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Oh, come on guys. Do I even have to say it? You know what this post is going to be about. Nearly every time I go on a trip, I  have to bring back crap souvenirs &/or unique finds (like that handmade tooth necklace I got in Vancouver…every time I wear it, people stop to ask if I’m a dentist or work at a dentist office.) When I was in my twenties, I used to be so irresponsible with my travel expenses. I would buy so much useless stuff & never us them. As I have matured &/or learned important valuable lessons quite a bit since then, I’ve trained myself to become more practical with my finances. I don’t go around buying everything I think is cute cool.

Of course, I can’t say that my wallet is safe whenever I visit Japan, but so far on my other trips, I’ve been pretty well behaved in the shopping department. On that note, I was surprised when on my trip to fabulous Austin, Texas, I didn’t buy one thing; nope, not even one postcard. I didn’t even swipe the hotel pen from my hotel room. Ok, well, this might be considered as one purchase; I brought home a coffee mug, but technically it was Jian who bought it, & it was his idea to get it in the first place.

We found this really delicious coffee spot in Austin called Jo’s, & Jian went ahead & snagged one of their coffee mugs. I’m actually glad he picked up this mug because I practically use it everyday to drink coffee. I really love the shape of this mug. The handle is long but doesn’t stick out too muc, so I can snugly fit my hand around it without burning my knuckles. The body is taller than most standard mugs, but it’s a little skinnier in diameter, so it turned out to be a perfect fit for someone like me with small, chubby hands.

Almost immediately after coming back from Austin, I had to prepare for our work/pleasure trip to Vancouver. Jian was lucky to get a free day on our last full day in Vancouver, so we were able to relax & go sightseeing together. And guess what? We finally were able to use our Car2Go (car rental/carsharing) membership for once. I mean, for real, yeaaaah. We signed up for this carsharing/car rental service over 5 years ago when we took our first trip to Portland, Oregon, but we never actually used it until this year. This carsharing/car rental service is a dream come true to use. We were able to rent a car for a couple of hours, & we barely spent ten bucks (in USD).

Ok, this post isn’t about renting cars or drinking coffee. This post is about my tidy little haul I made in Vancouver. (I can just feel Jian sarcastically shaking his head from wherever he’s playing his Spider-Man video game today. Haha!) Let’s get down to the nitty gritty…well, I meant to say my meager findings. I tried really hard not to go hog wild with my spending, & I think I did alright.

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I don’t know what to say other than I am a sucker for FriXion style gel pens. In my purse I carry two different colored FriXion ball knock pens (one black, one blue). In my arts & crafts pen box I have almost every single color of the FriXion colors felt-tip markers. Yes, when I find a brand/product of writing tool I like, I tend to go nuts & buy one in every color. These pencil-like erasable gel pens that I found at Paper-Ya (Granville Island) are the newest style of Frixion pens by Pilot, so of course, you know what I did…I bought them of course, but I controlled myself as much as possible & only chose two colors (one soft coral, one light orange).

When I tested these pens out, they really did feel like a pencil. The barrel feels like a pencil, but writes as smoothly as a gel ink pen. Per Pilot’s standards these pens erased beautifully, with no smudges, residue, or tears in the paper. I chose these two colors out of all of the other pastel colors, mostly because I am a creature of habit & I will always gravitate towards anything pink, & my current favorite ink pen color is orange. I’ve already used these pens to make a birthday card for my oldest niece who recently celebrated her 26th birthday.


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It’s always convenient to have some generic greeting cards on-hand at home, for any last minute gifts & such. I always keep a stack of birthday cards in my crafting tool box, so I am prepared when another birthday pops up on my calendar. I have a large family, so it’s always one person or another’s birthday at any given time. Sometimes when my mom gets a last minute invite to a friend’s event, she’ll come to my room & raid my greeting cards stash.

Paper-Ya on Granville Island in Vancouver is one of my newly discovered favorite places to shop for unique stationery, books, & souvenirs. This is the same store where I found my cool, handmade tooth necklace. This shop is a great source for cute greeting cards, & I tend to stock up on all kinds of cards &/or postcards when I’m away from home because I can generally find interesting cards that I don’t always see when I’m at home.

I must say that the Hello Kitty themed birthday card is my most favorite, & I really wish I had gotten more than one. When I first saw that card, I immediately gushed over how cute Hello Kitty looked on the card, but little did I know that the card was actually an official Sanrio licensed product. What a real treat (& rare find)! I also recently used the “birthday queen” card for my older niece’s birthday & had embelished it with Swarovski rhinestones to bling it up a bit. The card was a real hit amongst all the guests at her birthday party.


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I think I spent the most time while I was shopping at Paper-Ya going through an entire bin of stickers, just to walk away with these few gems (literally). I don’t think I even spent this much amount of time picking out greeting cards. Listen, when it comes to stickers, I’d like to consider myself a bit of a connoisseur. I’ve been collecting stickers my whole life. Unlike my sister, who as a child would keep all of her stickers in a bulky 1980s photo album, I actually used all of my stickers. Well, I’d at least keep the last one or two stickers in a sheet of stickers just as a memento of that once full set of stickers.

If you didn’t know already, I keep a rather large arts & crafts tool box in my bedroom closet, & it’s filled with my most essential stationery & crafting items. I’d probably guess that three-quarters of this storage/tool box is filled with sheets & sheets of various stickers, flake seals, & decals. Some of these stickers that I’ve collected are well over 10 years old. (I mostly keep them for sentimental value.) I try to use my stickers whenever I can in various arts & crafts projects, but I end up buying more than I use, so I pretty much never run out of stickers.

When I was much younger, I used to buy whatever stickers caught my eye, even if I didn’t have any use for them, but now I’m trying to be more selective & choose only the styles that I know are universal & can be used in multiple ways, or on various art projects. I specifically chose these sets of stickers because they can serve a general purpose in my crafting projects. When I first saw the “animal life” sticker set from the Mind Wave brand I nearly freaked out in delight right in the middle of the store. I was so excited to find a physical version of this sticker set because I use the virtual version of these stickers quite often when I’m editing my Instagram photos. I always enjoy Midori branded stickers, but they’re often very small, or the designs are not easy to match with everyday craft projects. I really liked these four designs that I chose. I love their soft pastel colors & their easy ability to match with generic crafting projects (like cards & gifts).


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“No more enamel pins,” I once said. Well, I lied. I got more pins to add to my growing collection. Jian urged me to get the “salty” pin when we were shopping at Paper-Ya. We both thought this pin was hilarious & also clever. Jian was pretty excited when I got this pin & almost wanted me to wear it immediately. He said it paired really well with my sometimes salty vocabulary.

As for the “letter writer” pin, it caught my eye after searching through the many varieties of pins at The Regional Assembly of Text shop in the Riley Park neighborhood. I saw a lot of really cool packs  of pin-back buttons that really spoke to my current interests, but I was trying really hard to not buy frivolous items just because they were cute (or because I was shopping freely & unsupervised by my logical-half a.k.a. Jian). I happened to find a little basket full of single pin-back buttons & this one immediately caught my attention, 1. for the minimalist design, 2. because I still hand-write letters to my friends & family. Yes, I am old fashioned, & I am a letter writer.

There were so many super interesting things at TRAOT that I kind of wished I could’ve picked up, but almost immediately after I had arrived it started raining. I was getting worried that I wouldn’t be able to carry my purchases in the rain, & as luck would have it, that was the one day I decided to not bring my umbrella. I had been checking the weather forecast all day, & my weather app had been saying that it wasn’t going to rain at all that day, so I reluctantly decided not to take my umbrella with me. What a mistake that was!

At least my jacket was water-resistant & had a hood, but it was too hot outside for me to wear my jacket. So, I ended up heading to a nearby general store to buy a cheap $9CAD plastic umbrella (that looks like a cheesy kids umbrella when an adult my age is seen using it). Luckily the things I had purchased were able to snugly fit into my jacket pocket. You know, I really hate it when it’s drizzling rain outside, not heavy enough to warrant the use of an umbrella, but if you don’t use an umbrella you feel really soggy from the wet mist.


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I’m guessing you all know by now that I love writing lists, especially To-Do lists for myself. It really helps to keep me organized & focused because let’s face it…I can be quite scatter-brained on even the best of days. Making daily To-Do lists was one of the most valuable habits I learned from working at my previous 9-to-5 desk job. I’ve always written To-Do lists for everything.

Well actually, if you ever visit my home, you’ll find my handmade/self-designed signs & notes posted all over the house (& they’re all laminated, I might add). My siblings, when they come to visit, all think that I go totally overboard with my notes & signs, but these signs/notes posted all over the house really make a difference. It helps all the people living in the house to remember to do things like leaving the garden gate unlocked for our gardener once a week, or to not do things like not putting certain shrinkable laundry in the dryer.

I very easily use up all the notepads & Post-It sticky notes in our house, so when I can find a good notepad for all of my lists & little reminder notes, I’ll snap them up in a jiffy. I chose these three notepads for three reasons: 1. they’re compact in size (so they’ll be easy to bring home), 2. I love their soft pastel-ish colors & their checklist style layout, & 3. I have not seen any of these notepads in any of the stationery shops in my area (so I thought they were very one-of-a-kind).


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Okay, one last thing from my new favorite Pacific-Northwest city, Vancouver. Yes, it’s another enamel pin, but technically it’s not mine. It technically belongs to Jian. He said we could share it since he doesn’t wear pins that much. He mostly chose this pin because it was the most affordably priced item from one of Jian’s favorite Japanese streetwear brands Wacko Maria that he could find. He also chose this pin because he knew I was super into collecting pins of all kinds, & he wanted to share this pin with me.

These days it’s becoming easier to find popular Japanese streetwear brands outside of Japan. Before the huge explosion of internet shopping, most Japanese retailers did not have much of an online accessibility to overseas customers. You’d used to have to travel all the way to Japan just to shop Japan exclusive streetwear brands like: Wacko Maria, Neighborhood, Fragment Design, WTaps, A Bathing Ape, Visvimetc.. Then, you’d only find a few select licensed resellers/retail outposts in a few select towns, usually far away from wherever you lived.

Now with the wide range of the internet, you can easily find these brands no matter where you live, but it’s often times hard to find affordable items. So Jian & I usually look for small accessories or unique home goods from these brands. They can carry an even deeper sentimental value than just getting another t-shirt or trousers, & they’re way more interesting too. When Jian & I shop these brands, we usually grab the pins if we can find them. The pins sell out fast, & they’re usually a limited release item. I’m not as much into the military/biker theme as Jian is, but I still really like this star-shaped pin. It was definitely one of our most memorable purchases in Vancouver (aside from that damn tooth necklace I keep referencing).


Aside from all the eating, drinking, & meager shopping we did…I also did a bit of online shopping just before we left for Austin. There is this wildly addictive, weekly web comic that I am completely obssessed with called THE DEVIL IS A HANDSOME MAN. Every time a new episode/chapter gets published, I practically get heart palpitations, I am so incredibly excited & anxious to read the newest episode each week.

I have not fallen in love with a comic series as much as I have with this one since my manga obssession days many, many moons ago. I love the storyline, the writing, the illustrations, the suspense, the mystery, the drama. Everything. All of it. I know I sound like a crazy fan-person, but I can’t gush enough about this beautiful tale about fictional characters set in a fictional town in a fictional realm. There’s so much intricate details & depth to the story’s plot, & the characters are all super sexy & mysterious. I seriously encourage anyone & everyone to at least check out this comic for yourselves.

I love this comic so much, & I also seriously admire the artist so much so that once I found out this comic creator had an online retail space for fans to buy merch, I was all over it like butter on toast. I wanted to support this artist, so I ended up buying some of this person’s merch, & patiently waited one month for it to arrive by post. Let’s take a look, shall we?

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One weird thing I’d like to note is that the artist of this comic does not like to reveal their actual identity on the internet (due to their self-professed shyness). So, the artist herself illustrated her own profile picture to make herself look like a human cactus. That’s why some of her merch is cactus themed, as a nod to her funny, yet self-depricating online profile. That’s also why some of the stickers that came with the main one I bought are of various cacti. When the artist of this comic comes out with new merch, which she teased about on one of her Instagram stories, I’m definitely going to snag a few key pieces for myself again.


Well, this just about sums up my post. Gah! I never know how to write a closer for my blog posts. I don’t want to bluntly end it with some short, hurried good-bye, but I do anyway. So, let me end it here with a ‘Cheers!’ & my usual song of the day:

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I think I may have slightly gained the upper hand in wrangling my self control. Every time I go on a trip, or anywhere for that matter, I have an impulse to want to buy things, gifts for friends or myself. I was much worse in my early 20s. I had no concept of saving & budgeting, & I was feeling very generous, always buying useless, meaningless things.

Now I am trying much harder to control my shopping impulses by reminding myself that I am trying to de-clutter my life & really clean up all the junk I’ve accumulated over the years. Oh, & I am also trying to stick to a budget & all that good practice stuff. I am slowly getting better at controling myself, or more accurately my wallet. On this past trip to Vancouver, I was very much relieved when I didn’t get much chance to do any souvenir shopping. It also helped that I didn’t approach this vacation with any desire to shop whatsoever.

I am happy to report that most of my moola was spent on taxi fare, food, coffee, & ice cream. Who can resist coffee or ice cream? Well, actually, there were one or two times when I gave in to my shopping impulses & bought a few trinkets. However, I try to justify those purchases by saying they’re only small items, & one of the items I bought was handmade by a local Vancouver artist, while another item was a comemorative item from a once-in-a-lifetime art exhibition.

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I got this super weird cute tooth necklace when I visited a fun shop on Granville Island. The shop assistant explained that it was handmade by a local artist from Vancouver. I thought this necklace was really cool, & I like quirky, odd, unique jewelry like this. This is a souvenir I will defintely cherish, & it will always remind me of Vancouver. I’ve already worn this necklace several times, & the best part is that I’ve worn it in the shower (accidentally), & the metal chain does not rust.

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Ok, I hauled a bunch of enamel pins. That’s not really big time news to anybody. I’ve said in the past that I am going to try to limit my collecting of various little things, but I feel like enamel pins can be justified because they’re making a comeback in the fashion world. Slapping enamel pins all over your oversized slouchy denim jacket is in style now. I feel like I’m already ahead of the curve, since I’ve been collecting pins since before they made a comeback as a hipster trend.

A few key pins to make note of are the maple leaf pin, the YVR umbrella pin, & the Takashi Murakami pin. I don’t think I’ll become a ‘Canadiophile’ anytime soon, but I wanted some glaringly cheesy souvenirs to show I had actually visited Vancouver, BC, & I thought buying myself a refrigerator magnet was too boring. (Plus, I don’t stick things to my refrigerator, so there’s no use for a magnet.)

I really wanted to get a unique souvenir to commemorate my visit to the Takashi Murakami art exhibition, but most of his gift shop merchandise was your standard, you-can-get-it-anywhere pop art flower stuff like: pens, postcards, notepads, plushes, & other useless bric-a-brac. The museum gift shop was selling a cool coffee table book & framed art prints, but I was not about to lug those heavy items home in my dinky little suitcase (& run the risk of paying the overweight luggage penalty). So, I got this little pin instead. I find it so much more meaningful that I got something that I took careful consideration in selecting.

In the end, I think I did pretty well, only got a handful of items. I said in my last blog post that I’m going back to Vancouver again with Jian in a couple of months, & next time I’m going to try to focus more on eating, drinking, & adventuring. Until then, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

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It’s that time again for me to show you another collection of mine. OK, I swear I’m not a hoarder. My house isn’t filled from floor-to-ceiling with boxes & mounds of junk. I’ve got carefully curated collections of hand-selected knick-knacks that have some sort of special meaning or purpose in my life. So far, I’ve pretty much shown you my collection of handkerchiefs & hand towels, & in one of my earliest blog posts on this site, I’ve shown you my box of miscellaneous pens, my XL sized box of stickers, & my box of miscellaneous letter sets. One might think I have a problem with letting go of things I don’t use, like I’m overly sentimental regarding personal objects, but I don’t care. I’m a proud collector of the things that I genuinely have interests in.

In this latest installment of my hoarding denial collection cataloging, let me introduce you to my pin/badge/brooch collection. There have been many pins & brooches that have come & gone over the years, but these are the current pins that I’ve kept in my collection.

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  1. I love this victory pin. This is probably my most used emoji on my smartphone, so I was very excited to get this in a pin form. I also love that this pin could also be the “peace sign”.  So, it’s got multiple meanings.
  2. I don’t usually say the word “legit”, but I stil lthought this was a cool pin. I like how it’s written in cursive, & it sounds like very Cali-casual vocabulary.
  3. I saw this large felt pin at LofT in Osaka & immediately fell in love with it. I love the cute characters acting as boyfriend & girlfriend. This pin was supposed to promote a popular webcomic turned into a fictional novel. However, I can’t remember the name of it or what it was about. I just thought this couple was too cute to pass up.
  4. I am a big fan of Nathaniel Rateliff & his music. I am especially a fan of his band Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats. I love their southern, bluesy, alternative-y rock music. They kind of remind me of The Black Keys, which is another rock band I’m a big fan of. I got this pin to commemorate the first time I watched Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats live in concert (just last month).
  5. I haven’t really mentioned this on this blog, but I’ve mentioned it on many ocassions on my Instagram feed. I am a big fan of whisk(e)y & whisk(e)y based cocktails. Yes, I have been known to imbibe a cocktail or two (or three) on the weekends with my friends, & I’ve been known to knock back a few whiskey old fashioneds. I saw this pin at a craft spirits shop, & I had to get it…just for fun.
  6. I attended my first “nerdy” convention, the ID10T Conival hosted by Chris Hardwick (of @midnight The Talking Dead fame). There was a booth there selling pearler bead pins, & these two pins caught my eye right away. I’ve played the Professor Layton puzzle games on the Nintendo DS, & they were fun. I really loved the graphic design/artwork of the Layton video games, so I got these pins to honor the artwork.

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Ever since my first inaugural trip to the fine city of Portland, Oregon I’ve fallen in love with this ice creamery called Salt & Straw. When they decided to open up a location in my town, I was ecstatic. I bought a set of these pins to not only show my love for ice cream, but also for my admiration for this ice creamery.

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Seven years ago I visited the Ghibli Museum in Japan with my friends. We got to watch a short film called Mr. Dough & the Egg Princess. This short film really touched my heart & made me tear up a little bit. I loved the hero character Mr. Dough, but my favorite characters were the royal egg family. The egg princess was so cute. Basically this is the story of a tiny egg-girl who is forced to serve the evil witch, but after a blob of Dough comes to life, she befriends him & both escape from the witch’s home & set off to see the world. This was such a heartwarming story, so I got this set of king & queen egg pins as a little memento of my time spent at the Ghibli Museum, but also because I wanted to get a his & hers pin set for Jian & myself.

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These pins are so random, & I don’t even know why I kept them for so long. When I attended my first Comic Con in San Diego back in 2011, I was so naïve. I grabbed every little freebie & complimentary swag that was being offered. I was taking all of the free posters & pins without even caring what it was about. I picked up the first two pins without even caring what they were. The third pin I got for attending Conan O’Brien‘s special art gallery event for his made up comic book hero called The Flaming C. I got the last pin in Los Angeles when I shopped at the store called General Quarters. The shop attendant let me take this last pin for free after I bought a really awesome eucalyptus candle. I don’t really have anything interesting to say about these pins. They’re so boring & random.

There are two urban streetwear brands from Japan that both Jian & I have been huge fans of since their early days of tiny shops in the back streets of the hip Harajuku neighborhood in the heart of Tokyo. Man, we’ve been loyal supporters & big fans of these brands since the early 2000’s.

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The first brand (which is showcased in the pins above) is called WTaps, a very military inspired brand. The founder of this brand, Tetsu Nishiyama, is a fan of militaria & military history. His brand has branched out from clothing to lifestyle products (like camping equipment & incense burners). Jian & I both love this brand, not really for the military theme, well yes, that, but also because the quality of their products are so amazing & last throughout all the changes of fashion & trends. We’ve each got at least a dozen t-shirts &/or jeans from this brand that have survived countless washing machine beatings over the past 10 years, & they still look nearly as good as the day we bought them. As you can see above, with the exception to the Vespa inspired pin on the far right & the vinyl record symbol on the bottom left, most of these pins are extremely military inspired.

 

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This is the second Japanese streetwear brand I was talking about earlier, NEIGHBORHOOD (a.k.a. NBHD). This brand is also part clothing, part lifestyle products. This brand is more motorcycle/biker inspired, since the founder/creative director of this brand, Shinsuke Takizawa, is an extreme enthusiast of classic & vintage motorcycles (i.e. Triumph, Harley-Davidson, etc.). He even has his own extensive collection of motorcycles, & he displays some of his personal motorcycles at each of his retail shops within Japan. Shinsuke also restores his own motorcycles in his collection.

Both of these two brands (WTapsNBHD) mentioned here are very technical in style & practicality. The quality of their clothing is so good that a lot of the items we’ve purchased over the years have withstood the test of time & repeated washings, & let me tell you that I don’t always treat these clothes delicately. I’m not going out & buying expensive frou-frou detergent for delicate fabrics. I’m only using regular everyday detergent (& sometimes a spray-on stain remover) & an unforgiving washer/dryer set from the late 1990s.

A lot of the clothing Jian & I both buy from these brands have lasted so long, that now we don’t really get the chance to buy as many new clothing pieces. Now we have branched out into getting more of the lifestyle items, like their coffee mugs, incense holders, floor rugs, & other miscellaneous practical items. We used to collect pins from each of these brands every time they would design new sets for the upcoming fashion seasons, but now, we treasure these oldies but goodies which are extremely hard to find now-a-days.

 

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These next set of pins are what I would put in the “just for fun” category. The first two pins are from my & Jian’s best friends. They went to San Diego Comic Con earlier this year (as they do each & every year without fail), & they purposely waited in the long queue at the Peanuts booth to gobble up all of the limited edition Comic Con exclusive products. As a small souvenir, they got us these two pins. (They also got me a Comic Con exclusive Outlander bandana/handkerchief, much to the outwardly-shown ire of many middle-aged Diana Gabaldon/Sam Heughan/Outlander TV show fans, to which I am extremely grateful & thankful to my friends.)

The next pin is a boombox, which I thought could be a cool symbol of the fact that I was born in the 80s decade, & I am a huge music lover. The fourth pin is one that I purchased at a pop-up art gallery for British pop artist Pete McKee. I loved all of his artwork, but wasn’t sure how I’d be able to pack a poster or framed art piece in my suitcase, & I didn’t want to figure out how to pack & ship these items back to my house, so I ended up getting a small enamel pin to commemorate my lovely time in London & to honour all of the phenomenal & eye-opening art I discovered there. I also thought this retro couple riding a Vespa scooter together was very romantic, & that was another reason why I chose this pin.

The fifth & sixth pins are ones I bought in two different stores, but they both carry the same reference. They’re both references to my late-blooming passion & appreciation for cocktails. I never snuck alcohol with my friends when I was a teenager, & I didn’t have much of an interest in drinking when I turned 21 either. It wasn’t until my late twenties when I finally succumbed to my own self-pressure & taught myself how to properly drink alcohol…properly as in learing my limits & trying not to embarrass myself too much. I chose the first of the two pins for its sheer cuteness. I loved the pastel colors & the little cocktail umbrella garnish. I especially loved the phrase “Drink Up” on the bottom of the glass. I’m only a little disappointed that the writing is so small, you’d have to look very closely to be able to read it. The second pin I got because I like to drink Negroni cocktails, but it’s also to commemorate the recently popular event called “Negroni Week” a week-long celebration of one of the world’s great cocktails & an effort to raise money for charities around the world. A few of my close friends work at or own bars in my city, so to honor them & their industry, & to promote charity giving, I wanted to wear this Negroni pin in celebration of a good cause.

The last two pins are sort of a tributary nod to my dad & his background. My dad is from Japan (born & raised), so he has a fine appreciation for sakè. I don’t particularly enjoy drinking sakè, but 99.99% of my family (both maternal & paternal) loves this stuff, especially all of my extended family back in Japan (obviously). So, I got this pin to honor the Japan side of my family.

As for the baseball pin, don’t get upset, but I’m not actually a fan of the San Francisco Giants team. Then why did I get this pin, you ask? Well, at the time, it was during the height of the 2010 World Series, & the Giants were the fan favorites to win the pennant. Almost all of my friends are huge fans of this team, & they’re not happy of the fact that I am a diehard Oakland Athletics fan. I’ve been a fan of the A’s team since birth…well, because whatever dad liked the family had to go along with it, but we did so gladly. I got this pin, mostly because I’m a big fan of baseball (over most other sports, except for European auto racing), & this pin was the most subtle & minimal of all the pins I saw in the sporting goods store. I could support my friends’ fandom of the Giants team & show my love of baseball. On top of that, my dad was such a huge fan of baseball. As a matter of fact, every male member of my dad’s side of the family, all the way down to my nephew’s generation, are all huge fans of this sport. Most of my uncles, including my own father, at one point had opportunities to play professional baseball in Japan. They’ve been playing baseball all throughout their school careers. My grandfather strictly forbade them from trying out for any major league teams, so none of them became professional baseball players in Japan. My dad, however, was able to go to college in America on a baseball scholarship, & he even played baseball for his college team in Texas. That just goes to show how deeply rooted my family is in their love of this sport. A lot of my cousins & nephews all played baseball in high school, & some of them have even won regional awards for their schools.

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This is the last set of pins I’m going to talk about. (I swear I’m rambling too much about nothing here.) I don’t know what propelled me to shop at an urban skateboard & overtly male streetwear shop, but I ended up getting this cool & childlike paper airplane pin anyway. I liked this pin as a nod to being like a kid again & making paper airplanes out of scrap construction paper. The second pin came from a time when I suddenly had an urge to dress more edgy & punk. I thought getting this pirate -slash- biker gang inspired crossbones pin would make me look super edgy & standoffishly cool. Now, I just look at it as a cool Halloween accessory. The very last (but not least) pin is very special to me. It’s a cool leather textured pin that I got in Japan at an iconic & legendary streetwear store that has long since been closed (circa 2010). I really enjoy listening to jazz music, & I thought this pin was so clever combining the trumpet into the word “jazz”. I also really liked the quality of the leather fabric & the metallic silver lettering. Every time I look at this pin, I am reminded of a nearly bygone era & fashion trend in Japan that is slowly fading away.

Most of the underground, legendary & iconic shops that once lined the behind-the-scenes back streets of the Harajuku district have slowly migrated towards the newly revived Shibuya district. Once a cutesy fashion hub for low-budget trendy high schoolers & teeny bopper tweens, Shibuya is slowly becoming the new hub for urban streetwear & avant garde fashion. The back streets of Harajuku, nicknamed Ura Hara, are fading quickly, & most of the iconic shops where you’d see queues lining out the door & wrapping around the street, are now closed. I’m not saying this area is becoming a ghost town, but it surely has lost a lot of its early 2000s charm. In its place are more hair salons, second-hand thrift stores, & consignment shops. Man, I miss the old days of Tokyo, where you’d see all the trendy kids in ghetto streetwear hanging out in the streets. Now all of those places have moved on to the internet or some other far flung neighborhood that’s not easy to get to. I can’t wait to go back to Tokyo & rediscover new places. Until then, cheers.

Today’s song of the day:

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But first, we cheese. 🧀 🍮 . . . . . . . . . . #CheeseTart #BakeCheeseTart #HoneyLemon #NewFlavorAlert #NOTAnEggTart #dessert #SweetTreat #International #Market #UnionSquare #SoMa #SF #FoodsOfInstagram #CityLife #CityLiving #チーズタルト #チーズ #タルト #TheBearsSchool #LineCamera #FoodieApp @bakecheesetart_usa @bakecheesetart @linecamera_official @foodieapp.official
New blanket alert! Got my new fleece blanket ready for the cold weather ahead... ♨️🛌🧺🧶 . . . . . . . . . . #NewBlanket #FleeceBlanket #blanket #fleece #FullSize #Peanuts #Snoopy #Woodstock #characters #ReadyForWinter #ColdDaysAhead #WarmAndCozy #ILoveSnoopy #Uniqlo #フリース #毛布 #ユ二クロ @uniqlo @uniqlousa @snoopygrams
Look around. The sky is brown. It’s a hazy shade of Autumn. The sun looked like a giant tangerine in the sky. Feeling the side effects from the wildfires in the Butte-NorCal area. Scary times. 🍂 ☀️ 🍊 . . . . . . . . . . #NOFILTER #orange #brown #smog #tangerine #sun #sunshine #NoClouds #Daylight #Daytime #afternoon #LooksLikeNightTime #sky #skyline #haze #hazy #smoky #TwighlightTime #nature #outdoors #outdoor #MyNeighborhood #CrazyNature #SuburbanLife #Suburbs #Autumn #MotherNature #SoScary #MotherNature #MotherNatureIsAMother #SideEffects
It’s a colorful world out there. 💡 . . . . . . . . . . #typography #typeface #font #fonts #sign #signage #design #NeonSign #NeonArt #neon #color #colorful #art #WallArt #CityLife #CityLiving #SoCool #SoMa #FiDi #JacksonSquare #SFO #SF #CA #memories #LineCamera @linecamera_official
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It’s a medium-rare kind of night. 🥩 . . . . . . . . . . #Steak #TBoneSteak #TBone #MediumRare #16ounce #AteItAll #FinishedIt #BoneMarrow #HollandaiseSauce #ChimichurriSauce #carnivore #MeatLover #Saturday #dinner #supper #HappyHour #Bellota #SoMa #SF #CityLife @bellotasf

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