Archive | July, 2010

Why do we study English like that?

30 Jul

It looks like some Japanese people like to spend summer vacation for study. They take it a good opportunity to learn English. It’s unlike vacation or holiday…though^ ^;
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It's Hanabi (fireworks) season in Japan!

28 Jul

One of the great things to live in Japan is that we have 4 seasons every year. Having lived in Japan for over 30 years it’s nothing new to me by now to have Hanabi season but I suppose things look so different once I fall in love with someone and go out for a date to see Hanabi together. lol Seasonal evens are somehow so much fun especially when new romance starts. What? My hubby? No, it’s too stable as we’ve been together for over 10 years. He’s like a best friend, good buddy, and even the best business partner to me by now. (It’s so far from new romance, right?) lol

No matter how you are in love with someone or not, I believe Hanabi Taikai (fireworks show) is one of the most exciting/romantic/fun events during this period in Japan. Then how do we know when these events take place?

Search Hanabi Taikai near your place if you visit Japan during summer!
Walker plus

Speaking of Hanabi, it’s something for summer in Japan. You may feel more familar with new year’s fireworks in your country but in Japan, Hanabi definitely evokes a summery image. Hanabi, Yukata, ping sound from a Fuurin (=wind-bell), burning smell from Katorisenkou (=pyrethrum coil), ceaseless buzz of cicadas…these are typical things that evoke an image of Japanese summer. But these days as it’s getting too hot and our city life keeps us away from these sentimental items. We live in concrete with air-con running almost 24 hours a day.

Anyhow, followings are some Hanabi-themed J-pop that the Japanese like to sing or listen to.

“Hanabi” by Mr. Children

“Kingyo Hanabi” by Ai Otsuka

“Hanabi” by Ayumi Hamasaki

“Hanabi” by Ikimono Gakari

Summer sale will be over…hurry up!!

26 Jul

I knew summer sale started at the very beginning of July, but I was too busy to go out for hunting. Well, there are other reasons I didn’t because I don’t like the fashion trend this year (maxi-take wanpi = maximum length dress and this kind of hat) and nothing looks attractive enough for me to shop. As I have mentioned at somewhere, shops in Japan do not sell anything that goes against the trends. That means, there’s nothing I want to buy when I don’t like the fashion trend. (I’d save the money for what I really like to have!)

Anyway it was a surprise when I saw the sign “Final Sales” at a Marui department store in Shibuya the other day! It’s in the middle of summer when temperature is over 35 degrees C, sometimes even nearly 40C everyday!! I know fashion always take the trends from next season, but I wondered if summer sale has ever ended so soon. If my memory was correct, it’s been mid August that “Final Sale” was announced. I even saw some boots for the next season.

Wow…it looked like I totally missed the sale period. I didn’t plan to buy anything but as it turned out, I found myself attracted by these sandals. Whenever I shop, I find the thing I want very quickly. This time was no exception. There were black and white (with mixed color) as other options, but I liked this yellow from the beginning! I knew how I should wear these right at the moment when I saw them. I knew they’d look so kawaii with colored socks, tights or leggings especially dark blue or purple and in autumn! I could imagine it so well and I asked the sales assistant how she’d think about that. To my surprise, she was totally impressed with my idea, saying “You’re so right. I’ve never thought of wearing these sandals in that way. I was only thinking about this season, but you’re right, these sandals are so cute to be coordinated with colored tights!! Now I know…” ^ ^; It sounded as if I were the sales assistant. But I was glad she liked my idea. 😀

They were not discounted for sales, but I loved them. So I bought them. It’s 12600yen. To me, what I like is what I like and that I buy. I don’t care about the trends or everybody’s having. The soles fit on my feet so well and they were very comfortable to wear. Well there are places we can get cheaper shoes but I’ve been a big fan of this brand named WanoNano for over 10 years, and I usually keep wearing a pair of shoes from them for at least 3 years. This day I was wearing a pair of WanoNano sandals, which I have been wearing 3 or 4 summers so far. I went back home with the new sandals on, in exchange for the old ones to get repaired. I will wear them 2 more summers, hopefully. :p

I placed a piece of paper underneath because I already wore them outside house. (Remember? We take off shoes at home.)

Finally I can say good bye to the old pass case I used for over 10 years. I’ve been looking for a new one since I found small holes on the old one. I bought the new one from the left-over goods that waited for someone at the last minute. I kinda like to keep a train pass, library card and keys all together in a kiss-lock type of pouch. 🙂 I think I keep this style for decades.

Oh, I also carry my Omamori (charm for protection) with me. Wait…I have no idea how long I’ve been using that Winnie-the-Pooh keychain. It must be over 15years I guess….^ ^;

It’s such a personal diary, are you sure you want to read something like this? Right now I’m reading the entry emails for the giveaway contest and I found some people are interested in my daily life, as a sample of how a local Japanese live in Japan. I’ve been thinking that my posts are to be designed for something useful and informative, but I guess it’s nicer to include personal posts like what I bought, what I ate, what I did in Tokyo…right? ^ ^;

Have you entered the giveaway contest?

24 Jul

I’m so happy to receive entry emails everyday, which is as if I were receiving fan letters! lol
I made this video in case you have not noticed the giveaway contest, and also to let you know that you will not receive a replying email from me to your entry unless you win the contest. (Thus I cannot reply to the person who was worried if she entered the contest properly.)

Also, it’s a good chance for you to speak to me what you have in your mind as a reader of this blog. In that sense, you do not always have to write to me as an “entry” to the contest, if you are not interested in gaining the prize. Moreover, I always open my email box for your emails and you can write to me whenever you feel like. 🙂

You still have 10 days to go until the contest closes. Please take your time, if you have not entered yet, and I’ll be looking forward to your entries!
Feel free to ask me a question at the comment section of this post, if you have any. (This is my first giveaway contest, I may not do it well…)

Thank you very much for those who already entered.
Please avoid sending me multiple entries except you have to amend some parts of your previous email.
Thank you.

ps. Oh I made a mistake in my speech. It’s “irrelevant” not “unrelevant” but it was too late I already issued the video…^ ^; (BTW, you can always point out my mistakes in English I will not get offended. I’m just a person who doesn’t wait until I become perfect, because I know that point will never come to me! lol)

Fashionable Japanese Kids

22 Jul

Fashionable Japanese Kids: What’s JK, JC, and JS?
21/NOV/2009 on air

School kids from jr. high scholl and even elementary school are now acting like high school girls?

JK…Joshi Kousei (女子高生)= high school girls (age 16-18)
JC…Joshi Chugakusei (女子中学生)= jr.high school girls (age 13-15)
JS…Joshi Shougakusei (女子小学生)= elementary school girls (age 5-12)

Nakako (仲仔)…close friends (This is a coined word only used by elementary and junior high schoolers.)

Don’t ignore these early teenage girls, the 4 fashion magazines that target them sell 700,000 copies in total. There are so many JC who want to be a fashion model to those magazines. They even wear makeup after school.

Even elementary school girls (JS) are so fashionable nowadays they have cute stationery and even makeup tools to carry to the school everyday! Isn’t it too young for the elementary school girls to start having deco nails, skin care, makeup, and modeling just like the adults do?

Let’s look at characteristic of jr. high school girl (JC) models.
Sukuba mori(=putting overloaded toys and accessories on the school bag.)
-Seiare (=arranging school uniform as they like)
They have cute stationeries and makeup goods but they don’t even carry text books. They leave them at school and do not study at home.

Takashita dori (Takeshita street, Harajuku) is one of the most popular places for the jr. high schoolers in Japan to visit for the school trip.
There are many shops on the Takeshita st. that target these kids. They like to wear the same item among close friends, which is called Nakako item or Nakako fashion.

Asahi-chan, a popular JC model who even works as a fashion designer, shares 3 best spots for JC or JS on Takeshita st.
Pink Latte…The most expensive clothes in the store is priced 5000 something yen, which is affordable to JC. (I’m even double JC aged but I still enjoy browsing or shopping at the shop myself!)
ParisKid’s…Cheap kawaii accessories for JC. They can get grownup looking accessory at 315yen.
-Purikuraya P-kan…There is a wonderful Purikura machine that has functions of changing hair colors and eye colors, or adding false lashes and makeup on the photo. With a set of false lashes as a free gift, all these experiences are for only 400yen! There’s no wonder this Purikura has become so popular!!

Sunhoseki‘s price is crazily cheap. It’s originally a jewelry company but they changed their way. 10 female designers design these cheap accessories. One of them spent 9 hours at Harajuku to think of 100 new accessory ideas in a day.

Lovetoxic is an apparel maker targeting teenagers. They use JC (jr. high school girls) as stylist that coordinate for the dummy and reduce the price of their clothes.

JC love charaben or decoben and it’s their moms that make bento for them.
There are many nice tools to help make charaben and decoben.

Takizawa-san, one of the most well-known charaben proficients who’s especially good at decorating boiled egg. She was even featured on the “Face Food Book” published in the U.S.A.
She soaks a boiled egg into Mentsuyu (seasoning soy sauce) with curry powder in, to put a skin color on the egg.
She even tries to express eyelashes by using laver, lips that have lip gloss on by using some ketchup, and to paste laver she uses mayo.

Washizawa-san is not making cakes. Instead of using egg and whip cream, she uses mashed potatoes, because her daughter is atopic. To make it colorful, she mixes it with colorful ingredients such as curry powder, purple colored potato, spinach, or ketchup.

Higure-san is a proficient of portrait bento. She has won the grand prize at the biggest charaben contest in Japan. She usually starts studying the pictures of the model of the portrait 2 weeks ahead of the contest.

Maria-chan is a top JS dokumo (a model to the fashion magazine that was selected from the subscribers of the magazine). She has been to nail salons since she was 2nd grader of elementary school (6 or 7 years old). She wants to be a fashion model.

Mia-chan, 4th grader of elementary school (9 or 10 years old), has been training to dance and sing because she wants to be a singer. Her mom is a single mother who tries to save money by doing Mia’s hair and sharing clothes with her.

JS, JC and Sugawara-san, the popular charaben artist whose charaben blog has over 100,000 page views per day and whose book is selling more than 50,000 copies, are the jury of the small decobento contest held by Tokyo Kawaii TV.

Washizawa-san’s fake cake bento beaten Takizawa-san’s deco boiled egg bento and Higure-san’s Mr.Ikki bento.

Kirin’s opinion:
It’s totally free for anyone to do anything, but I basically disagree with JS(elementary school girls) becoming too fashionable.
I think there are a lot more important things for the kids at this age to learn or do than spending time and effort on fashion or shopping. It’s not good to spend too much time to shop kawaii, dress kawaii and do makeup or nails. They are supposed to play with the similar aged kids, learn very basic rules of the society, how to communicate properly with other people, sports, art, music and anything besides school studies that enrich their personal character throughout their life. Of course I’d encourage them to enjoy having something kawaii for fun, but this is way too extreme and I’d even feel it very weird small kids are into makeup and skin care just like adults do.

Also, most of the kids do not work at this age, but the magazines are too stimulating to ignore. They will end up with asking their parents to buy clothes, makeup gadgets, nail goods, and etc. Parents to the elementary school kids should not spend money for such things but for great books or music and opportunities for the kids to learn something such as piano, calligraphy, golf, foreign language, and something that is left to them throughout their life.

What do you think?

Disclaimer: Tokyo Kawaii TV is a TV program owned and broadcasted by NHK Japan, and has nothing to do with this blog.

***There are archives of episodes listed under the page titled “Tokyo Kawaii TV” that is just located under the title banner of this blog.
***If you want to know the music that was used in the episode, please refer to this page and help yourself to find it by selecting the date when the episode was on air in Japan.

First-Ever Free Kawaii Giveaway (official announcement!!)

20 Jul

Thanks to the great opinions and suggestions from my readers, I can finally announce our first-ever free kawaii giveaway contest on this post.
Please read the following guidelines carefully before you enter the contest.
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5 Most Popular Souvenirs from Tokyu Hands

19 Jul

★fun goods in variety★
Tokyo Hands (at many locations in Japan and online store for domestic shipment only)

I believe Tokyu Hands has been already so famous among foreign tourists that I don’t even need to introduce it any longer, while at the same time there’s no reason for me to drop it from the kawaii shop page, I decided to share a leaflet I got from Tokyu Hands some time ago.

5 Most Popular Souvenirs from Tokyu Hands

No.1 Sushi Goods…Well, you might like the sushi roller that enables you to make sushi roll without fail. :p

No.2 Health-Related Goods…Oh I love these, too! 😀

No.3 Train Goods
…^ ^; Otaku people and Akiba-kei people may love something like this, I guess. There are many train maniac in Japan.

No.4 Hot/Cold Insulated Bottle (=”Suitou” in Japanese) and Bento Lunch Box
…I’m sure Bento Box is very popular, although I never feel like making it. lol

No.5 Grooming Goods
…Are they anything special? An ear pick like that is designed for those who have no wax but just scurf in ears. (80% of Japanese people are like that, but not myself included. So I’ve never used this type of ear pick, I use cotton bud. lol)

Followings are also popular goods from Tokyu Hands.
Some “Made-in-Japan” Goods

Yoshida Kaban (Porter)…I love their bags. Their design is unisex and long-time seller. My husband has 3 bags, my father has 1, and I have zero. I can use my hubby’s but I want mine, too~. XD

Goods of Japanese Taste

Well…actually there are “Wa zakka” (Japanese goods such as furoshiki, fuurin, Japanese ceramics and chopsticks) stores on the street, so Tokyu Hands is definitely not the only place you should look for. Well, I’d recommend you should rather look for more specialized stores on the street. Okichihiroba and KarankoronKyoto have many branch stores in Tokyo area. (Even Oriental Bazar in Harajuku have some nice set of Japanese ceramics.)

Kawaii Goods
There are tons of tons of kawaii goods in Japan, just everywhere. You’ll see how fun to have something kawaii in your life! And of course, you can get kawaii things anywhere out of Tokyu Hands, too. 🙂

Japanese Stationery
Tokyu Hands is a good place to shop stationery, as well as LOFT.

Well…actually you can get cuter umbrellas at reasonable price at Blue Bluet or Sony Plaza and Mini Plaza or even cheaper at 300yen stores, too.

Hmmm….they are good as souvenirs but I have to say this leaflet is not sharing how interesting goods Tokyu Hands deals with, because the goods in here can be purchased at any other places. It’s said Tokyu Hands is made from men’s point of view while LOFT is from women’s point of view. These 2 stores have similar goods each other but their concept is a little bit different. It’s true Tokyu Hands has more DIY materials like timbers (and cutting service, too) and variety of tools while LOFT focuses more on fashionable furniture for a single or young couple and new cosmetics and etc. This is probably why I like to go to LOFT more than Tokyu Hands.

Anyhow, Tokyu Hands and LOFT are 2 major department stores that have various kind of goods. But their price is usually not discounted except for the sale period that is usually very limited. If you ever travel to Japan and look for some souvenirs, there’s no way you shouldn’t check out Tokyu Hands or LOFT, really! 😀

***There are archives of kawaii shops listed under the page titled “Kawaii Shop” that is just located under the title banner of this blog.