Nails that become works of art.
By now we’ve realized that the Japanese culture is really one of a kind...and so unique that it is not always properly understood and absorbed by the West.
There’s no doubt that the Japanese have highly skilled and artistic craftsmanship.
Their talent is often employed in the most diverse ways, such as the art of nail decoration (Nail art), which became popular halfway through the nineties.
Although many may ask what nails have to do with art, the trend of having one’s hands decorated like Christmas trees has become so popular in Japan that in recent years the nail industry has grossed up to 100 billion yen a year!
The young Harajuku (see appropriate article) and Shibuya girls never leave home without their nails matching their clothes or the “theme” for the day.
Wearing these creative works on their hands is just as important for them as their makeup or clothes. These nails are a hindrance even for some of the most simple everyday tasks, like unzipping or opening a can, as they might damage the elaborate 3D decorations applied on plastic tips (practically artificial nails) that are then glued onto the real nails.
But since the Japanese are SWIFT, in order to never be without this sight for sore eyes they have invented accessories to make the life of fashion victims much easier in situations that put their nails to risk: the existence of can-opening and unzipping devices, aids for picking up coins, and even golf gloves with small holes to let the nails through or bowling balls with rubber cushions inside the holes have been reported!
More rudimentary tips include: if you can’t button up your jacket you can use a safety pin, and to spread a lotion on your body without getting it under your nails you can use a spoon. Sensible grandmotherly advice.
Although someone might find these practices quite amusing, it must be said that some creations of what is called “stereoscopic art” leave one speechless for the abundance of details and themes taking inspiration from current fashion trends (you can choose between lace, tiny diamonds, tartan and fluorescent colours) and that can match the dress worn for great occasions, for instance coordinating the floral pattern of a kimono.
The elaborate decorations are created with an acrylic powder mixed with a liquid becomes a pliable paste which is given a shape before it dries.
Then charms, tiny chains, crystals, mini-Hello Kitties and more are applied onto the tips.
The variants are countless, as Nail Art guru Kanemitsu-san knows well, as he won numerous prizes during his 25 year career as nail artist and has had more than 10000 clients over the years, including show business and fashion stars.