Nail art is big in Japan.
So is Purikura, the “print club” photo booths where you can take inventive shots with your friends.
Combine the two and you should have a recipe for success. At least, that’s what Sega (who originally developed Purikura) is hoping with the Nail Puri (Nail Sticker Print), opening in Ikebukuro March 27th-29th.
Girls (or guys) can go to the booth to customize their nail design from over 1,500 designs. As far as we can tell, there is no charge or fee to try the prototype machine.
There’s even a free smartphone app so you can customize your choice of design using your own patterns, photos and text. Then you take the final data to the nail art printer and get your nails “printed” the way you want them.
Strictly speaking, the booth only prints stickers, which you then put on your nails, rather than genuinely painting onto them. Check out the official Twitter account for examples of nail art stickers you can make.
But perhaps printing directly onto your nails is the next step? We all remember that awesome scene from the original Total Recall movie where the woman paints her nails electronically in less than a second? Well, we’re not far off that now. After all, Japan has had “digital mirror” tryvertizing technology for years.
The dream futuristic nail art maker would be kind of like a 3D printer meets Purikura.
You can find the Nail Puri booth at Sega GiGO game center in Ikebukuro on the sixth and seven floors. If it’s a hit, no doubt we can expect to see more of the technology soon.
How do you promote cycle racing, a sport that rarely gets much of a look-in from the baseball-obsessed media?
Easy. You sex things up and push cute girls to the forefront.
Female Keirin was introduced in 2012 and has done a lot to raise the profile of the sport, which has its roots in postwar Japan looking to find a way to offer legal gambling to men.
Currently the Keio Line, which offers direct transport to the Keiokaku Velodome, is decorated with posters of the smiling female cyclists, especially at the Shinjuku terminus.
We love the copy, which can be loosely translated: “It’s not faces; it’s big thighs.”
It might be too much to suggest that the Keirin regulating body is cultivating a fetish for muscular legs — do we spot an AKB48-Keirin tie-up some day? — but you get the idea… Sexist, perhaps, but better than letting the sport die.
This is part of a much longer campaign using the Keirin Girls to advertise the sport.
The plaza outside Shimbashi Station is home to La Pista Shimbashi (a venue in central Tokyo where you watch the races on a TV screen and bet), and we can recall the building a couple of years ago being dominated by a huge poster of popular female cyclist Maimi Tanaka showing off her shapely legs.
Typically the Shimbashi venue is associated with chain-smoking older men, so putting a female face on the sport does a lot to make it more welcoming to outsiders. To many, Keirin means cigarette smoke, drunk men, and gambling. The Girl’s Keirin campaign has dedicated TV commercials and promotions to showing a cleaner, funner side to the sport. (Actually, back in 2013 TokyoByBike made a very interesting suggestion: promote Keirin to the growing number of hipsters in Tokyo and their love for trendy bikes.)
The gambling part is accurate enough. Keirin is one of the few ways to bet legally on sports in Japan. Betters can place money on a trifecta (parimutuel) bet. The other three kouei kyougi sports where gambling is permitted are: horse racing, powerboat racing, and asphalt speedway motorcycle racing. Otherwise, your only choice is to buy a lottery ticket. No betting is allowed for baseball, soccer, sumo or the other major sports.
Japanese horse racing (Keiba) has also campaigned skilfully in recent years to make it more friendly to young and female audiences.
Ten types of stylish wearable smart accessories designed by current female college students have been unveiled. The designs are the results of a project run in partnership between Recruit Technologies’ Advanced Technology Lab and Rikejo, a service for supporting “scientific girls” by the publisher Kodansha.
The designs were themed around making female-friendly lifestyle gadgets, to include such functions as morning wake-up alarms, schedule reminders, friend notifications, compasses, timers, last train alerts, and so on.
At first glance, these designs may look more fashionable than overtly technological; on the surface just bracelets, necklaces, hair bands and more. But they are all meant to integrate certain wearable devices functions.
The project saw the prototypes created within six months, with the designers hailing from a range of colleges such as Tokyo Woman’s Christian University, Hosei University and Aoyama Gakuin University.
The local obsession with females in science took a hit with the Haruko Obokata stem cell scandal last year but that still hasn’t stopped institutions trying to promote women in lab coats who can inject some glamor into the sterile world of academia. Earlier this year, for example, the University of Tokyo released an encyclopedia of beautiful female students. Obokata was the pinnacle of a brief flurry of interest in Rikejo — “scientist women” — though there is a precedent. A few years there was a similar trend for so-called Reki-jo, female history buffs.
[Image via FashionSnap.com]
Nike is opening a women-only sports space in Shibuya for the spring.
Opening March 3rd at a location nine minutes’ walk from Shibuya Station, Nike Women’s Studio features a basement training studio and other training programs across two floors.
The first floor will be a store, while the basement training studio is for Nike Training Club members and with running, dance, yoga and other “sports experiences” on offer for visitors.
To promote the opening, Nike has recruited 20 famous women to operate its Nike Women Twitter account. The women include figure skater Miki Ando, dancer Koharu Sugawara, and fashion model Jessica Michibata. The selection deliberately seems to include more women from the world of fashion than sport, indicating that Nike is trying to push the brand as a lifestyle choice, rather than just as orthodox sports. It will be interesting to see how this approach evolves as we head towards the 2020 Olympics.
It will be open only until May 31st, 11:00-20:00. The address is 1-15-8 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo.
This isn’t the first pop-up Nike store by any means. Previous ventures include The Pivot Point, a special Nike Air Force 1 running shoes showcase store that was also in the Jinnan area.
Shiseido has rolled out a new ad campaign featuring 50 selfies by Lady Gaga. Each selfie will be published in a different newspaper over two days this month: 46 were featured in national and regional newspapers on January 1st, and a further four will appear in four final newspapers on January 5th.
While it’s common to use western stars for ad campaigns (a current, slightly notorious Toyota TV ad campaign has Hugh Jackman), a “personal” campaign like this stands out. Gaga has taken the selfies exclusively for Shiseido to show off their make-up in use in the icon’s life.
Shiseido is famed for its cosmetics that keep Japanese women’s skin looking young and beautiful, though it almost always uses Japanese models (of all ages). So a series of selfie with a western music superstar is striking, not least because it makes a stark contrast to the Photoshopped images of Japanese actresses Shiseido usually employs, with their perfect skin and smiles.
Here the emphasis is on “Shiseido with you”, the makeup brand supporting women who want to create their own style — something Gaga has certainly done. Shiseido has also created a new “Vision 2020″ strategy looking ahead to the Tokyo Olympics, which will see the brand diversify and personalize.
Gaga herself tweeted: “I’m so excited to start a makeup revolution in Japan! The 50 Selfies celebrate Haus of Gaga creations & the future of the face w/ @Shiseido!”
For Gaga fans, the Japan-only selfies will all also be available online by January 13th on Shiseido’s marketing website. If you can’t wait that long, fans have been taking photos of the newspaper ads and uploading them.
Karaoke is an ever-evolving social activity. In recent years we’ve seen karaoke-for-one services springing up, karaoke rooms transform into a fashion pop-up shop, and even a karaoke-convenience store business model. Cosplay is also regularly available at karaoke rooms, as well as musical instruments.
Now Humming Girls Room with JOYSOUND will be opening at JOYSOUND Shinagawa for two days only, January 17th-18th.
So-called women-only Joshi-kai (“girls’ meet-ups”) have become popular at restaurants and other places, invariably involving an activity combined with a group meal. This time it’s photography and luxury cosplay, since in the karaoke room you can dress us in a wedding dress and pretend you are getting married.
The service costs ¥5,000 per person, with which you get all-you-can-drink, food and special desserts, as well as portraits taken of you and your friends. JOYSOUND is offering the service for groups of 3-8 participants. No proof of actual marriage is required, though it could also serve as a really cheap wedding party.
UNIQLO spin-off GU recently held a kabe-don event at its Ginza branch as a promo for a holiday season sale.
Does the idea of having a hot guy leaning up against you inside a clothes store, slapping his hand against the wall to trap you in his intimate embrace, inspire you to purchase some fast fashion?
Well, on December 5th GU had a pair of attractive Japanese guys offering just this “service” at its Ginza store.
All you had to do was head to the GU outlet in Ginza, pick one of the special holiday season items in the promo, and then ask the men if the clothes suited you. One of the hotties would then tell you how good you looked while doing a kabe-don on you.
Judging by the pictures and official video, the women were apparently pleased to have guys leaning in on them, perhaps because ordinarily they would have to drag their unenthused partners around on a clothes shopping spree. The idea of a guy taking the time to go around with them in a store — and even compliment and try to get romantic between the aisles — is seemingly a fantasy for some female consumers.
Kabe-don has been one of the trends of the year, with the Morinaga “Kabe-don” Cafe in Harajuku creating headlines for its sheer audacity (it used an artificial waiter), as well pictures of apparent kabe-don poses spreading on social media.
Kabe-don refers to a certain position where a man places his hand against a wall, keeping his female partner there so he can lean in for a smooch. The kabe part means “wall” while don is the sound of the hand hitting the surface.
At the GU event some lucky girls got both guys doing a double kabe-don on them. And this wasn’t a sexist event either, since male customers were also treated to the same experience.
And while there are certainly some strange-looking (but still theoretically functioning) beauty gadgets out there, it doesn’t mean the major Japanese manufacturers aren’t creating products for the industry.
Take Panasonic, one of the biggest producers of cosmetic tools and electronics. Its line of steamers and other skincare gadgets are very successful, and it has established itself as a leader in the field through marketing such as the series of “beauty tutorials” that play on the JR Yamanote Line in Tokyo.
The Panasonic Beauty Premium Booster Mask EH-XM10 is a new addition to its catalog. We were interested in this product because it combines both the skin steamer and beauty mask genres.
While there is an unmistakeable Darth Vader vibe to the publicity images, this is a hi-tech solution designed based on data collected from some 5,000 female research subjects.
You soak the mask’s water plate in water and then warm it on the stand, before setting it on your face for 10 minutes. You can also combine the gadget with regular cosme items, such as face pack sheets, which can be placed over the Booster Mask.
The Panasonic Beauty Premium Booster Mask EH-XM10 is available on pre-order from JapanTrendShop now.
Everything comes back into fashion. And that includes Japanese loincloths. Fundoshi are usually only seen on the bodies (and buttocks) of men taking part in Japanese festivals or on sumo wrestlers (technically called mawashi).
But how about girls? Yes, fundoshi for women is a thing.
Actually, for the past few years people have been talking about this. Even venerable Japanese subculture guru Danny Choo blogged about it back in 2009.
Wacoal were pretty pioneering in this with their Nana Fun fundoshi for women product back in 2008 (sadly no longer on sale).
It led to the start of a trend and a revival in fortune for fundoshi. The Japan Fundoshi Association was even set up a little while later to promote the loincloth. And if you thought that February 14th was Valentine’s Day, you are very much mistaken. It is (also) Fundoshi Day… since 2013 at any rate.
Retailers have sprung up to cope with the demand. Ai Fun is an online store that specializes in “stylish” fundoshi for women. Odakyu Department Store in Shinjuku has a shop called Desk My Style with around 60 kinds of fundoshi on sale for men and women. Apparently they are popular with women in their thirties. There is even growing interest in the trend in other parts of Japan. A specialist fundoshi select store, Teraya, opened in Nagasaki City last November.
As part of this, we recently saw the release of a “mook” for fundoshi. Mooks are a popular element of the Japanese magazine publishing world, semi-regular magazines or spin-off booklets which often include merchandise. In this case, the Fundoshi Panties Loincloth Underwear Mook includes a pair of fundoshi. While officially unisex, the cover and magazine make it clear that this loincloth is being marketed squarely at the girls.
But fundoshi are not just being promoted for girls (and men) because they are novel or traditional. There are health benefits, such as improved blood circulation. Most importantly, fundoshi loincloths are being suggested as excellent nighttime wear for women to help them sleep.