Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sengen Shrine and Lake Kawaguchi // 静岡浅間神社と河口湖

A few weeks ago, I took a day trip to Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures with some teachers from a school I work at.  This area is close to Mt. Fuji.   First we went to Sengen Shrine in Shizuoka prefecture.  There were many children dressed up for Shichi-Go-San, a coming of age celebration for children who are 3, 5 and 7 years old.


Next, we went to Kachikachi Mountain which was next to Lake Kawaguchi.  We got to take a cute cablecar up the mountain where there was a shrine and a nice view.  We should have been able to see Mt. Fuji really well from there, but it was very cloudy that day.  There is some kind of story about a raccoon and a rabbit associated with the mountain so there were many images of those two animals.


We ate the local Yamanashi food called houtou for lunch but I didn't get a photo.  It's similar to udon soup but served over a burning fire.  Then we went on a walk to see the colorful leaves on the Japanese maple trees.


I had a really good time but was so exhausted by the end of the day.  I recommend visiting this area of Japan because it has a lot of natural beauty- especially during the fall season.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Japan in Film

I finally developed my film from my Tara McPherson Lomo Diana Mini camera!

A photo posted by C∆RLY (@carlycarbonate) on

Some photos came out alright so here are the best ones.  Please take a look!

金閣寺、京都 (Kinkakuji, Kyoto)

原宿 (Harajuku)

群馬県 (Gunma Prefecture)

群馬県 (Gunma Prefecture)

天井山公園 (Tenjo-Yama Park)

I hope to try again with another roll of film soon.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Design Festa 2014

This is really overdue but I felt like I still should make a post about it because it was so much fun!  I went to International Design Festa which is a huge art convention that happens twice a year in Japan.  It takes place at Tokyo Big Sight in Odaiba which is kind of far from me but if course I went anyway.  The event only costs 800 JPY for admission in advance and 1,000 JPY the day of.

he whole building was full of little tables of artists selling their work.  There were also some artists doing live painting and an area for performances.  I didn't bring my camera though but I think it wasn't such a terrible decision just because the event was so hectic and I did not feel like carrying that heavy thing around.

There were really so many cute artists whose work I loved and I took business cards from all of them!  I followed a lot of their twitters so you if you're curious, you can check out this little list I made here.  I'm thinking of doing a write-up on some of them in the future.

I loved this girl who did live painting in a seifuku.  It made me want to try and paint something big too.

Not entirely sure what was going on here but I was down for a photo.

Here are a couple shots of things I bought from artists there!

From the Japan Lover Me booth!  These pins are by Little Miss Paintbrush.

I love this cute little framed embroidery piece. n_n

You can't see it well but it's a gift for my local Japanese friend.  It's a photo holder that looks like a strawberry cake and they even packaged it that way too!!

This pin is amazing but difficult to photograph.  I bought it from this sweet girl who looked like she should be working in the Spank! shop.  She doesn't have a website but her instagram is here.

This event was really so much fun.  I highly recommend going to Design Festa because it's a really inspiring experience.  It's a good way to meet and learn about other artists as well as purchase original artwork at a reasonable price.  I did a lot of gift shopping too.  I spent a lot of money here but it was definitely guilt free because I knew the money I spent was going directly to an independent artist who more than likely was the person I just physically handed my money to.

I had so much fun blogging in Japanese last time around and I will resume that with my next post on my trip to Mt. Fuji so stick around~

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Madoka Magica x earth music&ecology Collection

I decided I want to cover some of the many super cute fashion collaborations that are released in Japan.  Many of these press release type posts are only in Japanese because the brands aren't sold internationally.

I'm a huge fan of magical girl anime series, so I really like Madoka Magica.  If you have never watched it, I highly recommend it in general but especially to people who are into the idea of a cute magical girl series with a darker plot.

I'm all about these winter pieces from the Madoka Magica x Earth Music and Ecology collaboration.  I am one of those people who gets cold often,  so every winter I feel compelled to replenish my warmer clothing collection.  The designs in this series are perfect for anime fans who would like to be a little bit subtle about their interests.  The collaboration items will be released on November 29th.  Check them out!

This Madoka Kaname inspired coordinate is adorable!  I love the subtle references to the anime through the Kyubey pattern in the sweater and the socks that reference Madoka's dress!

The Homura set items are a lot less of an obvious a reference compared to the Madoka ones but still look cozy nonetheless.  The article on SG109 says that the skirt has a soul gem flame embroidery pattern on it but it's difficult to see from this photo.

The overalls in this Kyoko set apparently also have a soul gem inspired pattern on them.  The headband also has an apple design on it and so does the necklace that's also available.

The colors in Mami's set match her dress in the anime really well.  I like this whole outfit, especially the long socks with the dress.

The Sayaka set is a lot different from the rest of them.  The shorts also apparently have a pattern on them that isn't visible from this photo.

I'm excited to see these in person or at least just a more detailed image of some of these items because I'm curious about these details referenced in the descriptions.  The coordinates look cute but it's impossible to see these intricacies in the photos.  I think it was really creative for them to release the graphic I used on top of the characters dressed in their respective new clothing!

I think out of all of the items, I want the Kyubey sweater the most.  What would you choose?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Gudetama Cafe at Yokohama's Village Vanguard Diner

Have you heard about Gudetama, the new addition to the Sanrio team?  Gudetama's name is a combination of the Japanese words "gudegude" ("dead drunk" says my dictionary) and "tamago" (egg).   I think it's reflected pretty well in the illustrations.  Like most Sanrio characters, he is kind of adorable but I think he is a bit stranger than the rest.  Even so, he earned his own themed character cafe and my friend Natalie and I went to go check it out at Village Vanguard Diner in Yokohama.

The line wasn't terrible.  They said that the wait would be 2 hours but we were seated and served within closer to an hour and a half.  The cafe was really small too so I was a little surprised by how quickly it moved.  Like the ever changing Guest Cafe in Shibuya Parco, the staff allowed us to place orders while we waited in line so that food would be ready shortly after we were seated.

サンリオの新しいグデタマというキャラクター知ってますか? ちょっと変なキャラクターだと思います。っぱりこのキャラクターのカフェがオープンしました。横浜ルミネにあるヴィレッジヴァンガードで 時間限定のカフェがオープンしました。私の友達のナタリちゃんといっしょに行きました。長い列で並んで待っていました。でも、待っていた時間が長くないでした! 2時間だと言われたけど、実は1時間はでした!待ってるの時に注文をできましたよ。待っていた時に注文をしました。

The menu

The Gudetama merchandise is so cute!

plastic food samples

I ordered the eggs benedict (no bacon) because I am vegetarian so I was limited in options.  I was sad that my food didn't have a face so I lived vicariously through Natalie whose taco rice did.


I also took these silly vine videos.


The walls were really cool! 

I thought the food was pretty good and the price wasn't too much either.  I was happy I got to go to this cafe!  Natalie and I had a lot of fun.


You probably noticed that I wrote this blog post in English and Japanese.  I want to do that for all of my posts going forward so that I can continue to improve my language skills.  I don't think I could have written this entry a few months ago so I am feeling pretty good.  That being said, I'm sure there will be some awkward or silly sentences in there because I am still learning.  If you notice anything that seems super off, please let me know and politely correct me so that I can continue to learn!  I will really appreciate it.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tokyo Disney Sea

Although I feel like at times I am a bigger Sanrio fan than a Disney fan, Disney will always have a special place in my heart.  After all, I spent my preschool years toting a Jasmine doll to school with me and sleeping in a bed made up with Beauty and the Beast sheets.

I think that many people might not know that there are two Disney parks in Japan- Tokyo Disney Land and Tokyo Disney Sea!  Prior to this day, I hadn't been to a Disney park in 5 years!  Last time was my senior year of high school's music department trip for a competition.  We won basically everything.  I have a lot of good memories from that trip and I was happy to make some more at Tokyo Disney Sea.

I was so excited about going to Disney so I took my outfit really seriously.  Behold, my magical Minnie transformation.

I chose to do one of the "Disney Bounding" type casual cosplays.  My dress is an old one from H&M and I got the hair clips from Daiso.  The whole group of us looked super cute!

photo by Paul Ching

photo on Paul's camera taken by some nice Japanese girl

We actually got a little lost and confused on the way to the park from the station but it turned out there was this awesome and totally cute train that you could take to the park and pay for with your train pass!

I made Paul take this photo and it turned out so cute!
I neglected to mention that we opted to enter the park with a Starlight Pass.  This just means you can pay about 1,500 JPY less for your ticket if you get one of these, but you can only enter after 3 pm.

The entrance gates to the park looked really awesome at this time of day.  The one downside I did find to having this pass was that it gets dark a bit early so it was difficult to take a lot of photos.

There were so many different types of character headbands for sale.  Megan and I were particularly fond of the punk Minnie ears.

One thing I noticed that was really different about Disney in Japan is that there were so many group outfits!  The one below was the only one I managed to photograph though.  I was really interested in seeing all the different ideas groups of friends had.  There were even groups of all guys who took their Disney outfits super seriously.  It's a big difference from the way most people dress at Disney parks in America.  I think what people chose to wear may have been my one of my favorite parts of the park.

This indoor Little Mermaid themed area was awesome and I think possibly my favorite section of the park.  We went on that cute puffer fish ride.  There weren't any super intense rides in there but the ambiance was so cool.

The merchandise available for sale was really different compared to American Disney parks.  Below is a photo of some really gorgeous train pass cases.  They also sell a lot of phone charms and accessories that are food items with Disney themes.  I got some earrings that have charms that look like Minnie Mouse lollipops!

Monsters Inc. might be one of the most popular of the Disney movies in Japan.  I see so many people with Mike Wazowski merchandise specifically.

Since we got to the park late and headed straight for some rides, we didn't do too much eating.  One thing I had was this Sea Salt Ice Cream Monaka which is a Japanese-style dessert.  Because it got dark, I don't have a good photo of what was inside the package but it looked like a pink cookie seashell.  Popcorn is also a thing at Tokyo Disney and you can buy these really cool looking popcorn buckets for discounts on refills.  There are designated places around the park for various flavors of popcorn.  I didn't get any photos of this either but I tried the milk tea flavor and it was so good!

Overall, I had a really good time.  I was happy to get the discounted afternoon ticket because it cost me a bit of money to take the train there and back even though I only live about 2 hours away.  We also went on a Monday that was a holiday but it wasn't super crowded because I think most people had school or work the next day.  I also happened to be one of those people and so I was rather exhausted after this trip.  The Japanese teacher I work with told me that I had no smile that day and I told her it was because I left it at Disney.

My friends and I are planning to try to go to the Disney Land park this winter when they have all the Frozen things!  I will definitely make sure to take more photos then.

I was really happy to have been able to experience Disney in another country.  I think Japan's Disney culture is a bit different from what I have experienced in America.  Have you ever been to more than one Disney park?  How do they compare?