This year’s Met Gala theme — Rei Kawakubo and Comme des Garçons — got us thinking: There’s such great Japanese-made stuff worth knowing about (much of it that we’ve even written about before), so why not take the occasion to go really big on Japan? From the meticulously crafted to the intuitively designed to the wonderfully weird, welcome to Made in Japan Week on the Strategist.
Quick question: Where are your nail clippers right now, at this moment? Buried beneath your contact lenses in your nightstand drawer? In your hands right now as you clip your fingernails and read this? (Fortuitous!) I’ll tell you where mine are: proudly displayed atop a tasteful stack of coffee-table books, next to a Diptyque candle, flame billowing softly in the air conditioning. They are chic-as-hell Japanese clippers — actually the second set to be written about on this very website. But while Jason’s clippers excel in function, Kai’s Type 001 Clippers are simply a feat of beauty. They work, too, but I’ll get to that.
I discovered Type 001 at a 7-Eleven in Tokyo. I’d gone there to grab a couple toiletries that I’d forgotten to pack for my weeklong trip, and threw the clippers into the mix along with shave gel and Kit Kats. It wasn’t until I’d returned to the room that I’d gotten a chance to look at them — heavy, matte-black, and stamped with the beautifully lowercase “type 001.” They look so elegant, it is nearly impossible to believe they are nail clippers — arguably the lowliest of grooming tools — but they are, which makes them modest and approachable. Elegance and humility.
Then, if you Google the brand, you learn that Kai has tackled and perfected nearly every single sharp edge that’s been invented in the past couple thousand years, and its portfolio includes, but is not limited to: kitchen knives, hair shears, medical scalpels, and more. They have ten (ten!) different varieties of nail clippers alone, plus a very detailed guide that tells you the rate at which your nails grow and the best conditions for cutting them. The level of detail is chilling and beautiful. They also give you pointers on cutting them properly.
Oh, that reminds me — they cut nails, too. And they do it very well. The size and slight contour of the blade make it easy to groom in one click, and they come with a built-in catch that you can empty without having to handle your loose fingernails, which is unpleasant. But during the 8,630 minutes a week that you aren’t cutting your nails (that’s the recommended time you should go between fingernail-grooming sessions according to Kai, minus two or so minutes for the act itself), they are resplendent to look at.
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