Friday, May 23, 2014

Japan Purchases!

It's really hard not to buy everything here, as you can probably imagine.  So having my paycheck come 2 months after beginning work makes things infinitely more difficult.  But I did have to buy a lot of things because I moved to this (mostly) empty apartment with only 2 suitcases of my belongings.  I'm not going to post about every single kitchen utensil I bought though, so no worries.  These are just the highlights.

♡ Pink Desk 

My apartment is starting to look soooo cute!

Most people in my training group got apartments with chairs and a desk.  I however, was not one of the lucky ones.  So, like any normal person would do, I used this as an opportunity to buy more cute things.  Behold, the pink and cute Ikea-style build it yourself desk (approx 3,600 yen) from Amazon jp that I am going to cry about having to leave behind once I find out how much it will cost to ship it home (featuring one of my 700 yen chairs and my 300 yen Rilakkuma rug).

♡ Heart Chairs 

These chairs I bought from Amazon Japan are so cute but rather tiny.   I shouldn't have been so surprised because they were only 700 yen.

♡ My Melody Mug 

It's some kind of custom to bring a mug with you when you work at a school so that you can partake in the communal coffee and green tea so I bought this cute My Melody one from Harajuku Kiddyland 
(~600 yen).

♡ Liz Lisa Dress 

Liz Lisa brand is very cute but also expensive.  But I have found some amazing items at a seriously low price in the resale shop in the mall in my city!  This dress makes me feel like a doll~

♡ Liz Lisa Pants 

Look how cute these pants are!  They were only 1,500 yen!! 

I love the lace details and the scalloped edging and...

...especially the bow accents on the back pockets!

♡ Bunny Umbrella 

It rains a lot here so I bought this amazing umbrella at Don Quixote (best store) for ~800 yen.  It doesn't really look like an umbrella though, does it?

The umbrella is cleverly disguised as a bunny~

I love how cute it looks when I keep it on my backpack. 

I have bought some cosmetic items here but I'm thinking that might be a post of its own eventually.

That's all for this post.  As always, please comment or write to me with any questions you may have!  Thanks for reading! 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Japan Goals!

I have already been to Japan before but it was only for a short period of time.  Now I have a whole year to try a lot of new things!  Here is my list of goals that I will keep adding to and updating upon completion of each item.  Some of these might be a stretch but it's okay!  We'll see what I can do.
  • See a Japanese musical group live (ideally Kyary, Perfume or Babymetal)
  • Win a toy from a crane machine
  • Play pachinko
  • Go scuba diving
  • Get street snapped by some publication
  • Visit Studio Ghibli Museum
  • Make some new Japanese friends
  • Go to a fashion event in Tokyo
  • Get my hair done at Viva Cute Candy salon
  • Go to Tokyo Toy Show
  • Go to Tokyo Disneyland and/or Disney Sea
  • Climb Mt. Fuji
  • Climb Mt. Takao and/or Mt. Oyama
  • Visit Hakone
  • Visit Nikko
  • Visit Kinkakuji
  • Visit Hiroshima
  • Visit Okinawa

What do you want to do in Japan?  Let me know in comments because I bet you have some good ideas I might want to steal. n_~

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

My Favorite Tokyo Fashion Icons

I grew up thinking fashion wasn't something fun.  What "fashion" was to the people living where I grew up was something along the lines of Juicy brand tracksuits, UGGs and anything with Tory Burch's logo on it.  I didn't understand why people could possibly be interested in fashion because what I thought fashion was didn't interest me and I thought it was all like this.  But I'm happy to say I have changed my opinion of fashion and it's all thanks to Japan!

Japan has really strong traditions that are very strict about what you can and can't wear.  For example, tattoos have an association with Yakuza, organized crime, so there is a big stigma against it.  But because of strict rules like the ones against tattoos, interesting fashion trends evolve.  In this case, tattoo tights, sheer tights with designs printed on them to resemble tattoos, have become very popular in Japan (see Avantgarde).  A lot of people say they can really only feel like their true selves when they color their hair and dress how they want and the most welcoming place for that in Japan is Tokyo and Harajuku especially.  There is a perception that everyone in Japan is open to that kind of style but that isn't true at all.  Similar to how colored hair and certain piercings and tattoos are unacceptable in business situations in America, it's more or less the same in Japan just infinitely more strictly enforced with a stronger stigma.

There are various publications both in print and online that take street snaps, photos of people whose style they like, and publish them.  I have discovered the following people through street snaps on Tokyo Fashion and otherwise.  I really love the way these people dress and I hope that you do too.

♡ Kumamiki 

Kumamiki's Kawaii Fashion in Harajuku
More photos here

Look how cute she is!! Kumamiki always looks amazing but one of my favorite things about her, besides how colorful all her outfits are, is that she designs her own clothing.  Her clothing line is called Party Baby and there's a really cute video about it here.  She also makes her own Youtube videos that are really cute but they're mostly in Japanese.

♡ Christina 

Christina from Harajuku Fashion Walk
More photos here.

Christina really stands out in street snaps not only because she isn't Japanese, but because she pulls off colorful Harajuku fashion so well!  I especially love her yellow glasses.  Christina has always been inspiring to me because as a Canadian, she moved to Japan to study Japanese and became so good at the language that she is currently attending Bunka fashion college here in Japan!  I'm so excited that Tokyo Fashion is starting a video series on her too.  You can watch the first part here!

♡ Chun 

Antique & Cult Party Style in Harajuku
More photos here.

Chun's style is so cute!  I followed her on Instagram immediately after seeing her photos.  I really love the way she dresses and wish I had half as much skill in coordinating an outfit.

♡ Juria Nakagawa 

Juria Nakagawa in Harajuku
See more photos here.

Although Juria has kind of been on the down low lately, I remember her being one of the first people whose style I was really interested in.  Her street snaps were always my favorite.  I hope she makes a comeback soon.

♡  Elleanor 

Labrat Sweater in Harajuku

Elleanor's street snaps are really cute and I love the way she always has really unique accessories.  She's really popular now for her video series through Tokyo Fashion.  It's in English too so check it out here!  Her videos are a really good way to start learning about fashion in Tokyo.  I got to meet her while she was in New York (and again in Japan~) and she's really nice too!

That's all for this post.  I recently took a trip to Harajuku and went to a local festival but I want to make a video of the festival just iMovie isn't the same as it was 6 years ago when I last used it! I was thinking about using Youtube but I'll have to figure all of that out first.  As always, feel free to ask questions/leave comments below or in my!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

New Foods: April Edition

I feel like it's a little soon to write about my job because I've only been working a few short weeks  Though I will say it's going well and a lot more fun than I had anticipated.  Anyway,  this is a post about food!  I'm a pescataraian and although my diet is limited by it, I don't consider myself a picky eater.  I love Japanese food but I have been sticking to what I like until recently.  I have made a point to try and branch out and eat new things more often.  I intend to make this a reoccurring post type in a series.  So, I present you with new foods for April!  (eaten during April though published in May)

こんにゃく (konnyaku / konjac)

This vegetable is rather common in Japanese food, particularly in oden, a Japanese hotpot soup.  I recall last time I was in Japan, I asked what it was and a friend translated it to "devil's tongue" which meant absolutely nothing to me so I wasn't ever clear on what it was.   After some Googling, I learned that konjac happens to be a root vegetable.   Konjac is gelatinous by nature but less like your typical jello because it's rather dense.  I imagine many people are probably put off by that kind of texture.  In addition to being an ingredient in oden, it's also often made into noodles that are used in sukiyaki (yet another type of Japanese hotpot).  My favorite bar in my city serves konjac on skewers with miso sauce and it's really good!

わらび餅 (warabi mochi)

Next is another creepy jelly food so if you're not into those, you've come to the wrong place.  Mochi is the ever popular Japanese rice cake.  Many Americans only know it as served with ice cream filling but guess what... it's not as common here in Japan as you think.

This type of mochi is actually not made of rice, but instead of bracken starch.  I'm honestly not entirely sure what that is either but it tastes good to me so I don't really care.  It actually looks kind of creepy like frogs eggs but I promise it's really not gross tasting!

This is what the one I had looked like when I bought it from the grocery store.
The grocery store one came with kinako (soybean powder) and some kind of sweet sauce.  It's often sold looking like this one below though so you can't even tell that it's some clear jelly thing.

おかか (okaka)

I usually stick to the same convenience store onigiri (rice balls) because sometimes the labels are difficult for me to read.  However, my new dictionary app is helping me conquer that so I tried a new flavor- okaka!  The name of this probably sounds gross to most people but again, it really isn't a gross thing or else I wouldn't be eating it again and again.  Okaka is seasoned bonito (or tuna) flakes.  I'm not sure if that made it sound any less strange to you.  It tastes smokey and I think it's my favorite onigiri filling now!  I recommend trying it if you have the chance.

Maple Margarine Sandwich

If you ever wanted a sandwich that tasted like pancakes, Japan has granted your wish for you.  I ate it cold and the margerine was gross and too much but a friend suggested heating it first.  I believe that would help, but I'm not sure I'm ready to try this one again honestly.

Galbo Mini

Japanese candy is the best candy!  This is a new one I tried and I can't even properly describe what it is.  It has a chocolatey center with a flavored candy outside but it's not hard like a M&M is.  The strawberry one is my favorite.  I don't know why it's called Galbo Mini or if there is even a Galbo Large counterpart... If there is, I want to know about it because these are soooo small and I always want more than what comes in the package.

おじや (ojiya)

I had never even heard of ojiya until I tried it on Tuesday.  My friend Elleanor works at a socks store called Circus in Harajuku and I visited her at work.  My friend Megan and I went next door to an ojiya restaurant with her during her lunch break.  Ojiya is a Japanese rice porridge type food but the cafe referred to it as "risotto" which may be a more accurate translation.  Megan and I split a plain one (you can choose to add toppings though) and we liked it a lot.  This is what it looks like but I don't have a picture of the exact one I ate.  It came with seaweed, a sausage that looked kinda like an octopus and a fried piece of bread that had some sugar on it.

I stole this photo from a random person's blog

That's it for this post.  I have a few other post ideas in mind.  I think my next one might be about my favorite Japanese Harajuku fashion icons.  As always, any questions or blog post suggestions are welcome both in the comments and over here at my!