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.
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.
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.
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.
So you’ve settled on your new pad, moved in, and now there’s empty or mostly empty walls staring back at you. What to do? Thankfully, you’ve got a lot of options. Japan is home to some of the smallest living spaces in the modern world, and every year furniture and interior design companies come out with new and creative ways to make the most of your space.
If you’ve got the budget, anything is possible. Even if you don’t, you’re not out of luck. Here are some ways to maximize your budget when furnishing your new home:
…or more like how it pretty much doesn’t! There’s not much going on unless you’re a club or party type living in a bigger city, or want to buy a bunch of cute knick knacks to decorate your house with. You really have to actively go out of your way to find something fun to do.