Thursday, December 28, 2006


The bear hide completely dry today. So I scraped remaining membrane by scraper and pumice.

These are my tools which I used today. From top left: pumice (bought from Traditional Tanners), scraper (bought this brade from Traditional Tanner and attached a parts of "photo stand". It looks hard to grip, but it is really useful and poweful), Koro (healer...... I must need), From bottom left; wet stone, clipper.

My scraper is gripped like that. The brade is really sharp so you should not let your dog lick.

Scraping by my photostand scraper

By pumice. It is hard work but interesting!

The hide was completely dried, but after rubbed by pumice, it looks a little soft than before. But it still looks like raw hide..... lol, Raw hide but it is oily, so flexible. I guess I don't use oil for softening it......... but my teacher said that you should use it...... OK, I believe my teacher.
We will have snow tomorrow. So I will leave it then damp it the day after tomorrow, and softening it the next day.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Wallet Chain

Monday, December 25, 2006

Hard Worker

Maybe, I am a hard worker. I made all of these within 2 days.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas

Here is already Dec. 24th.

Almost we Japanese are Buddhist.
But we cerebrate X' mas.
Because we admit and respect other religions and ideologies.

Mitakuye Oyashin!
---"Mitakuye Oyashin" sounds like "Mite! kue Oyaji!" in Our Japanese words.
It means "Look! This fuckin' fish head uncle!"
sorry............. lol............

anyway, I wish you a Merry Christmas!

The hair root

Tanning agent worked well. But I found I cut a lot of hair root..........
My bear is early Autumn female bear. I heard from Quill that the early autumn bear's hair roots are usually deep. Yes, she was right! My bear's some hair roots penetrate the membran!

I am in really busy days...... I have to make some items.......

Friday, December 22, 2006

X'mas present

Now, I laid my bear on a flat floor, and dryed it by my hair dryer and a soft sunlight. So the hair side is dry now. I found that the fresh side's color changed. It become white. Maybe the tanning agent penetrated enough and it worked well, I believe. I didn't try to pull the hair because the fresh side is still wet much now. So I intend to let it keep lie tonight. Then frame it tomorrow.
I feel hair slippage is going to stop. Because I rubbed it well when I used my hair dryer, but it wasn't slip any hair. I really thank Quill, who is my important big sister. She gave me a lot of advices. Moreover, I received really good X'mas presents. Richard Blackhawk's music CD and Tape. His music is really good. I wish to join his Rendezvous and listen his song around the camp fire.........

Thursday, December 21, 2006


I introduce my puppy today!

His name is Koro. He is only 3 month's old Spitz. Do you know Spitz? The really name of Spitz is JAPANESE SPITZ.
We really love him.

Today, I pulled the bear hide from tanning solutions. I can't judge whether it tanned well or not. Because I have never tanned any hide. It is not smell, really soft. and not greasy now. The Rittel's Super Solvent well worked, but it still a little oily, so I intend to eliminate oiling step. It is draining now.
But I tried to pull the hair strong, the hair slipped. I guess it because the hide is wet now. So I guess it is not big problem. But I am worrying. I hope slip hair will stop when it dry. It still remain some membran and perhaps fat. So I intend to frame when the hide will almost dry ~ not complete dry ~. Then I will shave it by dry scraper and sand it.

I was ordered a "Whisky Flask Case" about 5~8 years ago. The owner's request was belt pouch. So I recommended that sholder strap type is better for use. Then the owner wishs it this time. The strap would collaborate with FUNNY Co., Ltd. Like as attached picture's belt. This is collaborate item with FUNNY.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

my dream............

This is Knife Sheath style lighter case. Pendant type.

other side

I was really busy today for tanning bear project. At first, I pulled the bear from the Safety Acid, drain it one hour, and soak it in RITTEL'S Super Solvent
(SS-618) 30 min. for de greasing. Then I went to coin car washing center and I used power wash. Surprisingly, the smell which I told yesterday were gone! But if you use power wash for rinse, I guess it would be better to soak water and rinse it some at first, then used power wash. Next, I soaked the pelt in Sodium Bicarbonate solution 20 min for Neutralizing. Then after rinse it well and drain one hour, I soaked it in Rittel's EZ-100 Tanning solutions with salt. The smell of EZ-100 is Sulfur. It should contained Sulfur. This tanning solutions are really sensitive. So I had to check the pH sometime. It settle down now. I started to soak it 17:00. And I will pick it 13:00 tomorrow.

I received really good mail today. It is from my Lakota friend....... sorry, Maria! You are my Lakota sister. I know I should not knock on your door when I buck to your house, and Your house's lock is always open for me...... right? It was really long time to hear from her. I met her when 11 years before. Her child were only baby. But...... I surprised, her big daughter become almost 15 year's old!!!!!!!!!!!! I remember that she chased me riding her horse..... tricycle with wave her Tomahawk........scoop. Surprise! She live in Porcupine, Pine Ridge Rez. SD. Her house and Prairie is not only my house but also 2nd hometown.

I introduced my wife Yuki yesterday. So I introduce myself today. Yuki love me.

My name is Hiroaki Okai. My friends call me Hilo! My family was SAMURAI people till 150 years before. But I am Japanese Lakota Beads worker now. I start to do beads works 11 years before. 11 years before, the biggest earthquake attacked my Kobe City. I lost a lot of..... also my hope. Then I went to the Pine Ridge rez. for look for something important for me. Then I met a Lakota old women. She told that I have to become beads worker. Then she asked me to follow their culture. So I have learned really hard and have propagated their culture. So now, a lot of Japanese people visits the reservation, and interested in their culture and craft. I become the most famous Japanese beads worker now.
But Asian people's craft is recognized "cheap". in USA. Actually, made in China or some other Asian country's crafts are tend to cheap. Also Japanese WERE. But it is not cheap today. Remain Lexus. That is Japanese car. Moreover our monetary value is same or hight with USA's. Actually, Our Japanese price is higher than price of NY! But everyone tend to think my items should cheap....... so they surprise to hear my price. But it is not higher than rez. prices. I hope to export my item to USA in the future. It is my dream.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


I tried to scrape on my pvc beam today with wet scraper. It could shaved remained fat but I couldnot scrape off membran. The blade did not bite. So I gave up and returned to the Safety Acid. I intend to degrease tomorrow by Rittel's degreaser. And after soak in the degreaser, I will go to coin car beauty space and try to use power wash. I wish it will work well to cut grease and perhaps........ I am glad if the power wash will bite the membran.
I am worrying about my bear's smell. It begin to smell. It is not so strong now, and like as old fat going to decay?????? ...... smell like a back street of Chinese restaurant...... lol. I thought the bear smell is grease smell then it would be decrease when the hide submerged in the acid pickles but actually, it is increasing. So I become anxiety. Perhaps, I didn't fleshed well?????? I will degrease tomorrow so perhaps the smell would be decrease after that. Rittel's method tell that the fur should buck to acid pickles after it would be degreased.... but I don't wish to buck it. Because the pickle smell well. The same smell.

I introduce my wife. Her name is Yuki. I love her. We married Sep. 2005.

She is eating ODEN. Japanese winter food.

Monday, December 18, 2006

2 collaborate items and about my tanning project

I made 2 collaborate items.

This is a shoulder type bag. A Japanese leather item brand whom name is WHOL made this bag. And I did beads work only.

This is......... as you see........ lol. Sorry, This is the cap of a Japanese silver smith brand whom name is SUNSHINE STUDIO. I did beads work only too.

By the way, perhaps you already know, I am tanning a Japanese black bear. We call the Japanese black bear as "TSUKINOWAGUMA". Because they have white hair around their throat. It looks like new moon. "TSUKI" means the Moon in our word, "NO" means "of", "WA" is ring or circle, then "GUMA (KUMA) means "bear". At first, I intended to tan by brain tan method. Then I start to study how to do.......... to ask my benefactor..... she is also my American big sister..... whom name is Quill...... and bought and read some English books. I met with Quill at Mr. Matt Richard's brain tan site. And I also met another benefactor....... her name is Paulette. She recommended to use chemical method because the hair on bear is really difficult even if the tanner is expert. I reacted against her advice at first. But I carefully thought about it....... and asked to Quill.... how does she think....... Then I decide to use her recommended method. It is to use the products of Rittel's Tanning Supply. So I did email the company and Mr, Rittel gave me personally and really sincerely advices. Then I start to tan it from Nov. 22. I will write about my progress till today in the near day but the bear have been submerged in the Rittel's Safety Acid Pickles while this 2 days. Then tomorrow, it would be 3 clear days from start to submerge, I will try to scrape again the membran which still left on. And submerge it again. I will use wet scraper on the pvc beam.

The backside bear is mine. She is this early autumn female bear. She haunt to human village which lot of people live in. Then the governor decide to exterminate her and ask to my friend who is "MATAGI" (Japanese bear hunter) people. MATAGI people hunt bear not for fun. They hunt for their life. So they value hold a memorial service for killed bear. I don't want to use killed animal..... for human's joy...... We Japanese value spiritual. So I stickle how died the animal. Maybe, you can understand.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

English blog start

Hi, I'm Japanese most famous Lakota beads worker. OGLALA is my brand name.
I've kept 2 Japanese blogs. 1 is my private blog, and other is kept about my works. These are Japanese pages but you can see pictures. If you interested in, visit.
I intend....... to keep both on this blog. Private and business.

I am 37 years old and live with my wife and baby My wife is 27 years old and spitz is only 3 months! He is really lovely but too naughty!! Yeah, I know, it is no other way because he is only baby....... but he is really naughty. I wish to show you. You wish? OK, I will post some pictures on this blog.

This is called as TURTLE MINI PORCH. I make 2 pcs. yesterday before. I made a knife sheath on the same day. Yes, I am hard worker!!..... lol
It is a kind of small necklace. Sages in it. You can put stone or small fetish in it, or perhaps it is good for salt in. Because we Japanese people use salt for charm like as sage for Lakota people.