Tokyo Nail Expo 2019 Day 1

The Tokyo Nail Expo kicked off on November 24th, a bit later than previous years, which means no Thanksgiving for me this year. I’m OK with that since me and the Mr. will be sitting in a hot spring in the mountains instead. My favorite Thanksgiving food is actually the jellied cranberry sauce- not the homemade kind, but the canned one that comes out with the can marks still on it.


Anyway, onto the good stuff! It was pretty mobbed, as usual, but they had better organization this year and it was easier to get inside the venue.


The show was split on two floors this year, which was different, and instead of smaller individual vendors, the bigger companies and nail shops had more of a presence. TAT is a major nail art supply store in Japan, and they had a humongous booth representing a lot of brands with an equally humongous line for the cashier. In the past, each company would have had a booth, so it was sort of consolidated into one area. Red Nails, a supply shop/nails school I attended, had almost no presence this year. I hope they’re not going out of business- it was a good solid school and I had a lot of happy memories there.

Of course, we’ve got glitter! I live up to my name and have more than enough to carry me through several lifetimes, but I can’t stop picking up more every time I’m in Japan.


There were a lot more demonstrations this year, usually with a brand rep using the company products to show off some techniques. Nothing particularly new, but it’s fun to watch for a bit. If you want good Japanese nail art lessons, there is a online school called Neiru that features step by step video lessons.  It’s pretty good and I’ve seen the videos in the past, but found myself too busy to really take advantage of it.

I didn’t see any really crazy nails (except for the Art Tip Award- more on that later!) but the usual standbys were all there: lots of textural nails, like marble, plaid, etc. topped off with bits of bling here and there.



Muted colors are pretty in at the moment, saw a lot of mustards, grays and burgundys.  Mustard anything looks awful on me, so I’m waiting for this color to go away, but it hangs on. I actually like it as a shade, it just makes me look kinda diseased.


Must have…maximum cuteness! Pink is an ever-present thing in Japan.


Manga nails are another theme in Japan, though I’m way too old and out of touch to know all the characters.


A little bit of bling, but mostly the nails are going in a more understated direction. Pfft!

When I first got into nails in Japan around 2007, they were insane 3″ long neon bejeweled beasts roaming the streets of Shibuya. Now that nail art has become more mainstream, it’s toned down a lot. Still a lot of nice, subdued nails out there that are very skillfully done, but sometimes I miss those wild nail days!


And for everybody’s favorite thing…the Nail Art Tip Award! Every year, artists submit a set of 5 handmade nails following a set theme. The nails are done in advance by selected artists in Japan. Now, as you long-term readers know, at least one person does flower/butterfly nails regardless of the theme. I mean, a couple of years ago the theme was “Adult Punk” and yep…still flower nails. Maybe they were being punks and breaking all the rules?

So, here’s this year:


The theme is….well, hard to translate exactly but here goes: “Japanese Orange Color: Fresh Like A Mandarin Orange.” For fellow Japanese language nerds out there, this is the first time I have seen “mikan” written in kanji, had to double check that one!

I’m going to need a little time to sort out the contest entries and also go back later to finish emptying my wallet, so check back for the entries in the next day or two!

I also got to meet a long-term reader who came to the show from the US as well, which was loads of fun! Thanks for taking the time to meet- it’s always so much fun to catch up with fellow nail art aficionados.


About nevertoomuchglitter

Nail artist. Wanderer. I'm a color-holic, in fact, it was my love of color that brought me to the nail art world. Well, that, and the fact I was too cheap to pay crazy Japanese prices for nail polish while living in Tokyo, so I had to start mixing my own. That's how NTMG began.
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