Monthly Archives: August 2013

The return of Nakajima Tomoko, porn director

Nakajima Tomoko

The onetime hugely popular comedienne (she was one half of the duo Othello) Nakajima Tomoko (42) went completely off the rails a few years back when she was brainwashed by a “mystic”, ran up millions of yen debts, and put on a huge amount of weight. We most recently reported on her situation back in February 2012 when she failed to show up for a scheduled court appearance.

Now, like some other fallen idols before her, she is getting back into showbiz via the porn industry. She held a press conference in Tokyo this week to talk about “Hachigatsu no Umi” (August Sea) her directorial debut for the female-oriented porn channel Girl’s CH. Geddit? Girls See Etchi!

Nakajima has a bit of a history, having done nude scenes and published books of nude photos and generally making a living from her better than average looks.

More Free Shipping. Yay!

Good news! We have just raised the minimum order size for free shipping from $60 to $80.

Free ShippingOkay, that’s not the good news, that’s the (kind of) bad news. The good news, which we hope will make up for it, is that we’ve greatly expanded the range of products that qualify for free shipping. It now includes ALL of our popular footwear products. So if you’re not sure what jikatabi boot size you need, order 2 sizes and get them shipped for free. Then send back the one that doesn’t fit for a refund. Or better still, give it to a friend. They’ll thank you for it, I promise!

On the info pages for products that qualify, you’ll see the above small image. You’ll also see a Shipping Information tab (actually that’s on all product pages). Click the tab and you’ll see your shipping options and prices, including how much more you need to spend in order to qualify for free shipping. Orders shipped free are sent by Economy Airmail, but we add Registered Mail so that you’ll have a way of tracking your package. Do just note that if your basket contains both items that qualify and those that don’t, you won’t see the free shipping option.

Marugo Air Jog III 12
Marugo Air Jog III 12
And speaking of jikatabi, we’ve just added a couple of new products to the Marugo range. The Air Jog III is an update on the classic Air Jog but with a more subtle design that makes the sole blend in with the upper.

It comes in two heights, short (6-tab) or tall (12-tab), and two colors, black or white.

As we say on the store, the responsive air cushioning and shock absorber ensure that these jikatabi are about as comfortable as you can get. The black models also have black soles, a more integrated look that a lot of our customers have asked for. Thank you, Marugo!

Fuji Keiko Dead in Apparent Suicide

Fuji Keiko

Keiko Fuji, a former enka legend and the mother of J-pop superstar Utada Hikaru, died yesterday after falling from the 13th-floor balcony of her Tokyo apartment. She was 62. Police are treating the case as an apparent suicide, though no note was found at the scene.

Fuji was the daughter of musicians and led a nomadic lifestyle as a child. She became a breakthrough star following her 1969 debut in the world of enka ballads. Her first single “Shinjuku no Onna” was typical of her dark and melancholy songs about women of the night, and her debut album of the same name spent 20 weeks at the top of the charts. The immediate follow up, “Onna no Blues” was also a huge hit, topping the charts for 17 weeks. No one has since broken that record of 37 consecutive weeks atop the chart.

Fuji married enka singer Maekawa Kiyoshi in 1971 but they were divorced the following year. Fuji’s musical decline began after she underwent surgery for a throat polyp in 1974. She went through a series of comebacks but never reclaimed her former glory. She announced her retirement in 1979 and moved to the US until making a comeback in 1981. She married producer Utada Teruzane (65) in 1982 and their daughter Hikaru was born the next year. The family formed a self-managed trio under the name U3 in 1995 and released a single on their own label.

Hikaru of course went on to become a huge star in her own right, but the family continued to be plagued by misfortune. Fuji and Utada divorced in 2007, a year after Fuji was held at JFK airport after more than $400,000 of cash were found in her luggage (the money wasn’t returned to her until 2009).

Japan Zone profile of Utada Hikaru

Hollywood Movie Tabi

47 Ronin, Wolverine movies featuring jikatabi
47 Ronin, Wolverine movies featuring jikatabi

Here at Japan Store we deal mainly with individual customers who just love to stand out from the crowd in their jikatabi. We often get larger orders from theater and opera companies putting on a Japanese-themed production or just after a different kind of look. But every now and again we get a slightly different kind of order.

A couple of years ago we got an order from a movie production company that was buying up all sorts of Japanese items for an upcoming Keanu Reeves vehicle, featuring a cast that includes some of the most talented actors in Japan. Unfortunately the production of “47 Ronin” has been beset by setbacks and has still not hit movie theaters. But we’re assured that it’s on the way and that you’ll be able to see a host of top stars wearing our jikatabi this Christmas.

If you just can’t wait to see Hollywood-meets-Japanese-footwear, we also supplied jikatabi to the company that made the Hugh Jackman X-Men flick “The Wolverine“, which is currently showing here in Ireland. We also recently shipped some items to Disney in California, who will be using them in the movie “Tomorrowland“, planned for release next year.

And this week we’ve received some orders from a company based at Pinewood Studios in the UK. So far no official word on what the movie will be, but we here at Japan Store have our suspicions. And regardless of the movie, we’re always happy to see our jikatabi being worn on the big screen.