Friday, June 24, 2011

#151- Are you nuts? (Yes, I am)

When I bought a car 10 years ago, I didn’t deal with a regular car salesman. I made a deal with a fleet manager, because I didn’t want to purchase a car which some customers touched or tried. And a fleet manager has a power, so I made a great discount deal without a nasty negotiation.

The fleet manager told me, “we just got 20 cars this morning, you can inspect and choose your car from here!” Yes, I got a perfect one at the time, and my car still looks like a brand-new car :)

(By the way, in Japan, they don’t sell a brand-new car which customers touched or tried.)

Anyway, I always check or inspect the product before and after shopping (check twice).

***

Low standard:

At the Ta****, I bought a DVD of “The September Issue” (I usually don’t purchase CD,DVD or book at the Ta****, but it was $10, so I just got it). It was mistake!!! There was a small hole on the package of the DVD. NO WAY!!!

So, I went back to the Ta**** and I returned the DVD (mine was the only one good condition on the shelf…so, can’t be helped).

At the time, the store manager asked me, “Do you really care for this small thing?”

Me: Of course!!! This is not a perfect product, I don’t want it. Why? If you were in my shoes, are you going to keep this DVD?

Store manager: Yeah, I don’t care about it.

Me: Wow, really???

Three words were on the store manager’s face. “Are you nuts?” In my mind, “Yes, I am nuts and I feel great!”

You know what? When I look back about Ta****, I think that Ta**** has a high standard and knows customer (or me), because they never said, “we can’t exchange it.” (they just don’t get my thing, but they will exchange product for customer anyway. Great store! From now on, I am going to shop more at this store.)

***

Medium standard:

The other day, I bought a Lady Gaga’s new CD “Born This Way” (two CDs in it) at the Ba**** & No***. And when I came home and looked at the CD (I always take a look at the product, double check), I found the small scratch on the CD (first one was fine, but second one had a scratch on the outside of the CD)…NO WAY!!!

I couldn’t enjoy the music, because of this scratch…! (bad Feng Shui!)

Of course, next day, I went back to the B***** & N**** and asked the cashier, “Can I exchange this? This CD has a scratch.”

The cashier: No, we can’t.

Me: What do you mean? Look at here, there is a scratch on the CD.

The cashier: Scratch has to be on the inside of the CD. This scratch is on the outside of the CD, so we can’t exchange.

Me: Excuse me? I am a customer, I need the 100% perfect product and I have a right to have it.

The cashier: Our company’s policy, I am sorry.

Me: No!!! You touch my CD now and this CD has a scratch and I don’t want it! You know what, I could go to Target to buy this CD, but I like B***** & N**** and your store has a great energy and clean, and Lady Gaga had a bankruptcy, so I just want to help Lady Gaga to buy with a regular price, that’s why I came to this store. I was wrong. I am so surprised that you guys don’t exchange the damage CD! Can I speak to a store manager?

The cashier: Ok…only one time, I can exchange it for you, but you can’t come back 20 times.

Me: Thank you!!! You know what, if I see something wrong again, I will come back though.

The cashier: This kind of problem is not our responsible. You have to talk to a manufacture.

Me: What’s??? Wow, Really??? Why??? I can’t believe what you say. Oh…please don’t take personally. I am a super perfectionist, so…not you, me…!

The cashier: Ahahaha!

(Her face said…“Are you nuts?”)

Me: Do you have a customer like me sometimes?

The cashier: Not really, but once in a while we have a customer like you.

Me: Ahaha! Thank you so much for your help. I really appreciate it.

(I found two small plastic stains on the inside of second CD again…but these stains are on the edge…so they won’t exchange it for sure and I don’t want them to touch my CD, so I just try to forget these stains or try not to see them and just enjoy Lady Gaga! …right?)

***

High standard:

My perfect store is Gelson’s!!! They have a great energy, wonderful atmosphere, great products and clean! I don’t have any problems with them. Never.

At the entrance, I always clean my hands and handle of the shopping cart with wipes (they always have wipes at the store front). One day, when I realized that I dropped one of wipes on the floor (I usually have a couple of wipes on the handle of the shopping cart), so I turned around and try to pick it up…wow! The store staff has already picked it up from the floor. I was so impressed by their business.

One more impress thing was, when I was going to put the Nigori-sake (my favorite!) back to the shelf, the empty space was not there anymore, I mean, after I took the Nigori-sake from the shelf, store staff displayed the shelf perfectly right away! I was really impressed by it, so I didn’t put it back, I bought two Nigori-sake at that day.

Gelson’s knows business and me :) Perfect store and perfect me…! (in my mind)

********

One more “Are you nuts?” story this week. If you are not tired, please read one more story below (I have sent an email to my apartment manager on Monday).

***

Hi V****** (apartment manager’s name),

I hope you are having a great day.

Thank you very much for your business.

I really appreciate that you are always a good listener and you are a great manager.

Again, Friday and Saturday, #3** (with his girlfriend)’s noise was so bad.

Friday, they woke me up at 2:45am, then I couldn’t go back to sleep, so I had to watch movie until 6:00am.

And they woke me up at 4:45am this morning (Saturday) and I couldn’t go back to sleep again.

Not only the weekends, weekdays are also noisy.

I just let you know that I wrote a note to #3** (please see below) and please talk to #3** again and tell him that respect his neighbor or consider his neighbor.

Anyway, thank you again for your support.

Have a good one.

Best,
Yoko

***

June 19, 2011 at 6:00am
CC: Ms. V****** **** at ********

Dear #3**,

This is Yoko at #2**.

Could you imagine someone keeps wake you up in the midnight or too early in the morning and you can’t go back to sleep & have to stay up all night because of this issue? As you know, I am suffering with your noise. Especially, your chair in the living room is making noise for every 5-10 minutes, bothers me. And your bed is making noise constantly, bothers me.

Please answer below questions to Ms. V****** ****.

1: Could you fix your noisy chair (in your living room)?

2: Do you have ADHD or alcoholism? (if you do, I understand.) Why are you walking & moving constantly? (your footsteps and your chair are so loud)

3: Could you fix your bed? (why does it make noise so loud?)

4: When you guys (with your girlfriend) have sex, could you consider your neighbor (who can’t sleep with this noise)? Especially, when you wake me up around 2:00am or 4:45am or so many times at once…I can’t go back to sleep!!! (I had to watch movie around 3:00am on this Friday, because of you guys noise).

I tried ear plugs or listening CD during you guys are having sex (or coming home late at night and make noise), but it doesn’t work & no solution by myself… (I don’t want to bother #1** with my CD noise).

Anyway, please talk to Ms. V****** ****, when you have time.

Thanks,

Yoko
#2**

********

Who is nuts? Here I am!


By Yoko Fujimoto
Los Angeles
June 24, 2011
Copyright © 2011 Yoko Fujimoto

Thursday, June 16, 2011

#150- L.A. Fashion market week + Sushi = Happy work week

Walk, Talk and Laugh:

This week, during the L.A. fashion market week in downtown L.A., as usual I walked, talked and laughed a lot. I went to many trade shows (Select, Transit, Focus, D&A and Star Trade Show), fashion shows and showrooms.

I talked with Joanne (who is a vice president of California Market Center), Audrey (who is a PR person at the California Market Center), Yukiko-san (who is a president of Beagle House), Barbara (who is a co-owner of trade show, D&A ), Neely (who is my great friend and a fashion director), Toshi-san & Hitoshi-san (of premium hats company, River up), Liza (who is an owner of the showroom, Liza Stewart at California Market Center), Tony-san (who is my great friend and a president of Jameric Japan Inc. / Tony-san made True Religion big trend in Japan and he has many projects at this time), Karen (who is a vice president of Ron Robinson at Fred Segal) and many more (my articles are not on the paper, Senken-newspaper yet, so I can’t write details, especially about the designers and brands).

I always have fun at the L.A. Fashion market week!

Highlight in the morning on Tuesday…I had a nice morning coffee with Yukiko-san from N.Y. We talked a lot about Japan disaster. It was so nice to share our feelings as Japanese.

Highlight in the afternoon on Tuesday…Neely and I always laugh together!!! We are telling to each other, “You are so funny!!!” She was in the booth at the D&A for her business, “Blondes Make Better T-Shirts” (sorry, again, I can’t write detail, because my articles are not publishing yet on Senken-newspaper). This brand has many funny jokes on T-shirts and Neely read each jokes for me. OMG…my makeup melted!!! I laughed so hard.

I can share with you three jokes on T-shirts, “Save the fjords give a blonde a place to hang out”, “Save the blondes too many animals are dyeing out” and “in case a loss, please return to Lise 718 E 18st #3, New York, NY 1003” (this note with keychain attached to a house key). Ha ha ha!!! The keychain joke is so funny!!!

For me, I sometimes forget a key at my door, I mean when I get home I hang my house key outside at my front door and don’t notice for a couple of hours (my mother always warn me, “Be careful!!!”). I should tell the designer or Neely, “Why don’t you guys make a Japanese Make Better T-shirts also”.

***

Three miracles:

I had three miracles during this week.

#1- I am almost done with my perfume bottle and in my mind, “Oh…I need to buy a new perfume”, and I went to the Star Trade Show at the L.A. Face Mart (Korean fast fashion mart), and went to LA VIEN BEAUTE, INC (at L.A. Face Mart), then Eun Young Choi (who is a president of LA VIEN BEAUTE) gave me two of Source D'Amour Fragrance Sticks (from France). I have a good nose = Yes, I got nice scents :)

#2- During I was driving, I broke my nail with a steering wheel, I don’t know why happens (I am Japanese, yes, we are not good at driving)?

I always have many kits in my car (emergency kits, beauty kits, etc), but I didn’t have a nail clipper with me…in my mind…“Should I buy a nail clipper or a nail file? I hope California Market Center has a store for that ”…then I was talking with Sophie of Sophie Monet at the Select Show, Audrey came up to me and said, “Yoko, you should come back around 1:00pm, we have a free manicure service 1 to 4!”, I said to her, “Oh, Audrey, thank you so much for telling me that. Look at my nail, I broke it in my car right now, great timing!!!”. I got a nail done (gold! Remember, gold is a Feng Shui lucky color for this year).

The manicurist (I can’t write her name in this blog, confidential) is usually working for celebrities. She told me, her clients are J.Lo , Heidi Klum, etc. I got lucky!!! I have a good intuition (before look for a nail clipper, I went to work) = Yes, I got nice gold nails :)

#3- I am always craving sushi when I am in downtown L.A. In my mind, “Oh…I want to eat sushi…” then, Tony-san called me and said, “Yoko-san, do you want to have a dinner with me at Sushi Gen?”…“Yes, yes, yes!!!” Tony-san is always treating me sushi at Sushi Gen. I always have a good appetite = Yes, I ate a lot of sushi :)

L.A. Fashion market week + Sushi = Happy work week :)

I hope you are having a great week too.

By Yoko Fujimoto
Los Angeles
June 16, 2011
Copyright © 2011 Yoko Fujimoto

Sunday, June 5, 2011

#149- Angela Lindvall on Numero TOKYO July/August 2011 issue

On April 17th, I was at the house of Angela Lindvall who is a super model & actress in Los Angeles. That day, I was still in shock about the disaster in Japan (Japan earthquake and tsunami), but I had a great time with her and shooting crew (from France and N.Y.) of Numero TOKYO.

I really felt that Angela is a beautiful (inside and out) and a down to earth person. She asked me, “How is your family in Japan (regarding the disaster in Japan)?” She is so nice and sweet to ask me about it. Her children are so cute!!! I was so happy on the way back in my car, to remind of their sweet & cute smile faces (see magazine, Numero TOKYO).

So peaceful! Her house (7 acre) has 60 fruits trees (orange, lemon, plum, cherry, guava, avocado, pineapple, almond, fig, apple, etc), a farm (there are 10 kinds of organic vegetables) and many flowers. There were bird’s sounds and the fresh smell of spring. I felt so peace and positive energy at her house.

The interview with Angela was for a cover girl special interview / fashion pages, so I had many questions and she answered all my questions during her fashion shoot. She is the best!

Numero TOKYO July/August issue came out the other day, and I translated my article into English from Japanese in here.

I would like to share the interview pages of Angela Lindvall with you. I am sure that you will feel peace like me. Please read below (Just let you know, this translation is rough one).


******** Numero TOKYO July/August 2011 issue

this month’s face
Angela Lindvall

Angela Lindvall in U.S.A. scouted the model when she was 14 years old, and she keeps working as a top model since then. She is expanding her career as an actress and she is also a mother of two boys. Today, she gave us the secret how to manage career and parenting.

Photo : Matthias Vriends-McGrath
Interview & Text : Yoko Fujimoto

Model & Actress, Angela Lindvall, she lives in the ravine of L.A. suburbs, Topanga Canyon with green overflows. The photo shoot was in her house and huge land which has fruits trees and organic vegetable farm with her two children for the cover page and the interview & fashion pages. She is doing well and lives peacefully in the nature and manages well with work and parenting.


――Is it hard to be successful at both work and parenting of two boys (Dakota, 9 year-old and Sebastian, 6 year-old)? How do you manage your time?

During the collection and advertising seasons in the fall and in the spring, it’s get little bit busy and feels overwhelming, but I also feel very lucky, because I have an extended period time to be with my kids and I get to be here every day taking them to school, putting them to bed. I have such a supportive community, my partner and their father who lives near by here, they are always with him when I have to go to work, so works out. I have a babysitter two days a week, so I feel very lucky that I have a nice environment, it’s very important to have a balance.


――What are your tips for managing time?

I do meditate to straighten the spirit and do schedule. And I try to create routine and rituals. Routine and rituals, I think make big difference, not only for myself, for my children. So keep the same flow and routine, you feel like you have that look forward to. I also think the quality of time you spend time together you really give attention, even busy week, I gave that one on one time we are sitting together, not watching the TV, not on the computer, not playing the games, really connecting as a family. We tell a lot of stories and we read a lot of stories. Really make special time for family.


――What is the hardest thing for parenting?

I think that there is demand of your time. It doesn’t matter you are tired or you are sick, you still have to get up and make breakfast. I need tremendous of patience.


――After you became mother of two children, do you have any worries?

Definitely, I thought maybe I wasn’t have a career anymore because I took one year off for each time and I am in completely financial responsible. First son was able to travel with me everywhere, but when I had two, it was hard to bring them both at work. I try not to worry. I feel like worry is opposite creation, so I try to focus on things I grateful for.


――Is there any changes in your body and your spiritual aspect before and after it gives birth?

Whole my body changed. I was so skinny, but I gained 40 pounds. It was bad that I just mentally, “you are not going to have a job unless you get fit”. But I think, it was good that I have woman’s body, more curve. I don’t want to be skinnier. I am healthier than before and I have strengthened mentally. Something the strength to comes, you realized the things that you worried about before don’t really matter anymore. I have changed.


―― Have you changed your thought about beauty after became mother?

Not really. I really think that beauty is the way is feeling. If we feel good, then we look good. Loving yourself is so important.


――What is your good habit for your beauty.

For good balance of sprit and body, I do meditate and prayer, eating healthy food and do exercise. I sometimes do cleansing diet (detox).

My motto is “love what you do, do what you love”. “Love your life to live, live your life you love” is the key of beauty.


――How do you get information and learn about parenting? Do you have any opportunities to have communication with other mothers or friends who have children?

My mother is a big influence on natural birth. She had five kids. I learned the challenge from her. When things are difficult, I always call her. I am closer to my father and my father also gave me advice for my parenting. He is very funny and fun. He taught me simplicity, driving and picking flowers up, we don’t spend any money, silly together. Dancing with kids got from my father. He taught me patience and to have an open communication with my children.

It’s very important to have a communication with other mothers, because you feel sometimes alone and many worries. I have amazing neighbors here, we have a nice community here, sharing the story about being in the mother, being in the relationship, being in the family, we can relate to each other and learn a lot.

I think, ancient times, women are together and raising children together, now you feel very alone individual, it’s important to becoming together, our children play together, for him to go to friend’s house and learn their way their family is, their rules and their routine. And friends here, and do that same.


―― What was the best advice from the community of other mothers?

One of the greatest lessons that our neighbors are talking us about, “don’t worries things until they happen”. There is no reason to worry until the real is the problem.


―― When do you feel “responsibility as mother”?

All the time. Always.


―― Do you have time for yourself? Do you make time for yourself?

I always have an awareness of the mother, but I also need “my private time”. I go on a date with my partner once a week, and get the time to take a bath, I like to get a massage or going to the sauna and sweat, do mediation, or do taekwondo to get energy.


―― When do you feel “happiness as mother”?

When I and boys are together, playing together, sleep together in the same bed and read stories, I love that. Recently, I read all series the Wizard of Oz to them.


―― What is the most important thing for the education for your children?

I think that really knowing loving life and following their bless, having gratitude. I think that carry them through everything. If I teach them to following their bless, they will be successful.

As a mother raising boys, I don’t believe like, “oh boys don’t cry”, “oh someone punches you, punch him back”, “they can’t touch pink”. I teach them more compassionate, because I want them to be good man, gentleman, I want them to feel ok to be sensitive. If they want to paint pink toe nails or carry around the little stuffed animals or play with little dolls, I allow them to do it.


―― Do you have a special thing for the education?

I have a mentor friend, she taught me a lot about Rudolf Steiner and Waldorf School. I became involved with Rudolf Steiner and that the school my children go to. This philosophy is based on whole experiment of the child, not just academic. They are learning how to think, how to learn, how to act with others, how deicide emotional around, I just learned so much from that. So I love that I am sending them to the School, they are being in the nature and care about as individual, not just another number to memorize like academics.

So I learned a lot from that parenting, to have them participate the kitchen and help prepare the meals and sweep the floors, help them just develop.

We try to enjoy season, make a nature table by the kitchen, every season changes, we just started in the spring, add more and more, yellow flowers and brings eggs, brings the things that convert the spring, in the winter turn more to acorn, represent the winter season. So season is big thing for us. Kind of acknowledge how effected us people, celebrating the harvest, it been grateful for everything create in our lives.


―― When do you feel “my children are growing up”?

It’s funny. Sometimes almost feel in one week. Dakota is huge change, almost like a teenager. “Ah mom” he gives me a little attitude. Sebastian is the opposite, he was much tough with me, like “no”, but he is more independent, he doesn’t give me as much trouble. He cares about me. He is such a mom’s boy. He says,”Mommy, you know what, I love you so much” six times a day.


―― Who is more like you?

Dakota is intellectual, he wants to talk about things, Dakota is very much like me, mini me. His expressions, his body language and the things he is interested in. Sebastian is cuddle, hug and kiss. He is being the nature and kind of sensitive. They are almost yin and yang.


―― Do you want to have more children?

I think I am going to have a little girl one day, but do it later in life. Maybe I am going to adopt one, so I have two girls to raise together.


―― Where are your children’s favorite places?

The Bodhi Tree Bookstore has many spiritual books, so we love it. We go to Inn of the Seventh Ray Restaurant to have good organic food, and Dakota and I love sushi, so when we want sushi, we go to Go Sushi. Our favorite place is Santa Monica Pier.

Dakota is learning Japanese and he asked me to go to Japan for his birthday. Maybe next year, we would like to visit Japan in spring time.


―― Have you been to Japan?

No. I really want to go to Japan.

What a shame everything is happening there. My heart really goes down to Japan.

I think that sometimes tragedy been the hardest things to us, very difficult and hard to stay feeling good because so many bad things are happing, but I think, big help to wake up every morning focus on whatever beauty you can , even it hard to find. So focus on beauty and gratitude of things what you have. I differently send the prayers to Japan.


――I heard about your Japan relief project, what are your future plans for your business and activities?

We are planning to produce and sell organic charity t-shirt to raise funds for Japan (www.ecostiletto.com). I am going to write a blog. At this time, I am working on the movie “Small Apartments” as an actress.

******** Translated (rough) by Yoko Fujimoto

I hope you enjoy Angela’s wonderful life story.

P.S. This translation is rough translation by me which means, there is no editor…If you read Japanese, please purchase the magazine and read my real article in Japanese. My Japanese is much better than my English…ha ha ha…!

By Yoko Fujimoto
Los Angeles
June 5, 2011
Copyright © 2011 Yoko Fujimoto