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On my last full day in Kyoto, I moved out of my apartment and then had about 6 hours to kill until meeting the girls for dinner and then getting on the night bus to Chiba.  I am quite proud of myself for not buying everything in sight out of boredom.  This passport case by bombay duck was in a pop-up in the Kyoto Isetan.  This was totally an impulse buy, as I already have a passport case (boring and black, but it did the job).  There were a few varieties, but I liked the first class one the best.

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Summer in Japan is hot and sticky, so these oil blotting papers are a must.  I bought the “Silk” kind for sensitive skin with a gold sakura patterned case.  From Zou.

One of the last things I bought in Kyoto.  I had gone downtown with Alyssa to the manga museum and then we went wandering.  After I left her at the nail salon, I stopped into a cell phone strap store and bought this cute goldfish one.  I’m a sucker for the summer themed stuff.

Stopped by the Kobe store since they were in the middle of a sale.  As always, found cute Cat’s Tsumori Chisato stuff, but it wasn’t included in the sale.  But I did find this fun summer-y clutch.  It also came in blue and yellow.  I dislike yellow and I own a lot of blue already, so I went with this crazy orange one.

I love the graphic style of Rydia by World Wide Love.  From the Parco Part 3 Shibuya location.

Omg the live was awesome.  When I think about it; I’m happy.  Actual post about the live to come later when I have all the pictures (I stupidly forgot my camera and had to borrow my friend’s boyfriend’s and I’m waiting on him to send them to me).

Staff pass shirt.  This was definitely the cuter of the two shirt options they had, as evidenced by the S size selling out before I could get one.  But the bigger size isn’t too ill-fitting.  It also has more of a 20th anniversary feel than the other one did (which simply had a logo saying 20th anniversary on it on top of some horrible looking hot topic-esque horizontal black and yellow stripes).

I wasn’t originally going to buy this, but when I finally got up to the cashier I ended up buying it.  Caught up in the moment?

I feel like all Japanese concerts have what I refer to as “the towel song”; a fast-paced song that is punctuated by throwing or swinging the band’s branded muffler towel (as these are called) at the chorus….excellent marketing, Japan, exxxxxcellent.  I did not have said towel at VAMPS or Jasmine, so I figured what the hell I’ll be prepared this time…and then the towel song never came!  But as it was raining the entire time and got cold when the sun went down I was glad to have this to use as a scarf.

Earring set at a no-name jewelry store in Fukuoka.  I don’t usually wear posts, but I liked the colors in this set.

Sunday was supposed to be a quick downtown errand-then get apartment things done type of day.  The agenda: get nails done, hit giant bookstore, sell old books, get mother birthday present; return home, do laundry and clean apartment.  It did not turn out that way.  Of course, nails were done.

My nailist was a super cute girl who was obsessed with Gossip Girl, so she was really excited when I said I was from NYC and wanted to know if it was really like the show.  I liked that we had a seemingly normal salon-style conversation, and not the usual bs I get asked when people discover that I am a foreigner.  I wish you could request nailists!

Neo-Mart is on the way to the giant bookstore between Gion-Shijo and Sanjo.  This store kinda sells everything and I’ve classified it the same way I do Loft: an オシャレ (oshare: trendy) lifestyle store.  None of what they have is essential and it’s mildly overpriced (though still affordable), but it’s trendy.  Some of it (like that lamp) is just weird.  What do you think the penguin thing is?  Turns out it’s a set of pots and pans that happen to form a penguin when you stack them.  These are the weird design quirks I’ll miss when I leave Japan.  NYC definitely has its share of design, but nobody out-weirds Japan.

All the way back in October, I stumbled upon a random flea market with Alyssa where I picked up a business card for a handmade jewelry store called ro-ji.  At the time, I had tentatively bookmarked a pair of earrings in my head for my mom’s birthday.  However, her birthday is April 8th and I was afraid if I bought them early that I’d lose/break/otherwise maim them.  Shocked I actually held onto the business card.  The business card had a map on it, but the store is hard to find.  Head down Ni-jo towards Higashiyama.  On your left you’ll see an AEON supermarket.  At the next small street, take a left and ro-ji is on your right.  There was a small sign on the street in front of the store and it is VERY small (think shed-sized).  If you hit the school, you’ve gone too far.  Also good to know is that the store is only open F, S, Su and M.  This was not stated on the business card, so it was lucky for me that I went on a weekend.  I coudn’t open this to take a pic since I asked her to wrap it, but these are the earrings I got, in gold.

Anyway, post jewelry store I was supposed to go sell the books when I realized…I had left the books at home.  Oops.  Now showcasing my absolute lack of knowledge of Kyoto, I decided to walk from Ni-jo to Demachiyanagi, where there was a good falafel place.  It was way past lunchtime and I figured since the sakura were blooming and the weather was nice that I could take it to go and eat by the river.  I had already walked from Gion-Shijo to Ni-jo, mind you.  Figuring that I must be up by the used bookstore (also a gross underestimate) I started walking north…..and kept walking….and kept walking….and finally hit the used bookstore much later.  At which point I realized that, no, this was not as close as originally thought.  And then thought, well, now Demachiyanagi must be kinda close (again, wrong).  About a half hour after this original ordeal began, finally I did arrive at Demachiyanagi station and got my glorious falafel (Falafel Garden Kyoto).  So basically I walked a little under 2 miles in total….but at least the scenery wasn’t bad.

There’s a little area up by Imadegawa St. where the river splits and there’s this peninsula/island thing that you can access via one of the bridges.  Being a gorgeous day, there were a ton of people hanami-ing and just generally hanging out.  While I was eating they were dj-ing untz untz music.  By the time I had finished eating, this band had taken the stage (can you call it that?).  They were cool, but a little new age-y for my taste.  I preferred the previous untz.

All in all, the day did not go as planned, but was very pleasant nonetheless, and made me think how different/enjoyable this year would have been had I lived in the city.  To be clear, I have not been completely miserable, nor do I regret coming here.  I accepted the big gamble that is the JET Program, knowing that I’d have zero control.  Kyo-town does have its finer points, but it’s this spontaneity and sense of randomness that I love about city life.

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.

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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