Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What to do in NYC Next Weekend!

It just occurred to me that so many people who aren't from the New York area are coming to see Kyary next weekend.  One of my Tumblr followers asked me for recommendations of things to do so I thought it would be fun to come up with a whole list of what's going on in case other people are interested.  This list includes art shows, stores and places to eat that aren't really tourist standards that I think Kyary fans would enjoy.

Junko Mizuno and David Cook at The Cotton Candy Machine

I have been looking forward to this ever since Junko tweeted at me personally after I bought one of her original pieces this summer telling me that she was preparing for a show here.  My heart definitely stopped beating for a second.  Her shows have been primarily in California so this is a rare treat.  Also what a dream that I am going to be working this opening event too!  David Cook is also a fantastic artist so it's definitely worth stopping by to see this show and pick up a cute art thing or two if you can't make the opening.  The opening event is Friday March 7, 7-11 PM but the show runs until April 1st.  Read more here.

Sebastian Masuda's Colorful Rebellion Seventh Nightmare at Kianga Ellis Projects

Yet another absolutely amazing and well-timed art installation.  Sebastian is the owner of the Japanese clothing line/store 6%Dokidoki.  This exhibition is described as being a self-portrait project with 7 different zones within the gallery representing the 7 deadly sins.  I am going to the opening tomorrow and couldn't be more excited.  The process photos have been crazy so I can't wait to see what it looks like it person.  There seems to be some confusion from people interested in this event.  This show, as well as the one at Cotton Candy Machine above are free admission because these are at galleries, not museums!  The exhibition runs from February 28th-March 29th at Kianga Ellis Projects.  There is more event information on this Facebook page including the dates and times that 6% shop girl Yuka will be performing at the gallery.  This is a definite must-see for every Kyary fan!

Kinokuniya Bookstore

Kinokuniya is one of my favorite places in New York City and it's just a 10 minute walk from Best Buy Theatre.  On the entry level, you can find art and fashion books, travel guides for Japan, English books and some toys.  The bottom floor of the store has a bunch of cute stickers, craft items, stuffed animals, childrens' books, Japanese novels, and magazines.  And of course, the top floor is where you can find rows of manga both in English and Japanese, CDs, DVDs and anime toys.  There is also a small cafe and a sitting area where you can purchase food and drinks.  It's really difficult for me to go in there and leave empty handed.  Consider that a warning.

St. Marks Place / East Village Area

There are so many shops and restaurants here that I can recommend.  Search and Destroy, pictured above, is a totally unique store with lots of secondhand items.  It mostly doesn't have anything I would want to wear, but it's worth going in just for the experience that I'm not going to spoil by describing here.  Below it is Kenka, my favorite izakaya style bar.  It too has an interesting interior design that will make you feel like you're somewhere in the Japanese underground.  The menu includes Japanese staples such as onigiri and ramen as well as some things that are more out of the ordinary including...bull testicles...?  The best part is that they give you some sugar to make a cotton candy after you pay for your food.  For more shopping, Trash & Vaudeville is a staple.  In fact, Kyary went there last time she was in New York and it's included in her tour documentary.  Think Hot Topic but if Hot Topic was 100x cooler.  Toy Tokyo is an awesome toy store that's located on 1st just a block or two off of St. Marks.  They sell art toys, plushies, and have a bunch of rare collectors items.

For other food places, there is Japadog (Japanese style hot dogs), and multiple bubble tea places though I am personally a fan of TKettle's strawberry black tea.  Another one of my favorite places to eat is Udon West, where I usually get a set that includes negitoro don and udon soup for what I think is about $8.  There are endless restaurants of different types both on and around St. Marks. My favorite two ramen places are Ramen Setagaya and Ramen Misoya which both offer vegetarian options.  Misoya has several vegetarian options while Setagaya has only one but they're all excellent.

My diet includes an extraordinary amount of Asian food so that's a lot of what I mentioned but if you don't want Japanese food, I highly recommend Indian restaurant Milon which is another place with an unforgettable interior design job.  The whole inside is covered in holiday lights.  I went there for lunch for the first time last week and had a special that included a samosa, soup, and a main dish with rice which only cost me $10 including tip!

I could honestly go on for ages about places in this area because it's where I spend most of my time so if you have any questions, just ask and I would be happy to help.

More Food!

Endless food recommendations because it's one of the best parts of New York.  East Japanese Restaurant is a kaiten (conveyor belt) sushi place that is super affordable and a lot of fun.  There is more than one New York location too.  I used to work for them and I got all the free sushi and I would still eat there again so that says something.

Here are a few places in lower Manhattan:  Mimi and Coco is such a cute little restaurant owned by two Japanese girls.  They specialize in takoyaki-type food items that they call "teriyaki balls".  I love the ones with the potato filling.  Eight Turn Crepe is a yummy Japanese crepe place in SoHo that I also love.  And if you're on a super budget, Vanessa's Dumplings is awesome because you can get 8 dumplings for like $3.  I think the prices on this website are wrong because I definitely only spent $6 last time on 8 dumplings and a egg and chive pancake.  There are multiple locations in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn.

I hope this helps some of you out when you're in town for Kyary next week.  Maybe I will see you around too. n_n  As always, comment if you have any questions and I will be more than happy to help you out.

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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Important Updates

I have been holding out on sharing this information for a while because of professional reasons, but I finally quit my job so I don't have to be quiet anymore.  I got a job teaching English in Japan and I'm leaving in about a month!

I will be living in a city called Odawara in the Kanto region.  It's about an hour from Yokohama and an hour and a half from Tokyo!  I don't know what age students I will be teaching or what my apartment will be like either yet but I'm pretty excited.  I'm going to post here a lot more plus I am setting up a blog where I can post all my photos.  When it's all set up, I will be sure to post the links here.  If you have anything you want me to write about my experience in Japan, type it in the ask box on the left of my page, post a comment, or send it here.

There are still a couple cool things I'm doing that I plan to write about before I leave including: Sebastian Masuda's art exhibition in New York that's opening this Thursday, the final Vivian Girls show ever this weekend and Junko Mizuno's art show in Brooklyn.

Anyway, that's it for now.  Thanks for following me!

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

How to Get Through Bad Days/Weeks/Months

When I feel upset for a long period of time, I have noticed that it's often because I have this feeling of worthlessness that permeates through every part of my life.  Sometimes my bad mood is triggered by a time I didn't do my best or didn't get what I wanted.  Other times, like when I would come home from school during breaks,  it starts because I am genuinely bored and lonely.  The underlying issue consistently is that I feel like I have no purpose.  So in order to feel better about myself and my life, I try to give myself some kind of purpose.

As someone who has struggled with depression,  I will be the first to admit that it can be very difficult to get through just a day sometimes.  Through my years of pushing past these feelings, these are some of the things I have learned to do to help me get through it.  I hope some of these are helpful to any of you who are feeling like you're in a bad place.

Take Time Off
Make sure you take time by yourself to do whatever you need to do.  This is important!! As good as it is to get out of the house when you're feeling bad, alone time is also necessary.  Don't force yourself into social obligations if you truly don't feel up to it.  You'll know when it's right.

Dress Up
Once you're through wallowing in bed, getting out of your pajamas and getting dressed can make you feel tons better even if you don't plan on leaving your house.  Wear your favorite outfit and try out a new makeup routine.  If you think you look good, chances are you will feel good too.

Take a Bath
"There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them."  Don't knock it just because Sylvia Plath said it.  She was a smart lady with her own set of struggles.  If anything, it just proves she knew what's up.  I recall an instance where I went and bought one of those fancy Lush bath bombs that had heart-shaped confetti in it and felt like a new person after weeks of feeling bad.  It was worth every penny but honestly any bath will do.

Set Small Goals
It's always really satisfying to check something off your to-do list.  Start at the smallest little things that you know you can accomplish and then make the tasks more difficult. Sometimes I just start off with one goal for the day that I know I can follow through with.  It gives me a reason to get up and out of bed and then there's the added feeling of pride when the task has been completed.

Think About the Future
No, not in a super scary way that will make you anxious- don't do that! Instead, make a list of some upcoming events that you're looking forward to.  Whenever I have a bad day, I think of all the things that I am looking forward to and it just gives me a reason to get past everything that's getting me down.  Write a list to keep on you.  Put the dates on your calendar for reference.  If you can't possibly think of anything coming up, that just means you're going to have to make plans.

Go Out
Only when you think you're up to it, make sure you make plans and go outside of your room.  Text a friend and make plans to meet even if it's just for coffee.  It's important to engage yourself in activities so that your mind doesn't wander back to sad thoughts.  If you would like to engage in more of a commitment, consider looking into a volunteer position.  People do need you and they're expecting you to show up because you matter.  However, don't overwhelm yourself with social obligations and make sure you stick to what's comfortable for you at the time.

Buy a Thing
I'm not trying to encourage a shopping addiction but I will say that ordering something online especially has done wonders for me.  It's a little dramatic, but I'm really excited to get through a week or two if I'm expecting something in the mail.  Plus whatever it is that comes in the mail might make you feel better about yourself for a while too.  Consider it a well deserved award for getting through a couple of days.

I hope some of these were helpful to you! Comment below with some of the ways that you feel better when you're feeling down.  I'd love to hear them because I'm sure they'll be useful to me sooner or later.

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