Saturday, 22 December 2012

Interview with Aya1gou of Aya's Kawaii Mono Ya San!

Hello everyone! Today I have a very exciting post for you - do you like beautiful nail art? Of course you do, what are you doing here if you don't?! Ha ha ^^ If you do, you must surely know Aya1gou, a professional nail technician in Japan who applies acrylic sculptured and UV gel nails and artwork to her clients during the day and makes beautiful false nails in her spare time to sell in her Etsy store, Aya's kawaii mono ya san, which means "Aya's cute items shop" - "ya" is a suffix meaning shop or store and "san" is added at the end for extra cuteness!

I have been admiring her work for a few years now and after Airi posted a review of her nails, I thought an interview would be an amazing blog post to have! Please read below for a behind-the-scenes look at one of the best nail sellers on Etsy!

A fun fact for you first! Did you know "Aya1gou" is pronounced "Aya-ichi-go" rather than "Aya-one-go"? Ichigo as in strawberry. ^^ I was pronouncing it the wrong way for a while!

Fake nails

1) Hello Aya! Thank you so much for doing this interview! ^^ How long have you been making false nails for your Etsy store?

I don't remember when did I start to make fake nails, but I think it was about 10 years ago. But I was more focused for dolls, I did my nails as hobby at the moment. You can see I used to sold dolls clothes on my Etsy too.
I have been on Etsy almost 4 years. I opened my store in 15th Feb, 2009.

2) How long did it take you to train to become a professional nail tech?

It took 6 months for the nail school. But I had to learn more after graduating, it was 2007. I took some 1 day seminar class from other nail artist, to get my JNA license.
Before open my home salon, I was a shucchou nailist, I visit client's homes and did nails.

Kirakira nails for Coming-of-Age-Day

3) Is there any brand of nail supplies you really love?

It's no brand, but I like the square-off shaped blank nails, I bought directly from China. It's flexible, perfect length, the corner edge is not sharp but slightly "round".
I love OPI, but since it's over 2200yen / $25 here in Japan, I don't have a lot. ^^;
Oh, Blue Cross cuticle remover is really great product. I always use this.
For UV gel nails, I use Angel series. It's Japanese brand, very high quality, but not expensive as other gel brands like bio.

4) You are a professional nail tech in a salon during the day and make beautiful false nails in your spare time - do you ever get bored of making nails/nail art all the time? What motivates you to carry on?

No, never get bored! But if I was get sick from the odor, I just take a break. :)
I like to making small stuff, it's my natural habitat. Nail art is perfect hobby/profession!


5) Do you have any inspiration for your nail work? Other nail techs, imagery, fashion styles, etc?

I like Japanese nail magazine Nail MAX. The editor is a middle aged man, he is really funny and this magazine is hilarious (other nails mags are posh and stylish, sometimes boring).
They features lots of weird ideas for nail art, I think I am very related hahahaha.

 6) What styles and fashions are you into yourself? What do you wear normally for work?

I used to wore lolita when I was younger, but currently I wear romakaji, or romantic casual.
I wear dresses and jeans all the time.
For work, I don't wear an apron. Just normal clothes.
Apart from the work, I often wear kimono too.


7) Where is your nail salon in Japan? In case people want to visit you on their vacation to Japan; I know I most certainly will! (Note: Aya works from home, so her "salon" is her house!)

It's in Kawagoe city, Saitama prefecture. 40mins from Ikebukuro (the big city of Tokyo)
Kawagoe is famous sightseeing spot of Saitama, it's like small Kyoto (thought they claim it's small Edo).
When my Swedish friend came here, her bf enjoyed Kawagoe city while she got her nails done by me.

8) Following on from the last question; how much does it cost for a full UV gel nail set?

The full gel set is 2500yen, about $30.
Additional art: 100yen for 4 Swarovski rhinestones, 1 painting motif, simple 3D acrylic sculpting, etc.

(My note: It is also extra for removal of any old nails you have on, extra length, etc. and you can have the nails infilled as they start to grow out or have them removed entirely and a new set put on)

Thanks so much for the interview, Aya! ^___^ It was so fun and insightful - I want to go to Japan in the future (not near near future but sometime before I am old or over mid-20s!) and I would love to have my nails done by Aya - the prices are amazing and you can have any design/style you like - I know some Gyaru girls go to Gyaru-style nail techs and their nails are like, $75! But you can have similar style from Aya for far less.

Now, I have some more photos of Aya's beautiful client nails and the false nails she makes at home - there were far too many to include amidst the interview so I'm just going to place them here and enjoy!

Zebra printsZebra toe nails
Matching blue zebra print nails - it took 2 hours and 15 minutes for the fingernails and 50 minutes for the toe nails - I think they are separate clients but they match very well!

 Polkadots nails
 Red & white polka dot nails, very Minnie Mouse! These took 3 hours! :o

Winter zebra printed nails
Winter zebra print nails - these are all from 2012 so zebra print is very trendy at the moment! Both zebra print designs would be amazing for Gyaru! Total time: 2 hours 45 minutes

Valentine nail art
Aya's own nails, St. Valentine's Day themed! 

Pop and cute
An old design but still one of Aya's favourites and very popular!

Now some of her fake nails you can buy on her Etsy store! She also sells handmade jewellery too, which is very beautiful. There is a 10% off coupon you can use right now, just add the code "10PERCENTOFF" at Etsy checkout!

Eye balls nails!
Creepy cute eyeball nails - very trendy at the moment!

Very beautiful and elegant nails perfect for Lolita style.

My packaging skill
Aya's wonderful packaging you will receive when you buy items from her!

Kimono comb Kimono comb
Matching kimono hair ornament and comb set

Handmade jewellery Aya makes, featuring antique bronze tone metal, resin pendants and octopus!

Aren't her items immensely beautiful? She is such an inspiration to me as I make false nails (no competition to Aya, though!) and want to study to be a nail tech and work in Derby next year. I go to have my nails done by nail techs in Derby and my hometown and they're just so...blah. Nobody wants to hand-paint details and acrylic sculpting is hardly done over here so I really want to be the best in Derby, the only Japanese-inspired nail tech and do everything by hand - hand paint, sculpt things from acrylic, etc! Thanks again to Aya of Aya1gou and I hope you can visit her Etsy shop and Facebook soon!


  1. Wow, she really is amazing (and thanks for the interview!). I really like the pastel nails with bows. I get my supplies (and one pair of finished acrylic nails) from here: This lady is also really good, but probably more expensive than Ms. Aya. That would be awesome if you became a nail artist, since England is much closer than Japan. XD

  2. She is, she inspires me so much! The pastel nails with the bows are amazing, no wonder they're so popular! They are great for both Lolita and Fairy Kei pastel styles! <3 I love FullMoon007, I've checked her items out before! As regards to Aya's false nail sets, they are usually around $20 each, so about £13-£14.

    Are you UK-based? I couldn't see anywhere on your blog although you mention London. >_< I really want to make being a nail tech a form of art, not something people think the slower, pretty girls did at school to prevent doing academic courses! I'd love to travel all over doing lovely nails!

    1. Haha, I love your "not something people think the slower, pretty girls did at school to prevent doing academic courses", it's hilarious. Dunno why extravagant nails have such negative connotations - I wish people could stay calm as long as the nails are done and pretty, instead of being so uptight and only accept monochrome and French (but once, my plant morphology prof complimented my flower nails that matched my flower dress, that was like a little victory in introducing crazy nails to the academic environment XD). Nah, I'm from Prague, Czech Republic - I've been to the UK only twice, London once and Northern England once.

    2. I know, it is a very bad stereotype that the only girls that do beauty courses are slow or superficial. I had one subject left to pick in college and wanted to do beauty but got dissuaded as they said "Really, you want to do beauty?! But you're not stupid!" -_- And yes, nails can be much more than just French manicures!

      And that's really cool, Czech is not far! Thanks for your comment! <3

    3. Haha that reminds me of this conversation...
      Really classmate: "So, have you decided what will you do for your M.Sc.?"
      Me: "Well, I'd like to go abroad, but if I stay in Prague, I might apply for fashion design."
      He: "What design? Ah, you mean MOLECULAR design, right?"

      Anyway, hope you enjoyed Christmas. :)

  3. Oh, I like a lot her work! I bought 3 times with her, her work is amazing and she's so nice to talk with. Thanks for sharing the interview! ♥

    1. Yes, I love it too! I'm so glad you support her and she is very lovely to talk to too! You're more than welcome! ^^

  4. Well, I didn't know her until now. I visited her shop at Etsy and her work is so beautiful, cute and detailed. I fell in love with the Alice in Wonderland nails. I hope I can buy that nail set soon!

    1. I'm so glad I could introduce you to her! Yes, her work is amazingly beautiful and one of a kind! I hope you can buy the Alice set too but she can do any design all the time so it will be relisted if it sells or you can ask for it! Thanks for your comment! <3