Archive for the ‘shopping’ Category

The fashionable face mask

The fashionable face mask

The face mask is a common site living in Japan through both the winter months and through hayfever season. Your initial reaction may be to run when you see someone wearing the mask in case they might pass on to you whatever illness they are hiding behind the mask, or maybe its just a flashback to a bad dentist or doctors trip.

Once you start to realize that most of the mask-wearers may actually be the healthy ones and the guy coughing in the corner without the mask is more likely to give you the flu, you get chance to study the different types of masks. I thought I had seen a lot of them, but it was only when I picked up the latest copy of DIME that I realized just how many types there were.

DIME Magazine, March 3, 2009 Issue

DIME Magazine, March 3, 2009 Issue

DIME Review of masks
DIME have done a quick review of the 27 different types of masks available for sale in Japan. They have split them up into 3 basic categories.

  1. Masks focused on ones image
  2. Masks focused on functionality
  3. Professional masks

The following is a snapshot of the article from DIME giving an overview. For more detail (in Japanese) you can take a look at DIME 05, 2009 3 3 edition.

The fashionable masks
In the first category, the comment is

even when wearing a mask one wants to look fashionable.

Well, nice try, but the mask on the face as a fashion statement might be a tough sell. Still, lets have a look at why they are considered fashionable. As the mask designs have developed, the manufacturers focusing on the fashionable category have worked on given more of a 3D or raised mask shape to the mask. This makes it look less like someone has strapped a packet of tissues across your nose with elastic bands.

Also in the fashionable category are the masks that don’t smear your makeup and allow you to wash off your makeup easily from the mask if it gets dirty. As well there are masks which are said to be kinder to delicate skin and masks that allow you to leave them on for longer periods of time without causing crease lines on your face.

Review by DIME magazine on face masks, Japan

Review by DIME magazine on face masks, Japan

Focus on Functionality Masks
As well as helping to protect you from the spread of flu, colds and hayfever, these masks also take into account features such as protecting you from dryness of air, fresh aromatic oils and menthol sheets in the masks to entice you to buy them. When I was looking at the people wearing masks at Shibuya station I really had not thought about which one might be wearing the menthol mask and which one had the “keep my skin from getting dry” mask on!

Some of the masks come with refills for the aromatic oils and menthol strips. Others in this category specifically point out that they combat influenza virus etc, whilst some focus on areas such as, making sure your glasses don’t steam up when you wear the mask. With the stakes high everyone has to find their niche.

Professional Focus Masks
This category should definitely not be worn on the train. They start to resemble something you might see in a movie where the body count is climbing. The mouth/nose area tends to have a plastic breathing filter and definitely does not look friendly. Compared to this category, the fashionable masks look very trendy.

Functional and Professional Masks

Functional and Professional Masks

Designer Masks, Original for you
One make of masks did look more fashionable than the rest. It was billed as a “Mask with decoration”. It allows you to put on a design seal and rhinestone to make the mask an original for you. The main purpose of the mask appears to be protection from hayfever. The Japanese name for this mask is “DecoriMask”.

Also in this picture, on the left, you can see the product called Nose Mask Pit sold by Bio International. This is a filter inserted into the nose. The copy says

When you get used to the strange sensation you feel in the beginning, you really don’t mind it so much.

I don’t think this one is for me!

DecoriMask and Nose Mask

DecoriMask and Nose Mask

Next time you are out, check out the masks at the station and see if you can figure out who is wearing what.



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A towel made to look like a chocolate roll for Valentines Day

A towel made to look like a chocolate roll for Valentines Day

Of course most people love chocolate and in Japan the women generally give the chocolates to the men, but for those who want to join in the Valentine fun but just can’t have the chocolate here is the answer.

It looks like a Chocolate roll and has the name ミニロール バター Mini butter roll taste, but if you look closely you will see it is actually a rolled up towel!

I am a chocolate fan so i would be very disappointed to receive a towel for Valentines Day, but I am sure there are some people who might prefer the towel.

This year many guys are supposedly giving the girls chocolates for Valentines Day in what is becoming known as gyaku choco or reverse chocolate.
Here is my post discussing that.

Here is a very good look at what women are thinking in Japan around this Valentine Day period from WhatJapanThinks.com

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Whilst new products are always welcome in Japan, sometimes you just want to try a new product out for the day rather than buying it for good. The solution is found in the recent mini-boom of rental goods. From the rental of charter planes, premium sports cars to brand handbags, accessories and of course the ultimate in convenience, renting a brand new set of golf clubs and having them sent directly to and from the course.

Two sites have proven popular with women for the renting of brand bags and accessories. One is called ORB where you can rent from a 1 week or a 1 month period. The other is called Cariru (which in Japanese means borrow or rent, although in romaji script you probably would have a K not a C to be accurate. The C no doubt makes the service brand look a little more stylish than a hard looking K).



If you think bags are boring then it might be worth checking out the prices. The bags are premium products with some of the Hermes bags costing more than $10,000. The rental on these is close to $500 per week or $1,600 per month. Each of the services is boasting around 200 items in their stock.

If cars are your thing then the BMW M3 coupe or the new LEXUS IS-F or even a high-end NISSAN GT-R can be arranged at the price of about $400 per day. Top end cars such as Ferraris and Bentleys can be rented in exclusive clubs for higher prices, but this middle market of renting prestige but still affordable $400 per day rates is a new burgeoning market. Demand appears to be strong.

Cars cant compete with personal jets though and although most personalities and company executives are normally happy flying commercial aircraft in Japan, services allowing the rental of charter jets are becoming more popular. One such service offers a 16 seater plane at $180 per hour with flights able to go to domestic locations or into China and Korea. I am guessing the fuel charge will be billed separately. Better bring the American Express card.

Household electronics are also becoming a popular rental item with Yamada Denki’s LABI store offering rental on televisions and DVD players to corporate users and are considering extending this to all customers in 2010. With the economy in a downturn this plan might just be brought forward. TSUTAYA, the popular video rental store is also getting into the act renting Japanese manga, comic books, and Karaoke boxes have started renting out their rooms for small company meetings.

And if all that sounds too much like work, how about renting a new set of the Nike Tiger Woods golf clubs. GOLF PARTNER has started a rental service where they will deliver the golf clubs directly to the course you are going to play at and then have them sent back to the store. With prices at around $50-$100 for the day what could be better.

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