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These are the random things that are flowing through my mind right now while I’m sitting at the big box coffee shop. 

  1. There was a woman who just walked past me, dressed in upscale threads, smugly carrying her designer handbag. She was obviously wearing too much cake-y makeup.
  2. I can’t actually believe I’m going back to wearing hair clips & headbands. A part of me feels like I’m becoming more aware of the way I dress & building my personal sense of style. Another part of me feels like I’m reverting to my days of being 14 years old & in high school, where I dressed awkwardly. I feel like I’m going to look childish & immature.
  3. When did I start to listen to ambient electronic music (i.e. Ukiyo) & dirty rap music (i.e. Big Sean)? I am trying to expand my taste & knowledge in music. I am still a creature of habit, but I want to grow in certain aspects & areas. Music is an extremely important part of my life, & I don’t know how I could get through a day without music. But… I feel like I’m listening to more & more weird stuff.
  4. I completely forgot how good a toasted bagel with cream cheese spread tastes. It is such a plain combination, but it truly hits the spot. I ordered a bagel with cream cheese today. I was debating whether I should choose butter instead of cream cheese, but I was so satisfied with my end decision. Oh man, add a few slices of lox (smoked salmon) & thinly sliced red onion & you’ve elevated your plain bagel to a whole new level. Then, add dill on top of that, & your tastebuds will rocket into outer space!
  5. Is it weird that I’m looking forward to washing my bed sheets? Jian has been very ill recently, & he’s only recently begun his recovery. I can’t wait to wash the stink, germs, & overall sick from the sheets. Then I can breath a sigh of relief. No matter how many showers you take, or what fresh laundry you put on, if your sheets are dingy/nasty/worn out, then you will always feel that icky unclean feeling all over your body. At least I will.

Ok, I now need to run off to the bank, then Target, then home to happily wash my gross bed sheets. Until then, cheers.

Today’s song of the day

“Champions” by Kanye West, 2-Chainz, Big Sean, Desiigner, Gucci Mane, Quavo, Travis Scott, & Yo Gotti

788985681_4d9a670ea2_osss

I’ve said in my previous blog post about my trip to Kyoto that there weren’t many opportunities to truly go shopping outside of the touristy stops, but, somehow I was able to amass a small amount of goods, enough to make up a mini haul. I guess. I tried very hard to control my spending during this trip. I made a promise to myself before the trip that I would try to not splurge too much on shopping. Just by reading our travel itinerary, I knew there wouldn’t be much opportunities for me to shop for the things I enjoy anyway. I also made a conscious effort to prove to Jian that I could save money & not always buy, buy, buy. So, I firmly stuck to my goal & only spent approximately half of the money I budgeted for this trip. (I didn’t even spend the entire amount of currency I exchanged.) However, somehow I was still able to scrape together this hodge-podge of goodies. Let’s take a look.

bears-school-charm

I got this charm, first of all, because I love the illustrated series “The Bear’s School“. Secondly, I wanted to add this charm on to my backpack. Thirdly, it had a letter M charm for my name. Unfortunately, the bear kept coming off. So, I had to wait until I got home to super glue the charm to the loose screw.

misc-frisk

FRISK is Jian & my all-time favorite brand of mints. The original FRISK mints are smaller than Altoids Minis, so they are so easy to freshen your breath, or provide a hint of sugarless sweetness. Ever since we first discovered FRISK back in 2010, we were instantly hooked, & ended up buying every single flavor we could find. We’ve tried looking for these mints at our local Japanese grocery stores, but the stores either don’t carry them, OR they only carry one single flavor & mark them at double the Japanese retail price. So, whenever we go back to Japan, we buy a shitload of them to stock up on these delicious mints. On this last trip, I ended up finding new flavors & variations on the mints (they now come in the NOW Mints series.)

rabbit-hand-towel

Originally, I had brought a small blue hand towel on this trip, but I lost it on the Shinkansen (darn you, shallow pocket!). So, I had to replace my hand towel with this one. I don’t particularly like the color purple, but at least this hand towel had rabbits on it, aaannnd…it was the best looking design out of the meager selection at the shop.

kitsune-pouch

I love Japanese mythology & folklore. (Example: the Japanese comic XxxHolic.) My favorite Japanese folklore figure is this fox (a.k.a. Kitsune in Japanese). When I saw this coin pouch, I had to grab it right away. First of all, in the U.S., these silicone pouches are expensive. If I had gotten this back home, I would’ve paid double the amount I paid in Kyoto. Second, I’ve always wanted to get a POCHI brand silicone pouch, but I could never find a design I liked. This pouch now sits snugly in my car’s glove compartment as a coin purse for parking meter change.

hikonyan-hand-towel

I bought this Hikonyan hand towel at the Lake Biwa Hotel gift shop. I thought this cat mascot was so cool, & I love the color yellow. Plus, I wanted to add this to my new hand towel collection. It wasn’t until later that I found out this mascot was created in 2007 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Hikone Castle in the city of Hikone. The samurai helmet on the cat mascot resembles the real helmet currently in the Hikone Castle museum.

gachapon-key-chain

I’m not as big of a fan of capsule toys now as I was in my twenties. I used to buy all sorts of random blind box toys & capsule (a.k.a. gachapon) toys, no matter what the character was, when I was in my early twenties. Now, I’m trying not to hoard too much small junk items. However, I couldn’t resist putting my coin into the machine one last time, & turning that oversized knob, listening to the sound of the plastic ball drop down the chute. What else could I do to pass the time waiting for the scenic train in Arashiyama? Most of the capsule toys were train themed, & this Gudetama series caught my attention. I ended up getting a light-up keychain, which I’m debating whether I should put on my backpack or not.

howl-postcard

Of course everyone knows Studio Ghibli is basically the PIXAR of Japan. Hayao Miyazaki is pretty much revered as an artist god in Japan. One of my favorite animated films from Studio Ghibli is Howl’s Moving Castle. My favorite character from this film is a little smart-mouthed flame of fire named Calcifer. He adds wonderful humor in to a mostly melancholic storyline. I got this postcard, 1. to add to my 300+ postcard collection, & 2. to commemorate my favorite Ghibli character.

howl-washi-tape

At first, I was going to give these Howl’s Moving Castle washi tapes to a friend of mine, who is a huge Studio Ghibli fan, as a gift. However, I ended up keeping it for myself. I couldn’t help myself. Also, I’m thinking of using these washi tapes in my 2016 Christmas cards. So, they won’t be collecting dust after all.

hair-accessories3

I have a beautiful pastel blue summer yukata at home. I was so lucky to have gotten an inexpensive set from UNIQLO eight years ago, which came with a matching obi sash & a pouch purse. However, I never got any hair accessories to match my yukata. So on this trip, I decided that I would once & for all get some proper hair accessories so that finally & properly wear my complete yukata outfit. I saw these cute hair pins & picked them up straight away. I’ve already started wearing them with my everyday street clothes as well.

hair-accessories

My mom thought the hair pins were too small to match my yukata at home. So, she convinced me to get these hair sticks as well. These metal hair sticks are meant to help you hold your hair in place when you make a bun or twist hair style. For all of my purist love of Sanrio, I got the limited edition Little Twin Stars hair stick. My mom pushed me to get the rose hair sticks after seeing my cousin Amber wearing hers. The double sticks are meant for a more elaborate hairstyle, & the chain in the middle is meant to drape across your hair. And, because I bought two hair accessories, the cloth pouch was a free gift with purchase.

hair-accessories1

This is a close-up of the Little Twin Stars hair accessory. The metal stick is silver, but the charm is gold-plated. The two stars on the charm are separate & will dangle separately.

hair-accessories2

This is a close-up of the rose hair accessory. There is a single rose on each hair stick & the chain is dotted with gold stars & plastic gems in various colors.

ice-cream-hand-towel

Oh my gohhhhhd! I love ice cream. I truly do. I also love collecting random things, like hand towels. When I saw this ice cream patterned hand towel at the book store, I couldn’t resist getting it. Although the picture doesn’t show it, the back of the towel is a soft coffee brown color, to match the color of the ice cream cones. Needless to say, when I got back to my hotel room, I quickly washed it with lots of soap & used it immediately.

mini-washi-tape

Ok, so I promised myself after my trip to Hong Kong that I would no longer clutter up my crafting supplies with even more washi tape, but how could you turn your back on these incredibly adorable mini tapes?! I mean, they even come with a mini tape dispenser. I’ve seen various widths of washi tapes before, from skinny stripes to extra wide gift wrap size, but I’ve never seen these teeny-tiny mini ones before. Of course I plan on using them, but I pretty much got them for their kitschy novelty factor.

misc-greeting-cards

Whenever I go to Japan, I always try to stock up on as many greeting cards as I can. For some reason, the greeting cards from Japan are just so much cuter, stylish, & more innovative than the ones from the U.S.. On this trip, I wasn’t able to find very many that I like. However, I was able to get the pop-up Snoopy birthday card that I’ve been wanting to get for over a year, & I didn’t want to go through the hassle of using an overseas buying service just to get a couple of inexpensive birthday cards. I also picked out a few generic beer themed blank cards that I can use for the birthdays of my male friends, who incidentally love to drink craft beer.

randf-decals

I am automatically drawn to anything that relates to the title of my blog, which means just about anything rabbit or fox related will go straight into my hands. I saw these two decals at LoFT, & I had to get them even though they were a little expensive ($6USD each). I immediately gravitated towards these decals, not only because of my sticker obsession, or because of the animals they represent, but because these illustrations look quite realistic & not overly-cartoonish. It’s hard to find rabbit &/or fox illustrations/products that don’t look overly-exaggerated or childish/cartoonish. Until now, I’m still trying to figure out where I’m going to stick these decals.

misc-stickers

No matter where I am or where I go, I am always going to find stickers. LoFT had sooo many delicious stickers. I couldn’t decide which ones I truly wanted. My old self would’ve just bought them all without even giving it a second thought, but my new self was really trying to pair down to the designs I thought I’d use the most in my crafts. List: 1. fireworks bursts, 2. pastel & metallic sweets, 3. hot air balloons & blimps, 4. pastel & metallic bows, 5. pastel & metallic candy, 6. pastel & metallic gemstones, 7. pastel & metallic flags, 8. pastel & metallic hearts, 9. black, white & gold arrows for calendars/planners, 10. neon pink & gold calendar/planner word stickers, 11. pastel calendar/planner word stickers.

curel-lip-cream

When I was in Hong Kong, I bought my mom a ton of drugstore beauty products by the brand Curél. In the U.S., we only get the body lotions & hand creams. In Asia, they get the full lineup of skin care products. I got one of these lip creams (a.k.a. chapsticks) as a free gift with purchase in Hong Kong. I loved this product so much that my mom ended up gifting me another one from the drugstore near our hotel in Kyoto. I love this lip cream because it doesn’t have a plastic or purfume-y smell/aftertaste, & it applies smoothly…not sticky or thick like American ChapstickCarmex, or EOS.

Well, that’s pretty much the end of my list. I’m genuinely surprised that I didn’t pick up any pens (or other writing products) on this trip. My pen box Leroy is getting pretty full already. I don’t think I have room for much more in that box, unless I upgrade to an even bigger storage box, which Jian would be very unhappy about. Otherwise, I can’t wait to use all of these new things that I got. Until then, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

“Crying Lightning” by Arctic Monkeys

crying-lightning


I don’t know exactly how my dad came into the habit of using handkerchiefs all of his life. I know it is popular in Japanese culture to use handkerchiefs & small hand towels, but I don’t think my dad particularly picked up on that part of the culture he grew up around. I have a sneaking suspicion he learned this habit from his own father, who owned a bespoke tailor shop, or perhaps from all of the upper crust military men who came to my grandfather for custom western suits. Whatever which way my dad learned the habit of using handkerchiefs, I am so grateful he passed down this habit to me.

Using a handkerchief is a dying custom. I know that it has become fashionable again for men to accessorize their suits with pocket squares, tie clips, & lapel pins, but that’s only for show. Those pocket squares are purely for decoration, & rarely used for their original purpose. How very sad. I believe in fully utilizing the pocket square, or more specifically, the handkerchief. I mean, why have it if you’re not going to use it? Don’t be ridiculous or wasteful.

When I think of handkerchiefs, I think back to all of those movies from the 1950s & 60s that I’ve watched with my family, & I imagine how those refined ladies & gentlemen would use their handkerchiefs. Ladies would use their handkerchiefs for modesty & being discreet, also to wipe the messy faces of their children. The gentlemen would use them to wipe their hands, blow their noses, & to chivalrously give to a woman who’s been tear-stained & puffy-eyed. I would imagine the ladies carrying a pretty, embroidered or laced handkerchief in their purses, while the men would tuck crisp, white cotton handkerchief in their pants or suit pocket. How sophisticated (& practical)!

There are many practical uses for a handkerchief, I can’t see why they couldn’t be used more in our modern day & age. I’m sure today’s modern feminist woman would say I’ll find it sweet &/or chivalrous if a gentleman were to offer her his handkerchief in a time of necessity, such as: if she had no napkin to wipe her hands, or no tissue to wipe her nose, or if she needed to dry her eyes, or perhaps to tie around a small wound as a makeshift bandage. Men these days could also benefit from using them. I mean, it’s so gross & unbecoming when guys sneeze loudly all over the place, especially in public. Using the crook of an arm, even though it’s more sanitary than sneezing into one’s cupped hand(s), isn’t very discreet or pleasant looking. However, using a handkerchief to muffle the sneeze & to minimize wiping one’s wet hands onto his pants is much more gentlemanly & proper etiquette/manners. Also, it’s cooler to see a guy use a nice handkerchief rathe than the back of his hand or a fast food napkin. On top of all that, handkerchiefs are reusable! Yes, you can throw them in the washing machine & use them over & ove  again unlike Kleenex, which you throw away after one use, & not to mention they get wet & easily spread germs if left crumpled up all over the place.

As you can see, I love using handkerchiefs. I get severe allergies all the time, such is the story of my life since early childhood. My dad used to always lend me his handkerchief to wipe my nose because he disliked seeing me rub the palm of my hand up & down my nose &/or wipe my nose on my shirtsleeve in public. He thought that was not proper behavior, especially for a lady. Since I’ve picked up the habit of using handkerchiefs, I’ve been more inclined to starting my own collection rather than stealing my dad’s. As my life story goes, I am picky in this category as well. This means that I am selective in the styles I choose. I mostly prefer 100% cotton fabric,. I don’t particularly like linen or silk fabrics. I also don’t like outrageous colors & patterns. I quite like, & often gravitate towards stark white handkerchiefs. This is what I’ve collected so far…

1. This is the original handkerchief that started it all. It looks a bit ratty & torn, but I can attest that this handkerchief has been well loved & well taken care of. I have named this handkerchief Tom Hanks-erchief. I call him Mr. Hanks for short. I had originally named him Mr. Hanky, but that quickly became a joking reference to the Christmas poop character from the cartoon South Park, so I immediately changed the name. The new name is a nod to the awesome actor Tom Hanks. I really enjoy Tom Hanks’ acting, & I just think he’s cool.

2. This was my second handkerchief. Because of this, I named this one Colin Hanks-erchief. Obviously, I named him Colin after Tom Hanks’ real-life son & fellow actor Colin Hanks. Therefore, I had to also nickname this one Mr. Hanks Jr.. As you can see, I have a thing for white cotton handkerchiefs. These I was given not stolen from my dad.

3. I got this purple plaid handkerchief while I was in Japan. This was at the time when the brand UNIQLO had not become known worldwide, & was only popular/available in Japan. At that time, I had just learned about the casual affordable clothing brand & was completely obsessed with the brand. I didn’t bother to check the size, & was surprised when I found it was larger than the handkerchiefs I normally used at home. I don’t particularly go for purple colored things, but this pattern happened to be the most tame of all the ones on the store shelves, so I ended up choosing this one (but also because it’s 100% cotton).

4. There was one point in my life where I was completely immersed in Japanese street wear & Japanese urban pop culture. I was addicted to this particular Japanese lifestyle brand called A Bathing Ape (a.k.a. BAPE). I still am in love with this brand. I’ve got tons of items from this brand from things like: decorative pillows, kitchenware like mugs & glass cups, bath towels, blankets, bags, clothes, toys, accessories, & even vinyl toys/collectibles. I saw this handkerchief & was absolutely smitten. This is one of my favorite patterns from this Japanese brand that is mostly known for its outrageously multi-colored camouflage patterns. They call this a red plaid pattern. I have a matching raincoat, hand towel & umbrella in this same pattern. This handkerchief is a cotton-blend fabric, & it’s so soft. I only take it out for special occasions because this brand is pricey, & this pattern is no longer available within this brand. Ever since this brand got bought out by a major Chinese company, they have taken this brand in a different direction that I don’t I really agree with. haven’t felt the same love for this brand as I have in the past.

5. I recently got this (& the other two below) while I was in China. These handkerchiefs are from a Japanese brand called Hankachi (which I suspect is a shortened Japanese loanword for the full word handkerchief…a.k.a. han-ka-chiifu). Sorry for my lack of quality in these photos. I am not a professional photographer by any means, & I don’t really mind if the photos are not in super hyper HD quality…as long as you can see the photos relatively clearly & get my gist, then I’m fine with that too. Ok, so the first pattern I chose is this super cute bird pattern with stripes of bird footprints. I absolutely love this soft pastel color scheme. I am a complete sucker for soft blues, baby pinks, creamy yellows, & gray tones. Also, this handkerchief is pretty soft considering it’s got a mesh weave. The mesh weave gives the handkerchiefbreathability, which is good for when you want to wipe your brow on hot, sticky summer days.

6. Everybody around me knows I love pastries. I love cakes, & I love sweet pastel colors. So it’s a no-brainier that I would choose this pattern. I was originally going to give this as a gift to a friend who is obsessed with the Lolita lifestyle, but I ended up choosing a different pattern for her instead. I kept this one for myself. How could I not? This handkerchief is so delicate-looking, feminine, & lovely. I would be happy to carry this around in my purse. Just looking at it makes me hungry for sweets. LOL!


7. This last pattern I chose is a nod to Japanese summer festivals. Festivals & outdoor carnival-style events are popular in the summer in Japan. People of all ages love to walk around in their summer kimonos (a.k.a. ukata), eat street foods, & play carnival games. One popular prize to win at these festivals are little pet goldfish, hence the goldfishes on this handkerchief. I just love the bright color scheme of this handkerchief as well. This definitely reminds me of Summer’s spent in Japan, & since I am going back to Japan this July, I could definitely use this handkerchief! Hooray!

Well, that just about sums up my little blog post. I feel so winded after all of this writing. I’m kidding. Anyways, I’m going to go out & enjoy what little bit of warm weather Mother Nature has brought out for the day, & then I’m going to ℅ inure editing my photos from my Asia trip. (I’ve been procrastinating on those photos.) Cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

I’ve recently been amping up my efforts in adding more homey touches to the small apartment.  It started off with some new artwork (which I mentioned in a previous post) that I’ve put up in my common living space.  Next, I’m tackling decorating the entertainment console in the living space.  I’ve already arranged a few photo frames & candles, as well as some of our limited edition vinyl figures, but I’ve decided to add a few more items to give the space a more “pulled together” look.

One of the first items I added was a small terrarium (which I’ve been wanting for quite some time).  It’s about the size of a cereal bowl, & it was a bit pricey when I got it, but it was definitely worth the purchase.  For an anti-greenthumb such as myself, this is a perfect house plant that hardly requires any maintenance (minimal).  I don’t even have to water this terrarium often; it retains moisture very well to minimize frequent hydration.

Another tasty little nugget I added to my space is a bit of a homemade art piece.  I got a cute vase with a white dot pattern & partially filled it with black marbles (the kind you use for flower vases).  Then, I stuck in a diecast figure from our personal toy collection & posed it as if it were trying to escape from a sinkhole.  To keep the figure from wiggling around, I then filled the rest of the vase with extra marbles.  I think it turned out pretty well.  So far, everyone’s who has visited has complimented that this looks quite clever & creative.

After adding these new pieces, I’m even more motivated to continue my quest for home decor greatness!

It’s that time of year to pull out your scarves & gloves… Yes, it’s Fall/Winter season.  It’s been really cold lately where I live, & I’ve even got a scarf on around the house (because somebody is too stingy to turn on the heat!)…

Here is a picture of me wearing said scarf…on said day when that person decided not to turn on the heat again.  Enjoy.

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