Monday, 28 February 2011

My belated Valentines Day...

York is only 25 minutes by train, 40 minutes by bus. I always choose the latter. Don't ask me why, because the scenery is better by train, but the bus stops pretty much right where you need to be so I think it is worth the extra time (and it's cheaper).

Coat (from Japan) Dress (Warehouse) Bag (Topshop) Ugg boots (Ugg)
Ring (Lisa Galibardy)

My fiance and I love to eat at Tokyo Joe in the centre of York. The food is a bit pricey, but totally worth it! The staff are very chatty and when I told them I was learning Japanese, they were more than happy to help me!

My fiance enjoying a beer
Mmm, miso soup

Sake bottles line the restaurant

I bought some stuff too. Evernew is a jewellery/accessories store and an Oriental supermarket. There is a decent selection of Hello Kitty merchandise and both the upstairs and downstairs stock Chinese, Japanese and Korean food and drink. It is one of my favourite shops in York ^_^

Some of the bits and bobs I bought

The Japanese and cute...

When visiting Japan, you will fail to notice the abundance of cute or ‘kawaii’ characters used to promote…well anything and everything. The Image Factory: Fads and Fashions in Japan by Donald Richie explores the Japanese ideal of cute, and how much of an impact ‘cute’ makes in advertising.

Cute characters on a Meiji advert in Osaka

Making and selling things kawaii is an enormous industry and it is driven by the women who buy it. But why are such things (‘character goods’ as they are called in the industry) sold in such large numbers. A senior analyst at the research section of the largest of the manufacturers said he believed 70 per cent of those he had surveyed really sought solace in character products, and that the more stressed out they were, the more strongly attached they were to the items” Donald Richie, The Image Factory: Fads and Fashions in Japan, 2003. Reaktion Books.
Cute cat and dog poster

While I was in Japan last year I noticed how cute characters were used in the most simplest of advertising and promotion.

Animal characters on chocolate and sweet boxes

Cute pink cat on Takeshita dori

Cute chick character in an arcade

Koala's are cute too...

Studio Ghibli's Totoro...need I say more?

Have you been to Japan? If so, did you notice the vast amount of cuteness used in advertisements and food packaging? I certainly did, and to be honest...I wish European advertising embraced a bit of cute!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Currently reading...Yotsuba&!

I am always on the look out for cute manga, especially those that involve cats ^_^

A selection of the manga I brought back from Japan

One of the best manga series I have read is Fruits Basket, followed by Honey and Clover, Aria and Chi's Sweet Home. I brought a few manga books back from Japan last year but my Japanese isn't up to scratch (I currently know all 46 hiragana and katakana plus the little extra sounds, but have yet to start on Kanji!). Until then I have to be just content with looking at the pictures...

I am very particular about what I read, and it took me a while to pluck up the courage to purchase Yotsuba&! as I didn't know whether I would 'get' the storyline. Kiyohiko Azuma, the creator of Yotsuba&! is the same artist who created Azumanga Daioh, another of my favourite manga/animes series. Azuma's drawing style is very distinct and I found it quite amusing when my fiance said 'she looks like Chiyo from Azumanga Daioh' I have trained him well...


Did I mention that I'm 23...?


Currently obsessed with...

...Plum wine!


Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Everyday kimono...

I think if I lived in Japan, I would try and wear a kimono as much as possible. I think kimono look stunning (for those of your who have seen Memoirs of a Geisha you will understand why). While I was in Japan last year I noticed a couple of kimono stores in the Kyoto, in particular in Gion. They were not for the average tourist to walk in and have a look around judging by the window displays...

I saw several women and young girls wearing kimono on the streets of Tokyo as well as Kyoto...

Photographs in Kyoto

On the street in Gion

Young girls in kimono

Elderly lady in Tokyo
The main purpose of this blog post is because I found a great picture of a young girl wearing a kimono with a modern edge. Unfortunately I would look rather strange walking around town if I was to wear what she is, but I think its great that young people in Japan are embracing their heritage whilst incorporating their own personality through the international medium that is fashion...

From the Japanese streets website
From the Japanese streets website

From the Japanese streets website


Looking to 2012...

I know we are only two months in to 2011 but I am already looking forward to next year. My fiance and I have set the date for our wedding for the 18th May 2012. Obviously I have never done anything like this before, so I am relying heavily on a number of wedding magazines I have purchased over the past few weeks.

I will be getting married at York registry office, which I am very happy about despite originally wanting a church wedding. BUT to compensate, my fiance and I are getting a blessing and having our honeymoon in Japan, so it can't be all bad.

York Registry Office and Bootham Suite

There are some things that I really want to splash out on like; invitations, my dress and the cake. But I dont know if I could justify spending hundreds of pounds on flowers and shoes...even though Rob said I could have a pair of Louboutins! I am wanting a Japanese theme for my wedding reception and am currently in the process of getting some custom made wedding invitations to reflect this.

Japanese themed reception

As I mentioned above, I would love to splash out on my dress. My mum and I will be going to York next week to have a look at what is available and get a rough idea of prices! I don't want a meringue but I certainly don't want plain.

Fairytale inspired

Simple yet effective 

I am only a month or so in to planning but I will keep you updated on how it is going...!


The power of internet travel...see Japan from the comfort of your armchair!

One of the great things about the internet is the ability to travel and see the world from the comfort of your own home. it is not the same thing as being there but if, like me, you work full time and have other things to pay for then to a degree it is better than nothing.

Anybody who knows me, will know of my obsession with Japan. It is something that has been with me since I don't know when, but since I got back from an amazing trip there last year I have been iching to go back!! Since I am not going back until next year, the best I can do is trawl through these fantastic Japanese related websites...

Tokyo Fashion: This fantastic website describes itself as 'an online fashion magazine with an HQ in the Harajuku area of Tokyo, Japan. Our goal is to bring English speaking readers the latest news on Japanese fashion' and it does just that. If you have a facebook account then 'like' the page and you will receive regular photos and information in your newsfeed!/TokyoFashion

J-List/J-Box: A website that I have been following and purchasing from is J-List. For those of you under 18 then visit J-Box. Not only can you purchase the latest products from Japan from food to fashion, but the founder Peter Payne blogs regularly on his life in Japan with his family. Visit

This lovely lady added me on Facebook last year due to our joint love of Japan. Tiffany Atkin is a graphic designer from Australia, but is currently based in Tokyo. Her designs are amazing and her blog is updated regularly (please ask permission from Tiffany to use her work)

I first discovered Japanese streets a few years ago while doing some research at college about Japanese street fashion. The site is full of photographs of everyday Japanese people and their clothing. As well as an extensive street fashion archive, the site has its own blog and a shopping directory of Japanese clothing brands

Hope you find the above websites useful, and if you would like anymore information on visiting Japan then contact me and I will try and point you in the right direction.