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Home for the holidays.  Thank god, I think was hitting what they call the stage 2 of culture shock in Japan…i.e. the stage where you hate everything.  In America right now, so probably some posts featuring stuff I’ve bought while home because, well, I bought a lot.  Returning to Japan on Sunday.  As New Year’s approaches, I think more and more that I should have flown into Tokyo and spent a day there since they’re about to explode in New Year’s sales.  70-80% off at the 109, but you have to face insane crowds of anorexic looking Japanese girls shoving for the lucky bags.

Anyway, New Year’s Resolutions already made:
1. Study Japanese – I’ve probably gotten better, but this is the area where I’m slacking and I know it.  Starting next year making serious efforts at conversation class and the N2.
2. Blog more – I think I’ll roll this and my other blog into one and make a concerted effort to blog more.  And make sure it’s not just me bitching all the time.  Just bitching some of the time.
3. Kyudo – I will find a place to do kyudo.
4. Next year – This isn’t so much a resolution as a necessity, but I need to figure out if I’m going to stay in Japan or not after July.  That sounds far off, but I should at least start now so that I’m sure to do it.  I’m definitely not staying in the town I’m in (which for the sake of being polite I’ll just refer to as Kyo-town), so it’s really, do I go back to nyc and resume life or try to make it in Tokyo?  Right now I kind of want to try life in Tokyo, but larger payments on my student loans are going to be required starting midway through the year, so they might kill that ambition.

I’m sad that Shu Uemura no longer has counters in the US, but in Japan they’re abundant.  Their holiday collection, abracadabra fantasy, is a collaboration with artist Aya Takano.  Aya Takano is a superflat artist, part of Takashi Murakami’s collective, Kaikai Kiki.  Really, I wanted to buy it all, but settled on the sparkly purple paint crayon eyeliner.

Picked up some jewelry in a shop called Recipe in the Kobe Daimaru.  Daimaru is like Japan Bloomingdales.  The jewelry wrapped is for my host sisters in Chiba, a heart and bow necklace respectively.  Of course I ended up buying something for myself too.  This shop also had an amazing assortment of Christmas cards (a bit hard to find good ones that aren’t super expensive in Japan because most people write New Years’ cards).

Subtlety prevailed for December nails.  A nude color with sparkles and snowflake decals on two fingers.  My nailist this time was really cool.  Aside from nails we chatted about nyc, jay-z and japanese….she’s also def. not afraid to tell you her opinion, which is nice in a country where people are usually reserved in that way.  If you’re going to go to Speed Nail Kyoto, I’d def. recommend Kuroda-san.  And I got a VIP card, which gets me 5% off my purchases and and extra 5% if I book my next appointment on the spot ^_^

Surprised I haven’t bought more makeup…although with the new Coffret D’or makeup having been released, that’ll probably change.  Majolica Majorca Majolook eyeshadow.  Love this eyeshadow.  It goes on smooth, blends well and stays in place.  And when you take it off, it comes off easily too.

ViVi is a Japanese fashion magazine.  As you can see, I’ve been buying it every month.  Not so in NYC, it’s $13 a piece there, but half the price here.  They seem to be favoring pop stars lately.

Sept – ViVi models
Oct – Namie Amuro
Nov and Dec – Ayumi Hamasaki
Jan – Miliyah Kato

Yep, more manga…also by Ai Yazawa.  I said before it was all going to go downhill.  Picked these up for 150yen ($1.80usd) a piece at the used manga/game/dvd store.  Kagen no Tsuki, another one of her older works.  Was also made into a movie starring Chiaki Kuriyama (Battle Royale, Kill Bill Vol. 1) and Hyde (L’arc~en~Ciel, VAMPS).  Hyde would also later compose the theme song for the movie adaptation of NANA, also written by Ai Yazawa.

A Christmas present for my host mother who lives in Fukuoka.  The mug design is based on the story of the Town Musicians of Bremen fairy tale.  The lid of the gift box has a wind-up music box inside.

Yep, again with the concert gear.  VAMPS is the solo project of Hyde, L’arc~en~Ciel‘s vocalist.  L’arc~en~Ciel is my favorite band and while they all have solo projects, the only one I really like is Hyde’s.  It’s got a harder rock sound than L’arc.  Saw them at the Fillmore in NYC last year and again they were awesome in this much bigger venue.  Being Japan where Hyde is super popular, it was also a much bigger budget production and the giant screens had the clearest picture I’ve ever seen.  Would have taken a picture of that too, but staffers were prowling constantly.

The swag at this concert was ridiculous and included: noren (traditional Japanese curtains), omamori (protection charms that you’d normally buy at a temple), a 12,000yen ($145usd) hoodie dress, and an alarm clock.  See all of it here.

It was only a matter of time until I started buying manga.  It’s all downhill from here.  Gokinjo Monogatari vol. 1 full version reissue.  The original Gokinjo Monogatari has seven volumes, but this full version reissue only has four…and has cuter covers.  My favorite manga, Paradise Kiss, is the sequel to this series.

Ashley

Grew up in philly, used to live in nyc, spent a year in japan. I like shopping. Gotta figure out what to do with this blog now...

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