Posts tagged ‘tokyo’

R U a Slave to Fashion?

Are you a slave to fashion? Do you walk in 4-inch heels? Lug around a hobo bag?

Do you wear plastic nails and make it clickety-clack on the keyboard all day to your coworkers’ ire? That’s what girls do all the time, not just in Japan but throughout the world. Though the difference in Japan is that women pay nearly $100 for a set of acrylics.

You’ll find a nail salon on the top floor of most fashionable department stores in Tokyo, staffed by cookie-cutter cute women. I had my nails done last year with my mom in Tokyo. I told her it was my treat after I noticed each menu item was no more than $40. Though once we sat down it was like we were paying by the minute. Basic nail care (filing, cuticle cutting) was $35. Hand treatment was $20. Nail color added another $15. Acrylics were $6 per finger. Grand total per person: $130. Luckily, mom paid for lunch.

Quite honestly, I don’t see the big deal in getting your nails done, especially if it costs a week’s worth of bento lunches. But in a society where even 3-year-olds are sporting the plastic, you can only guess how much they value visual presentation here.

Japanese acrylics are definitely the cutest I’ve seen. They come in all shapes, sizes and forms. Some come with extravagant bows. Some are airbrushed in different color gradients. Glitter is a big thing, as are jewels. Women love nail decorations so much they even glam up their cell phones with them.

Really now, is that necessary? @.@

Himawari

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August 19, 2008 at 8:24 am 2 comments

Hurray for H&M!

They’re just two letters of the alphabet, but in the fashion world ‘H’ and ‘M’ are capital go-getters.

The Swedish clothing retailer has over 1,500 stores across the globe and this fall it’s headed to Tokyo. But can H&M — the king of low-cost mass production — survive in a high-fashion mecca?

Most observers would say, “Heck no!” Japanese women are high-maintenance; they wouldn’t be caught dead in anything less than Louis Vuitton.

In reality, those girls are just a fraction of a bigger population. I know plenty who are just as comfortable in jeans and a hoodie. They shop at places like Uniqlo, where simple cotton tees don’t stretch over $20. And then there’s Takeshita Road in Harajuku where it’s all about trendy-cheap. African guys posing as Americans will entice you with knock-off Pumas. If business is slow, you can use your wilies to bargain them down — though flirting helps, too.

By far, my favorite places to shop are the too-embarrassed-to-show-my-face department stores. Remember Target before they pronounced it “tar-jay”? My parents bought all my clothes there. That and frozen TV dinners. Being a kid I despised that fact. But now that I’m older I can appreciate a good bargain. Apparently, so do Japanese consumers, because just beyond Tokyo central you’ll find plenty of second-tier department stores (Ito Yokado, Jusco, Daiei, to name a few) prospering from their red-tag sales. And they’re great because you can find a treasure trove of patent leather boots and T-shirts with badly-written English. They make great gifts for friends back home.

So is Tokyo ready for H&M? In this economy, yes. Girls love fashion. And girls, even Japanese ones, love a good deal. Sure, the stitching isn’t perfect, but it’s still cute and girls heart cute.

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 22, 2008 at 1:44 pm

Fashion Week in Tokyo Showcases a Vast Spectrum of Colors and Styles

It may look like spring outside your window but in the fashion world, it’s already winter… of 2009. For a glimpse into this fall’s haute couture and ready to wear designs, future trendsetters need look no further than Fashion Week, which hit New York City in early February and Los Angeles from March 7th to 14th. Then it was Tokyo’s turn. On March 10th through March 16th, Japan’s innovative fashion designers unveiled their latest creations. The clothes ranged from “Goth Lolita” street variations to concepts inspired by the video game “Final Fantasy” to Cyndi Lauper-esque 80’s style frocks. Apparently girls still just wanna have fun:

Mainichi Daily News reports that designers Keiichi Muramatsu and Noriko Seki went for a gargoyle theme. No, there were no hunchbacks strutting the runway; in this particular case, it meant “a sweater of gradated gray, made to appear like stone…accompanied by leg warmers and a stole made in the image of a stained glass window.”

Nature herself was also on display. (Sort of.) Ritsuko Shirahama incorporated scanned images of leaves into her patterns and Tamae Hirokawa’s SOMARTA brand evoked images of snow princesses, ice and forests.

As for men’s fashion? Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto opted to debut his plaid-lined suits in Paris earlier this year. (Does anyone else hear bagpipes?)

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 18, 2008 at 1:02 pm

Birds of Prey Ring in the New Year

On January 2nd and 3rd in Minato-ku, Tokyo, as part of an annual New Year’s tradition called Hoyojutsu Jitsuen, there was a cultural demonstration of falconry, in which beautiful, majestic goshawks show how they catch prey.

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In this video (from November), large birds swoop low to the ground from trainer to trainer. Check out the windmill action as one of the trainers (or falconers) flings a tempting treat sky high for the hawk to catch. The birds move so fast that for a brief, horrifying moment, I thought the guy was throwing the hawk into the air after violently swinging it in a circle.


A leisure sport with military roots, Japanese falconry (takagari) dates back to the 6th century, where it was viewed as a status symbol and reserved for emperors and other nobility. Besides being dangerous, it was also extremely expensive, since it’s a pretty pointless exercise unless you have a lot of land! Takagari reached its peak popularity in the Edo period (1603-1868), but even today there are still falconry schools that claim to teach traditional methods.

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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January 11, 2008 at 10:08 am

If Money Were No Object, Where Would You Go?

Bloomberg.com reports that Tokyo has slipped off the list of Top Ten Most Expensive Cities. It’s now only the 13th priciest place for expatriates to live.

Before you pack your bags, that doesn’t mean it’s cheap!

According to the popular 2008 Zagat Survey for Tokyo, the 10th Anniversary Edition, “The average cost to eat in Tokyo is now ¥8,114 (almost $75). Only two other cities, London ($86) and Paris ($80), are more expensive. Tokyo is far more expensive than New York City ($43), San Francisco ($40) and Los Angeles ($36).”

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My mouth waters just thinking about how delicious the food is in Tokyo, though. People who live there eat out 3.6 times per week. For me, it would be every night. And if I had an extra $1,500 lying around, I’d head straight to Aragawa in the Shinbashi District, and order some Kobe beef ($400 per plate), seasoned with pepper and mustard. Then I’d spend the night at the Four Seasons Hotel in Marunouchi. Each suite comes with wi-fi, a 42-inch plasma screen, a satellite dish, interactive television, twice-daily housekeeping, and 24-hour dining, all for the low, low price of $550 to $950 per night.

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What would you buy in Tokyo if you had unlimited cash? Perhaps a fantasy car?

 

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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December 20, 2007 at 9:05 am 2 comments

Fantasy Cars Debut at Tokyo Motor Show

This fall, The New York Times has been live-blogging the 40th Tokyo Motor Show, a seventeen-day extravaganza in Chiba City that’s open to the public. From super-cute, eco-friendly bubble cars to futuristic sports fantasies, the motor show has it all. (Ironically, visitors are asked to take the train to the show so their cars don’t clog up traffic!)

Building a lot of buzz is the BMW tii, a sleek, aerodynamic, light-weight sports car, and the 2008 Nissan GT-R, which has been in previews for several years, using concept drawings to make car fans drool.

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I was intrigued by pictures of Mitsuoka’s Orochi. Only 400 will be made over a four-year period, and they’ll only be available in Tokyo. The low-to-the ground, almost cartoon-looking fantasy car starts at 12 million yen ($104,00). Orochi means eight-headed serpent, and it’s true the car resembles an animal; check out its snarling snout:

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Toyota’s new plug-in hybrid car, the bizarrely-shaped, compact Hi-CT, could help car buyers alleviate guilt about global warming. It even has a removable rear trunk!

car3.jpg

 

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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November 15, 2007 at 9:40 am 1 comment


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