A Glimpse into Ayumi Hamasaki’s Lavish Personal Life

NTV variety show “Konya Kurabete Mimashitarecently provided a look into the luxury lifestyle of singer Ayumi Hamasaki. Hosted by Yoshimi Tokui, Terumoto Goto, SHELLY and HKT48 Rino Sashihara, the 2-hour special also guested comedian Tomochika and Nora Hirano.

In the opening segment called “Ayu Block“, the host peeled pieces off a board to reveal personal pictures from Hamasaki’s personal life from her lifestyle book released in 2014 (all of which was filmed ahead of her house photo drama earlier this week).

Weekly magazine FLASH reported earlier this week that Hamasaki recently sold her 5-floor Aoyama mansion to move to the high-class Tokyo residential area Denenchofu, a district in Ota Ward in southern Tokyo famously home to other celebrities such as avex CEO Max Matsuura, Hiroshi Itsuki and former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama. The district includes many detached suburban homes built in a variety of styles, including Japanese neo-classical, Swiss cottages, Edwardian villas and modern architectural designs.

The mansion that sources say Hamasaki paid 1 billion yen in cash for was built on land that exceeds 900 square meters, and is reportedly adjacent to Matsuura’s former residence.

Hamasaki’s newly moved-in three-story home boasts a 60-tatami mat “party room” and 50-tatami mat guest room (In Japan, the size of a room is often measured by the number of tatami mats which roughly equate to 1.65 square meters each).  As the mansion was built towards the end of the economic bubble in 1992, marble is abundantly used inside (which is something Hamasaki’s mother loves, as they live together).

Living Room


Every morning, she calls her yoga instructor over to practice the physical, mental and spiritual discipline with a friend (presumably Timmy Wellard?). She corrects the host, saying this is her “training room”.

Bath Time


Ayumi Hamasaki is a known bath fanatic. The program showed off her gorgeous circular bath tub, which was lined with candles and filled with rose petals and rose-tinted water

I like drawing a bath, I like choosing bathtubs, and I like buying bathtubs,” Hamasaki said. She’s crazy about baths.

Staff


Ayu brought 25 staff members to the taping of the episode, including managers, record company officials, and her glam squad:

  • 7 Managers
  • 5 Record Company Officials
  • 4 Stylists
  • 4 Hair & Makeup Staff
  • 2 Trainers
  • 1 Costume Designer
  • 1 Eyelash Extension Specialist
  • 1 Esthetician

She clarifies her trainers are around for standby (when there is free time between filming, as filming can go on for a while). According to comments left by industry insider “ProllyWild” in the comment section of the previous post, this is a normal amount of staff for a celebrity of her magnitude who does not do variety appearances often.

Shoe Collection

Ayumi Hamasaki’s designer shoes are not really for wearing, but rather for decoration as she likes looking at them. She doesn’t know how many she has.

She seemingly doesn’t like wearing them—she usually only wears sandals when she lives her day-to-day life.

Garden

She literally floored the hosts when a picture of her with her Yorkshire Terriers Oreo and Kokoa were shown.

Did you go to a National park or something?

It’s my own garden.

Built on her rooftop, she is sitting on a structure that looks like a pond with its reflection—but it’s really a skylight (window) into the floor below.

Dogs

Ayu loves her small dogs. She has five at her home, and often brings them along with her on tour:

  • Kure
  • Choko
  • Oreo
  • Kokoa
  • Papiko

Sunglass Collection


Ayu showed off her shelves of sunglasses, of which she has three cases of.

Bag Collection


A picture is shown of Ayu’s collection of Chanel bags arranged on steps in a small hallway with mirrored walls.

Ayu’s Influence

Besides her personal life, the show looked at her impact as a celebrity.

Incomes a pop-up nostalgia board where they talk about Ayu’s impact on pop culture, showing clips of her debut video “pokerface” and the covers of her second studio album “Loveppears“. She was so big that when she released a new song, there were huge lines at record stores. When an album was delayed, avex’s stocks would plummet.

The Fall of Ganguro with the Gyaru Boom

Using the dark skin-toned “Appears” single cover as a transitional topic, they note Ayu’s come-up in the late 90’s and early 2000’s coincided with the rise of Gyaru fashion which she helped further popularize.

Eyebrow comedian Nora Hirano, who is the same age as Ayu, talked about her days as a Gyaru, stanning for Ayu’s 2000 hit “Vogue“.

Bedazzling

They talk about her being known for bedazzled phone cases. She admittedly now uses a plain phone case and doesn’t really use her phone.

Being on Everything

In her heyday, she monopolized literally every magazine cover at one point. Talent only.

The promotion for “A Best” was extensive. Between March and April 2001, Hamasaki appeared in over 40 magazines.

Queen of Patterns

She is credited with popularizing leopard print in Japan, as well as Camo and Zebra.

Furry tails

Her Tail Charm in the “Evolution” music video single-handedly revolutionized fashion.

  • Comments

    • AoZora

      I now understand that “ProllyWild” is PR agent of Ayumi Hamazaki. That’s the reason he/she was campaigning so fiercely for Ayu in the last post… I have to stay away from such people… They don’t represent a music consumer like me and usually here for PR…

      I have a feeling that this article was posted by “ProllyWild” …

      • I don’t think so at all. Not to theorize about commenters on this site, but I don’t think that user has any relation to Ayu. And whoever they are, they’re just speaking from their own first-hand experiences working in Japan (and provide really great, spot-on insight tbh).

        Also, I posted it.

      • ProllyWild

        Haha AoZora, you have the strangest beef against anyone that doesn’t share your narrow opinions. Haha the only point I defended was that her staff numbers are normal for someone of her status and the rarity of her public appearances.

        All those bags and baths and marble and shit, that’s proof of diva ass extra shit. She probably doesn’t need, probably rarely uses any of it, and if she’s smart she’ll sell the land her house is on for decent money and movie to some other country like gackt did. That way if her ears go to shit, and she does retire, she won’t be bleeding money out at Tokyo prices post 2020 olympics.

        You want me to criticize ayu to make you happy? Easy. She’ll likely never settle into a cozy spot like matsuda seiko or any of those 80s generation idols because ayu doesn’t have dinner show appeal, and she can’t do arenas forever. I know she wants to be like madonna be she’s still in her 30s and she has another 20 years she has to think about. She needs to get smart about how she’s gonna handle the next decades of her life.

        Right now she’s making money and she’s considered a legend in the biz, but she’s on the tail end of a wave that ended. Good luck to her.

        Also, that house was a bad buy. a bubble era house is generally a shit investment because they’re hard to resell, they’re not up to the best code for earthquake protection and the style is sooooo out of trend now that she’ll likely have to tear down that house and just sell the land in the end.

        • ProllyWild

          And one more thing, unlike the west PR companies are still rare for Japan. For the music biz promotions are managed by the labels and management who have sway. Japan is not in the trend of having private PR firms for artists as it conflicts with the interests of labels and how they operate their business.

          So no, I’m not ayu’s PR person because she doesn’t likely have one other than avex staff, and avex could give 3 shits about what people in this comments section think.

          Any other theories you’d like to share?

          Maybe I am ayu!? ;) *scandal*

          • AoZora

            Ufff such a lengthy paragraph… Please go ahead and call me narrow minded or whatever, but that may not be necessarily the truth.. Your explanation in the previous post was not convincing at all… Just because I didn’t agree to you, doesn’t make me whatever you called me… Damn Ayu, I don’t care what people say about her whether criticism or praise… I was never her fan back then neither now… That doesn’t make me her hater either.. Those cutesy acts by her or anyone else hardly appeal to me…
            By the way PR agents do exist in other countries for some of the Celebrities of Japan to take care of the promotions over there and they do snoop Arama.. I have encountered two such..

            This will be my last reply to you,as you are hardly credible to me and neither do I have time and energy to reply to such an intelligent mind…. And yes go ahead and have a good laugh at me or whomever .. Laughter is the best medicine*

            • ProllyWild

              I have no idea what you meant to convey by this response. I can only assume you’re backing off because your just not satisfied with the results of our interaction.

              It’s fine, I don’t need to convince you of facts. They’re true whether you believe them or not.

              Clarification since you seem to misunderstand though, PR agents are not a big thing for Japan, in the Japan market. I am familiar with cases of some companies hiring out to PR firms abroad when they plan activities abroad, but the concept of PR agents for artists in Japan for Japan are rare. The industry is built yet to support that kind of promotion because the flow of money and influence favors publishers, labels and management. Independent agents have very little sway, not the financial resources to bring results.

              Anyways, any time you want to challenge my credibility with facts rather than “two pr agents” you know, I’m welcome to help you better understand the music industry you’re following but seem to be ignorant about.

              Have a nice day.

              • AoZora

                By the way I am not running away. I am still firm on what I have said but you
                are free to think otherwise. The reason I said I will not reply anymore because this discussion was heading nowhere.. Any sane person will know when to end a discussion. And please for your convenience don’t call me a coward. If you want to have a last laugh then do so.. Some times people feel victorious after belittling others.

                Regarding your knowledge about the music industry, I don’t need one.

                • ProllyWild

                  Are you ok? You seem to jump to odd conclusions and seem to often put words in my mouth. I never called you a coward.

                  That’s fine. If I recall the basics of our conversation, you believe ayu is a diva with too many staff, trainers should stay in the gym and you believe I am a pr agent for ayu….and no matter what I say you stand firm by all of those points.

                  Fair enough. We agree to disagree.

          • omg i’m so honored to be in the presence of ayu right now

            • ProllyWild

              quick! someone pick me up and carry me to my undecorated smartphone so I can instagram while pretending like I rarely use the internet while i bath in the tears of haters in my large collection of bath tubs!

    • AkaneHaga

      i wonder why she revealing now, retiring?

      • Azrul Hakim

        Might be for Japanese it is auspicious to celebrate anything bicentennial as her career is nearing 20th anniversary (as someone who is a little bit younger than Ayu I feel so old already lol)

      • Ntouch

        Another marriage of course

      • H

        Not now, maybe post 2019 after the 20th anniversary stuff.

      • ProllyWild

        they may be trying to squeeze a way back into kouhaku and media favor. as mentioned by another person here, japan is crazy about celebrating anniversary years and avex may be gearing up for best of albums and box sets. they’ve had a good year with hayashibe satoshi and beverly, but their in-house talent is spotty at best and their old idol picks are drying up. they may be trying to put their bigger names back on the top in media. especially since they seemed to have just finished building their new high rise office building.

    • Ntouch

      When you’re 38 onto 39 and have no kids.

      • starlightshimmers

        Your comment is the only truth.

        I realised Ayu has two failed marriages, and no children, at 39, it’s sad.

        • gibs

          but having kids aren’t everything

          • starlightshimmers

            I never said it was. The main point is that her life is lonely.

            • gibs

              You were saying this is the only truth “When you’re 38 onto 39 and have no kids”. Ayu displaying her wealth & diva-like needs might look pathetic but not having children (& a couple of failed marriages) does not make her life tragic

            • Guest2

              oh please come on you can still have children beyond the age of 39. of course it’s far from ideal, but it’s possible and it happens often enough, so saying it’s too late for her is simply wrong.

        • Bubi.

          No children? Ayu raised me

          • Sabi

            Preach.

        • gerorin

          Nothing wrong with not having children.

          Also she can just spend all her money in her lifetime and not worry about inheriting anything to anybody. Why should she? It’s money she accumulated with her sweat and blood.

          • starlightshimmers

            I never said it was. The main point is that Ayu’s life is lonely. You can’t honestly tell me after two failed marriages, growing up without a father, living with her mum, etc. there is no loneliness.

            • kazu_no_ko

              You’re observation of her life is subjective, not objective. It’s your opinion that her life is tragic. Others will disagree. Personally, I disagree with your assertion that her life is tragic. She’s had to deal with failure, mistakes, and disappointments like everyone else. However, she’s had great successes and accomplishments that few people will ever achieve in their lifetimes. The main difference between Ayu and a non-celebrity is that her life is viewed and judged by a larger audience. The public only sees a small fraction of her life.

              Ayu still continues to move forward instead coming undone by people’s negative opinions of her. She’s commendable because we read articles and hear stories of people who commit suicide due to bullying and negative comments. Imo, being dead is tragic.

            • gerorin

              Not even being defensive, just stating the truth that children and inheritance isn’t everything, and divorces, even two of them, don’t necessarily constitute a ‘tragic life’. This is 2017, divorces aren’t tragic.

              And she can messy all over the tabloid, I’m not even a big fan of her mucus but her drama is top notch.

      • The Dark Dudette

        You CAN live your life without ever having kids. Nothing remotely sad about that. It’s the fact that at 38, she can’t seem to be able to think for herself or do anything not embarrassing is what I consider absolutely tragic.

        • yamakita

          Only dumb people have kids.

          • gibs

            How about your mom?

            • Fuyuko
            • yamakita

              And yours, too. Got anything better?

              • Kusen Goto

                lmao 🗣

              • gibs

                Too? I was asking the question first.

                I’m all for women making their own decisions about their womb. There’s no need to degrade mothers for bearing children just because you don’t see yourself responsible enough to have one.

                • yamakita

                  Oh please, how naive for anyone to think that all women have kids are responsible. Wow.

                  • gibs

                    I didn’t say all women who have kids are responsible. Read again.

                    There’s no need to degrade mothers for bearing children just because you don’t see yourself responsible enough to have one.
                    There are women who became mothers because they have no choice yet there’s no reason to degrade all mothers, including yours.

                    • yamakita

                      Yawn.

                    • yamakita

                      Also, why do you believe this exclusively implies to only women? Think before you give an emotional response. What if I said all people were dumb, intentionally including myself, would that have pleased you more? Don’t be so eager to be offended.

                      • gibs

                        The one’s offended is you for making a dumb blanket statement in the first place. I was not offended btw. Rather I’m entertained :)

                      • yamakita

                        lol. OK.

                      • gibs

                        it got you insulting your own mother, all mothers & yourself. bravo

                      • yamakita

                        I was actually insulting you since you cared so much, Gibs.

              • starlightshimmers

                You literally just said your mom is dumb.

                • yamakita

                  She may be. So may be yours. What’s your point?

    • Bubi.
      • gibs

        She should fire her stylists

        • Azrul Hakim

          Nah, at least we can comfort ourselves that Ayumi is not perfect all the time, lol.

          • gibs

            Eh? She doesn’t need those stylist to remind us she’s not perfect.

            • Azrul Hakim

              You know Japanese entertainment company are quite controlling of their artist’s image and presentation, everything must be perfect, cute and pretty in the eyes of the public, you cannot stumble and showing off your underwear like some Hollywood starlets a few years back lol.

        • Bubi.

          Why do you want me out of my job? All four of us spent hours deciding which button we wanted to leave unbuttoned. Leave us alone! It’s couture.

          • l3012

            HENNY!!

      • STOP!!!

    • H

      No denying her impact. When the shiro Ayu and kuro Ayu posters came out people freaked out.

    • surfboardt

      It could be because Gackt’s house tour pretty much desensitized me, but it actually wasn’t as bad as I expected? (Still not a good look though…)

      • Bubi.

        i googled it and found this weird fan video with the comment “can you send me the location of the GPS or Google Maps, I plan to visit him?”

        • gibs

          That house is not the brand new apartment he showed off in this video. Did he buy 2 properties?

    • yacchaitai

      didn’t she have like 50 magazine covers promoting a best

      • circe154

        Yep. Everything from AnAn to Zipper.

    • Kiroki

      I knew I always liked Hikki better for a reason

    • The Dark Dudette

      I personally have an inexplicable hatred for animal prints. It’s not even because I care about endangered animals, but rather that they look so gaudy and tacky (to me) regardless of who’s wearing them. Ayu, why? Why did you have to popularise hideousness like animal prints, ugly hair and fake eyelashes in Japan?

    • HyperMoot .
      • honey girl

        *saves for future reference*

    • ProllyWild

      “Her Tail Charm in the “Evolution” music video single-handedly revolutionized fashion.”

      i suppose i recall a fashion boom in tails, but i think her impact is better represented by the number of buttplugs with tails that came up after that lol.

    • Shame

      Wow, remind me to never read comments on here again, some of them are so disgusting, idk how you can write that shit without feeling ashamed of yourselves. Do you have to make yourselves feel better about you or smth? So fucking stupid. The comments on this site have just become pure trash over time

      • gibs

        Most of the comments are questions and concern for Ayu really. The only bad ones are the sexist “38 yr old woman without children comment” and the tame dig at her styling (not actually an attacked on her physique/face). I don’t really get your ott anger.

      • Kusen Goto

        ther s like one questionably vile comment on this post, these comments are pretty tame? do you expect comments anywhere outside a dedicated fan site would have overwhelming positive comments? get a clue. learn how to handle seeing your favorite receive a comment that is any less than positive.

    • Karen Khoo

      I thought this only happens in dramas. So many shoes and sunglasses~!

    • Queen_Of_The_Yokai537

      INCOMING AYU FAN: Okay I have such a soft spot for Ayu ( I have all of her old albums on my phone and I still jam to those like if they came out the other day) BUT I am really not liking Ayu’s business decisions with her latest albums and her appearances in these variety shows. I know she is a bit of a diva but these shows are bringing it out in a way that to me does not help her already dwindling image as someone whose music people still want to listen to. Also, THEY NEED TO FIRE HER STYLISTS!!! She looks really ridiculous I am sorry. She should be going for a more mature and classy look and not like those women that want to be perpetually cool. The whole big eyed look was nice when she was younger NOW it just looks plain old scary. Like someone said below, she is spending way too lavishly and should start finding ways to cut her spending so she has enough when she is no longer touring and making albums. I was thinking the other day that she should maybe open up her own training company/school and work as a talent scout. I know that MANY people would pay good money for her to train them because let’s be honest she has an incredible legacy and during her prime her impact was no joke. She knows all about how this business works and I know she has great connections. Those things people don’t forget. Just my 2 cents as someone who LOVES her dearly<3.

      • ChaiChai

        Couldn’t agree more with you. As much as I adore Ayu, it’s just too painful to see what she has become these days… I will stay her fan forever but I’m honestly tired of constantly thinking “oh no, what have you done now…?” whenever she does a bad marketing decision or appears somewhere… maybe adding an image building expert to her 25 staff list would help -.-

        • Queen_Of_The_Yokai537

          That is actually a really great idea! Someone who is not giving her bad advice like “continue to be the Ayu from back in the day” UM NO we need someone who is going to be real and say to her ” GIRL STOP okay you need to do this and this and NOT this”. I feel like if she had that and she stopped being stubborn she could really be in a different state then where she is now.

      • Midori

        I feel much the same. I’m Japanese and grew up with Ayu’s music. I went to every concert I was able to attend, bought all her CDs/DVDs and so much merchandise…and I DON’T regret a thing. Her music still means the world to me, but she started to lose me around the “Party Queen”-era. This album was just terrible. I actually loved her next album “LOVE again” and thought that PQ was just a bad mistake, but sadly that wasn’t the case…Her songs became so bad and I also couldn’t relate to her lyrics anymore and I always LOVED her lyrics. Her tour concept also started to change and I also have to admit that I was sad that so many of her old staff and especially her dancers, who were with her for so long, went away, which is – of course – understandable, because they wanted to do other things or couldn’t keep up anymore physically; I’m a dancer too so I totally understand this, but it was still sad to see them go and it felt like “the end of an era” (sounds dramatic, but yeah…).
        And like you said, I’m also not a big fan of how she is trying to hang on to her youth. She is still young, but she is literally trying to be somebody, who she was more than ten years ago. I stopped following her about two years ago, because I just didn’t want to have bad memories about Ayu. I still listen to her music all the time, watch her old PVs and look to her photobooks. I’ll never sell any of my CDs/DVDs or merchandise of her and will always treasure the time and fun we had together, but yeah…I simply can’t support her anymore.

        Sorry, this was quite a rant, but as a longtime fan, I’m sure you can understand! ^.^

        • Kusen Goto

          her last visually consistent era for me was “NEXT LEVEL” and then her personal life started to overshadow her music career. The quality of her music and visuals up until then is SUCH a treat though and that can never be taken away from her.

          • Midori

            Personally I never cared for her private life too much. I always blocked it out, because I thought: “I love Ayu – the artist, because I don’t really know Ayu – the person.”. For me it was really the drop in the quality of her music/lyrics/performances, which made me stop following her.

            And YES! She really is a legend, even with all the stuff that is going on with her nowadays.

        • HyperMoot .

          well, maybe she’ll come back in greater form one day. Who knows? She doesn’t play in the same league -she could have though, at some point- but I understand how you feel as I’ve experienced the same with Chihiro Onitsuka and God, she went down and down to the sewer, way worse than Ayu. I felt compassion at first, then the cringe thermometer just exploded to the point I was close to disgust. Her latest releases -studio album and live- had me hooked again. She surely won’t be a big name like she was in the early 2000s but at least she’s an artist again and a truly dedicated one.

          That being said, I don’t know Ayu that much, I just have a few home made compilations ripped from a friend’s collection.

          • Midori

            Oh Chihiro! I LOVE HER, but I stopped following her, because it just pained me to see her in such a terrible state.
            I didn’t know she had a new album out. I need to look it up right now!

            • Skai

              I know of Chihiro Onitsuka because she sang the TRICK theme songs but what happened to her? I think I read somewhere that she got really depressed during the height of her career?
              Is that what happened?

          • What happened to Chihiro Onitsuka exactly? THat you are close to disguist?

        • Queen_Of_The_Yokai537

          Please don’t apologize! ^^. I am happy to be surrounded by other Ayu fans hehe<3. You are sooo lucky that you got to experience her concerts, get her photo books and all that merchendise. Being here in the U.S. I could only import her CDs (which were so expensive but whatever LOL) .GIRL I have been listening to her music since I was in the 5th grade! (I am 25 now) so I grew up listening to her music. I have beautiful memories associated with her music but also her lyrics got me through some dark times as well. That was what I loved about Ayu, not only that she was unique and extremely gorgeous but she was an amazing lyricist as well. I found many of the things that she wrote about were so relatable in many ways as well. She was different to other pop stars even if at first glance it didn't seem that way. It is so depressing to me to see her in this state. It is amazing how different my reaction is when it is an Utada Hikaru article that comes out vs. an Ayu article. When it is an Utada Hikaru article I am like "YEEES !!! What is she going to bless my peasent ears with now?!?" but when it's Ayu I am like "Oh God what now. Please lord let it not be another wedding to some random guy nobody knows or is using her to pay his med school!" or "please not another party queenesque album". In regards to party queen that is always the album people mention that ended it for them and in many ways it's true. Lastly, HER HEALTH!!! I don't understand why she is being so stubborn and continuing to screw up her hearing. She needs to seriously reconsider her choices. She has so much potential to do other things, she has a legacy that nobody can argue with! I wish she would stop being afraid! That is what I feel it is, not greed not showing off, fear that people will forget. I wish she would see that if she does continue this then yes maybe people will forget but if she turns things around and leaves a different type of legacy I don't see how people can forget her! Like you, I want my memories of her to NOT turn bad or depressing. I want to remember Ayu as what she is an artist not an artist that went down the wrong path. She does not deserve to do that to herself. The artist whom I owe so much gratitude for singing what my own heart was singing, even if she was in a different country and speaking a different language. Crap now I am freaking emotional LOL X'D alkflakjdflka…Sorry for my long 2nd rant lol XD.

    • honey girl

      Me: I’m only going to spend $50.

      Cashier: Ma’am your total is $237 https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8abf65f2a3d53bc45434d61ec6e0649c83ca9b1152452683bf5f1d7b242376f8.jpg

    • maguro part deux

      Doing yoga on a marbe floor…not a great idea.

    • l3012

      The more I look at her, the more I hate the people responsible for this look.
      It screams ‘I’m still a young woman, can’t you tell?!?!’
      https://media.tenor.com/images/d692b14baa2262abde46b07c5f4bdf84/tenor.gif

    • yamakita

      I guess this explains why she needs to keep hustling. That shoe collection cries of Imelda Marcos.

    • Midori

      That’s the downside of not living in Japan anymore, I can’t watch stuff like this, which would interest me A LOT (long time Ayu-fan!). ~.~

      • Kusen Goto

        it’s on bilibili! im on mobile but just search her name with chinese characters and sort by long recent videos

    • PigeonPop

      “The mansion that sources say Hamasaki paid 1 billion yen in cash”

      I love it. The KonKura segment was brilliant too. I think most of us can sense how much this is destroying her public image, though. She just might pose a threat to Akiko Wada for that coveted “most hated female celebrity” crown if she keeps this variety program campaign going.

    • ʕ→ᴥ←ʔ

      looks tacky.

    • Owari Konoyono

      I saw her on the program, but are there really trainers and stylists in her?
      There are a lot of visual daggy women like her in my neighborhood.
      Would they have trainers and stylists like in Ayu?

    • lymli

      no surprise, forbes says she’s 400 millions us