Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Garance's interview with Jean-Philippe Delhomme

One thing is for sure, you should never wait. If you wait, it’s like you’re stuck somewhere, it’s very bad. So it’s just always trying to keep yourself moving, even if you think you should go in a different direction.
 -  Jean-Philippe Delhomme as interviewed by Garance

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

DUO Dexter boots: first impressions

My DUO Dexter boots arrived this weekend. They seem sturdy and well-made, although were a little scuffed when I received them.

I was a bit surprised to find that DHL charges a 700 yen handling fee, and also charges sales tax on the customs tax levied by the Japanese govt. on all leather imports. It would have been nice to know this in advance - I was aware of the customs tax, but not the other fees. DHL also has really limited business hours for a delivery company in Japan - they're only open a half day on Sat., and not open at all on Sundays, and they don't have an automated answering service that would allow me to schedule a delivery. Indeed, I have been spoiled by the Japan Post and Japanese delivery companies like Kuroneko Yamato.  It will be hard if I have to leave Japan!

I am a US half size, with a foot that is generally on the wide side, and DUO boots suggested that I go with the bigger European full size, as they don't offer European half-sizes. Now that I have the boots, I feel that the smaller size in the wide width would probably have fit better. It's hard to say of course, but there's really a good bit of extra space in the toe. I'm now in the process of breaking the boots in.  I'll update after I've had a chance to wear them in.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

best baumkuchen so far

The baumkuchen at ねりん家 (nerinya) is fantastic. Moist and delicious! Expensive, but definitely worth it, if you can avoid the lines somehow. Whenever I pass Matsuya Ginza, there's always a line at the store. It's also available at Daimaru Tokyo and Seibu Ikebukuro - I wonder if they also have constant lines.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

napkin rings - never for formal dining!

Did you know?

Apparently, napkin rings are used when re-using cloth napkins at home, to distinguish between each person's napkin.

Thus, one would never put napkin rings out when holding a formal dinner, as one would never re-use napkins then!  I had no idea!

Miss Manners column at The Washington Post

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Happy 12th day!


Wishing that everyone is happy and healthy.

May you have a wonderful day!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Daelmens Caramel Wafers in Japan

Or stroopwafels, as they say in Dutch, I suppose.
Anyway, an import shop in Hibiya Chante sells the full sized stroopwafels, and I took note of the importer, EIM.  Page 9 of their 2012 All Seasons Collection catalog is a glorious full page of Daelmens products!

Natural Lawson seems to have temporarily stopped carrying the perfect mini stroopwafel, so the Hibiya import shop has been supplying my fix.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Oops 2: I have unfairly maligned L.L. Bean Japan

Turns out that they actually do carry regular sizes!
At least online.

I stand corrected.
I will have to go check if they carry regular sizes in store too.  How excellent!  Looks like I am an XS in L.L. Bean sizes. They should probably add a XXS for Japanese consumers.  But it's good for the larger Japanese consumers - their needs have been woefully under-served until now.

A pity about Glitch

Just started playing Glitch, as a friend mentioned that she was devastated that it was closing.

She gave me an invitation to play, and I signed up.  I can see why she's devastated.  It's a wonderfully detailed game that you can personalize and make your own.
An amazing, creative game that gives me hope among the gaming world filled with the surfeit of battle games like Call of Duty.  To be honest I'm not really aware of the current state of the gaming world, but a visit to Tokyo Game Show a few years ago wasn't really exciting for me.

Glitch probably is/was ahead of its time, built on a doomed technology.

It's a real pity that Adobe has decided that Flash will die, but such is the technology churn.

I'm half tempted to take a day off and play Glitch for the remainder of the time available.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

oops, sorry about the mess!

I was cleaning up posts, but I didn't realize that "Update" would update the original date of the post.
So instead, you all got spammed with about 80 updated posts from last year!

Yikes.  And of course, I don't know the original post dates, so I can't go and fix them...  Argh.  Will have to see what I can do.

Update: Oh good, it seems that tags didn't update the post dates, just the cases where I modified the actual post text.  So just a few posts that appear today but were posted ages ago.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

mit blog following the Fukushia Nuclear Plants
Information about the incident at the Fukushima Nuclear Plants in Japan hosted by

Very educational blog posting info and analysis of the events at the Fukushima nuclear plants.
In the face of all the conflicting information, it's a nicely organized, if technical, source of information.

Japanese: Expressing opinions 意見を述べる

Some useful phrases from my Japanese teacher:




積極的主張 Strong Assertion:

軟主張 Weak Assertion:

Old Japanese

Maquillage fall collection - Moisture Rouge

I tried on the tester for Maquillage's Fall collection with Alexander Wang today. I love trying out brand new testers. I wiped it off afterwards in a futile attempt to not completely contaminate it for other customers. Isn't it funny that the fall collection goes on sale July 21st? I'm definitely not in the mood for fall right in the middle of summer!

The limited edition red RD536 Moisture Rouge is very pretty. It's a sheer red (being Sheer Type), but pigmented enough that it's quite distinctly a red lipstick (faintly on the berry side), but not too strong to prevent it from being easy to wear. However, the color does sink into dry spots on my lips. So far it's been an hour and a half and the color is staying on pretty decently. I'm rather tempted to buy it, as it is quite a wearable red. I must admit that it is a bit cooler than I would like, as I'm looking for a more neutral red. Still, it's quite wearable and I think it suits me.

I'm also tempted to buy the dual mascara/liquid eyeliner in green released by Maquillage this summer. They're not limited edition though, so I'll wait 'till I use up (somehow!) my Kanebo Lunasol Geminate liquid eyeliner, as the fun colors are really only appropriate for after work.

mini review: Heroine Make Mascara Volume and Curl

Overall: meh, not for me.  Mascara that smudges just isn't acceptable.  Fibers can be irritating if not smoothly applied.

Pros: Holds curl well, fibers do help build volume.  Fairly easy to apply formula.

Cons: The fibers can get clumpy if you're not careful.  On rainy days, definitely smudges.  Fibers were irritating my eyes when I applied the mascara in a hurry.

The brush is pretty big - I can't decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing.  I think I prefer tapered brushes - this one is shaped like a dumbbell - big on both ends.  It worked pretty well though.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

fantasy list: Frederic Malle Coffrets Collection

For 2012, Frederic Malle has come out with the Coffrets Collection!

If I could! I would buy the 2012 collection - the complete sampler of fragrances.  However, I won't.  I don't trust being able to store fragrances properly in the Tokyo summers.  In any case, I haven't even gone through the samples that I do own from the line.

Ah well.  I will dream of Frederic Malle and Calvin and Hobbes.  Some day.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

mini review: Heroine Make Mascara Volume & Curl

The big brush is a bit unwieldy, I find it difficult to apply without clumping.  It certainly holds a curl though.  Heroine Make mascaras are popular, but they just don't seem to work to my taste.  I suppose I prefer formulas that are less clumpy.

mini-review: Natina light B.B Cream

Natina BB cream by Hangangsoo - a bit too pale for me to wear easily, although the texture is easy to spread.  Not much coverage either.

Friday, November 23, 2012

mini review: Freshel W Cream UV

Freshel White C W Cream UV SPF 32 PA++ has a nice texture.  No coverage, and it seems to emphasize any dry spots that I have, despite the nice light cream texture.  I should try to use this up during the summer when my skin is a lot more oily.  Right now, it takes too much effort to use.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

fondant chocolat cake, mango snow shaved ice

For the best fondant chocolat cake in Tokyo, go to Ginza Manaya 銀座まなや between Shinbashi and Ginza.  A refined, modern but traditional Japanese-style izakaya, they have the best fondant chocolat ever.  And the kara-age is divine.  The roast beef is a specialty, but normally only available at lunch.  If you ask nicely, they might be able to accommodate you with a small plate at dinner though.

For mango shaved ice so finely shaved that it's like snow, go to the Taiwan Products Shop.  Hidden to the right back side of the store is a little cafe where you can get traditional Taiwanese tea foods and the best mango shaved ice ever.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

mini review: Hanskin Super Light Touch B.B. Cream

Meh.  It has a nice texture, with a bit of coverage, but it's too pale for me (I'm MAC NC20-25), and sinks into pores like crazy.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

the ridiculous state of shoe sizing

Comparing Lucky Brand and Birkenstock sizing shows that there is a problem: At Lucky Brand, 26 cm = U.S. Women's size 10 = Euro Size 41. i18nguy says Japanese women's 26 cm = U.S. Women's size 10 = Euro Size 42. Zappos says 25.9 cm = U.S. Women's size 10 = Euro Size 40-41. Wikipedia puts 26 cm = U.S. Women's size 9 = Euro size 40-41. I pretty reliably wear a U.S. Women's size 9.5.

Shiseido Limited Edition Camellia Compact

I want this Camellia Compact from Shiseido!

It's gorgeous! And it's sold out on Shiseido's online shop! Argh.

Update: I called my nearest Shiseido counter, and they still had 1 unit! So I reserved one, and dashed over during lunch.

The friendly saleslady applied it on me so that I could see how it looked. It's lovely! Swirled together, it's a lovely soft red; a natural flush that suits my coloring very well. It's a soft blush - the included brush picks up pigment quite easily. Although gold sparkles are visible on the pristine blush, it seems to be mostly an overspray, as the tester they used didn't show nearly as much of the scattered gold sparkles. The white is a soft, shimmer-less white that does not seem excessively pigmented - the SA didn't need to blend after applying this powder to my skin.

At 4200 yen, it was easy to purchase. I'll just cross some other blushes off of my lemming list. It also comes with a flat soft brush in a separate light plastic case.

On my lemming list is the Zen White Heat Edition limited edition eau de parfum; a very wearable white floral. It's sold out online, but definitely still available at counters. It's certainly more interesting than the Maquillage holiday perfume, which seems to be a forgettable fruity floral.

On the inaccessible lemming list, there's a limited edition fragrant camellia oil Koyu (dead link: made from the famous white camellias of Goto island off the coast of Nagasaki, Kyushu. Goto is also famous for their delicious Goto udon - prepared with camellias. The Shiseido oil, labelled Euthrixine (dead link: as a nod to the 1898 hair oil launched by Shiseido, smells delicious - white camellias, according to the SA - but being an oil, the fragrance does not last. A soft whisper is lingering an hour after applying. Camellia oil can be used to moisturize the skin and add shine to the hair. Sadly, this particular oil will set you back 10,500 yen, which is a bit difficult to justify.  Despite the price, it seems popular, as the counter I visited only had one more unit left to be reserved.  Reserved!  Not even actual stock, but reservation spaces!
2013/01/07 update: Sadly and annoyingly, Shiseido seems to have taken down their pages for Koyu, but you can still see an image at Elle Japan.

It's pretty dangerous to work near a department store.

Monday, November 05, 2012

This was supposed to be my last Glossybox, after two mediocre previous ones! But they've thrown me a loop with a box that is definitely worth the Japanese subscription price.
This month's box includes a full Zoya nail polish in a slate greyish-blue, a sedate enough color for work. This is my first Zoya polish so I'm quite happy about it, especially as Zoya is about 1400yen in Japan (a rather kinder markup than OPI, which is like !). The other happy surprise was Kanebo Impress brightener, that Paris has rated quite highly. So I'm looking forward to trying this generous sample (much more generous than the single sachet from Doctor Line). There were also 3 packets of primer and 3 packets of Dewy Foundation from ADDICTION, which was a pleasant surprise but not so exciting for me personally, since I find it sinks a bit into the pores of my slightly dry skin. The Kaotsubo and Valle de Roses samples were rather less exciting, but I will try them out.

However, looking at the Glossybox website, I see that some people got Jurlique this month! I want a Jurlique sample :P

Anyhoo, my experience these 3 months has been so-so. I liked some of the products - I'm still using the Sranrom hand cream - but overall the sample sizes have been pretty underwhelming considering the price of the Glossybox. For example, I liked my experience with Doctor Line's Enzyme Cleansing Water, but with only one sachet, it's really hard to justify a purchase of the full sized product. For a new brand at a moderate price point, I think they should be more generous with their samples, but I suppose that increases the burn rate of the company.

So, should I continue? Should I stop? It's rather fun getting a random selection each month, but I can't help feeling that I should save my money and buy the products that I actually want. I keep eying the lavender sample set from LEAF&BOTANICS (リーフアンドボタニクス), but I'm not allowed to buy it until I use up all of my current skin care samples.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

L'Artisan Parfumeur news

Perfume buffs may be interested to know that the new L'Artisan Parfumeur shop in Omotesando, Tokyo is selling L'Eau du Navigateur.

Seville a l'Aube is also on sale in Japan.  After reading Beautiful with Brains' review, I want to go sniff it!

Other reviews at Bois de Jasmin and Now Smell This are also positive, so my expectations are rather high now. At the very least, it is worth sniffing.

Keeping track of tasks

Love this idea from Stuff Jewish Girls Like!

At the start of each day, I write down a list of tasks to accomplish. If something new comes up during the course of the day, I can add it to the list without worrying that it will get lost in the shuffle of my email. 

I have lots of lists, but I lose track of them pretty quickly. A notebook would be a good way to keep them in one place. Except that I'm super messy; I can see it getting out of hand after a while.

Maybe I should have one daily notebook for jotting things down as I notice them, and one organized notebook where I transfer everything important from the daily notebook.  Conveniently, I have at least two unused notebooks - one partially filled with messy notes.

Eventually I might start maintaining the organized notes online, but right now I have multiple lists in two locations and it's terribly messy.  I also need to get some info out of my outlook file.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Kumanofude Select Shop Ginza Branch 熊野筆セレクトショップ銀座店

Just an update with more information on the cosmetics and calligraphy brush brands carried by the Kumanofude Select Shop Ginza (熊野筆セレクトショップ銀座店). Located on the 2nd floor of the TAU Hiroshima Satellite shop in Ginza, it carries about 470 different types of brushes.

Among the brands that are carried:
Mizuho Brush

Phone: 03-6228-7813
Hours: 10:30~20:00 has a nice map to the store.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Daelman's Caramel Bites

Stroopwafels sold at Trader Joes, these caramel wafers are the bomb! Decadent!

Update: Daelmens' website

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

on refraining from buying

I'm in the process of killing my lemmings for Maybelline's new Lip Cream Color (Baby Lips Color) and Canmake's new clear type Cream Cheeks. Online reviews seem to agree that the Maybelline Baby Lips Color balms are not all that moisturizing, so despite the stain-like pigmentation of #3 and #4, I think I'll pass, inexpensive and LE though these are. The reviews for the new Canmake colors are good, but similar to the original colors, the lasting power is average. Oddly enough, Canmake's website doesn't mention the 3rd clear type color - Sunset. I think I'll invest in Visee's new cream cheek colors in the nicer tube packaging instead. Both products are quite attractively priced at about 500 yen each; it is very hard to kill these lemmings.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

L. L. Bean is in Hibiya! (near Ginza)

But it's "Japan Fit" (sized for the Japanese consumer), so ironically it probably won't fit me very well. I have the same trouble with Eddie Bauer - in Japan they only carry women's Petite sizes, where the sleeves and torso length are a tad too short for me. Ah well. Zara, Gap and Banana Republic fit fine.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Okonomiyaki Hiroki 広島のお好み焼 鉄板焼Hiroki

Okonomiyaki Hiroki 広島のお好み焼 鉄板焼Hiroki is my favorite okonomiyaki place in Tokyo. It's a dive, but the staff are nice and the food is great. Inexpensive too. Small place though, and popular with young people.

Villa Moura Ginza ヴィラモウラ 銀座本店の絶品デザート

Villa Moura Ginza ヴィラモウラ 銀座のデザートは最高!

サイズは小さかったけど、味は甘すぎない・にがくない・深いチョコレートでした。 ペロッと食べてしまいました。

Villa Moura usually does an excellent job with meats and fish in general, but their chicken is particularly fantastic.

For desserts, this is quite possibly the best value in Tokyo.  It is that good.  I've never had a bad dessert here, and they serve things that I wouldn't normally eat.

Aux Bacchanales has fantastic single serving tarts for 200 yen, but they're neck and neck with Villa Moura in terms of the sublime.  Okay, so it's easier to grab a tart to-go from the bakery at Aux Bacchanales, but it's hard to turn away from Villa Moura if I have the chance to go there!

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Glossybox photo posted

I updated my post on Glossybox to include a photo of the contents.

The BareMinerals sample is tiny!  But it comes with a little brush.

The Sranrom hand cream in Calm Down is fragrant and emollient; not bad for work as the scent is not overpowering.

All in all, the box is barely worth the cost of the subscription this month, but it's better than last month.

Monday, October 01, 2012

stuff to remember

ON REGRETS “Always be honest” was the elders’ advice to avoid late-in-life remorse. Take advantage of opportunities and embrace new challenges. And travel more when you’re young rather than wait until the children are grown or you are retired.
As Dr. Pillemer summarized the elders’ view, “Travel is so rewarding that it should take precedence over other things younger people spend money on.” Create a bucket list now and start whittling it down.
ON HAPPINESS Almost to a person, the elders viewed happiness as a choice, not the result of how life treats you.
A 75-year-old man said, “You are not responsible for all the things that happen to you, but you are completely in control of your attitude and your reactions to them.” An 84-year-old said, “Adopt a policy of being joyful.”
The 90-year-old daughter of divorced parents who had lived a hardscrabble life said, “I learned to be grateful for what I have, and no longer bemoan what I don’t have or can’t do.”
Even if their lives were nine decades long, the elders saw life as too short to waste on pessimism, boredom and disillusionment.

Glossybox Japan September box

Last month's Glossybox was quite a disappointment - small samples from brands, some of whom I'd never heard of.

This month's box is a bit more generous - a sample kit of BareMinerals, and more generous samples from a few brands.  Also a perfume sample of DSquared2.  As I love perfume samples, this is fun.  Amazingly, I've never tried BareMinerals either!  The Japanese pricing is off-putting, but I'm happy to finally get a chance to try one of the pioneers of "mineral makeup."

I'll update with comments and pictures when I can.

Happy October First!  The typhoon passed and the weather right now is lovely.  Chance of rain in the evening though.

Update: photo of the contents:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain

The Revlon balms have arrived in Japan!  They've brought 6 colors here, for 1260 yen each.
Citrine, RougeDeluxe, and Worship at the House of Blues have good reviews for this product, so I'm quite curious to try them out.

I will probably hold off on purchasing them in Japan, as the current exchange rate means that they're charging the equivalent of 16 USD for one, when has them for less than 6 USD right now! 

Argh, I may have to place an online order. Because, I haven't enough lip products, y'know?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Rohto Skin Aqua UV moisture Gel

Air-light texture - no complaints so far.  It's good for the daily commute and easy to apply all over.  I can't really tell how good the sun protection is so far.

Ego qv lip balm

This does have SPF protection, but I find the texture thin and greasy and not really moisturizing; I prefer Vaseline over this.

editing my stuff

My closet is certainly crying out for a good weed-out.

But it takes discipline to be able to do this kind of thing.  After months of deliberation, I finally threw out two pairs of uncomfortable shoes.  Shoes!  I threw out shoes!  Even though I live in the land of "larger than 24.5 cm (8.5 U.S.) is for specialty Big-N-Tall retailers, and even 24 cm (8 U. S.) means the cute styles are out," I threw out shoes that are my size!  But it is hard to hide from the fact that a shoe is uncomfortable, and I succumbed to that reality this past weekend.

However, I do have three pairs of uncomfortable shoes which are clinging on thanks to the fact that they are too new/pretty/adorable to throw away.  They know their time is limited though!  The next time I move, I will probably have to throw out two of the pairs.  The third pair (sparkly gunmetal sandals) really is still too pretty to throw out - it is unmatched in my (meager) collection.

As they say, it's all about stopping before you start - don't buy unnecessary things to begin with.

My clothes are in more dire need of a weed-out than my shoes, as they are overflowing my closet.  Right now, I've finally moved some items to the hit list:
* burgundy dress - I used to love this dress so it's hard to get rid of, but I've come to realize that it isn't that flattering.  It exposes the muffin top, y'know?
* indigo skirt - it's a gorgeous soft cotton, but it's just not flattering.* long pink skirt - super flattering, but the material is prone to balling up and the pattern is a rather ugly one.
* over-sized blue fleece jacket that I've never really liked (the fleece is a bit rough) but have held on to for years because it is useful
* a flowing purple top - again, not flattering.

* grey plaid over-sized shirt - again, just not that flattering, although it's a great coverup... argh.  I don't know why it's so hard to throw this thing out, even though I've been thinking about it for a year.
* 2 washable summer hats (got a new one that fits better and is bigger for 240 yen)
* a variety of pantyhose in ugly greys and too dark sheers.

More to come!  Hopefully sooner than later.  Let's talk about bags later.  Yes, later.  I promise.

Aromatherapy line at Bath and Body Works

Prompted by a post by cosmeddicted:
I love the Aromatherapy line at Bath and Body Works. I really like the Lavender Chamomile scent, but I'm really addicted to the Eucalyptus Spearmint scent.

However, I've found the products themselves kind of average (body soap, lotion) so I'm going to try the body mist and scrub next. The wallflowers

I've had a pillow mist for years but haven't made a dent in it; need to start spraying the curtains again. I wait for sales though - full price is a bit too expensive for my taste.

Also at Bath & Body Works, C. O. Bigelow Lime and Coriander smells awesome! Unfortunately Bath & Body Works no longer seem to carry the hand wash, but they still have the body lotion. But C. O. Bigelow offers a candle - I may need to get that. Except that it's out of stock.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle

Bois de Jasmin review
I'm playing with a sample from a generous friend today. It's lovely so far; I didn't think I'd like it this much! I don't mind the petrol opening at all. Am I weird?

2012/9/25 update: Okay, the petrol opening is bothering me today.  Did I apply too liberally today?

By the way, the Android Blogger app by Google is total crap. Do not use! It will just lose your posts.

Meshell Ndegeocello's new album

Pour une ame souveraine (For a sovereign soul) - A dedication to Nina Simone To be released Oct. 8, 2012. Mellow, lovely. With a song featuring Sinead O'Connor!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Estee Lauder Private Collection

Trying out the sample I have - it's rather a heavier perfume than I'm currently in the mood for. Also testing out L'Artisan Parfumeur Un Mimosa Pour Moi - perhaps a bit too much cucumber for my taste.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

lemming! paul & joe tote bag freebie

Oh, how I want this paul & joe tote bag freebie! The fabric design is gorgeous! However, apparently the quality of the bag is not very good, so I shouldn't buy it. I don't need a new tote anyway.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Distinguishing between Chinese and Japanese culture

It's 2012, and people still can't distinguish between Chinese culture and Japanese culture.  Or, they can distinguish, but they don't care.

Case in point - Coldplay's video for Princess of China - Rihanna wears Geisha-inspired makeup and clothing in some of the scenes.  Because the Chinese Princess lives in .. Japan?  Or China = the East = Japan?

And Pupa Cosmetic's China Doll collection features Geisha artwork.  Because Japanese Geishas are just another type of China doll?

Anywhoo.  This inability to distinguish between the cultures is nothing new, but I was hoping that people would have more of a clue.  However, the U.S. does still have national politicians who do not know basic biology so I guess I shouldn't be so shocked about cultural confusion.

wow, is LinkedIn going crazy?

They just sent me an email that's worthy of spam mail: the Subject line looks like Cambodian and the text is Japanese!

Monday, September 10, 2012

some mini-reviews to save you time and money

"Japanese Women Don't Get Old or Fat" - to be honest, I found this book boring and lacking in content. For more detail, reviewers at Amazon have been quite clear about the book's shortcomings. I'll update when I remember the other items that I was going to review.

sunscreen reviews

I just noticed that I devour sunscreen reviews like nobody's business; having used up my Neutrogena dry-touch sunscreen, I need a Japanese replacement.  I'm using Allie Extra UV Gel Mineral Moist N SPF50+ PA+++ (review at Of Toys and Tokyo), but as Of Toys and Tokyo points out, it's a bit heavy for the humid Tokyo weather so I end up looking quite greasy.

I'm going to try Hada Labo UV Moist Emulsion SPF50 PA+++ next. Since chemical (or is it physical sunscreens?) sunscreens lose effectiveness over time, I like using up a sunscreen before I move on the the next one. If only I could be so disciplined about my other makeup products!

In beauty news, I'm lemming the new cream blushes from Visee and Canmake Whip Mousse Lips.

In general, I've started a major house-cleaning that is rather daunting in its scope so I keep procrastinating:
* need to clean
* need to weed stuff out
* need to throw stuff out
* need to organize so that cleaning is easier in the future

I was hoping to get everything done by the end of Sept. (typo: meant to write Aug.), but that didn't happen!  Anyway, like most things, it's good to just take one day at a time.

On my current playlist:
Teedra Moses - Another LuvR
Tamia - Beautiful Surprise
Crystal Kay - Forever
Brandy - Put It Down
Melanie Fiona - This Time
Miguel - Adorn
Youtube has too many ads. Time to switch.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Classic music: Lucy Pearl - Dance Tonight

Lucy Pearl - Dance Tonight 投稿者 freship


I love this orange clutch available at ninewest!
Adorable, but really, don't need it :(

This one is pretty snazzy too.  Trendy, though.

However, I feel that this one would be the most practical for work. This pale gold metallic one seems more functional but the color is a bit too frivolous. The price is so good though! 

I love the way this orange striped one looks, but reviews of a similar style mention that the straps started cracking, so quality is not so good.  Still, I could replace the straps with cloth later.  More worrisome is the fact that one reviewer mentioned that the color came off on her shirt!  That would be really problematic.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

U.S. news organizations are whack

I like how they can treat Romney (scary, unable to actually explain position adequately) as a viable candidate, while ridiculing Ron Paul (sane, clearly explains and justifies stances) as a lunatic.
more links:

*shakes head at the mysteries of the world*

FYI: silica is different from silicone

Silica is silicon dioxide. Silicones are produced from silica.
Not to be confused with the metalloid chemical element Silicon.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Roy's in Tokyo

My lunch: a buttery butterfish lightly grilled with miso and a wasabi sauce.   Decadent!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Galaxy Nexus - can hardly take a screenshot

So, with a Galaxy Nexus running Android 4.0, I'm supposed to be able to hold the volume and power button in order to take a screen shot.
The timing is super tricky though - so much so that I find it almost useless!
This link was helpful though - you have to hold the volume down portion of the volume button.

Monday, August 20, 2012

麦: wheat, barley, oats

I was prompted by a puzzling conversation with a waitress to investigate what 麦(むぎ mugi) means.  Apparently, in Japanese, it is used to describe wheat, barley, and oats; 3 grains that we distinguish between in English.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Shiseido Lacquer Rouge

Shiseido Lacquer Rouge looks gorgeous!  I'd like to get one everyday color first to see how I like the formula, and then get a playful color.  The reds look dreamy.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Nanoce BB moist cream

I could be wrong, but I think this Nanoce BB moist cream (no.2 healthy ochre) is breaking me out a bit.  Of course, it could be the Allie sunscreen that I'm testing out too, but I'm definitely seeing a few more pimples than normal.

It's too bad, as I rather like the coverage level of this cream.  It's definitely better than Hada Labo bb cream at covering up redness and dark circles.

peach lip concealers

Note to self: peach lip concealers wash me out terribly - straight brown, beige or orange shades flatter me much better than beige-pink - too much pink just isn't good.

Still, the concealers are good for softening my too-orange and too-pink lipsticks.

I'm tempted to go through all of my cosmetics and divide them into 2 piles:
1) can't live without
2) everything else

And then rotate the category 2 stuff weekly at work.

It can make for surprisingly fun combinations.

Monday, August 06, 2012

New Chikuhodo shop in Ginza, Tokyo

Wow, Chikuhodo has opened up a counter in the Kumanofude Select Shop (熊野筆セレクトショップ) located on the 2nd floor of the Hiroshima Antenna shop in Ginza!
The Japanese informational page
It looks gorgeous; I should drop by and gaze at the lovely brushes.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

whew, it's been busy!

In frivolous news, my long-lost (8 years or so) order of Nubar polishes was found!  I now have a bounty of pale nail polish colors - so many that I need to give a lot away, as they overlap unecessarily.

I also bought a bright coral mini nail polish from Ettusais's yearly summer LE collection of mini polishes.  The formula is average, but it's a great way to get polishes to satisfy random polish cravings at ridiculously inexpensive prices (252 yen incl. tax).

I need to edit my polish collection again, as it's overflowing my little nail polish makeup tote.

In general, I need to edit my wardrobe too, and clear out the various documents cluttering up my place.  I should invite friends to come over and help me be disciplined.
Time for a belated spring cleaning.  I'll get started tonight.

Monday, June 18, 2012

macaron sweets at Family Mart

2 for 200 yen; vanilla and strawberry flavors.  I scarfed them down so I haven't a picture to share with you, but I can tell you that they were pretty good!  Just the chewy, crunchy texture that I like.

Friday, June 15, 2012

busy busy

Wow, time is just flying by!  I forgot my phone today.  It's kind of free-ing, but a little worrisome.

Hope everyone is doing well.  My efforts to improve my posture are only half successful.

Monday, May 28, 2012

makeup otaku

Via, I came across naotokimu's post on the Jill Stuart Patisserie Collection.

His post is cute and hilarious!  A true makeup otaku.

It makes me wanna buy the upcoming fig tart mix blush compact, although the berry tiramisu looks cute too :P

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Corsets are a funny thing - pretty much worn only once or twice in a lifetime these days.

Went for another fitting today; I think I need to lose about 500g in order for the dress to fit better.  Otherwise they'll let it out a bit.

Starting tomorrow, I'm going to try a rice porridge/Japanese konyaku diet.  And start walking, etc.

In beauty news, I'm trying out a Tony Moly Floria Nutra-Energy Mask Sheet - I quite like it; a light clean scent, moisturizing but not overly sticky.  We'll see how my skin likes it, but so far so good.  It's been a while since I pampered my skin with a face mask.  Far too long.

Monday, May 21, 2012

100 yen shops

I love the fact that I can get a USB charger for my phone for a mere 100 yen.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


weird stuff going on in Indiana, but this may spread to other states.

Friday, May 18, 2012

new music video from Brave

I'm liking this song Break Me Down by Brave!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

eczema outbreak

While in California, the wind and dry air contributed to an outbreak of eczema on my cheeks - dry, red, irritated hard patches.  I tried a few things but half a week of Vaseline (using it to remove sunblock, etc.) helped my skin back to normal.

Make sure to moisturize and protect your skin carefully!  I'd gotten used to the higher humidity in Japan and didn't take my regular skin lotions with me to California.

silver sandals

I ordered 7 shoes from, but these shoes at David's Bridal fit the best.

Monday, May 07, 2012

pearl earrings

I ordered these clip-on pearl earrings in ivory from Etsy.  They're lovely!  Delicate, simple, and pretty.  Oh, and comfortable on the ears.  Etsy is great - I ordered 2 other sets of earrings from other sellers, all for a total of $30.  All 3 sellers were very prompt about delivery.  It's a great way to find unique things at a reasonable price.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

pizza as a standard

For Americans...
You know your refrigerator is small if you put a pizza box inside and you can't close the door on it.

Kamakura pasta

Fresh fettuccine, ham and grilled bamboo shoots.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Music, and talking to the interwebz

New Brandy music! Excellent. Can't wait for her album.

Nas's new single is pretty nice. I don't really remember a lot of the rap songs out there, but Nas lingers in my head.

Now that I have a "smartphone," I spend a bit more time on email, but I'm still behind. Still, it's handy to have appointments and task lists centralized and synchronized automatically.

I would post more pictures, but the camera on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus really is crap. I should have gone with the Sharp phone.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Anna Sui Spring 2012 Collection mook

gee, I'm not even that big a fan of Anna Sui, but I think I'm going to get this year's girly gothic mook.

Friday, March 23, 2012

helping people be independent

Excellent advice from Carolyn Hax:

A goal to keep in mind: Don’t occupy a space in his life that couldn’t easily be filled in your absence. That can apply to anything from renting a place together that he can’t afford alone, to being his only ride to a job or only good friend. Model independence by giving advice only when asked, encouraging counseling (while he can use college resources) and saving heroic intervention for emergencies. When in doubt, treat him as an equal.

stream your wedding

Reading my way through this tutorial on how to broadcast your wedding on the web.

A Practical Wedding also has lots of great advice; I don't have time to read it all!

And of course, Miss Manners is my beacon of wisdom at all times.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Another trip to Addiction

I visited the Shibuya store, where the salesladies are friendly but so far they haven't given me any samples.

I tried Sandbar, which swatches beautifully! On my eyes, it melds into my skin tone but is slightly more peachy. I'm undecided about whether I need it. I may try Rigolletto, although that is a significantly more metallic color.

Midnight Oasis is very lovely! A punchy, vivid blue, but not so bright as to be difficult to wear - as a liner it's lovely because you can tell it's blue, but it doesn't scream. Still, even with the eye primer, the blue pigment immediately shifted down to my lower lashes as a faint shadow. I also got Night Dive, the dark blue eyeliner on - it's quite similar to Midnight Oasis but has a bit more green in it. The combination looks quite sharp. The SA put Brilliant Princess, the new blush shade (a highlighter, really) on my cheeks - very lovely! It's noticeable shimmer + shade. I succumbed to Last Scene lipstick - a very wearable orange red. I can see wearing it full on or just slightly as a stain. Either way it looks great. Ugh, must not make any more purchases! The next visits will just be for fun.

Monday, February 27, 2012

dame dashi

There's an interesting word in Japanese called ダメ出し; 駄目出し (dame-dashi).

According to Jim Breen's dictionary, it means "judging someone (negatively) and urging them to improve; finding fault (in somebody's work)."

It's easy to communicate negatively rather than positively; I'm guilty of this and I think many people around me are too.

Gotta work on emphasizing the positive!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

jill stuart mook

Darn, I want this upcoming tote from Jill Stuart. Because you know I really need another tote bag. I don't like Sweet Magazine much either.

Friday, February 17, 2012

wait what? bacon and chocolate?

Vosges is blowing my mind.

That's my next present for the bf!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Addiction eyeshadow swatches

I had some time to play with some Addiction eyeshadows (on my way to buy some Spanish chocolate at Mitsukoshi), so enjoy some swatch pics. All pictures were taken in department store lighting, so the shades are a little off.

In other news, my black and white GAP sweater looks like it'll only last the season - the yarn is already piling into little knots. Guess the quality's not very good.

Inoue Takehiko's column

His irregular column is quite touching this week.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Some updates

Downgraded: Sephora Liner Metallic: it's not that smooth to apply, and doesn't last very long on my lower lashline. I can't wear it on my upper lashline as it creases after an hour or so. Setting with powder doesn't help at all. Can't wait till I use this up, but it'll be a while at this rate!

I've also given up on my MAC paintpot - it's too dry to apply smoothly and it's too frosty to use as anything other than a sheer base. Maybe I can use it on the lower lashline?

Dain at ArsAromatica recommends Suqqu and Addiction; I'm now really tempted to check them out, although I should cut my stash in half first.

I had the chance to test some Jo Malone fragrances at Mitsukoshi.
Jo Malone Vintage Gardenia - not bad, not bad at all. A soft gardenia - wears quite close to the skin; I don't get much sillage from this. 1 hour 1/2 so far.

Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia is apparently the most popular fragrance in Japan (or at least Ginza Mitsukoshi and I can see why; a very pretty fruity floral. Decent sillage. I like it.

I must say that I'm loving Shu Uemura red:juvenus enriched lotion (a softener). It smells fantastic and my skin absorbs it well. However, the price is hard to justify, so I don't know if I'll repurchase when my travel size runs out. I do enjoy using it though, so we'll see.

My condolences to Whitney Houston's family

It's a terribly sad and shocking loss.

I grew up with her music; I had her debut album on cassette and played it repeatedly. My favorite songs are probably "How Will I Know" and "Greatest Love of All". And "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" - I used to dance to this with my friend in elementary school - we'd just let loose and dance around in her house. Her parents probably thought we were pretty silly.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

ugh, 1200 yen for 3 songs?!?

Man, the margins these Japanese music companies are making!
But I will fork it out for MiCHi's latest single "Tokyo Night", which is so good.
Argh. I should start renting from the video store instead.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Japanese katakana is hard to keep up with!

I ran across the phrase ブレスト (bu-re-su-to) in a thread today, and thought "huh?" According to the dictionary, it's an abbreviation for brainstorming (brai-sto)!

That would never have occurred to me, but it's quite natural to abbreviate things in this way in Japanese.

Garance Dore is so charming!

I was reading her post on skin care and it just made me smile. So charmingly girly and yet not frivolous, somehow.
Really, the design on the packaging of pharmacy products makes me want to die.

Monday, February 06, 2012

foundation match: Esprique Precious

Esprique Precious Dramatic Veil Pact Moisture in OC-405 is a good match for my skin. The powder foundation is not bad too, but I don't think I'll be buying anything for a while. I have lots of foundations and bb creams to test!

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Friday, February 03, 2012

Yves Saint Laurent Golden Gloss #2 Golden Praline

I've probably mentioned this gloss before, but after several years I've come to a new appreciation for this lovely, dependable gloss. The color #2 Golden Praline is a lovely, moderately pigmented, delightfully easy to wear color. The formula is moderately thick and wears comfortably in this dry and cold weather. I've discovered that I like thicker glosses in the winter - it just feels comfortable.

For understated elegance, this is my gloss of choice - the color is flattering but subtle, and the gold flecks add a touch of luxury but not over-the-top bling.

I really like the light fragrance - every time I apply it I'm happy. My tube has lasted several years without going bad - I'm discovering that that's the distinguishing factor for high quality products - they last longer.

I will always want one of these in my stash, and I may need to repurchase this color rather than branch out into a light brown or orange - this one is just really easy and flattering.

If buying this gloss in Japan, buy it at the duty-free shops in the airports - it's about 2600 yen there, compared to 3000 yen domestically. Better yet, buy it abroad!

I'm addicted to this song right now:

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

good Japanese lesson

My lesson today was good. It's getting quite fun, once I learn to relax and not take things so seriously.
I even managed to wake up by myself! The early lesson time is rough, but it makes a good start to the day. Now, time to focus on work.

Friday, January 27, 2012

I totally identify with this bride's thoughts.

Rather than be thin, I want a flat stomach. I also want to exercise more just to feel healthy, but above all, I want a flat stomach.

My reasons:
* If I had a flat stomach, I would look good.
* A flat stomach is a symbol of success.
* I am not confident about the way I look
* If I had a flat stomach, I could wear anything.
* If I had a flat stomach, I'd feel beautiful.
* If I had a flat stomach, I wouldn't care what anyone thought of me.
* If I had a flat stomach, I could own the room!

Funny what hopes we pin on something that really isn't important.
But this is what my mind is thinking.

I know from experience that dieting does not create confidence or self-worth. I know so many brides who lose weight for their wedding, still feel insecure and gain all the weight back on the honeymoon. Skipping the "weight loss" and working directly on our insecurities is the only way to create a confident and sexy bride. And amazingly enough, it's the most effective weight loss strategy and the ONLY way it's permanent.

After a few months of confidence boosting exercises, forgiving her past, connecting with her femininity, deepening her relationship with her fiancé and discovering her life's purpose, Julia far exceeded her goals for the kind of bride she wanted to be.

It makes a lot of sense. I should try this.

I got a belly dance dvd a while ago, but it's boring. It's well done and instructive, but boring.
My tai chi book is even more boring! I guess hoping that I could learn tai chi from a book was already rather doomed to failure.
But rather than waste money, I want to slog my way through each. I'll do one exercise a night starting tonight.

"I see you there, patching that wok"

Saw La Cage Aux Folles in Japanese. It was so much fun! The lead actor was really good. For some reason I'm totally relaxed and happy after seeing that show. I guess spending 3 hours in someone else's life is a good thing.
And musicals are totally fun.

The title of this post has nothing to do with La Cage Aux Folles, it's just an expression I ran across that I found very amusing.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ginza: Futon Mandarin 胡同マンダリン

Coworkers took me to an elegant Chinese restaurant in Ginza. The interior is really "Mandarin" - spacious dining area of dark carved wood, circular tables, discreet wooden screen partitions - like a clean 1920's Shanghai parlor.

The service is very unobtrusive, although the servers are not always visible. The food is delicious; their lunch sets are a great deal. I tried the gyoza set - 7 plump panfried gyoza with a light pork and vegetable filling. The lotus root レンコン added a pleasant crunch and texture to the dumplings. However, the lamb and vegetable dish looks fantastic, and the roast duck noodle soup is delicious according to my coworkers. They're quite generous with the spices, so the vinegar pork may be a bit spicier than you are used to.

The egg drop soup was also delicious - simple, hearty, and well done. It wasn't crowded at all on the day we visited, although apparently it does get full at times. It's a calm, relaxing place to have a quiet lunch. Pricewise it's comparable to other restaurants in the area, with sets around 1000 yen.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

stove top lasagna

I have a lot of lasagna sheets left over from a rice cooker recipe experiment (that didn't go very well), so I thought I'd try this stove top recipe next.
It should be more successful, I hope. Living without an oven is fine, but it makes a lot of American recipes pretty difficult.

Sunday I tried out a pre-made adobo mix - not bad. But it doesn't taste anything like proper adobo, hehe. I'll have to get some recipes soon.

Around my neighborhood, it's kind of difficult to find carrots not grown in Chiba.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

muji food products - mini review

Mujirushi Ryohin 無印良品 carries a wide variety of food products in their bigger stores. Based on a recommendation from a friend I checked out a few things.

uni ウニ(sea urchin) pasta mix - thumbs up! Delicious.
ika sumi イカ墨 (squid ink) pasta mix - good too. But not as completely delicious as the sea urchin pasta mix.

Japanese matcha 抹茶(powdered green tea) latte powder - disappointing. It's quite sweet but not enough of a matcha flavor.

I also bought a chai mix but based on the matcha latte, I have very low expectations - most chais are not spicy enough for my taste to begin with (Starbucks, I'm looking at that vapid liquid you call chai).

Thursday, January 12, 2012


My new Uniqlo jeans are too big. Boo for not being able to return them as I've already worn them.
Do I buy another pair in the correct size? Or just give up and wait for a sale on the super soft Gap jeans that are twice the price?
I think I'll wait for some Vicky jeans. So far they're my favorite pair ever. In fact they're on sale now; I'll go try them on.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I love the start of a new year

Even though it's only symbolic, I love the fresh start that it symbolizes.

I should have a fresh start every month. A time to take stock of everything and make small/big adjustments.

One of my goals is to get through the belly dance DVD that I bought last year.
I haven't done anything yet - I'm not sure why. I'll go to the onsen tonight, hit the grocery store for some chicken to pan-fry, and put on the dvd while the chicken cooks.

I also took serious advantage of the New Year sales in Tokyo. However, I haven't the patience to look at everything on sale (every store has a sale - I literally can't visit every store!) so I've just hit the GAP, Zara, Banana Republic, and Uniqlo. I wish I took more advantage of the Japanese brands, but the shoulder sizing and arm sizing tends to be too short for me, even at Uniqlo which has more forgiving sizing than the smaller boutique brands. So it's more efficient for me to stick to the western brands. Pants fit nicely though and it's hard to beat Uniqlo prices! I try not to convert prices to USD though.

I have to characterize my spree as a binge; over the holidays I got:
GAP: a light brown down jacket
GAP: a thin tan cashmere/wool turtleneck
GAP: a workout tank in a blue-purple
GAP: a long-sleeved workout top in black
GAP: a black and white boxy short-sleeved cardigan
GAP: a black zip up knit vest trimmed with soft fake fur
Banana Republic: A soft blue cropped suit jacket
Uniqlo: warmup pants in dark blue
Uniqlo: Dark regular boot cut jeans
Uniqlo: pink wool turtleneck
UnderArmour: two sports bras
UnderArmour: pink heatgear v-neck top - super comfy

In retrospect, I should have passed on the tan turtleneck and the soft blue suit jacket, but I will definitely wear everything. The jacket will look nice with my tweed brown skirt. Anyway, that's my winter shopping for the year! Urgh.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

lemming: Nanette Lepore bag

This Nanette Lepore bag would require me to seriously streamline what I carry around in my bag, but isn't it delightful?

some small reviews

Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes smudge on my upper lids, but they work pretty well on my lower lids. So it's still liquid liner only on the upper lids. Everything else usually smudges.

MUFE HD foundation in 115 is too light for me.

I like My Beauty Diary masks, but the plastic sheet included is a waste of packaging... Anyway, they're not available in Japan so I'm happy to try all the Japanese masks :)

patisserie Sadaharu AOKI paris Earl Grey macarons and La Maison du Chocolat dark chocolate macarons are delicious. The shops in Marunouchi are really nice; I had a pleasant stroll enjoying my macarons and looking at the pretty lighting on the main street. Sorry, no pics of the macarons; I ate them too quickly.