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Uniqlo Coming To San Francisco via Refinery29

Ok, I am not a religious person, but I must say “Hallelujah!”  Yes, yes, yes!  My wishes have been fulfilled!  My absolute, most favorite clothing brand of all time, UNIQLO, will be opening several new store locations throughout the world  within the near future, & guess what?!  My local city San Francisco is on this list of locations!!!  Yes, that means that my all-time favorite clothing brand from Japan will be opening a new store near me, sometime in the future.

For those of you who have never heard of this brand, UNIQLO is a Japanese casual wear designer, manufacturer & retailer with affordable prices.  UNIQLO’s fashion style has been compared to GAP clothing, but with the retail price tag equivalent of H&M.  What started as an affordable unique clothing brand only sold in Japan (as are most Japanese clothing brands), UNIQLO has expanded its International branches & now have retail stores all around the world including: Hong Kong, mainland China, Thailand, Russia, Taiwan, etc. with it’s only U.S. retail store residing in New York.

Right now the very famous Japanese clothing brand UNIQLO is conducting a major expansion project & is expecting to open more flagship stores & smaller shops in various cities around the world including: New York (Manhattan), Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Connecticut, New Jersey & London.  Some, or most of these stores will most likely not open any time in the near future, as UNIQLO is also geared to create a new clothing collection with Lady Gaga’s stylist: Nicola Formichetti (which will probably debut first).

Here are some of my quick thoughts on UNIQLO’s expansion project:

  • More retail stores are scheduled to open in New York, especially in the Manhattan district.  I personally, don’t understand why this should or needs to be done, since Manhattan already has a 5-level flagship store that is more than capable of meeting consumer demand.
  •  I’m not quite sure how the New Jersey store will come to be, since most New Jersey-ites schlep themselves across the Hudson river all the way to New York to do most of their major retail shopping.
  • Connecticut?  Really?!  Well, I guess if that’s what you want, but I don’t really see the point. (Please refer back to my New Jersey comment.)
  • I don’t have much to say about the “windy city” Chicago, since I don’t know much about that city itself…but I’ve heard it’s a growing fashion hotspot, so I can kind of see how a UNIQLO retail store might work out there.  We will have to see after its first year’s sales stats.

Last but not least…

  • I heard about the rumor of UNIQLO planning on opening a California retail location since last year, & my immediate (instant) thought was that Los Angeles would be the first California city to have a retail store.  I think I am on track with the correct prediction.  I just have a gut feeling about this.  Los Angeles has a larger Japanese population compared to any Bay Area city near San Francisco, including S.F. (not that ethnicity should matter).  Also, Los Angeles is considered to be one of the largest fashion capitals in the world.  So, I really wouldn’t be surprised if Los Angeles opened up a retail store first.  It would make more sense.  In fact, I would be more surprised if San Francisco opened up a retail store before Los Angeles.

It doesn’t matter if it’s not anytime soon, just as long as they do actually open a store location in my local city.  I just can’t believe that this rumor is now confirmed to be a fact.  I have visited the New York Manhattan flagship location, & the various retail locations around Shanghai, China.  Also, I often shop at the various retail stores scattered around Tokyo (in Japan), including their exclusive t-shirt shop in Harajuku called UT UNIQLO…& I can definitely say that…being one of UNIQLO’s biggest fans…I am so overjoyed to hear this exciting news!!

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So, one of the opportunities I got to do while I was staying in Shanghai was to go to a night club event.  The China division of Reebok (the fashion line) along with event promoters S.T.D. & KOZM Agency held an Asia-wide club tour called Angree Yung Robotz Tour.  This event was, no doubt, created from the genius mind of VERBAL (½ of the Japanese pop band m-flo & 1/4 of the Japanese rap group Teriyaki Boyz), who is also the chief Creative Designer of Reebok in Asia.  This club tour was to promote the debut album (Mademoworld) of popular Japanese DJ/singer/fashionista Mademoiselle Yulia (who is also signed under VERBAL’s record label) & also to promote VERBAL’s already released solo album “Visionair”.

I have never been to a night club in China, & this was going to be my first experience.  I’m so thrilled (for lack of a better word) that I got to spend my first experience with VERBAL…my idol & my inspiration.  To be honest, this whole night was not planned at all.  It just happened by chance…really unbelievable chance.  Here’s how the story plays out:

My fiancee & I were walking around the Jing’an district & were looking for a place to eat lunch.  Our crazy awesome superfuture travel guide had recommended 2 restaurants for us to try: Bull Noodle (a soup noodle place) & Bistrow (a classic hamburger joint).  We ended up eating burgers at Bistrow (which were out-of-this-world delicious), & while we were heading out of the restaurant I noticed a basket of flyers by the front door.  I noticed a cool postcard with an interesting robot drawn on it, so I took one…thinking that I’d just keep it for the cool artwork.  Upon further inspection of the postcard, I noticed the name VERBAL written in large font at the top of the paper.  I also recognized Mademoiselle Yulia’s name as well.  That was when the gears in my head started turning & I knew I had something interesting in my hands.  I quickly turned to my fiancee & showed him the flyer.  Needless to say, since he is as big of an m-flo fan as I am, he was completely stunned.  How could one of our most favorite/respected/idolized artists be performing in our loaction & within the exact dates we will still be in town?  How is that even possible?!  Would you say it was a miracle?  Perhaps, but it was as though an angel flew down from heaven & bestowed a golden ticket upon my grubby little hands.

Skipping all of the parts inbetween, let’s jump to the night of the club performance.  The beginning of the night started of fairly standard.  My fiancee & I could not concentrate on anything else other than the club event.  We tried to go sightseeing during the day, but ended up going back to our hotel early to rest up & change our clothes.  We ate a very rushed dinner & got to the club early.  Well, actually, we got to the club at the exact time stated on the flyer, but according to the local staff…the actual club performance would not be taking place until 2 hours after the given time.  After getting into the club, there was not much exciting things going on.  There were supposed to be 3 guest DJ’s spinning music that night.  I think they were local DJs.  The first two DJs to perform were really bad at pumping up the crowd & setting the mood.  We just could not wait for the main act & we didn’t care for the opening DJs.  The music they played was very choppy & did not blend well.

One highlight of the night was my fiancee & I met a guy from California who quit his job & was taking time off to take a vacation around Asia & to”couch surf” for a few months.  When the main act came on stage, everyone was rushing to the front of the stage (which was just a long table-style DJ booth), especially all of the event photographers.  The whole place was packed with locals & foreigners alike.  The mood for the night was insanely amazing!  I just couldn’t believe I was standing less than 5 feet away from my most idolized artist!  Mademoiselle Yulia was the first of the 2 main acts to grace the stage.  She started off by mixing her own version of “Take Over Control” by Afrojack.  Of course, she was pimping her collaboration headphones with the brand WESC.  I am not a fan of the avant garde hipster artsy look, but Mdm. Yulia pulls it off with electric blue hair to perfection.  VERBAL also has an interesting apparel repertoire.  That night he was wearing a hat that looked like an old school samurai top knot hairstyle.  Sure, it must’ve made him all sweaty & hot, but it really looked cool on him.  That hat really made VERBAL’s hair look like a top knot style.  Anyway, the music was freaking AWESOME!  The crowd really got pumped up when VERBAL started mixing some classic m-flo songs into his set list.

For me, the biggest highlight of the night was when VERBAL constantly kept looking over at my side of the club room.  I guess he couldn’t help himself when there was a rabid m-flo fan standing next to me, who kept chanting “m-flo!” & “How you like me now!!” at the top of his lungs.  I know VERBAL likes to take fan snapshots during his performances…so I was super excited when he pulled out his iPhone to take a photo of the crowd.  I was even more super excited when he took a picture of himself with my side of the crowd.  He took 2 pictures of the audience on his iPhone & then shook the hands of as many people in the audience as he could.  So basically, I got to have 2 pictures taken with VERBAL on his personal cell phone & I got to shake his hand twice!  To me, that is even better than going to an actual m-flo concert because that’s about as close as I will ever get to being near VERBAL or any member of m-flo at all.  Another highlight of the night was toward the end of the event when Mademoiselle Yulia got on stage with VERBAL & they were giving away 2 pairs of autographed sneakers.  They threw each shoe one-by-one into the audience & my fiancee caught one of the autographed shoes.  He almost caught the second shoe (to complete the pair), but somebody else grabbed onto the shoe with a death grip & yanked it out of my fiancee’s hand before he could get a good grip on it.  Overall, this will be filed under “BEST MOMENTS EVER”.

Also, please check out the venue photos of the Shanghai stop from the Angree Yung Robotz Tour:
ANGREE YUNG ROBOTZ in SHANGHAI 2011 8/19

And here is a photo of the autographed shoe:

For the first time, since the last time… (from movie: Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist)

It’s been a long time since I last visited China, which was in 2003, and I just recently returned from a 2 week vacation in Shanghai.  This experience was so much more different from any of the other times I have visited China.  I had no parents who could hold my hand every step of the way & fluently translate everything for me, no comfort bubble of being surrounded by my fellow classmates from some stuffy summer school program, & I did not attend some cheap-ticket fast-paced tour group with matching t-shirts either.  I traveled all the way to Shanghai with only my companion by my side & a handy little guidebook to help me navigate through the main districts.

One valuable resource I was extremely fortunate to have while I was there was my very wonderful cousin and her husband.  My cousin and her husband resides in Shanghai, and I really enjoyed spending time with her while I was vacationing.  Also, I was very excited for her to meet my companion in person.  My cousin was a very valuable resource since she & her husband each own & drive their own cars in Shanghai, so they were able to take us to various local places we wouldn’t have otherwise known about.

I’ve visited Shanghai a couple of times before, but I was always traveling with my parents, & my mom can speak fluent Mandarin & partial Shanghainese.  So it was easy to get around and have my mom do all the talking and translating for us.  Plus, that also meant that we would have lots of family obligations since my mom still has relatives living in Shanghai (hence my cousin).  With all of those family events going on…I was always being shuffled & chauffeured around by my relatives & had no time to go out & see things for myself.  I’ve also been to Beijing as well, but that was for a student youth program, & it’s hard to explore on your own when the head teacher/instructor has each day’s itinerary mapped out for you.  All the students pile onto a tour bus & we get shuffled from one small town to the next for a small blip of sightseeing & Kodak moments.

Traveling with my companion, no matter where we go to, we like to keep things fresh & not really stick to a strict itinerary.  When we leave our hotel for the day there are only 2 essential items we must have at all times: 1. our cell phones (for emergencies) & 2. a guidebook of the city.  Our guidebook of choice, if it has a matching city, is written by superfuture (called superfuture guide).  This is our favorite guidebook publication because it breaks down each category (eating, shopping, entertainment) by the city’s districts.  Whenever my companion & I travel to Tokyo, we always print out a superfuture guide & bring it with us as if it were our travel bible.  My companion & I love to choose a random destination for the day & just walk around the district & explore with our own eyes.  We were very fortunate that both of us could speak a moderate amount of Mandarin (& my companion can read some Chinese characters), so we were able to get around by ourselves.

On this particular trip, my companion was going to Shanghai for business, & I was tagging along with him.  Every day after work, I’d either meet my companion at the hotel so he could drop off his briefcase, or take the subway & meet him somewhere, & we would spend hours roaming the streets just like the locals.  On his days off, we’d wake up super early & head out for some breakfast & a quick ride on the subway before we hit the mid-morning human traffic jam.  We would often spend our days hopping from one district to another, checking out local shops & small cafes, as well as visiting famous parks & landmarks.  We explored the large conglomerate shopping malls, to the small mom n’ pop shops, to the local bazaar selling those glaringly obvious knockoffs.  We went on an eating spree (every foodie’s dream)…from local cafes & mid-range restaurants, to fancy restaurants, to Hong Kong style snack shops, to fast food joints.  We ate it all…cheap to expensive….& we didn’t care what havoc this was wreaking on our waistlines & digestive tracts.

Overall, this trip was one of the most fun & eye-opening vacations I’ve ever experienced.  I am very grateful to my cousin for being “that someone we know in-town” & for being such a gracious hostess.  Here are some of the highlights of our Shanghai trip:

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Autumn is here, but it still feels like Spring weather. 💐🍂 . . . . . . . . . . #flowers #flower #flora #garden #BeautifulWeather #sunshine #SoSoft #SoPretty #cute #outdoors #outdoor #nature #CityLiving #LovelyDay #BeautyInNature #CityLife #white #yellow #orange #red #pink #purple #green #blue #LineCamera #FlowersOfInstagram #instaflowers #instapic #instagallery #PhotoGallery @linecamera_official
The sun was so bright today, you could literally see the halo ring around it. 😳☀️ . . . . . . . . . . #NoFilter #sun #sunshine #HighNoon #noontime #MotherNature #nature #outdoors #CityLife #CityLiving #outdoor #weather #sunny #SunnyDay #AutumnWeather #halo #HaloRing #TheRing #RingAroundTheSun #BeautifulDay #ICanSeeYourHalo #NoCloudsInTheSky #NoClouds #WTF #sky #BlueSkies #BayArea #280Freeway #Peninsula #CA
When the fog rolls in, we eat ice cream. 🌁🌥🍦 . . . . . . . . . . . . . #latergram #FerryBuilding #Embarcadero #IceCream #Amaluna #CirqueDuSoleil #flavor #LimitedEditionFlavor #CremeFraicheAndBluberries #HumphrySlocombe #SF #ouioui #monsieur #humphrey #MonsieurHumphrey #LickThat #hype #instagallery #IceCreamOfInstagram #CityLife #CityLiving #FoodOfInstagram #instafood #instalove #instahype @humphryslocombe @karlthefog @linecamera_official @cirquedusoleil
Flashback to that one time I had unforgettable croissants and doughnuts w/ coffee. 🥐🍩 ☕️ . . . . . . . . . . #Latergram #doughnut #donut #VanillaGlaze #GlazedDoughnut #HamAndCheeseCroissant #ButterCroissant #latte #HotLatte #LatteArt #delicious #FlakyAF #Fremont #pastry #breakfast #BunAppetitDonuts #Fremont #FoggyMorning #ILoveAutumn #CoffeeOfInstagram #PhotoOfTheDay #instapic #instalove #FoodOfInstagram #CityLife #CityLiving #SundayFunday @linecamera_official @foodieapp.official @bunappetitdonuts
And so it continues... . . . . . . . . . . #DeYoungMuseum #DeYoung #GoldenGatePark #SF #museum #WeekendMode #art #exhibition #culture #ExpandYourMind #OpenYourMind #OpenYourEyes #FamilyDay #FunTimes #abstractioncontinues #BlackAndWhite #minimalist #minimal #arrow #sign #typography #typeface #fonts #SansSerif #FreeAdmissionDay #instagallery #instapic @deyoungmuseum
Tonight’s dinner menu. 🍝 . . . . . . . . . . #HelloKitty #Sanrio #hype #ILoveHelloKitty #45thAnniversary #pasta #SoCute #HelloKittyPasta #organic #OrganicPasta #carbs #ILoveCarbs #NotOnADiet #NoDiet #凯蒂猫 #ハローキティ #パスタ #HK #kitty #cat #cartoon #character #CutestPastaEver #HelloKittyAndFriends #HerBowIsOnTheLeft #CatsOfInstagram #AnimalsOfInstagram #LineCamera @sanrio @hellokitty @linecamera_official @worldmarket

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