can be. Though personally speaking, what’s wrong with a wide face?

Himawari

—————————————————————————
Thinking of doing business in Japan? We can make it easy for you!
japanizmo, a Los Angeles based company, provides practical solutions for U.S. ? Japan business projects. Our experienced Japanese staff will support all phases of your business project to seize business opportunities and turn your vision into a reality. >> Learn more
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January 2, 2009 at 9:50 am

“Glass Mask” Manga Re-Launch Delights Female Fans

Japanese pop culture has never been hotter than it is right now. With manga sales in the U.S. at $210 million and growing, the title that intrigues me at the moment is the long-running shōjo (girl) manga Garasu no Kamen or “Glass Mask.”

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“Glass Mask” has been going continuously since the ’70s, but stopped publishing in 2004. This summer, original author Suzue Miuchi re-launched her extremely popular series in Bessatsu Hana to Yume magazine, a monthly supplement to the high-selling “Flowers and Dreams” bi-monthly Hana to Yume .

The plot is catnip to young girls: passionate, determined and talented teenage actress Maya and her rival Ayumi compete for the coveted lead role in Kurenai Tennyo (“The Crimson Goddess”), a legendary play. Maya, who was born poor and ran away from home to follow her theater dreams, acts from the heart, while Ayumi, who comes from a privileged family, is perfect technically; both have something the other lacks.

Backstage intrigue and love triangles abound as well. Maya’s secret admirer Masumi sends her encouraging notes and purple roses but treats her with disdain whenever they meet — probably because of their age difference (the less said about this the better, as he’s 24 and she’s 13 when the series starts) and the fact that he’s engaged to someone else. But fans hold out hope that his relationship with Maya will end in marriage someday, and since she’s about 20 now it’s not so scandalous.

Hilariously, the French translation of “Glass Mask” changes Masumi’s name to “Darcy,” which should delight any fans of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.”

Personally, I think the series would be a huge hit in the U.S. with the “Twilight” crowd.

Sarah S.

—————————————————————————
Thinking of doing business in Japan? We can make it easy for you!
japanizmo, a Los Angeles based company, provides practical solutions for U.S. ? Japan business projects. Our experienced Japanese staff will support all phases of your business project to seize business opportunities and turn your vision into a reality. >> Learn more
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December 30, 2008 at 10:16 am

Get on the Party Train!

You may already know this, but Japanese people love to party. Not just college kids, but older people, too — sloshing their beer and turning uneven shades of red throughout the night. Especially throughout December, there’s an upsurge of merriment to commemorate the year’s end. An izakaya (tapas restaurant) is typically the venue of choice, but these days people are getting more and more creative. Take this kegger for example:

It’s a new concept developed in Toyohashi City where you get on a slow-moving densha (train) for 90 minutes and enjoy many rounds of beer and a hot bowl of oden (an assortment of fishcakes and vegetables). They’ve dubbed it “oden-sha.” (Oden + densha, harhar) Looks fun, but my only concern is, where’s the bathroom? If it’s a cadre of coworkers, I’d be especially embarrassed to unload my dinner on them. Beer and motion sickness does that to me. =P

Boats are another vessel for drunken festivity. If you’re ever around Tokyo Bay you’ll see them floating around like lanterns along a river. It’s a beautiful site. Though inside I’m sure people are barfing up a storm.

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The idea behind having so many parties is to reaffirm ties with the people you interact with on a regular basis. Just like with sending out New Year’s greeting cards, we just want to make sure we’ll be there for each other even into the new year. But besides that, constant partying is a great way to stimulate a slow economy. And that’s just what we need right now. \(^o^)/

Himawari

—————————————————————————
Thinking of doing business in Japan? We can make it easy for you!
japanizmo, a Los Angeles based company, provides practical solutions for U.S. ? Japan business projects. Our experienced Japanese staff will support all phases of your business project to seize business opportunities and turn your vision into a reality. >> Learn more
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December 24, 2008 at 3:21 pm

Meet Your Mate at a Compa Party?

When I was in high school, the best way for girls to hang out with the boys they liked was to arrange a casual group date to the movies. We all drove separately and met outside the theater, and after the movie we had dinner or coffee at someplace cheesy like Denny’s. In a crowd, the pressure was off to constantly make conversation and you could also avoid the awkward goodbye at the end of the night (to kiss or not to kiss?). If it turned out you didn’t click with your crush, there was no risk of rejection; on the other hand, you also had a chance to figure out if you wanted to get together more privately some other time.

In Japan, this type of dating is called gokon or compa (short for the English word “companions”) and it’s a fairly common event in the lives of men and women in their 20s to early 30s.

You can read a humorous example here, but this is the gist of it: A man and a woman team up, decide on a time and place (probably a restaurant), and invite four or five friends each to come along. (Gender balance is key — everyone wants a potential match, so you can’t have an extra person of either sex.) Drinks are had, inhibitions lowered, and then everyone usually goes off to a second location, either for more drinks or karaoke.

gokon

Segregation of the sexes can sometimes be more pronounced in Japan than it is in the U.S. Men and women don’t always have an opportunity to interact at school or work, male/female friendships are not extremely common, and social groups tend to be all-male or all-female. In the evenings, salarymen are expected stay out late drinking with their male colleagues, while groups of women may hit the shopping mall or theater together, so gokon is a great way to bridge that gap.

Sarah S.

—————————————————————————
Thinking of doing business in Japan? We can make it easy for you!
japanizmo, a Los Angeles based company, provides practical solutions for U.S. ? Japan business projects. Our experienced Japanese staff will support all phases of your business project to seize business opportunities and turn your vision into a reality. >> Learn more
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December 22, 2008 at 4:06 pm

The Art of Cellotape (Cellophane tape)

Among my collection of stationery goodies, I never seem to run out of cellophane tape. I use it to wrap presents, stick paper to the wall and occasionally hem long-legged jeans (though staplers work better). Other than that, there are always at least two rolls sitting in my desk, hoping to see the light of day.

So let’s say you’re a manufacturer of adhesive goods. In woeful times, how do you stir up demand for your unsung product? How about by giving a crazed artist access to all the gumminess he needs?

sehata-3

That’s what tape manufacturer Nichiban decided to do when artist Ryo Sehata asked for bulk amounts of what Japanese people call cellotape (cellophane tape). In return, Mr. Sehata has been plugging them all over the place, most recently penning an essay for the national newspaper Nihon Keizai News about his obsession.

So just how crazed is he? For his prized work, titled “Rolling Sculpture.20” he used a whopping 4,000 rolls of tape. Each roll is about $1.40; you do the math:

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And unlike a baseball, he didn’t use a rubber core to anchor the thing down. It’s 100% tape that he wrapped from a tiny ball – sore fingers are a problem, he says. Though the sculpture weighs over 200 pounds, so I can’t imagine worrying about it rolling away.

This is my personal favorite:

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Once a struggling artist, Mr. Sehata has gone on to open exhibits across the country. It took him a while to feel confident sculpting something most people use to lift cat hairs with. But once his art took off, he was happy to find a company that would supply him with enough tape to work his magic. It’s a partnership that’ll stick for a lifetime if you ask me.

Himawari

—————————————————————————
Thinking of doing business in Japan? We can make it easy for you!
japanizmo, a Los Angeles based company, provides practical solutions for U.S. ? Japan business projects. Our experienced Japanese staff will support all phases of your business project to seize business opportunities and turn your vision into a reality. >> Learn more
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December 19, 2008 at 8:51 pm

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