Monday, May 2, 2016


A guide to the transformative technology of hiba wood + an interview with the Japanese holistic medicine line from Studio Cue LA . . .

H I B A   W O O D  |  the essential oil extracted from this rare Japanese wood—which can take up to 300 years to mature—is your next arsenal in fighting bacteria, airborne contaminants, reducing anxiety, + taming skin conditions like eczema. 

The Golda line of hiba wood has an especially potent version of hiba wood products. The line draws their oil from the Hiba trees in Aomori, Japan, which are unique to other Hiba trees grown around the world. Studies have found that the compound Hinokitiol—found only in Aomori Hiba Oil—is effective against multi-strain and resistant microbes and has deodorising properties. It can also be used as an insect repellent against termites, mites, cockroaches, fleas, spiders, and mosquitos, an increasing concern for many with the Zika virus. 

The duo of Qi therapist Keiko Matsuo + photographer Tsugu Wada has been concentratedly offering this sacred Japanese oil through their apothecary line Golda at Studio Cue LA, for which they source their hiba wood directly from Tsugu's hometown of Aomori, Japan. The oil is then thoughtfully blended + curated into a line of atmosphere mists, geometric soaps, incense, +  green tea so fine that it's having its own post coming soon on Thirlby . . .

M A K E R S  +  M O V E R S :  S T U D I O   C U E   L . A .

Q | Tell us a little bit about you and what inspired you to start your line. How do you and Tsugu combine art with Japanese holistic principles?
I started my career as shiatsu masseuse in Japan. After meeting so many people stressed in their busy life, I wanted to create a space where they can rest (name "cue" is from kanji character 休 which means to "rest") and release their stress. We feel that beautiful art, scent, and music are essential for relaxation. So we decided to create warm handmade products little by little by ourselves.

Q | Tell us a little bit about hiba hood and its medicinal effects. Why this particular ingredient?

I realized this scent can bring me to the deep woods instantly wherever I was, and had a strong link to the goal of my therapy sessions. Clarity, security, peace. So I decided my research. This wood is originally from my husband Tsugu's home town Aomori. This particular Hiba only grows in the cold Aomori, where these 300 year old trees are covered in snow for at least five months every year. This is how I got hooked to Aomori Hiba, which was 14 years ago.

Q | Do you have a ritual for making and using your products?

When I am making the products, I add "qi" and love for one moment, hoping that when this product reaches someone's hand, it would heal him/her, and bring something good to that person. 

Q | When you are not working on your line, what else do you like to do?
Keiko | holistic healing therapist for twenty five years
Tsugu | film photographer for twenty eight years, still printing his photos in a dark room and is a "print master" according to Keiko.

Q | What keeps you going? Do you have a daily routine or a mantra?

We meditate first thing in the morning. Tsugu has been doing this for 26 years, Keiko has been doing this for 30 years. Everyday.

Q | What are some of your favourite snacks or foods that fuel your creative process?

Water with good energy

Q | What are your three staples for glowing health?
Enjoy; laugh; be thrilled and moved!

Q | What are your go-to products in your holistic medicine cabinet?
Aomori Hiba Essential Oil

Q | What is your next big vision for Studio Cue?
I think there is more than enough information out there that will make your physical body better. We want to continue to focus on creating products that will fulfill someone's heart. It would be great if we could uplift and bring happiness to someone that is sad or hurt.