If you’ve been reading our blog, then you know that we posses a great affection for skateboarding, three members of our staff can be regularly found riding their boards when they’re off from work on the streets of Nagoya or on one of the many indoor skate parks.(yes, Nagoya, voted one of the most boring cities in Japan is really kind to its four wheeled residents, including an outdoor park right in the center of the city!).
A wave of excitement swept through our office when we received a press release announcing the production of four decks which truly capture the Japanese spirit.
Combining Japanese culture and skateboarding would mostly end up in a deck with the graphics of some famous Japanese manga, anime character, or just a Kanji Character and would produce nothing more than a bored yawn from our skaters…but this time they truly took notice.
Have a look;
What you’re seeing, are four high quality SilverFox Canadian maple 7-ply decks with a supreme finish of Urushi lacquer! Not just any lacquer, but Yamanaka lacquer which dates back to the Azuchi Momoyama period, which not only sounds like a very long time ago, it actually is.
They come in four versions:
I can hear you thinking(I developed that skill after years of diligent zen training at my local temple), “won’t that be too fragile?”. Nope, the lacquer layer actually increases the durability and resilience of the board.
True though, as any skater knows, your board will get damaged and eventually end up in the dust bin or on your wall, it just takes longer with these boards and until that time you’ll have the sickest board in the park. Priced at $130,- they aren’t that more expensive than any other deck….well maybe double as expensive , but they last twice as long, it’s simple math!
We ordered all four, but I won’t let my skate colleagues have them, they go on the wall until each of them reaches their yearly quote (which is set impossibly high) a better stimulus just doesn’t exist!
If your interested check out their site, and drop us a mail if you’re interested!
Serge Roso JWS
Ps. Our website will be down on Tuesday the 11th of April for renewal.
Clever alterations make this a better choice than anything hanging in your boyfriend’s closet.
Japanese and Western fashion preferences don’t always perfectly align with one another. However, there is some overlap in tastes, and you’ll find plenty of people in both regions who think there’s a special mix of playfulness and cuteness in a woman slipping on an oversized man’s shirt and wearing it like a dress.
But thanks to Japanese designer Gomi Hayakawa and fashion label Double Chaca, there’s no need to go raiding a guy’s closet to pull off the look. Hayakawa, who’s also contributed designs for small-bust lingerie brand Feast, has recently unveiled her latest creation. Called the “Hubby One-Piece,” the dress keeps several visual cues from a man’s dress shirt, but makes a few key adjustments to make it a viable garment to wear out and about.
The dress if form-fitting in the torso and down to the small of the back, but loose in the sleeves and near the hemline, providing a slimming and relaxed look. Meanwhile, hidden snaps keep the openings along the front of the dress securely closed, so as not to let the wearer’s skin peek out between the gaps in the buttons.
The other half of Hayakawa’s spring lineup for Double Chaca is the Little Tail One-Piece. The fishtail design may not be as unique as that of the Hubby One-Piece, but it still makes for a breezy, feminine look that’s versatile enough to be paired with various styles worn underneath the sleeveless dress.
Both dresses are available in the two colors seen here, with the Hubby One-Piece priced at 23,000 yen (US$204) and the Little Tail at 21,000 yen. Orders can be made online through retailer Lavi Shop beginning on the evening of March 13, and for those who can’t wait that long, both dresses will also be offered for sale at the pop-up Lavi Shop at Tokyo’s Laforet Harajuku between March 7 and 16.
Interested? Drop us a mail and we’ll order one for you.
Who doesn’t love the scent of chocolate, right? Well you can now indulge in that sweet smell to your heart’s content with this unique product from Japanese incense maker Koukando. The Osaka-based company that has been creating incense-related products for over 130 years will be offering their new “The Memories of Scent: Chocolate (jumble pack)” incense starting February 1, just in time for Valentine’s Day, when everything turns chocolate-themed in Japan.
This is actually the third in their line of “Express your thoughts with scents of precious memories” incense products, of which previous items included coffee and mikan (mandarin orange). According to Koukando the concept behind this product series is the sharing of fond everyday memories, as the incense in this line is designed as offerings for ancestors as opposed to personal recreational use. They took in customers’ opinions on over 50 different scents before deciding on chocolate as a smell that people associate with pleasant memories and something that you would give to loved ones. Specifically, the product’s scent is supposed to be that of sweet milk chocolate.
▼ The packaging definitely makes it look like a box of chocolates instead of incense.
The incense will be available next month at a price of 850 yen (US$7.42) per box at mass retailers, Buddhism and incense-related shops, and online as well. We have to admit, the smell of chocolate does seem to be soothing (or is that just for this writer?) and if you want to immerse yourself in that sweet scent, this incense might be the healthiest way to do so.
My wife will use it for a special “valentine” yoga class…..now all I have to do is find some chocolate inspired yoga music….
The title might have you left scratching your head, but no worries I left the capital letters of Future and Noise out on purpose to get your attention, cheeky eh? Future Noise is the theme of this collaboration and not some preserved noise to be opened in the future (well some folks would say that a wrapped CD would fulfill that description too, but that’s so imaginationless).
Chokomoon Yuka is a gifted Harajuku illustrator who has lend her pop art illustrations to several projects and products like Dr.Martens, the pop group Exile, Newneu skateboard products, Disney etc etc.
When you say Reebok, you say Instapump, the super light and oh so comfy kicks. The model used by Chocomoo is the Fury CM.
Next up is a jacket in black (hint:All the products are black)
For ￥10,789 you can get yourself this backpack in simple black, but with enough small details (mmm is there such a thing as BIG details?) to make it instantly recognizable as something extra ordinary.
If you try to avoid the “ninja”look you should get the T-shirt in….white, just leave your jacket casually unzipped and folks can catch a glimpse of the awesome printed shirt underneath.
Finally to top it off there’s a cap.
To see how the whole set looks like in action, you’ll have to check out this video of Kandytown!
If you want to find more Chocomoo products then by all means check out her site COBRAMOON
Remember we are the number one proxy shopper in Japan, the reason why we are the best is because we personally guide and advise you from beginning to end, no question is left unanswered and we always go the extra mile for you.
How many of the top 20 most popular Japanese castles (according to TripAdvisor) have you been to?
TripAdvisor has revealed its top 20 best Japanese castles for 2016 based on commentary from domestic travellers – can you guess which castle is number one?
▼ Do you know what castle this is?
The answer is…Himeji Castle, meaning last year’s number three spot has taken the gold medal this year. Situated in Hyogo Prefecture, Himeji Castle comprises of 83 buildings and is also known as the “White Heron Castle” as its bright white exterior is said to resemble a heron taking flight. Himeji Castle was one of Japan’s first UNESCO world heritage sites in 1993. Restoration work was recently carried out on the castle and it was reopened on March 27, 2015.
Here are some comments from those who visited Himeji Castle:
“No matter how many times I visit, it takes my breath away, it’s a beautiful, gorgeous castle.” “Naturally this is a national treasure, the expansiveness of white is overwhelming.”
▼ Castle number 2: Matsumoto Castle
Maintaining second place for the second year running is Matsumoto Castle in Nagano Prefecture, which is surrounded by a large moat and stunning mountain ranges. In contrast to Himeji Castle, which is built on a hill, Matsumoto Castle was built on flat land in the late sixteenth century. Matsumoto Castle is also known as the “Crow Castle” thanks to its black color. The castle’s keep still has its original wooden interiors and outside stonework.
Here are some comments from those who visited Matsumoto Castle:
“Out of the 100 famous Japanese castles, I’ve seen about 80; this castle looks just like a postcard with its mountainous backdrop.” “You can see the castle’s reflection in the moat water, giving you a different perspective other than looking just at the castle.”
▼ Castle number 3: Kumamoto Castle
Last year’s number one has come in at number three this year: Kumamoto Castle in Kumamoto Prefecture, Kyushu. Kumamoto Castle is another hilltop castle, originally built in 1467 and reconstructed in 1960. This castle unfortunately suffered moderate damage from the large Kumamoto earthquake earlier this year.
Here is what one person said about their visit to Kumamoto Castle:
“I’ve been to many castles, but there are very few that are better than this.”
▼ Castle number 4: Inuyama Castle (behind the castle’s mascot Wanmaru-kun)
Rising two spots from last year into number four is Inuyama Castle in Aichi Prefecture. Inuyama Castle is also perched on top of a hill and overlooks Kiso River, which serves as the border between Aichi and Gifu prefectures. Inuyama Castle is one of only 12 surviving castles that were built before the Edo period. Inuyama literally means “dog mountain”, which made the castle’s choice of mascot that little bit easier.
Here are some comments from those who visited Inuyama Castle:
“Compared to other castles, this hasn’t been modernized; it’s a small but nice castle.” “I think beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it is also different for different countries, but this is a beautiful castle that gives the feeling of simplicity and security.”
▼ Castle number 5: Nijo Castle
Rounding off the top 5 is Nijo Castle in Kyoto. Nijo Castle is on a huge block of flat land spanning 275,000 square meters. This castle is one of the seventeen “historic monuments of ancient Kyoto” chosen by UNESCO as a heritage site. Nijo Castle was constructed upon the orders of shogunate Tokugawa Ieyasu and completed in 1626.
Here are some comments from those who visited Nijo Castle:
“This castle influenced history.” “The interior is amazing, I could feel that this castle had a different purpose to all of the other castles I’ve seen.”
The top 20 list of the best castles in Japan according to TripAdvisor is presented below:
Chic canvas carriers let you cut a playfully stylish figure.
Japan’s just about to enter its rainy season, and day after day of gray skies can leave some people feeling pretty blue. So if you need a way to keep your spirits up during such devitalizing times, consider reminding yourself of the mental fortitude of Japan’s warrior class with a bit of samurai-style fashion.
With some chance of rain in Japan on just about any given day over the next few weeks, if you’re stepping out you’ll want to take an umbrella with you. But should the weather hold, or before you head indoors at your destination, you can slide your umbrella into one of these cool carrier bags decorated with an illustrated samurai sword.
The latest product from historical-themed design company Sengoku, the bags are made from canvas produced in Okayama Prefecture’s Kurashiki City, a town famous for its high-quality textiles, preserved buildings and canal district.
Koncent the site which gave us the earplug dachhunds has a huge variety of common products to which young and veteran Japanese product designers have left their own twist. Some products increase in usability while others just got a visual “upgrade”, but in all case sthere’s a clear improvement over the original products, and you know that’s sometimes all we need..evolution over revolution.
Soil brings us the “COASTER Light“, which are, well, coasters.These coasters however are made out of diatomaceous earth, and paper fiber (Diatomaceous earth is a naturally-formed sedimentary mineral rock) and while diatomaceous earth is often associated with health boosting powers such as the mineral Silica'(diatomaceous earth is composed of approximately 85% silica.), a mineral which is required by tendons, cartilage, blood vessels, and bones. Anyways we don’t recommend you to eat these coasters, they’re far too pretty and pricey for that. What these coasters do, besides looking good, is absorbing liquids on the bottom of your glass and eventually dry up leaving no mark on the coaster.
And if you’re a giant, I mean a GIANT then they have bath mats, which normal people use as bathmats, but YOU can use as huge coaster.
Ever fancied a dwarf holding your cup? Well your dreams might come true with Kobito(dwarf) cup stands, they can hold your cup in three different positions and well..that’s all, but that doesn’t make them any less desirable.
Now imagine, you had a hard long day, you went from one department store to another, one shop, two shops, three shops, you lost count, you didn’t even have time for a bite, I mean a big sale like this happens only once, maybe twice sometimes three times a year…you HAVE to shop until you drop. You lost your male partner at the second shop and didn’t look back..he’ll be there when you get home…that lovely heavily discounted shirt won’t, if you don’t get it now!
Finally you get home and kick of those fabulous Jimmy Choo boots, your feet are killing you, Jimmy makes great shoes..for people with perfect feet that is…cat walk models don’t have bunions.. You’re not going to wear those boots for a while, just looking at them make you cringe, but they are pieces of art and therefore they have to be treated like that, so you put these lovely bootkeepers from Sumi Kusa Hana in them. Made out of special non-woven fabrics and filled with particulate charcoal, these bootkeepers will protect your precious boots against humidity and moisture from outside and inside and will keep the leather supple and mold free.They will of course also eliminate any odor keeping your house smelling sweat free.
particulate charcoal is used in the leg part.
One piece of molded charcoal is used for the foot
How many times haven’t you wished that you had a magnifying glass handy, maybe to read the fine print on a contract, to remove a tiny splinter from your finger or to go all Sherlock Holmes and investigate a crime. Unfortunately though most magnifying glasses aren’t that portable and the ones that are lack any sense of design…meaning that they’ll end up in the bottom of your bag, never to be found again.
44 year old designer Takeshiakira Baba came up with the Yuki-megane (snow glasses), for the lens he knocked on Nikon’s door and they came up with a lens so clear that you can see the individual snow crystals when you look at snow through these glasses! You can use these glasses with your mobile phone’s camera and use its 8.3 magnifying power to take some wonderful micro snaps.
Made out of aluminum, this lovely snowman shaped magnifying will look good as a pendant or key holder too.
Price: 2,160 yen
This nostalgic ringing (kling kling klong klong)will sound every time the door opens. Perfect for a home, office or shop that wants to welcome visitors with a warm, gentle clanging that conjures up images of old village life, the Tama Door Chime also looks pretty neat too.
Here’s a sample of the sound:
It can be attached to a door so it jingles when it moves, which then creates the charming metal ringing sound. Made using maple wood from Hokkaido and aluminum from Toyama, the cute bulb-like shape has both a natural feel and a pop color look to it. Attach it to a metal door using the wall magnet included with the set.
price: 4,644 yen
Finally here is a quick list of some other lovely products:
Birdie Paper knife/letter opener
One of my pet peeve is that when I make my cup noodles, I never really don’t know how long I have to wait till they’re ready…well this is no longer a problem after I ordered these Cupmen!
1-You pour hot water in your noodles.
2-You place a cupmen on the top, closing the lid.
3-When his arms turn white, you’re ready to devour your hot noodles!
A pin which doesn’t leave a mark on your wall after you remove them? Make way for the Ninjapin!
The ITA (which is Japanese for cutting board) cutting board is amazing due to its simplicity yet extra ordinary usefulness .
It’s a cutting board consisting out of two parts, a black raisin (polyethylene) board which lies within a wooden board. When you cut meat, the meat juices will drip into the wooden part, leaving your kitchen/dining table spotless. You can also separate the two and use them as separate boards.
Check out this site and you’ll find many more evolutionary products like the ones described above..happy shopping!