Showing posts from January, 2009

This is Japan!

Just a quickie...

I was sent a link of this incredible video (a montage of lots of video clips and photos) put together by some very talented people.

If you watch this and still don`t want to come to Japan, ... well ... just watch it again!

This is Japan! from Eric Testroete on Vimeo.

Spring cleaning

Yesterday afternoon I visited Yoshi`s mum who said that she had a few old clothes that she wanted me to have a look at before she got rid of them.

When I arrived at the house, I found over 100 beautifully packaged boxes, full of clothes which belonged to Yoshi`s late grandmother (most of which had never been worn).

I was allowed to have a look through all the clothes and take whatever I wanted. Most of the sweaters are cashmere or angora and are gorgeously soft. It was like shopping in a vintage clothing store for free!


Hi all, apologies in advance because this post is probably only of interest to my lovely Dad. Enjoy this one Dad, and for everyone else, hope there is something more interesting coming soon :)
So yesterday I got my first (and probably last) ride in one of the world`s fastest and most expensive cars, the SLR Mclaren (by Mercedes).
Check out the cool interior. The standard SLR comes with black leather, but this red was an added option! So sexy! The name of this color scheme is `silver arrow` (named after the championship winning Formula 1 car).
Yoshi is re-registering the car for his uncle, so has possession of it for the next few weeks. This particular car has only done 2000kms, and I am not surprised. Usually a super calm, confident driver, Yoshi was sweating and driving much slower than usual!
The cost of this car is similar to buying a whole house (this one cost over 50,000,000JPY - over 1millionNZ$), and if he was to have an accident, paying for parts alone would probably bankrupt him…

January`s nails

So I have been getting gel nails for 3 months now and just adore them. The color and shine lasts for about a month and the hard coating protects the nails from chipping and breaking! It is so perfect for me because I can never be bothered filing or painting my own nails.T and I go to a cute nail salon near the centre of Umeda and it takes about 1-2 hours each time (to remove the previous ones and apply the new ones).Cool huh?

I always opt for something relatively simple (see the picture above), but I have seen some crazy nails during my time in Japan. Many girls here love to adorn their nails with gemstones, rings, ceramic characters and much more. I`ll put some pics below...

Hello Kitty nails;

Japanese nail art overkill;


Friday = 金曜日 = GOLD day?

In a strange stroke of luck or coincidence, I had a kind of gold adventure this Friday. I say coincidentally because the word for `Friday` in japanese is `kinyoubi`, and the chinese character for `kin` is `金` which means `gold` in english!

A friend of mine, who will remain nameless in the interest of safety and privacy (and from here on out will be referred to as `X`) called me and mentioned that before we had lunch together, an errand had to be run for X`s mother.

Of course I had no argument, errands can be fun too! So off we headed to Shinsaibashi. In the car, on the way to the city, X handed me a small blue case and told me to look inside. It was really heavy and when I opened it, I realised why, there was a 1kg gold bar inside the box. I had 1kg of gold sitting in my hot little hand (for the first and I am quite positive, the last time in my life).

Apparently, the value of gold decreased slightly today, and so X`s mother wanted to sell the gold bar before it depreciated too much.

I of…

What is a chanchanko (ちゃんちゃんこ)?

My chanchanko (ちゃんちゃんこ)is the answer to all my winter prayers!! Basically it is a big coat filled with cotton wool or feathers designed to be worn indoors. They are very warm, but are quite possibly the most unflattering piece of clothing ever invented, and that is probably one of the reasons why they are mostly worn by the elderly and the very very young.

I have decided to promote the ちゃんちゃんこ because they are a great way to stay warm and be comfortable, save on electricity and heating costs and be environmentally friendly all winter long! For less than $20!!

* not surprisingly they are made for cats and dogs too!

Despite the shocked reactions of all my students when I tell them that I bought one of these (sounding something like `Oh, yeah, I had one of those when I was a kid` or `Oh, yeah, my grandmother wears one of those` or `Really, hehehehehehe, you are so japanese!`), I continue to wear mine every morning (indoors only!) and my cats love it too...

* it is Daisy and Azuki sleeping in…

Seasonal products in Japan

Check out this bizarre new drink in Japan. Pepsi White is Pepsi and Yogurt flavored!

The high competition for limited shelf space at convenience stores in Japan means that food and beverage manufacturers must produce an ever-changing repertoire of new products to secure retail real estate. In their book Can Japan Compete?, Michael E. Porter, Hirotaka Takeuchi, and Mariko Sakakibara explain:One of the drivers of…meaningless product proliferation is Japan’s peculiar distribution channels, which expect each company to introduce a fresh lineup of products almost every month to maintain its shelf space allocation.The warm reception the Japanese gave products like Pepsi Ice Cucumber is just one manifestation of a national obsession with the ephemeral. Millions turn out every spring to view delicate cherry blossoms that open and then fall to the ground in just a week. And a word that sends consumers flocking to stores is gentei, Japanese for "limited edition."Other cool and crazy fl…

The beginning of my hoop adventure

Inspired by many, including the supremely gorgeous Marisa Tomei (check out the clip below)... I have decided to try hooping / hula hooping / hoop dance.

Since I did belly dance last year and enjoyed the movement, music and energy so much, I thought this would be a similar way to keep in shape and have some fun.

My cute hoop arrived at my apartment yesterday ;)

I will let you know how it goes!

Another day off

Well it is freezing here, which certainly doesn`t give one a lot of motivation to get out or be social, but I had a Japanese lesson at 10am, so had to get moving early!

After the lesson and a haircut, Yoshi picked me up and we went to Nishinomiya Gardens (西宮ガーデンズ), a new mega-mall between Osaka and Kobe. Apparently, it is the biggest mall in West Japan, and it sure was BIG.

There are more than 250 stores and restaurants inside, including Hankyu department store, LOFT, Diesel, United Colors of Benetton, Book 1st, HMV ... and it has an area of over 71,00m sq. Because of its size, it didn`t appear as crowded as some other shops in Osaka which was a pleasant change.

After that, Yoshi and I headed out for dinner at a new restaurant / dining bar in Minami Horie (南堀江), called Bleu (ブルー). It is located near the FM Osaka building and has a really nice view of the river.

Although it looks very stylish, gorgeous and expensive, it certainly wasn`t overpriced, and the food was divine. Very nice way t…

Coming of age in Japan

January 12th 2009 = Seijin Shiki

As one of my very helpful students pointed out yesterday, not only was it a national holiday (so most people had a day off work) but it was Seijin Shiki 成人式 ,(the coming of age ceremony held every January in Japan).

The age of majority n Japan is 20. The seijin shiki covers all those who will reach this age during the current school year, which runs between April 2009 and the following March. The ceremony is generally held in the morning at local city offices and all young adults who maintain residency in the area are invited to attend. Government officials give speeches, and small presents are handed out to the new adults.Many women celebrate this day by wearing a furisode (a type of kimono with long sleeves that drape down). Since most are unable to put on a kimono by themselves due to the intricacies involved in putting one on, many choose to visit a beauty salon to dress and to set their hair. A full set of formal clothing is expensive, so it is usua…

Tiny Azure

Eiko Yamaji of Tiny Azure makes these beautiful pendants with delicate, little etchings. The Oyasumi Giraffe above and below has lace and sequins locked into the resin, behind the picture. It is totally adorable. Other cuties are available through the Tokyomade online shop.

This was my Happy New Year 2009 present for myself and it arrived in the mail tonight. I love love love ♥ it.

Thanks Deanne & Masao from Tokyomade!

Japan Post

A little helpful tidbit of information for those people living in Japan who receive an `Undeliverable Item Notice` in their mail box. You guys can call the post office, or you can do it online in English too!

Just follow this link or click on the 再配達のお申し込み link on the front page of the Japan Post website

The page that follows is bilingual (English and Japanese) very useful.

January 8th - my day off

Had a great day off yesterday so I will tell you all about it...I went to the big DIY/homeware discount store called Conan in the morning to buy some cat food and was surprised to find this...

Hehe! They are tuna (まぐろ) flavored cat biscuits called `Cat Smack`. They are infused with an ingredient called matatabi (またたび) which is Actinidia polygama (silver vine) in English. It is a plant which causes cats to elicit very strange behavior. It is somewhat similar to an aphrodisiac and has `drug-like` results which I guess caused this cat food maker to label their food as `Cat Smack`. So funny!

This plant is mentioned in the saying 猫にまたたび、女郎に小判 (neko ni matatabi, jorō ni koban, "Silver vine to a cat, a coin to a prostitute"), meaning to put someone in a good mood by providing that which they most desire.

In the afternoon, Yoshi and I went ice skating in Namba. It was the first time in maybe forever for me to set foot in an ice skating rink, and I had so much fun. The rink was full of …

What does 2009 hold in store for me?

For the ROOSTER (that is me): 72% (10 favorable and 2 neutral months)Get ready for an outstanding year. Aside from the Snake, the Rooster has the best prospects in the year of the Ox. This is the kind of year you have been waiting for, as everything seems to go your way. You have been diligently working towards some long term goals that finally come together this year. Your relations are felt at new levels, as you find a sense of satisfaction that you may not have experienced in a long time. Things you may have thought not possible will become a reality for you in this positive year.YAY! - btw what is a rooster?
People born in the Year of the Rooster are deep thinkers, capable, and talented. They like to be busy and are devoted beyond their capabilities and are deeply disappointed if they fail. People born in the Rooster Year are often a bit eccentric, and often have rather difficult relations…

Kitty Power

I started thinking recently that my little kitty cats may possibly have the power to make me feel better, saner and happier. All of the people reading this who already think I have gone mad and become an old cat-lady should stop reading NOW.

* the below was taken from a very reliable source known as google search ;)

It is common for feline-lovers to know the cats ability to soothe us when we are unwell or in bad-mood. How many times have you been home from work or school, languishing in bed "under the weather" and then your cats come into the room, snuggle down beside you and purr away? Can it be that they actually sense our pain and want to help us relieve it? Well, talk to cat-lovers and the evidence seems to point to the fact that they most certainly do! What's even more astounding is that scientific research now proves that a cat's purr can actually help us to heal.

Based on scientific research - a study by Elizabeth von Muggenthaler, she's a bioacoustics specia…

Fran and EXILE

Check this out!

By now, I am sure you all (those of you who read my old blog) know Fran - the delicious snack made by the Japanese company Meiji (which I like to think was named after me, although ever so slightly unlikely hehehe).

Last month, a new type of Fran was released, named Whipps which are thicker and softer than previous Fran. Mmmmm... yummy

It appeared on TV commercials together with EXILE, a very popular group here in Japan, with some very very cute members.

People sometimes say that Yoshi looks a bit like the lead singer (Atsushi) although, I am not so sure...

Especially those abs - hehe sorry Yoshi.