These amazing Furoshiki Shoes from Vibram are designed to literally wrap around your feet!

Before we had bags in Japan, we used furoshiki — elegant cloths that come in various colors and decorative patterns that can be used to wrap and carry various items. While you don’t really see them in daily use now, furoshiki are quite useful in their own way, as they can be folded and tied in different ways and be used to wrap items of varying shapes and sizes, in addition to being eco-friendly.

But it turns out that the traditional cloths have recently served as the inspiration for a completely new and unexpected product — Furoshiki Shoes that wrap around your feet!

Created by Japanese designer Masaya Hashimoto, the Furoshiki Shoes were released earlier this year from Italian footwear company Vibram, known for their FiveFingers line of shoes that have a “barefoot” look and feel. As the name suggests, the Furoshiki Shoes are designed to be wrapped around the feet, much like you would wrap an item with a furoshiki cloth.

This is an example of what a furoshiki looks like:

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▼ The Furoshiki Shoes can be worn in three simple steps, as demonstrated in these pictures:

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As you can see, the Furoshiki Shoes have a highly unique design, with no shoelaces but a velcro patch at the heel to keep your feet snuggly wrapped up, regardless of your foot type and shape. Vibram is calling it the first ever “wrapping sole“.

▼ The shoes come in a variety of colors, making them a fashion statement as well

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▼ And here’s Vibram’s promotional video of the shoes:

The Furoshiki Shoes are available in Japan from Vibram’s Japanese online shopping site for 17,064 yen (US$140).

Vibram will also be setting up a temporary pop-up store from August 26-30 at the Snack Cafe Kaho in Harajuku, if you’re going to be in the Tokyo area, if not don’t fret…we are!

Well, we think the shoes certainly look light, and based on their design, they definitely don’t seem like they’ll pinch either. In this case, it appears modern footwear technology combined extremely well with a bit of Japanese tradition. Plus, the shoes look like a lot of fun, which in our opinion counts for a great deal. Just because you want comfortable shoes, you shouldn’t have to give up adding a bit of color and style to your footwear after all, right?

Source: Furoshiki Shoes website via Japaaan Magazine
Photos: Furoshiki Shoes website

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Back to work…..part one

All good things come to an end, and yeah my holiday was such a good one, that I feel like I’ve never left….

Since I was too busy to visit my home country, the Netherlands, I decided to the next best thing: visit Nagasaki. For the folks unknown with history of Nagasaki before 1945; Nagasaki was the only trading spot where foreigners were allowed to deal with the Japanese.  Not on the mainland though, there was a small island set up were the “gaikokujin” could live and set up shop. The Dutch were among the first who had the privilege to live and work there.

Still now the Dutch/ Portuguese and British influences linger in the busy city of Nagasaki. Nowhere in japan can you find as many churches  as here for example

07-IMG_8626To say that Nagasaki is a beautiful city would be a blatant lie, no Nagasaki doesn’t have the serene beauty of Kyoto, and it doesn’t have the neon “in your face” light show of Tokyo, but when you go up the hills surrounding Nagasaki and look down your heart will skip a beat…especially at night…just the city as a whole is just not that attractive.

Which doesn’t mean that Nagasaki should only be observed from far…far from that (you see what I did there..) it has some really nice spots which makes this city worth putting on your list.

02-IMG_8563The food in Nagasaki is absolutely awsome, if you have the chance you should try the kakuninman, a piece of boiled pork inside a steamed bun…..I’m drooling writing this..

or the famous chanpon noodles….

Just this dish makes it worth coming to Nagasaki!

The missus insisted we that we also visit mount Unzen, the volcano responsible for the deadliest outburst in Japan…but what I’ve learned over the years is that her “kudasai” (please) doesn’t really have the same meaning as my kudasai. So up we went.

Once you leave the city behind you’re met by a beautiful view of mountains, sea sides and forests…this is the Japan of the new years’ cards, it’s absolutely beautiful, and don’t worry if you’re scared of driving in a foreign country with signs in Kanji…google navigation gets you everywhere!

The dolphins were waiting for us when we arrived in Unzen, good chaps they were indeed.

11-IMG_8793Truth to be told, we went on a dolphin viewing trip, which was totally worth it, more than 300 dolphins gathered around our boat and I’m sure one winked at me!

Than the rain of the upcoming typhoon started to hose down on us so we moved to our hotel had a delicious meal a great bath (hot spring) .

Next up: Sasebo! (part 2)

JWS is going to Nagasaki!

After months of hard work, serving loads of satisfied customers, we are finally taking a well deserved break.

Most of our staff will spend the holiday at home of visit their “jikka” or hometown to visit and pray at the graves of they ancestors. After all it’s Obon holiday, a time when the spirits return home for a short visit.

I will take my family to Kyushu island (we live on Honshu, the “main” island) and after 24 years of thinking of going, finally visit Nagasaki and observe all its beauty!


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For the second year in a row, the Japanese representative for the Miss Universe competition hails from Nagasaki, with last year’s crown holder being Keiko Tsuji. As cool as that is, the real story of the year is that the 2015 representative, Ariana Miyamoto, is half Japanese.

 


Mmm maybe not the kind of beauty the missus has in mind, I think her preferences are more like this…

I guess I better follow my wife’s lead on this….or should I?

Besides visiting Nagasaki’s downtown we will also drive (rental car) to mount Unzen, a volcano which most recently active from 1990 to 1995  and a large eruption in 1991 generated a pyroclastic flow that killed 43 people, including three volcanologists. In 1792, the collapse of one of its several lava domes triggered a mega tsunami that killed about 15,000 people in Japan’s worst-ever volcanic-related disaster….

That’s my wife’s idea of an active vacation…running for your life while being chased by molten lava and suffocating ash..

I had this in mind..

結の浜マリンパーク
I see myself rolling on the beach, drinking a cold beer after cold beer working on my biceps.

Being a Dutchman, of course visiting Nagasaki has some special meaning, the first foreigners who were allowed to trade with the Japanese were the Dutch. They weren’t allowed to set foot on mainland, instead they were placed on a small island called Dejima.

The Dutch not only introduced spices and other products, they also brought the German doctor Siebold who introduced western medicine.

The Dutch influences still linger in Nagasaki, a bridge

a manhole

fashion

a randosel (ランドセル)derived from the Dutch word ransel. This a bag used by elementary school students.

And.. an attraction park:

Nagasaki Huis ten Bosch

Yes it’s Holland….but then smalller, with fewer cows, no coffee shops and shorter folks. It’s basically how MY perfect Holland would be like…(since I’m kinda short, not a big fan of cows and don’t smoke pot), now if my family and friends would be so kind to move from the lowlands to here, then it would be really perfect!

Our one week holiday doesn’t mean that japanwebshopping is completely closed, all ongoing transactions will be handled by a part time employee who has no family, friends and life, and request will still be accepted. The only part of the business which is down for the week is the “shop on on location” part, (physical shopping that is).

I will update this blog while I’m in Nagasaki during my 2 hour breakfast( I love buffet breakfasts)

We wish you all a happy summer holiday!

Nagasaki chanpon ramen….it’s so good!

Figure sellers leave you high and dry…

If you’re a true  anime or manga fan, than you surely know about the often life-like figures  created after your favorite character for sale on the net.

Although often fabricated in China, the design and the final check happens in good ol’ anime obsessed Japan. Some are true pieces of art and the prices of these figures can go up into the hundred thousands of yen, but whether you’re in the “big head” variety,

ねんどろいど 衛宮士郎 (フィギュア)
Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works
Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works


or the “realistic” kind

HATSUNE MIKU VARIANT PLAY ARTS改 DESIGNED BY TETSUYA NOMURA 初音ミク (フィギュア) 商品画像3
hatsune miku variant play arts


The cute sexy fully busted  “idol” kind

ヘスティア (フィギュア)
hestia

The highly erotic NSFW kind…

[閉じる] 純愛果実 木谷椎 カバーガール 夏色少女 まなつちゃん (フィギュア) 商品画像1
manatsu chan
(in case you were wondering, those are ice cream sticks in her hands..)


Maybe you’re into game characters like…

[閉じる] Monster Hunter X(Cross) PLAY ARTS改 ディアボロス装備(レイジシリーズ) (フィギュア) 商品画像4
Monster hunter

Cartoon figures like..

BATMAN: ARKHAM KNIGHT PLAY ARTS改 ロビン (フィギュア) 商品画像1
Robin (batman; Arkham knight)

and big scale 1/3 big figures/dolls,

[閉じる] 『劇場版 魔法少女まどか☆マギカ [新編] 叛逆の物語』 悪魔ほむら (ドール) 商品画像3
Movie magical girl Madoka (50cm)

They are all produced in limited editions and require pre-ordering. Some shops online will order these for you and sell these with a significant price increase or they cut you out of the point system. You might not think much about points until you can buy a figure for free, than you realize what you’ve been missing.

The main sellers in Japan are hobbysearch    Bandai premium    cjmart

These three sites all have in common that they don’t ship abroad and that they let your earn points.

Our policy on pre-orders is that if payment is required will ask you to pay for this, however your payment won’t be removed from our paypal account until the whole order is completed.

If due to circumstances the product won’t or can’t be produced, then we will reimburse you the complete amount minus nothing.

Shopping has never been easier!

Two families brawl in a Kobe home center over diapers, likely rivals in resales to China

After a long, tiring week at work, most people don’t feel like jumping out of bed to be somewhere by 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning. The prospect usually doesn’t get any sweeter if the reason for dragging themselves out from under the sheets is as mundane as going shopping for diapers with their spouse and mother-in-law.

Nonetheless, that what not one, but two families living in Hyogo Prefecture did last weekend. Still, the trip wasn’t as dull as it could have been. As a matter of fact, if anything there was too much excitement, as the two families ended up getting into a seven-person brawl, since they appear to be rival factions competing for riches in the wild speculative trade sector of reselling Japanese diapers in China.

At roughly 8:20 in the morning on Saturday, August 8, the Tarumi police precinct in Kobe received an emergency call from a nearby home center. The employee who’d made the call reported that a fight had broken out in the store, and that some of those involved had been injured.

When officers arrived on the scene, they discovered that seven combatants had been involved in the melee. On one side were a Chinese married couple in their 30s, who had come from their home in nearby Akashi City with their son, whose age was listed as between 10 and 19, and the wife’s mother, who is in her 50s. Their opponents had been a married couple in their 30s living in Kobe, the husband a Japanese national and the wife Chinese, and the wife’s 50-something mother.

It seems that both groups had come looking for Merries brand infant diapers, despite the fact that even if any of them do have issues with incontinence, they’d need larger sizes than what are available in the Merries line. As such, it seems safe to conclude that they’re suppliers in the lucrative Chinese resale market for made-in-Japan Merries, despite the company also producing and selling its products directly in China.

Both parties timed their arrivals to coincide with the store’s opening at 8 a.m., but unfortunately for them the home center was sold out of the booty-covering booty they were searching for. The two families did find each other, though, and it seems this wasn’t their first encounter, as they’d crossed paths and squabbled before while on a bulk-shopping excursion.

Even with no Merries to compete over that day, the two families began to argue, which eventually turned to grappling and blows being exchanged, with a number of the participants shedding blood and later receiving treatment at the hospital for “minor injuries to the head and shoulders,” because apparently punching someone in the stomach is against the Diaper Trader Code.

▼ Ironically, Merries is currently running a sales promotion in Japan called the “Smile and Peace Campaign.”

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When asked by the police for the exact circumstances that led to the fight, the family from Akashi was unable to give a response in Japanese. The Japanese-born husband from Kobe of course had no such language barrier to contend with, but refused to make a statement. Since neither party filed a damage claim or made an official complaint, none of the seven individuals who had been involved in the disturbance were detained, although the police plan to interview both families again in the near future.

Of course we from JWS, will head out to any Home center, supermarket or baby specialty store, our staff is well trained in the arts of judo, aikido and baby wrestling so we will surely emerge as victors out of any possible brawl. Further we don’t increase the actual price of the diapers, we sell it to you for the price we bought it for (yes that includes a copy of the receipt) plus a meager 10% commission.

Source: Sanspo via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Kao
Insert image: Kao

A Japanese finishing touch for your living space.

You created your ideal living space, well that is as much as you could afford it of course. You chose some lovely furniture, got this beautiful hard wooden flooring, designer curtains, a LG EG9600  flat screen on the wall, a Bang and Olufsen stereo etc etc….but like many folks you forgot to put the dot on the i (it’s a Dutch expression), opening your kitchen drawers shows stacks of IKEA cutlery, your bowls and cups are a collection of presents and hand outs, your coasters and place-mats an embarrassing mix of souvenirs and flea market articles…..

If you recognize yourself, then it’s time to undertake some action….life is really about the details. Beauty is in the details and first impressions are created by the details caught by the eye. Sure you can throw lots of dough and get yourself an expensive WEDGWOOD & Bentley tableware set, but that tells more about your salary than your taste.

A lovely teak  kakoi coaster set▼

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Let us introduce some fine handmade, original and characterful tableware and accessories from Japan, guaranteed to last a long time and with a simple but subtle design.

These products never tread the line between kitsch and art, they are simply art, they don’t have an “in your face” design, no each article breathes the philosophy of zen….unbalanced, relaxing, and peaceful, believe us when we say that you never get tired of these.

BUNACO(ブナコ)  ボウル

Bunaco wooden bowls are made by winding a thin sliced tape-like natural beech wood around a center, this unique technique creates that groove like pattern of a record. It is absolutely gorgeous.

Bunako created

Bunako created

Taro-cobo▼

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taro-cobo(タロウ工房)の作家(竹之内太郎)の器(陶器)blue(ブルー)シリーズ、ポットtaro-cobo vessel of the writer (Taro Takenouchi) of (Taro workshop) (pottery) blue (Blue) Series

Crinkle mug by Makoto Komatsu▼

セラミックジャパン ニュークリンクルマグ

Potmat by kakoi▼

カコイプロダクツの天然木のクリップボード

カコイプロダクツの天然木のクリップボードカコイプロダクツの天然木のクリップボード化粧箱

Sori Yanagi▼

Most of these products are not expensive and fairly light (shipping)

japanese tableware and accessories

Sailor Moon and her pals are ready for tea time with these cool cup-hugging figures

While each member of the core cast of Sailor Moon has her own personality, the one descriptor that works across the board for the Sailor Senshi is “helpful.” Even protagonist Usagi, for all of her lack of willpower regarding the temptations of junk food and video games, is always ready to lend a hand to those in need when the chips are down.

Case in point: Not only will the hit anime’s magical girls protect your town from interdimensional monsters on a weekly basis, they’ll even keep you company during your coffee break, in the form of these cheerful Sailor Moon figures that’ll cling to the edge of your cup as you sip your beverage.

This year’s Summer Wonder Festival just wrapped up last weekend, and among the items exhibited at the model and figure expo were these three Sailor Moon cup companions. While many of the creations shown at Wonder Festival are one-offs or for display purposes only, now you can order these super-deformed Sailor Senshi through Bandai’s Premium Bandai website.

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Part of the Ocha Tomo Series, the set features the first three members of the series’ solar system’s worth of heroines, Sailors Moon, Mercury, and Mars.

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▼ Sadly, the Sailor Mars figure isn’t capable of actually producing flames to keep your hot beverages warm.

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Aside from their endearing winks, the figures’ high-quality pearl paint goes a long way in justifying their more-expensive-than-gachapon price tag. The set of three is listed at 1,620 yen (US$13), and can be ordered here through the Premium Bandai website. The bundle pack will also be offered at toy retailer Kiddy Land’s branches in Tokyo’s Harajuku and Osaka’s Umeda for those who prefer the instant gratification of buying anime merchandise and/or complaining about how the set doesn’t include Sailor Jupiter face-to-face.

Source images: Premium Bandai