Archive | January, 2010

Poverty Next Door

31 Jan

I wonder when it was last that Japan was said to be a country of nondiscriminatory society. Time has changed and today many Japanese workers suffer from the difference between regular employment and irregular one. In Japan when we do the same job, our salary or social security is different whether we’re hired as regular employee or not. (Yes, this is very unfair!) In fact, many temp-workers have been fired and they turned to be homeless these days.

Japan used to be nicer to the poor and the weak of society but watch this video to see how these people are striving today. They are not lazy. They are doing as much as they can to make their living, but they can not get out of working poor. They are not anything special. Such people can be next door, and this can happen to anyone under such bad economy.

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The video is originally from here.
It describes sad and unfortunate reality that Japanese society has today.
Naoki in the film used to own his business but he failed and lost everything. One of the negative things about Japanese society is that it’s strict to those who failed and made mistakes. It doesn’t give us the second chance. That’s I suppose why many of us want to work as a salary man rather than making his own business in this country, and that’s why we tend to be conservative.

“All-Japanese-are-middle-class mentality” was the word that described Japanese society only 10-20 years ago. There were less extreme-poor and less extreme-rich at that time. We used to laugh at our society that it’s not capitalism but communism, which even can be missed today.

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Sneakers Special

28 Jan

Sneakers Special
5/SEP/2009 on air

CONVERSE is an American sneaker brand but these days they try to listen to the voices from Japanese streets. They ask girls walking down the streets in Harajuku to try their 6cm high-heeled sneakers on and tell them what they think. High-heeled sneakers are good for those who usually don’t wear sneakers. VANQUISH from Onii-kei brand and no name from girly brand stresses sneaker fashion.

When you choose what to wear, do you choose from clothes or shoes?
Girly dress and girly shoes are too normal and just girly. It’s cool if we combine girly dress with fashionable sneakers!

The star patterned sneakers of X-girl‘s collaboration with Vans were limited-line but they sold very fast.

Urahara is one of the best places in the world to shop fashionable sneakers. Many international celebrities pay an incognito visit to this area. Kenye West and Black Eyed Peas are not exceptional. The day of recording the episode, Tokyo Kawaii TV caught Keri Hilson’s shopping in Urahara. She visits CHAPTER and KICKS LAB.

3 men are collectors of vintage sneakers. Each of them bring 3 pairs of sneakers and Mr.Ikki and Beni-chan guess which one is most expensive or which one sold fastest. Vintage sneakers could be priced as much as 700,000yen (USD7000) at online auction today.

In 1995 it was NIKE that gave a new value to sports shoes. They suggested customised design sneakers using PC. The variation of design was as many as hundreds of millions patterns. ADIDAS also changed their image and started to target woman customers. Pumps shaped sneakers are fashionable as well as functional. They are popular among female office workers because they are so comfortable enough to wear for hours.

Imai-san is a designer of MADFOOT. 210,000 people in Japan wear the shoes he designed, which means he can find 4 people wearing his shoes within 1 hour in Harajuku. MADFOOT shoes are sold at 500 stores in Japan, and also in London and Taiwan. Their colorful sneakers are so popular. He chooses theme first, then color from 1000 colors.

Kirin’s opinion:
MADFOOT’s colorful sneakers are not my taste. When I first saw them I wondered how we were supposed to coordinate with these too many colors. I’d definitely choose simple colored base plus accent color if I choose sneakers for myself. I like pumps shaped sneakers, but when heels are too high, that makes me tired. I am also interested in sneaker boots. But this winter I didn’t have a chance to buy them.

***There are archives of episodes listed under the page titled “Tokyo Kawaii TV” that is just located under the title banner of this blog

Yummy! Japanese hot pot!!

25 Jan

I’ve posted about hot pot cuisine (nabe ryori) sometimes before, but this TV show is introducing variety of hot pot cuisine, especially supported by the locals in Japan.

As you see, there are many reasons that we like to eat hot pot in this (autumn – winter) season.
-It’s tasty.
-It’s good for health. We can have many kind of vegetables.
-We get all warmed up when we eat it.
-We feel close to each other by sharing a hot pot.
-We can choose from variety of soup, ingredients, and “Shime” (whether rice or noodle or what?)
and so on…
Ah, now you see how I ate the collagen hotpot with a lump of collagen. The collagen lump will be totally melt in a soup, and you will eat it up when you eat rice or noodle afterwards because it absorbs the soup.

Some examples of “Shime” (=to finish) from the TV.
Eating Udon for “Shime” is very common, and we do this often when we eat it at home, too.
udon'

Eating spaghetti for “Shime” is not an authentic Japanese way, but this looks good as long as the noodle is kept “al dente” and not too soft.
pasta
Eating Ojiya (steamed rice and raw egg to make something like congee) is very orthodox and common. We do this quite often at home, too.
ojiya
This must be yummy! Regardless of curry taste, cheese and Ojiya is a good combination.
risotto
I want to try this restaurant or this one in this season and if I do, I’ll share my experience in this blog. 🙂

Which hot pot looks good to you? Do you have a nice hot pot cuisine in your country that you may want to share with us? I have no idea how common hotpot is in other countries. If it’s as common as in Japan, I’d like to try some foreign hotpot too, if I have a chance! :p

I'm planning to go to Malaysia!

23 Jan

At a moment, I’m planning to go to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia somewhere in March. I’ve noticed that many of my blog readers are from Malaysia, and I’ve been interested in the country. But I never thought the chance would come so soon.

This time, my purpose is half for business and another half for fun. I will stay there a week or so…if possible. If any of you have been a reader of this blog and are interested in seeing me in person in Kuala Lumpur, this is a good chance!

I have to arrange my trip, read a guidebook, prepare for what I should see and study there, and so many things to make my short stay useful. Please advise me or give me tips about Kuala Lumpur if you are familiar with the city, or if you have travelled there. Your comments or emails are very much appreciated!

Thanks! ^ ^

kawaii updo hairstyles

21 Jan

I’d like to share with you some nice video tutorials of making kawaii hair updos! If you enjoy long hair, you can try several styles introduced in her videos. It looks like some videos have English subtitles. She also shares information about beauty and cosmetics in her blog in Japanese. I wish I had such a long hair to try even one of them, but…you know it’ll take me many years to grow my hair long enough to enjoy these styles. (>_<)Ow!

Maybe you have seen this before, as one of her videos (below) was awarded the best “how-to sector” of Youtube Video Award Japan 2009. *applause* 😀

How did you like it? Pretty? Too complicated?

Bonus cute video! This is so sweet!!

"Just-wrap-it" Diet is hot in Japan now.

19 Jan

makudake diet
*Disclaimer: The original content is quoted from MSN Japan.

Have you heard that it’s a distortion of a body that makes us fat!?
Even if you don’t care about fat or overweight, you’re not happy to live with stiff shoulders, backache, or constipation, are you?
First of all, you can learn if your body is distorted or not. If your answer is yes to any one of the followings, then your body (especially pelvic bone) is very possibly distorted.

test 1
-Somehow the skirt you are wearing turns round while you walk.
-Only one side (inside or outside) of the soles of your shoes worn out.
-You have severe menstrual pain.
-You sleep on your stomach, or on your side.
-You’ve been told that your face looks asymmetry.

If you have one or more of Yes to above, your body is distorted!
(Sadly I am!)
Now how about another test?

test 2
Stand in front of a full-length mirror, close your eyes and step there for 10 seconds.
Then open your eyes, trying to keep relaxed, but quickly check if the hight of the followings are located in good balance.

-the eyebrows
-the ears
-the shoulders
-the knees
-and the length of the arms.

So what can you do to the distortion and lose weight (fat) after all?
That’s what Makudake diet (巻くだけダイエット) is for.
Only wrap a band around your sidebone to set the pervic bone right positioned, and wait for 3 minutes! Do this everyday, and one month later you will find you have lost 2-3kg, according to them.

This is Makudake diet and is very hot now in Japan now!
But as long as I check the book review from Amazon.co.jp, it’s just OK…
But if you are interested in, the photo below is from the book.
makudake exercise

I remember long time ago, it got popular to band tape around fingers and lose weight. I tried that, but I could not keep that because at work I had to show my fingers in front of our customers. To continue that diet method, the best thing was to do that as long hours as possible. When we spend most of time at work, how could I keep that? Then I stopped it.

BTW, do you remember my post about rubbing fat to move it to the breasts? One of my friends kept doing that and she said to me, it really worked!!

Is there any diet that is very popular in your country? Anything that you recommend or share with us? What do you think of low-carbohydrate diet? I once went successful with it, but since I heard it’s not effective to stop eating enough amount of rice and instead eat meat well, I stopped my diet and got fat again…:(

Another OUTLET store!

16 Jan
outlet jiyugaoka1' I found another OUTLET shop this time in Jiyugaoka. I’ve known this store but I didn’t realize it was OUTLET store, the same one in Daikanyama. They sell cheap kawaii daily goods and stationery at a reasonable price. I am always embarrassed to take photos inside the stores, because most of the time I am told not to take photos of their products…

I’m not a spy to steal what’s selling well at how much and etc. you know, I just want to share what we have in Tokyo. If my blog gets more popular, I will be able to ask any shops to let me interview them and take photos officially, but at a moment, well…it’s not yet…:p

BTW I think I’ve seen these socks at several other places such as my favorite Mighty Soxer and Village Vanguard, and many other places. (Speaking of the quality or texture of tights and socks, I personally do prefer Mighty Soxer to Tutuanna. When it comes to underwear, I’d prefer amo’s style or Peach John to Tutuanna, so it looks like Tutuanna is not my taste…Actually I like une nana cool‘s cute underwear, too!)

If you are not familiar with kawaii things, you may think they are for children. But no, no. Some of them maybe targeted for small kids and school kids, but in Japan it’s quite natural that adults like to buy things like this. It’s not funny or strange that adults shop things from such store for themselves to use. That’s very natural and this is something I always miss when I travel abroad. I am too much used to Japanese kawaii things always around me. hahaha…^ ^;

If you ever have a chance to come over to Jiyugaoka, there are many nice shops, cafes and restaurants, but with less people around, which is unlike big cities such as Shibuya or Shinjuku. That’s why Jiyugaoka is one of my favorite places to hang around or eat out as well as it’s only 5 minutes or so by train from my nearest station.

Let me just add this post to the OUTLET in the page of “kawaii shop“.

outlet jiyugaoka3

outlet jiyugaoka2
outlet jiyugaoka5