White Day in Kawasaki & Yokohama

Valentine’s Day in Japan is a day where girls give chocolate and other baked confectionaries to their significant other or the guy they’re crushing on.  But what do girls get out of it, you might ask?  A month later, on March 14th, is when guys are supposed to offer up something in return.  That usually means some sweets they’ve bought from a department store or a hot date.

Personally I prefer the American style way of celebrating Valentine’s Day, but because Mr. J and I didn’t have any time to spend the day of, we both had the weekend after White Day off, and so Mr. J promised to take me out somewhere then.

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Getting Your Glam On: Trying Out Some Aromatherapy

© J // Washing Rice Blog

© J // Washing Rice Blog

Last weekend a friend of mine invited me to join her and some other friends at a local cafe by her house for an aromatherapy seminar.  The cafe a spokesperson from DoTerra to lead the course,  which one of the ladies joined as a buyer/salesperson.  It was kind of like the aromatherapy version of a tupperware party.  😉

I pretty much went in on zero, though.  Last year Mr. J bought us a cheap mist humidifier and some scented oils that we use with it, and I’ve really enjoyed the few times I’ve had the chance to get an aromatherapy massage.  Still it was something new and fun to try, and I came out a little more knowledgeable about the aromatherapy market in Japan, and how to choose and combine different oils.

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Easy Peasy Valentine’s Chocolate

Valentine’s Day is coming up this Saturday and if you don’t already know, it’s a day where women give chocolate (with the expectation of it being handmade) to their significant other as a gift, or as a means of confessing how they feel to their crush.  Some women also give chocolate out of politeness to their co-workers or male friends, called giri choco.

If you’re not much of a chef but would like to give this unique custom a try, here’s an easy way to make some handmade chocolate without a lot of fuss.

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Music: PIERROT’s 2 Day Reunion Live DICTATORS CIRCUS FINAL

© J // Washing Rice Blog

PIERROT’s announcement on Shinjuku ALTA’s big screen.
© J // Washing Rice Blog

Earlier this year on April 12th at Shinjuku ALTA, visual kei band PIERROT announced a two day reunion raibu (live/concert) for October 24th and 25th at Saitama Super Arena.  The crowd that gathered at ALTA was huge, especially considering 8 years had already passed since their break-up, an eternity in the music industry world.  But this, as well as the announcement of the reopening of their fan club, Arlequin, through 2014-2015, were welcome news for people like me who never got the chance to see them perform live before their split.

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Last BBQ of the Summer

© J // Washing Rice Blog

© J // Washing Rice Blog

Shūbun no Hi, or Autumnal Equinox Day, passed last week marking the start of fall.  It’s not uncommon for Japanese summers to persist well into mid-October, but this year it seems we’ve caught a break and fall has visited us at its regularly scheduled time.  To mark the end of the season, Mr. J’s old schoolmates threw last BBQ chance of the year party this past Sunday in Yokohama at the Kodomo Shizen Kōen (Children’s Nature Park) BBQ/Picnic area near Futamatagawa Station on the Sōtetsu line. Continue reading

Movie Theater Magic

When I lived in the suburbs of Dallas, I went to the movies at least once a month, if not more.  There were a ton of options.  My friends and I would go to the nearest IMAX theatre for the best summer blockbusters or frequent the local cineplex at the mall for midnight showings of new releases we just had to be the first to see.  You knew you could always catch a new indie release at the Angelika.  The old Hollywood down the street was the most popular theater growing up in the 90s, and I remember the few times my family splurged a little and took me there as a kid.  Now it’s an outdated relic people only visit for catching discounted showings of movies that have already finished playing at any of the bigger, moderner theaters that silently sprung up and people moved onto over the years.  If you were short on cash but still wanted a good time out, you could always catch a recently released film on DVD playing at the dollar theatre.

Movie-going is a huge part of American culture, but not so much in Japan.  Theatre options are generally limited, and cinemas will consistently run you around 1,800 yen ($18 USD) a ticket unless you visit on special discount days/showings or purchase a pre-release ticket.  Up until recently, my husband and I rarely went more than once or twice a year.  Then we discovered that the old, retro theater in town had finally given up trying to compete with the other newer cinemas nearby, and started doing their own weekly showings of selected indies films and older releases.  It felt a little like finding some of that old movie culture from back home.

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Getting Invited to a Japanese Wedding

I’m at that age where most of my friends have already or are getting ready to settle down, and/or pop out some kids. So for the last 4 years I’ve found myself averaging at least one or two weddings as year.  In fact, just last weekend two of Mr. J’s junior high school classmates got married, and so we took a trip out to Yokohama to celebrate the occasion.

The first time I got invited to Japanese wedding, I was pretty nervous because I only had a vague notion of the manner dos and don’ts when attending one, and I didn’t want to do anything to further stand out as the only foreign guest there. Now that I’ve gotten some more under my belt,  I figure I have a little bit more authority to write about what you should expect when you accept an invitation to one.

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