Posts filed under ‘Japanese Beauty’

Massage Therapy is on Every Corner

Ever thought of hiring a personal masseuse?

Well, unless you’re loaded, you probably can’t afford one. So what’s the next best thing? How about a massage shop on every corner?

Okay, maybe not be as abundant as Starbucks, but shops catering to soothing the knots of a stressful work day are only steps away; in a department store or along a busy shopping arcade, even at the airport. No need to reserve, all you do is walk in and within minutes you’ll be kneaded like putty.

Hour-long sessions are about 6,000 yen, which comes out to 95 cents a minute. Not exactly chump change, but still affordable. Back in the day when my Tokyo dorm rent was only $100 monthly (I miss being a student), I’d treat myself to a massage nearly every week. Especially when winter came around, I’d mentally write off massages as a necessary expense for my health. Regular visits boost circulation and keep you warm.

Massage shops fit a particular category called iyashi-kei — that which heals the body and mind. Certain music can be considered iyashi-kei if it rejuvenates you, as can certain food if it comforts you. Even certain celebrities are iyashi-kei if, just with a glance at their image, can turn angry men into teddy bears. Like I’ve mentioned before, Japan is a high-stress society, so people will pay top yen to take a load off.

Next time you visit Japan, stop by a massage shop. It’s a whole new experience, far better than what you can get in the U.S. You’ll experience customer service at its best and you don’t even have to leave tip! (^D^)/

Himawari

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Thinking of doing business in Japan? We can make it easy for you!
JPBizDirect, 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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July 29, 2008 at 1:32 pm

Beating the Heat

Japan gets nasty-hot in the summer. It’s the kind of heat that wakes you up at night, soaking your shirt in a most embarrassing way. It’s the kind of heat that makes you wanna live in an igloo. During the summer I’d remove any piece of furniture that bumped up the thermometer even one degree. So out went the fridge, computer and feather blanket. They stayed in the kitchen until winter.

At night, I set aside fear of robbers and kept ajar the sliding balcony door. Then over the course of eight hours I slowly edged my way outside where by morning I was in the company of curious birds coming to poop on me.

These days it’s much easier to stay cool. How bout an icy gel mattress? Or doggie-shaped feet coolers? Take a look for yourself:




I found these items on the Tokyu Hands website. It’s one of my favorite department stores in Japan because they sell useful household goods both creative and cute. For the ice mattress (~$150) all you have to do is place it under your fitted sheet. The pillow costs an extra $50. The feet coolers are only $12. Wrap the elastic band around the arch of your foot and watch as it cools down your body. For a quick fix, try the ‘cool skin bar’ for just under 10 bucks. Glide it onto your skin for a nice cooling sensation.

Unlike on the U.S. west coast, Japan’s heat is humid and sticky. So you can emerge from the shower and five minutes later need another one. It’s the most uncomfortable thing for those with overactive glands. On the other hand, the heat is a godsend if you suffer from chapped lips. Nothing stays dry in Japan.



By far, my favorite product for beating the heat is Biore’s ‘sara-sara‘ (soft and smooth) powder sheet pack. The moist sheet is coated with scented antiperspirant powder. Wipe it over troublesome parts of your body and you’ll magically stop sweating. Though the one drawback is that if someone tries kissing you on the cheek, they’ll be utterly grossed out because you’ll taste bitter. No one said antiperspirant tasted good.

Himawari

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Thinking of doing business in Japan? We can make it easy for you!

JPBizDirect, 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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July 15, 2008 at 5:50 pm

Jewelry Designer Yoshi Beautifully Combines Japanese and U.S. Style

Last week I was excited to sit down with jewelry designer Yoshi, a warm, creative and stylish Japanese woman who has made a name for herself in Japan and recently decided to introduce her work to an American audience. Though pearls might be considered her signature stone, she also uses diamonds, rubies, sapphires and gold (pink, yellow and white), sometimes combined with amber, onyx or jade, to invoke color and light.

Yoshi grew up in Tokyo, but came to the U.S. to develop her new career and receive a degree in gemology from the prestigious Gemological Institute of America. She also studied English and history at UCLA. Now she lives in Santa Monica, California, but frequently travels back to Japan, where people are delighted by her shock of blonde hair and beautiful accessories. In fact, people constantly approach her to ask where she got her jewelry.

On the day I met Yoshi, she was wearing a dark silver pearl necklace over a crisp white blouse, a black jacket with black velvet flower prints on the collar, red-framed glasses and to-die-for rings (one diamond, one black jade and cat’s eye). I wanted to steal every item!
Yoshi loves combining U.S. and Japanese cultures in one outfit. When she worked in Beverly Hills as a beauty consultant, she would wear the top half of a kimono and discard the bottom half.

Each of her designs is exclusive and personal. If you bring her an heirloom, she can even arrange it into a fresh piece. She meets with clients one-on-one to determine what type and style of jewelry works best for them individually.

“In Japan,” she laughs, “they tell me to decide for them! So I usually bring them three choices and let them choose. In the U.S., they usually have some idea of what they’re looking for.” She has a quick, keen ability to match people with jewelry that complements their looks and personalities.

Bringing Maki-e Back

Yoshi has updated maki-e jewelry while keeping what defines it — the exquisitely detailed and delicate style — in tact. Maki-e is unique to Japan and has been around since the Nara Period (710 –794).On top of lacquer, artists paint with gold, silver or platinum dust to create colorful, eye-catching images. Traditionally seen on bowls, Buddhist altars, etc., the use and ownership of these luxury items were limited to Court Nobles and Samurai. Today you can find maki-e on watches, fountain pens, beautiful plates and more, and with Yoshi’s innovations you can wear the style as a necklace.

Yoshi, who loves to challenge herself, sought out maki-e makers in Japan and added her own personal touch: small, diamond-encrusted frames and simple but beautiful chains.
She is dedicated to using only the highest quality materials and will travel the world to find them. Some of her stones are cut in Idar-Oberstein, the gem capital of Germany.

With Yoshi’s designs, you get the best of traditional Japanese artwork merged with modern elegance. Two cultures and styles join together to create jewelry that is special and one-of-a-kind — just like Yoshi herself.

Sarah S.

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Thinking of doing business in Japan? We can make it easy for you!
JPBizDirect, 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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May 1, 2008 at 3:12 pm

Massagers to Die For

Despite common notion, Japan is a high-stress society. Aside from universal worries about finances, health and finding a soul mate, Japanese people lose sleep over how people view them – individualism not being a good thing. They also worry about pleasing the higher-ups. If the boss wants a beer, you better get one for him. If he wants a girl to pour him the beer, you better find one of those, too.

The longer I lived in Japan the stiffer my shoulders became as I worked to conform to the societal norms, which are especially strict for women. What resulted was not only a disdain for coy women but an extensive collection of massage tools. It ranges from small wooden mallets (cost about $2 each) to a high-speed circular ultra-kneading lounger (costing about an arm and a leg).

One of the more unique massagers is a hand-held tool you plug into the wall:

As soon as the green tip heats up you press it onto your skin wherever you’re stiff. I like to knead it into my eyebrow ridges after a long day of Scrabulous. Be warned, the longer you leave it, the hotter it gets. Burn marks are possible. Though back in the old days when electricity wasn’t abundantly available they used to light a small fire over muscle aches. Thank god for advanced technology.

And then there’s my electric shocking device I bought at Yodobashi Camera, Japan’s version of Best Buy:

The battery operated remote is attached to two gel pads you stick on your skin. Turn on the device and you’ll feel tiny electric waves that either vibrate or pulsate through your muscles at whatever speed you wish. One word of caution: Don’t stick the pad over a bone. Electric waves passing through are as uncomfortable as biting on foil. Oh and never, stick the pad on your head. No amount of electric shock will make you forget your last bad relationship.

I have other devices in my collection that I’m reluctant to show anyone. They’re also fun to use, but believe me, the warning labels run even longer.

Himawari

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Thinking of doing business in Japan? We can make it easy for you!
JPBizDirect, 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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April 15, 2008 at 9:56 am

Memoirs Dances of a Geisha

Last year, Himawari wrote about springtime in Japan, which is marked by cherry blossom festivals or hanami. For the entire month of April, you can also enjoy the Cherry Blossom Dance, or Miyako Odori (sometimes known as “Dances of Spring”). Performances take place four times a day for an hour each at the Kaburenjo Theater in Kyoto’s entertainment district of Gion. Geiko (the Kyoto dialect of Geisha) and Maiko (apprentice Geisha) both join in on the colorful and beautiful dances. In fact, Mai means “dance” and Ko means “child” so Maiko literally translates to “dancing child / girl.”

geisha

The annual performances first began in 1872 as an attempt to promote industry, business and status in Kyoto after Tokyo (then called Edo) grabbed the spotlight by becoming the new capital of Japan in 1869. Today, visitors to Kaburenjo Theater are encouraged to visit the surrounding gardens, partake in a shortened tea ceremony and eat manju cake. Who needs Broadway with that kind of service? Check out the exquisite costumes, scenery, fan work and dancing below:

Sarah S.

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Thinking of doing business in Japan? We can make it easy for you!
JPBizDirect, 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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April 4, 2008 at 10:38 am

Do’s and Don’ts of Going Green

I wouldn’t have believed it if I didn’t read it with my own eyes. Starting this month, the Japanese pro baseball league will cut playing time by 12 minutes in an effort to save the world.

Now, I’m an earth-friendly gal – I recycle grocery bags and never brush with the tap running – but cutting a baseball game by a few minutes to save energy?! On the extreme, it’s like opting to stay in bed all day just to spend less. Cutting the Japanese work day by 12 minutes seems a little more conciliatory, if only to spare new hires from their dreaded boss. “Uh sorry, can’t create that Power Point presentation now. Gotta go home and turn off the lights.” Revealing enough, at the end of the article, the writer casually mentions that Japanese baseball has long been looking for ways to speed up the game pace.

Here’s a far more ingenious way of going green: Atop skyscrapers in Tokyo’s Roppongi district owners have grown their own eco-oasis: rice paddies, lush vegetable gardens, and fish ponds. It’s hard to imagine but, yes, they’ve laid grass over concrete rooftops in hopes of offsetting costs to cool the buildings in the summertime. Of course, vegetation also produces oxygen, and for that matter, food.

Roppongi garden

Like Los Angeles, Tokyo is an asphalt-dense city. There are too many shades of grey to feel like you’re one with nature. That’s why I got really excited when I spotted these rooftop gardens from my hotel balcony in Roppongi a couple years ago. There really are ways to meld industry and the environment into something amazing. (^_^)/

Himawari

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Thinking of doing business in Japan? We can make it easy for you!
JPBizDirect, 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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April 1, 2008 at 5:46 pm

Violets are Blue, and Roses are…Too? Franken-rose in 2009

Known more for its whisky than its flower development, the Japanese company Suntory Ltd. nevertheless scored a major coup in the floral world in 2004 by creating genetically modified blue roses. Since then, the Australian scientists who work for Suntory have perfected the hitherto elusive flowers and feel the time has come to unleash these freaks of nature — er, beautiful creations — on the romantics of the world. The roses are slated to go on sale in Japan in 2009, reports Inventor Spot. Other countries are sure to follow.

8931.jpg

According to Chinese folklore, a blue rose signifies hope against unattainable love, and Wikipedia says that blue roses signify “mystery or attaining the impossible” (probably because blue roses, are, well, impossible in nature).

So how the heck did scientists accomplish this feat?

Apparently, they found a way to “turn off” certain rose genes and replace them with genes from pansies. These allow the rose’s blue pigments to become synthesized. (I don’t get it, either.)

To be honest, this sort of genetic tampering creeps me out. Nature already provides us with such an amazing variety of flowers that it seems strange to spend time and money creating something that, to me, looks fake. (Even the name of the company, Florigene, is a bit too sci-fi for my taste.)

Commenters on Inventor Spot’s story are remarking that the flowers look lilac, not blue, which is a good point. But all the nitpickers who want a darker shade or truer blue can still go with white roses dyed blue at places like Blue Rose Florist or they can wait until the Australian scientists unveil variations on the color, as they’re expected to do in years to come.

Regardless, next Valentine’s Day you’ll have the option to think blue, not red!

Sarah S.

—————————————————————————
Thinking of doing business in Japan? We can make it easy for you!
JPBizDirect, 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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March 6, 2008 at 9:01 am

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