You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2011.

Benetton is on the way to my nail salon, so I usually end up there killing time if I’m early for a nail appointment.  It’s slowly (ever so slowly), getting warmer in Kyo-town and my winter scarves are too heavy for the weather now.  They had lots of different variations of this scarf, but I went with this darker one since I can wear it with a lot of different outfits.  Love it!

The first time I came to Japan was in 2002 (with an excellent program called AFS) and, while it sounds cliche to say, it changed my life; so much so that I minored in Japanese in college and am here again to work almost 10 years later.  I may be leaving at the end of the this summer, but this is by no means the last time I will be here.  National AJET, an independent association that cooperates with the JET Program, created a facebook event called “Man (万) Up for Japan” which I thought was a good idea.  Man is 10,000 in Japanese, so the idea was that you would donate 10,000yen to Japan aid.  So I did in the form of the following charity items.  I had these sent to my house in America, so I don’t have any of my own pics.  I don’t claim to own these.  Donations can be made to the Red Cross here, or text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10.

Ralph Lauren Japan Hope Polo, 100% of the proceeds go to the Central Community Chest of Japan, a part of the United Way worldwide network.

Kate Spade Japan Relief Tote, 100% of the proceeds go to the Japanese Red Cross.

The last time I went to Kyushu, I was in northern Kyushu: Oita, Beppu, Kitakyushu area; very rural.  Fukuoka is a city I’ve wanted to go to for awhile, so when Alyssa said she wanted to go I jumped on.  Fukuoka is also the home of my favorite type of ramen: tonkotsu ramen and the hometown of Ippudo, one of my favorite restaurants in NYC.

Fukuoka weekend trip in pictures…stuff I bought to come later:

Dazaifu is a little ways outside of Fukuoka proper, and I think this is part of the reason it reminds me so much of Kamakura (which is a little ways outside of Tokyo).  Also the main square around the station and the shopping arcade leading up to the shrine are similar-looking.

Dazaifu Tenman-gu Shrine.  Also, I don’t know why, but when I went back and looked at my pictures, I had a bunch of these stone lions…

 

From the rock garden at Kōmyōzen, a zen temple.  It looked like an event was going on, but the attendant at the front said it was ok to enter…then as we were leaving, he told us there was an event, and it was a funeral.  Thanks, attendant guy.

 

Kyushu National Museum.  Not allowed to take pictures inside.  Very well done, I’d recommend it if you’re here.  We did not see the special exhibit, just the main one.  I liked how the focus was not solely on Japan, but on the development of Japan relative to the rest of Asian history.

 

Ippudo!!  Also exciting was the fact that there was no wait!  The usual wait time at the NYC location can exceed an hour…an hour…for RAMEN.  Ramen which costs $13 to the Japan location’s $9.  But it is delicious; tonkotsu is my favorite type of ramen.  Differences between Japan and NYC (other than prices and wait time): toppings and side dishes at the table; the ability to order extra noodles if you run out while you still have broth (which I shamelessly ordered); ability to specify noodle texture to your server; atmosphere at this location (3 in Fukuoka) was decidedly casual to NYC’s upscale look.

 

Ohori Park.  Gorgeous, I wish there was a place like this in Kyoto.  There’s a running/biking/walking path around the lake and these small islands and bridge that run through the middle.  Also went to the Fukuoka Art Museum which was located around the perimeter.  Decent museum, but I wouldn’t call it spectacular.

 

Yatai are small food stalls that appear when it gets dark on the streets in Fukuoka.  We found this one in front of Daimaru and later found out it was our hostel’s recommended yatai.  Generally they serve standard Japanese bar food, but one of the popular items at this one was tacos.  They’re Japan-ified, but delicious nonetheless.  If you don’t like Tabasco though I wouldn’t recommend them.  We also got yakisoba.  It would have been easy to sit here for hours ordering food and drinking, but Alyssa had a budget and I had a night bus back to Kansai to catch.

To be honest, I don’t really drink coffee; it makes me jittery and not in a good way.  Alyssa and I were killing time in a Starbucks before a show and spotted these sakura tumblers.  Sakura stuff in Japan has been everywhere since the start of March, and apparently, just like the sakura itself, the merchandise is not available for long.  In fact, I wanted to link the product page on Starbucks’ official website and the pages were already taken down!  There was a smaller pink version and this larger green one.  The other one had too much pink for my taste.

The same day we went to Kitanotenmangu we hung around Kyoto until it got dark and went to the Hanatouro illumination display in Kyoto.  While walking the Hanatouro route up to the Kiyomizu Temple, this store caught mine and my friend’s eye and we had to go in.  Impulse buy!  Metal Factory handmakes their accessories and watches.  The watches are very cool, but I bought these asymmetrical earrings.  Love the sakura pattern on them.  It’s such a small detail, but that’s what convinced me to buy them.

Metal Factory has three locations, but the one we went to was v●c●e on the way up to Kiyomizu.  No easy directions, see their website for a map.

Kitano Tenman-gu shrine is known for its plum blossoms, which bloom around February.  To enter the actual plum blossom viewing area, there is a fee, but there are plum blossoms all over the grounds; unless you’re particularly into flower viewing, you don’t necessarily need to enter the area.  We didn’t.

Kitanotenman-gu shrine (北野天満宮), take city bus 50 or 101 from JR Kyoto station.

Kind of late for this, but the last week in Japan has me thinking about things other than this blog.  Green nails for March!

Ok, this is going to be the last cardigan I buy for awhile, I swear.  First saw Rydia by World Wide Love in Parco in Shibuya, but by the time I got there I was out of funds.  Then I discovered this store in OPA while wandering around.  So happy, love the graphic style.  Picked up this cardigan in (shock!) not black, but gray.  I tried on a light rose colored one originally and the color just didn’t suit me.  Love the little ghost design and the heart buttons.

Exit Keihan Gion-Shijo station and go west across the bridge.  Continue straight, then take a right at Takashimaya towards Sanjo.  OPA on your left.  World Wide Love 5F.

Moussy proper this time.  Sale at OPA in Gion-Shijo.  I’m definitely on a kick for spring cardigans I guess.  This long black one fit the bill for warmer weather since it’s getting too warm to wear the cashmere one.  Anyway, I’m wearing it right now as I write this post and it’s very comfortable.  Glad I was able to pick this up.

Exit Keihan Gion-Shijo station and go west across the bridge.  Continue straight, then take a right at Takashimaya towards Sanjo.  OPA on your left.  Moussy 1F.

Azul by Moussy is a fast fashion brand owned by Baroque Japan Limited, who also owns Moussy, SLY and rienda, among others.  I was pleased to find one in the Takanohara Mall a couple stops down from Kyo-town.  I originally saw this cardigan at the beginning of the season and didn’t think it was worth the money.  But at the end of the season and for 1995yen, it’s totally worth the price now.  Very soft.  I liked the light blue, but the only size that was left was super small.  Black always works.

From Kintetsu station Takanohara, exit and go left.  Go up the elevator into the Aeon Mall on the right.  Azul by Moussy store right in front of you.

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...

live