Music: Psycho le Cemu 15th Anniversary Live @ Zepp Diver City

© 2014 SWEET CHILD

© 2014 SWEET CHILD

I didn’t spend Valentine’s Day weekend with Mr. J, but rather hopped a bus to Tokyo with some friends to catch a two-day reunion concert of one of my favorite bands that disbanded several years ago.  So after giving him his chocolate that morning, off I went!

Little did I know I would be reuniting with some gals I used to run around with 5-10 years ago, too!  It was a really fun weekend filled with adventure, great people, old visual kei (Japan’s version of glam rock) throwbacks, and lots goods/cosplayers.  What’s more awesome than that?

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Souvenir Culture

I’ve talked about souvenir culture in some previous posts, but since this will be my last post before I leave for the U.S. and I’m getting ready to make my souvenir list, I thought I’d write a more detailed post about what makes a good souvenir/gift and when to give them.

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How to Keep Your Cool During the Rainy Season

It’s that time of year again when stores start putting out the rain boots and umbrellas, you can hear the frogs croaking out in the rice paddies, and hydrangeas are abloom!  June through early July means rain and humidity, and the rainy season can really put a damper on things if you’re not prepared.

Especially if you’re a wife in Japan like me, even doing things like laundry or hanging out the futons can become a monumental task when you can never catch a weekend where they won’t get soaked hanging outside.  But don’t worry- keep reading on for some tips on how not to keep the rainy season from becoming a total wash.

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Driving in Japan: Buying a 50cc Scooter

I’ve held a regular drivers license in Japan for years, but because Mr. J and I have yet to seriously consider buying a car, a used scooter my previous company expensed for me to drive had been my main mode of transportation going on seven plus years.  Then a few months ago I’d been having trouble getting the engine to start, and finally last week I decided to bite the bullet and say goodbye to my little companion.  This left me in need of a new (used) scooter and a way to somehow give up the old one, preferably all under the budget of 80,000 yen ($800 USD).  And so my quest for a new ride began, which I decided to document for anyone else who is looking to buy their first scooter or another one secondhand.

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Tokyo Design Festa Vol. 39

© J // Washing Rice Blog

© J // Washing Rice Blog

Last Saturday an old friend who flew over here for a wedding, who coincidentally I hadn’t seen since our wedding a few years back, invited me out to come with her to Design Festa 2014 going on that weekend at Tokyo Big Sight and catch up.

I hadn’t really looked up anything about it going in, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  My mental image was a bunch of art, crafts, local goods companies, and graphic/interior design companies coming together for a huge promotional and networking event.  I was a bit off the mark, though.  The event was much more laid back with a bunch of indies and upcoming artist and designers displaying and selling their wares.  If you’re looking for some cool new accessories or clothing, knick knacks or art prints to decorate your pad, or some insight on what the next big trend in the character world of Japan might be, this is the place for you.  The amount of talent showcased in one place was astounding, and I hope I’ve managed to capture a small part for anyone checking out this post.

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Showing Some Parental Unit Love

Just like in the U.S., Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in Japan are celebrated the second Sunday of May or third Sunday of June.  Every year I send my parents and grandparents some love from abroad, but coming up with something creative each year can sometimes be challenging.  I also send my former host family parents a present, because we’ve bonded so much since my stay and over my years living here they’re pretty much “my family” as far as living in Japan goes. But as both holidays are relatively recent additions in Japan, sometimes it’s easy to get stuck in the flower rut.

Whether you’re looking to change it up a little this year or looking for some good places to shop, I hope you’ll find this entry helpful.

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Getting Your Glam On: Miracurl Review

I don’t know about you, but one of the first things I noticed about Japanese people after I first stepped off the airplane is how put together they are.  Sure there’s exceptions like sloppily dressed girls crouching outside of convenience stores or Don Quixote late at night, but for the most part people here are adept at dressing nicely no matter what the occasion.

While at the back of my head, I didn’t really think much of it and just did my own thing.  I had my own sweet/goth grungy style thing going on when I first met my husband, and to be honest fashion wasn’t really his forte either.  But as I realized, and no doubt you’ll also realize the longer you live here, how you present yourself reflects not only your own reputation, but that of your family and your employer.  So since entering the working world and getting married I’ve been more in tune with making sure I put effort into looking my best.  (I still can’t shake the habit of washing my face and putting on a comfy pair of pajamas as soon as I get in the door, though.)

Thing is, it takes a lot of work to “look your best” if you’re a woman here.  Your average Japanese woman dyes her hair some shade of brown every month, and is often inclined to have her hair regularly permed/straightened for easier maintenance.  Never leaving home without false eyelashes or eyelash extensions is all the rage at the moment, and getting your nails done is a much more outlandish affair than I recall back Stateside.  That’s not even getting into the facial and aesthetic salon boom.  I for one don’t have that kind of time or money, and if you fall into the average working foreigner group here you probably don’t either.  That’s where this nifty product I picked up the other day comes in.

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