To find out what pointed people in the direction of Tokyo Nail Expo — and if they could put their finger on what nail art meant to them — we roamed Tokyo Big Sight in search of willing interviewees. The following people kindly offered their views.

Yusuke Sato, 26, a hairstylist from Nakano Ward, Tokyo “I came because I’m a hairstylist and wanted to get inspiration for my work. I’m overwhelmed at the turnout and the number of makers exhibiting their goods. I’ve realized how beauty is not just about hair, it’s about total being, from head to toe.”

Nao Kajiwara, 32, an office worker from Musashino City, western Tokyo “I graduated from a nail-art training school two years ago. I don’t work in the industry now, but would like to try if I have a chance. To me, nail art is just like makeup — I would feel restless if I wasn’t wearing it.”

Emi Kodama, 33, a nail-salon owner from Miyazaki Prefecture “I came to soak up the latest trends and techniques. I attended a nail-care class given by Ito-sensei (prominent manicurist Tomoko Ito). In Miyazaki, we are behind in techniques, so I wanted to catch up here.”

Takako Yoshioka, 45, a technician at a nail salon in Gunma Prefecture “I came to research new materials, technologies and the nail-care market in general for the salon where I work. I am interested in whether the material used for gel-type polishes is changing now that hardening can be done by LED machines as well as the UV light we are used to.”

Sun Wei, 21, a model from China for the Japanese fashion magazine Pop Sister “In the Expo I am modeling for the nail salon Malva, where I have been doing manicures and nail art for 3 1/2 years. I often wear artistic and gorgeous nails to match clothes I wear in different seasons.”

Kristina Pogosyan, director of a Moscow firm selling Calgel, a South African nail polish

“I came to Japan to see staff at our group company here. I am participating in the company’s seminars and also learning from leading fashionistas here. In Russia, we see Japanese lacy designs (for nails), which are very popular. Nails are part of every woman’s fashion style.”

Arisa Fukui, 21, a nail-school student from Shinjuku, Tokyo “I came here because I wanted to see demonstrations by nailists. One I’ve seen was nail technician Erika Mori demonstrating an advanced technique of putting colors on gel-type nails by using an airbrush. It was great.”

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