Showing posts from August, 2016

English speaking waxing therapist in Osaka

I have visited Smoothie Wax Bar twice now and definitely wanted to recommend their services to my readers!

They have a new location in Doutonbori (between Shinsaibashi and Namba) right next to the New Japan Sauna. Use Namba Midosuji Line station exit 25 if coming by train.

The full address is ground floor, New Japan Building, 2-3-28 Doutonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka.

You can make reservations by email, phone (phone-calls may not be answered during treatments), or their handy online reservation link on their website. The salon is open from 11:00-20:00.

Facebook page here.

Treatments include the popular Brazilian, lower body, upper body, arms and facial waxing.  You can find a list of all the treatments along with the prices (in Japanese yen) here.

The therapist Yoshie waxes both men and women, is fluent in English and is very professional. I felt totally comfortable during both visits!

Love their new slogan too... `bear or bare?`

International clothing brands in Japan - for women

Shopping in Japan is a lot of fun. The insane variety of stores means that each shop caters for an entirely different niche group of shoppers. You will definitely be able to find clothes that you like, but may have trouble finding clothes that fit. The majority of Japanese women are shorter and thinner than the average `gaijin` (non-Japanese, or foreigner) with smaller breasts and hips, making shopping a little difficult, and/or depressing. Things are changing slowly however, and while 10 years ago I was often encouraged (with hand signals or `no no no`s) to leave shops which obviously didn`t hold clothes in my size, sales assistants now may be able to find slightly larger sizes (closer to a US medium) somewhere in the back)!

So, if you are looking for clothes in sizes/styles that you are more used to, international chain stores/brands may be a safer bet. **However, they probably won`t hold sizes larger than `large` in-store.

In the main shopping areas of Osaka (Umeda, Shinsaibashi and …

English speaking hair-stylist in Osaka (Salone Di Luca)

I visited my hair-stylist Yuhei in his new salon yesterday and had to share it with you all! Salone Di Luca is now located in Uehonmachi (super convenient and accessible by the Kintestu Line and the Namba Line) at the following address - JINEVER Uehonmachi 1F, 16-6 Tennoji-ku, Osaka 543-0031.

It is about 3 minutes walk from Uehonmachi station, 7 minutes walk from Tanimachi 9-chome station, or if you drive, there is space for a car to park right outside.

Here is the result of my cut and colour, I chose to have highlights and lowlights this time and love the results.

The salon is closed on Mondays and the first Sunday of the month.

The salon`s website can be found here, and the Facebook page here. The contact phone number is 06-6771-7890.

For Fran-japani readers, Salone Di Luca is offering 20% off your first visit (for non-Japanese clients only)! Just mention this blog :)

Fran xx

World Ranch Osaka

What : World Ranch Osaka is a farm/petting zoo located on the outskirts of Osaka near Mount Kongo, a great place to spend the afternoon/day with kids. There are lots of farm animals (including dogs, sheep, reindeer, cats, pigs, goats, ferrets and many more) to see and touch, as well as horse-rides, a large playground, restaurants and more.

Where: World Ranch Osaka is located at 1456-2 Shiraki, Kanan-cho, Minami-Kawaguchi-gun, Osaka 585-0014.

Price : 1500yen for adults and 800yen for kids (age 3 and up)

Open : 10:00-17:30 from March 1st to November 3rd and 10:00-17:00 from November 5th to February 28th. During long school holidays the park may be open longer.

Closed : on Tuesdays (except for public holidays when the park will be closed the following day).

Car parking (free except on August 1st) and rental-strollers (500yen) are available.

Hope you have a great time!!
Fran xx

I want to ride my bicycle...

We bought Aiden`s bicycle for Christmas in 2015, and he rode it from time to time (with the training wheels) to the supermarket with me or around the local park.

This year we decided it was time to take off the training wheels and set to teaching Aiden how to ride the bike by himself. He has improved so much and can now ride straight, round in circles and stop easily. Getting started is a bit tough, but we are working on it for sure!

Most Japanese parks don`t have a lot of grass which makes the falls a bit scary, but we lowered the seat and Aiden can now stop with his feet. I definitely recommend a good helmet and maybe some knee/elbow pads.

The bicycle we chose can be found at Toys R Us or at their online store (here). Other options are Amazon Japan, Yodobashi Camera,  Cycle Asahi, and Aeon Bike. Local bike shops often sell restored/second-hand models too.

Aiden`s helmet came from Amazon USA but there are plenty available right here in Japan too.

At Amazon Japan I saw these cute ones...


Trick Art Kobe (神戸トリックアート)

We visited the Kobe Trick Art exhibition last weekend and had a great time.

What : The old Consulate of Panama has been turned into a fun place to visit with your family, friends, and your camera! You can check the official website (here) for more information (Japanese only).

Where : 2-10-7 Kitanocho, Chuo-ku, Kobe 650-0002, Hyogo Prefecture

Access : 11 minute walk from Kobeshikotsukyoku Kobe City Subway Seishin-Yamate Line South Exit OR 11 minute walk from Hokushinkyuko Dentetsu Hokushin Kyuko-Dentetsu Shinkobe South Exit.

When : Open from 9:30-18:00 (April-September) and 9:30-17:00 (October-March)

Cost : Adults (800yen), Children (from elementary school and over 200yen)

The outside of the building looks like this, and tickets can be bought from the service counter at road level (right side of the photo)...

Hope you enjoy it too!

Fran xx

*It was a difficult personal decision but I have decided not to post pictures of Aiden`s face on the blog from now.  Hope you understand.

International clothing brands in Japan - for kids

Finding reasonable priced kids clothing in Japan is very easy. Local stores like Nishimatsuya, Akachan honpo, Uniqlo, chain stores in Aeon Mall (like Markeys, Breeze etc.) the list is endless. The clothes (in general) however, are quite colourful and many feature cartoon characters, strange english words/phrases, and may just not be what you were looking for. I distinctly remember looking for weeks for a plain white tee for Aiden, and ending up having to buy one online... drama!

Sizing can be confusing too, as clothes are marked not by age (as I was used to) but by height (in cm`s).

In any case, an international brand may be what you are looking for. And recently the choices are growing...

Stores in Osaka

Old Navy - will close its doors forever in December 2016, so get in quick.
- Aeon Mall Kashihara (イオンモール橿原)
- Lalaport Expo City (ららぽーとEXPOCITY)
- Aeon Mall Shijonawate (イオンモール四條畷)
- Lucua 1100 (ルクアイーレ)
- Aeon Mall Teppocho (イオンモール堺鉄砲町)
- Lalaport Izumi (ららぽーと和泉)
- Aeon Mall Wakayama (イオンモール和歌山…

Back to blogging

ひさしぶり!Long time no see everyone!
Inspired by a recent conversation with a good friend, and looking back over past posts (and remembering how much fun it was researching and writing them), I have decided to start blogging again!
It has been a few years and now my son Aiden is 5 years old (and in his second year of kindergarten here in Japan). I hope I will be able to look at things with fresh eyes and answer as many questions as I can.
As well as writing reviews and information about things I am doing this year, I will try to go back and re-research past posts to make them as accurate as possible. Things change so fast, so it is hard to ensure 100% accuracy (especially about shops and restaurants which seem to change monthly here!), but I will do my best!
Here`s to a great summer! よろしくお願いします!
Fran xx

p.s. while I was gone it seems some gremlins got into my account and posted some very unsavoury things. I am also going through and trying to weed them out, but hugest apologies if anything weir…