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The title of my blog post is in reference to one of my favorite songs, “Tokyo I’m on My Way” by one of my all-time favorite bands/rock duo PUFFY (a.k.a. PUFFY AmiYumi, as they are known outside of Japan due to a copyright infringement lawsuit by rapper P. Diddy). Tomorrow I leave for my next trip to Japan. I can barely begin to describe the mixed feelings I have about going on this trip.

On one hand, I’m not excited at all to be going on a crammed guided tour with groups of other anonymous families. I am certainly not excited about visiting all of the overly clichéd tourist traps during the height of tourism season. Also, the one thing I’m the absolute & utterly least excited about is the scalding hot temperature of summer in Japan. If there’s one or two things I’ve learned throughout all of my travels to the country of Japan, it’s 1. to avoid vacationing during the hot summer months, & 2. avoid tourist traps at all costs. No matter what high-tech gadget or expensive clever outdoorwear you’ve brought with you, nothing & I mean nothing will prepare you for the sticky humidity & the unbearable heat resonating off of all the concrete Japan has to offer. You can try to eat all the shaved ice in Japan, but that won’t help you stay cool. You’ll only end up with cavities, a sloppy mess, & sticky fingers.

H O W E V E R . . .

On the OTHER hand, I am super excited to be going on this trip. This is the first time since the late 1980s that I’ve been able to go on a vacation with my extended family. It’s going to be so much fun to be traveling with my family, since we all get along so well. The idea of visiting Japan came from my 17-year old cousin, who is a huge fan of all things Japanese. She is the co-founder of the Japanese anime/manga club at her high school; she is also taking a Japanese language course at her high school. My cousin is turning into part Japanophile, part Weeaboo (but not in a vulgar or obnoxious way). So, clearly it would be a dream come true if my cousin could visit Japan.

As a reward for her exceptional academics & grades/marks in school, her parents planned a guided tour trip to Japan for their whole family. My mom heard about the trip & proceeded to draw her “I’m the oldest child & current matriarch of the family” card & invited herself on the trip. She also took it upon herself to invite her sister on the trip as well, to round out the group. I only stepped into the picture later on when my mom invited me to join the group on sort of a whim. My mom thought it would be a good idea to have a seasoned traveler of Japan to join their group, so I would be able to help them get around town, read signs, & teach them how to use all of Japan’s ultra-modern technology.

Well, there you have it…a roundup of our family roster. The five of us came together to support my amazing & wonderful cousin. I am so happy that we’ve remained close over the years, even while she struggles through her toughest years of teenagehood & finding her independence. I’ve been close to this little one ever since she was in diapers, & I’ve loved every minute of being her cousin. She is truly awe-inspiring & the most incredible young person I have ever known. I am so happy to be supporting my cousin through this trip, which will be her first experience & a huge milestone in her life. I can’t wait to look upon her face & watch her expressions as she learns new things about this country she loves so much & yet knows precious little about. Being able to explain things to her that she wouldn’t be able to otherwise learn from reading comic books & watching cartoons, I will gladly take the time to show her around & be her family, her friend, & her guide.

I am also incredibly happy to be traveling with my own mother. Every time my mom takes a big trip all on her own, I get so worried for her. I always want to make sure that she has packed everything she needs (& then some), & make sure she has not lost or forgotten anything when she leaves. I have welcomed with open arms the unofficial title of being my own mother’s sort of “lady in waiting”. I like to call myself her personal assistant. I am always right behind her, following her around, making sure she’s got everything taken care of down to the last letter. To be able to go on this trip with my mom will be so much fun…& a bit of relief for me, as I will be able to take care of her & make sure she has a great time.

So, now I’m off. This is where I end this blog post. I’m going to make sure I’ve got everything packed. Cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

Why am I writing this blog post when I should be at home packing? Oh my gawd, I am procrastinating like crazy! There are some times when I am so good at organizing & I can pack a suitcase in one hour or less. For example, when Jian goes on his business trips, I can pack his suitcase in approximately twenty minutes; it’s incredibly easy. However, when it comes to packing my own suitcase, I drag my feet until it becomes crunch time & I absolutely have to pack or else I will be stuffing clothes into a plastic bag right up to the last minute.

I’m excited to be going on another trip, but I am kind of dreading packing my suitcase. I don’t like the feeling of anxiety that I might forget something important, or anxiety that I am over packing for such a short trip. I think I am an efficient traveler. I try not to bring everything plus the kitchen sink (like my mom does), but there are some times when I feel like I’ve over packed & don’t use half of the stuff I’ve packed. There are other times when I feel like I’ve packed the wrong items & wished I had brought that other shirt/pants. I also get anxious about over packing my toiletries. Of course, I’d love to pack full-sized bottles of shampoo & body wash, but it’s just not practical, logical, or feasible. I always have this fear that I’ll run out of my favorite bath product while I’m on vacation, & I dislike buying new bottles when I should’ve just brought more of it from home. I know that hotels offer their own soaps & shampoos, but I like using my own brand from home. I’ve gotten so used to the scents & how my body has adjusted to the products.

It’s hard to be a female sometimes…with all of those skin care products, body washes, hair products, lotions, etc….when all guys have to bring is a bar of soap, toothbrush, shaving razor, & deodorant. If a guy wants to “do” his hair, he can throw on a hat. Girls always want to style their hair, even for wearing hats. Jian’s got one small dopp bag for all of his toiletries. I’ve got two large organizer bags/pouches to hold all of my toiletries. I try to scale down as much as possible, but even with my bare essentials, I can still fill up two toiletry pouches.

I should stop complaining now & just get to it. I’m one of those types of people who, when pressed for time, can hunker down & get the task done in one fell swoop. So, I’m going to just focus on my task & get my suitcase packed. I’m leaving for Los Angeles on Thursday with my mom, & for the first time without Jian. We’re leaving early to celebrate my aunt’s 69th birthday before our tour. From Los Angeles, our tour group will be flying to Tokyo on Saturday. Then, from Tokyo, we’re taking the Shinkansen to Kyoto. We’ll be traveling around between Kyoto, Biwako, Gion, Osaka, & Nara.

This will be my first trip to Japan without Jian since 2006. It feels very weird to be traveling without Jian for the first time in a long time, especially to our favorite Asian country. I am excited though to be showing my younger cousin around Japan for the first time. I’m so fortunate that my cousin & I are super close & we get along so well. Although she loves hanging out with her parents, I’m sure she will feel relieved to have someone closer to her age that she will get to hang out with, rather than just being around older adults all day. My cousin is a huge Japan-ophile, just like I once was when I was in my teenage years until my twenties. I’m betting that this trip will only make her want to visit Japan more, & probably sign up for a study abroad program at her school. Either way, it’s going to be great. I’m going to leave this blog post & pack. Cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

fox hanky1a

“Okay. Say hello to my little friend.” – Tony Montana (Scarface circa 1983)

I was recently browsing the Internet, doing a little bit of online window shopping, looking for some last minute travel gear I might need for my upcoming trip to Japan. I like to shop at the online store MochiThings, which specialize in Korean-based stationery, gifts & home/lifestyle goods. Some of their items such as backpacks, luggage organizer pouches, & electronics carry cases can be on the pricier side. However, their stationery goods are often reasonably priced, & this website often holds discount sales events. I got extremely lucky when I saw this fox pattern handkerchief on their website. It just happened to be on the last day of their 15% off sale, & I knew I had to snatch this up immediately. I mean, hello! It’s a freaking handkerchief with foxes printed on it! Need I say more? Nopes (except, maybe they need to come out with a rabbit print handkerchief next).

Anyway, I nearly jumped out of my seat when I saw this handkerchief smack dab on the front of their homepage, under the “new items” category. Then, I nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw that this was part of the 15% off sale. I had to check my desk calendar (which I also bought on MochiThings) THREE times just to make sure I made the cut-off date for the sale. I grabbed this handkerchief right on the very last day of the sale, & with the discount, I was practically able to shave off the cost of the sales tax & reduce a tiny bit of the shipping cost. This handkerchief was already reasonably priced at $12USD. If I were to have bought this handkerchief at a department store, or some fancy Asian stationery store, it would have easily cost upwards of $18USD or more. So, I feel like I got a pretty good deal here.

When I first saw the handkerchief on the website, I was sort of skeptical about the fabric based on the description I read. The website listed the fabric as being 100% cotton, but based on the photos, I thought the fabric might feel a bit coarse or stiff like natural linen. I was so incredibly happy when my package arrived in the mail. When I felt the fabric texture for the first time, I was so incredibly happy. This weave of cotton material is just the right type of fabric I look for in a handkerchief. It is so soft & smooth, but also has a well-made structure, so when you iron the handkerchief, it will maintain a sturdy shape.

It is often very difficult for me to find a cotton handkerchief that is soft in texture. Ok, I admit that I am very picky when it comes to the types of handkerchiefs I like (almost to the point of being fussy/particular/critical). I find most cotton handkerchiefs to be too stiff & too coarse/rough in texture. It almost feels like natural linen. I like soft pliable textured cotton. That’s what I know from my early childhood, when my dad used to lend me his handkerchiefs to use. He would often buy packs of 6 or 12 soft white cotton handkerchiefs to keep in his trouser pockets. Every time I had a sniffle, he would lend me his handkerchief to wipe my nose. Eventually, he would just let me keep the handkerchiefs so I wouldn’t have to borrow them from him every time. That’s how I came into the habit of using handkerchiefs on my own.

This new handkerchief that I just got is quickly becoming one of my all-time favorites, not just because of the fabric & texture, but also because of the fox print. The fox graphics printed on this handkerchief is so perfect! It’s just the right balance of whimsy, charm & playfulness. What I love most about the fox print (other than the fact that it matches my blog’s name) is that the fox design itself is perfect. It’s sweet & cute without being too feminine, cartoonish, or childish. I am so in love! I can’t wait to bring this handkerchief to Japan & use it! It’s also going to make a great addition to my ever-growing handkerchief collection.

On that note, I’d like to end this blog post with a little update on the decorations on my backpack. I added a new pin to my backpack that says “Legit”. I don’t have any specific reason why I chose this pin. I guess I like this frequently-used pop culture word. I think it fits in well with my Victory V hand pin. I don’t think I’ll be adding much else to my backpack. I don’t want to over-clutter it, & most importantly, I don’t want to put too many decorations on my backpack only to break it, scratch it, or lose it. So, I think I will keep it simple like this. Cheers!

hellolulu pin1

Today’s song of the day:



July 2016

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