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beauty and health

Bedrock bathing (ganbanyoku)

Bedrock bathing is increasingly popular in Japan for its health, beauty and relaxation benefits. It involves lying on a towel spread over rock surfaces that have been heated to 40c to 50c. The rock's natural minerals release far-infrared rays while the heat also increases the bather's metabolic rate, boosts his or her immune system and rids the body of toxins through profuse sweating.
Unlike the sticky sweat produced in a sauna or after exercise, sweat induced by ganbanyoku is more fluid and has little odour. Some compare ganbanyoku to a hot spring bath (onsen) without the water.
It is important to hydrate the body prior to ganbanyoku, as a lot of body fluid is lost through sweating. After bathing, sudden temperature changes should also be avoided.
Ganbanyoku in Japan originated in Akita Prefecture's Tamagawa Onsen, where rock heated by geothermal heat has been traditionally used as a healing remedy. Since 2004, ganbanyoku facilities have grown rapidly and mainly attract a female clientele.

Photograph courtesy of TERRA Shibuya
8F Tsukada Bldg., 33-8 Udagawacho,
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0042 Japan



Tourism New South Wales

Spring beauty for Japanese women

The warmth of spring is welcome in Japan but women also know the seasonal change brings new health and beauty challenges. Clothing with high UV protection, sun umbrellas and the donning of long gloves for driving are all common ways Japanese women guard against the harsh effects of sun exposure.

Spring also releases pollen into the air. Facial masks covering the nose and mouth can be combined with sunglasses, providing maximum protection for women heading outdoors.

With cosmetics, women typically change their foundation to a spring/summer type that delivers a fresh look along with superior sun protection. In skin care, products high in whitening effects and superior in freckle and sunspot recovery are favoured. If exposed to the sun for long periods during the day, Japanese women ensure they attend to their skin that evening to minimise any damage.

Regular exercise, like walking, is also popular. This allows Japanese women to strike a balance between beauty and good health.

Text courtesy of Shiseido Australia

living jstyle Uniquely Japanese

Forging a career from kimono tradition
Interview: Makiko Honma

Makiko Honma (right) adds the finishing touches to a kimono

A business entrepeneur, an instructor and a stylist for film, television and magazines, Makiko Honma credits her career inspiration and achievement to her mother. As a child, Honma watched her mother live everyday life in a kimono and first learnt the ways of kitsuke (dressing) by imitating her. Encouraged to undertake formal kitsuke studies, Honma is now a professional kimono dresser based in Sydney with a collection of more than 600 costumes for her commercial activities.

"Kitsuke doesn't just mean putting the kimono 'on'," Honma says. It begins with underwear, then supportive wear, the outerwear, the various layers of sashes and how to tie them, as well as correctly showing the collars. Kitsuke is everything, she says, for achieving kimono beauty.

Honma now runs kimono-dressing classes, a kimono rental business and advises on various ceremonial functions. Her expertise has seen her work with such luminaries as designer Akira Isogawa and actor Geoffrey Rush. Honma founded the Yamano-style Honma Makiko Kimono Dressing Class in 1990 and the first genuine kimono rental business in the same year. Her qualifications were earned through kitsuke studies at school, including the Yamano-Style Dressing School. She is also qualified to teach in the Yamano style.

Honma recalls a sleepless night before her first job as a professional dresser. The anxiety of preparing a bride in a kimono disappeared, however, when her client's parents were overwhelmed by the result. Honma says they cried with joy, not expecting to see their daughter dressed in a beautiful kimono at a wedding reception in a foreign country. It was a memorable moment in Honma's varied career.

"I think wearing the kimono in a foreign country gives a sense of pride and proof of being Japanese," Honma says. "Kimono stands out at any party you go to, and above all, when you wear the kimono, your spirit feels as elegant as you look."

living jstyle Fashion

This winter, it's all about shades of black and contrasting colours

Winter fashion in Japan this year is all about black. Instead of mere monotones, the trend will be black shades that highlight the material and its lustre or dark, dirty greys that look black from afar. There is a strong use of contrasting colours, with conservative blacks and beiges accented by red, purple and blue.

For guys, skinny styles are still popular. Tight-fitting jeans, pants, jackets and coats create an urban mood. On the other hand, it's all about volume for women. The trend is to create outfits that give the impression of volume, such as the combination of a cape, tunic and leggings, or jersey fabrics with full sleeves. Dresses in florals and checks are also popular.

Charms are the new trend in accessories. Small decorations on mobile phones, bags and belts are becoming really popular, adding a hint of prettiness to an outfit.

For girls
The layered look


Create the look of volume by layering a black lace skirt with a knit dress. Add a fur-lined cropped vest and the volume is instantly increased. Look pretty with floral embroidery. Complete the outfit with brown leather boots, must-have footwear that goes with any outfit.

Design by
Par Avion Harajuku
Address: Laforet Harajuku 3.5F, 1-11-6 Jingumae, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo 150-0001


For guys
Colour contrast


Create a classic look with an all-in-black combination of jacket, pants and boots. Add contrasting colours with a glimpse of red and beige in the jersey, a hint of red on the zipper and a beautiful purple scarf, making an outfit that is unique.

Design by
Lazy Hazy Planet
Address: 4-32-12 Jingumae, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo 150-0001


Healthcare & Massage

Healthcare & Massage WARAKU
A Japanese-style clinic located in Chatswood which offers a range of services including remedial massage, authentic shiatsu massage, aromatherapy, reflexology, natural health care and acupuncture.

Ground Floor Shop 5 & 49, Lemon Grove Shopping Centre
427-441 Victoria Ave., Chatswood NSW



living jstyle Hairstyle

Let's ask Sydney's popular Japanese hairstylists!

Q1. What special style services
does your salon offer?

Q2. What are the current trends
in hairstyles?

A salon tailored to your hair
and beauty needs

Takashi Tachibana
Tachi International

A1: Specialty services: At Tachi International, we cut and style hair to suit each client. We specialise in herb colour- 100% plant-based chemicals that colours without hair damage. Our beauty services include head spa and aroma facial. We also do hair and make-up for weddings.

A2:Current trends: Curls are 'in' with digital perms proving particularly popular. Fans of Japanese fashion should try the loose wave. Heading into spring/summer, we will see more straight styles. For those with straight hair, it's all about styling so curl, or try an up-do for a dressier look.

Spring Style

For the warmer months ahead, try a light, straight style that skims the face. I recommend chemical straightening of curly hair for minimum maintenance. Use a curling wand to get gorgeous curls in minutes. Otherwise, try digital perm if you prefer your hair wavy.

Tachi International provides hair and beauty services with a smile. The extensive menu, popular with both sexes, leaves hair and skin looking fantastic. With 3 hours of free-parking in Chatswood nearby and student discounts available, Tachi International is the ultimate in salon convenience.
■Shop 1, 272 Victoria Ave, Chatswood

■Open Tues-Fri 9am~6pm, Sat-Sun 9am~5pm
Closed Monday


The ultimate salon experience

Yukako Kobayashi

A1: Specialty Services: our scalp treatment is a must for pampering and relaxation. Using Japan-imported products, an aroma head massage cleanses the scalp, removes impurities and improves hair condition. Recommended for clients concerned about hair loss.

In a comfortable cafe atmosphere, Cutlounge makes clients feel right at home. Its experienced stylists cater to a varied clientele while providing the highest standards of customer service.

■602 Harris St, Ultimo

■Open 7 days 10am-late


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