Cosmetics of Edo: Am I Beautiful?

Our desire for beauty, whether you are a man or a woman, is universal.

If we had a choice, most of us would probably opt in for looking gorgeous than the other way around. (To avoid misunderstanding and potential loss of readership, I would like to add that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.)

The people of Edo (1603-1868) were no different.

Readers, be prepared to be surprised by what they used for cosmetics to stay youthful.

The most common beauty product was nuka or rice bran.

They put rice bran in a bag and washed their body with it.

It is still sold in Japan, and I have tried it a few times myself. It actually works, and your skin will be noticeably smoother.

They also used funori, a kind of seaweed.

It was used as hair product to keep their hair nice and shiny. They melted it in hot water and mixed with other ingredients like flour.

But the ultimate beauty product of Edo was…

Drum roll, please…

Japanese bush warbler or uguisu’s waste.

They smeared this bird’s… ahem… poop on their faces!!!

It was very expensive and cost a fortune.

I have no idea how they collected it, but that will be my next research topic.

And guess what, it is STILL used in Japan though it isn’t common, and you can purchase it online wherever you are in the world.

If you ever decide to give it a go, please send me the before and after photos.

I am very curious.

Photo Attribution

Alpsdake, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What’s Up With Eishi? [Voiceless Edition]

Hi all, how have you been? Hope everything is well with you over there!

I usually post my monthly updates on my YouTube channel called “What’s Up With Eishi?”, but this month I am writing one instead because I was literally voiceless for about 3 weeks and my voice is still around its 80% capacity as of today…

It all started during Auckland Lockdown 2.0.

One morning, I woke up with this violent pain in my throat, and I was convinced it probably would be… the virus.

Resigned to my fate, I let this super friendly nurse with super beautiful smiles stick a stick in my nostril.

Really… REALLY deep… which made me teary.

I remember feeling a sense of respect and fear at the same time for her to keep smiling all the way through the procedure.

Anyway, it turned out negative!

But this virus or bacteria caused the worst throat infection in my entire life…

The swollen larynx blocked my air pipe in my sleep the first 4-5 nights, which kept me awake most of the night.

Excuse my drivelling, but I just noticed…

You are not really here to read about my sufferings, are you?

In conclusion, my voice is back to about 80%, and I have started performing rakugo as usual!

I kicked off this week with a rakugo workshop for language teachers at my alma mater, the University of Auckland.

This morning I ran an online rakugo workshop for an intermediate school in Wellington.

I am working as an actor this Saturday and doing a play reading for Babel Theatre. It will be held at TAPAC, but I am not sure if it will be open to public.

You can probably gatecrash if you are really desperate (no guarantee!).

But the biggest news this month is…

The funding for developing a documentary film/ art installation has been granted!!!

I will be working with a very established documentary filmmaker.

It will deal with the concepts of war, aikido, and rakugo.

We are about to start this project next week!!!

And of course, I have to finish my Online Rakugo Project, which is due on Christmas Day!!!

I forgot to add that the rakugo club is returning at the end of the month! The venue is moving to Onehunga.

Busy life ahead!!!