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Kirill’s visit to Nikolay-Do cathedral

Mitropolit Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia came to Japan with a visit to celebrate 100 years since the death of Saint Nikolay of Japan, the first Russian orthodox missionary in Japan. Our church in Ochanomizu is named after him.

Ever since he took the title of Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kirill has become a very public figure with a lot of judgmental eyes on him, watching his every move and interpreting everything he does in a way that would amuse the masses. I guess, when one is forced to shift one’s attention from spiritual guidance to being the “CEO” of church,  one gains a lot of hatred by default. I do not agree with the church’s teaching on some subjects like homosexuality, women rights and science but I understand that for church and its leaders it is really hard to change their doctrines. One little change can shutter the formation of the whole religion. Russian orthodox church is proud of having never changed a single thing about its teachings so I reckon they are not about to start now even though I am sure they do understand that some of their established beliefs regarding the aforementioned topics are very controversial to say the least. Kirill is trying to bring faith back into the masses but it is really hard to do especially with the young generation that is raised on new values brought to them by modern media. How do you teach kids humility and kindness when it is purely not cool anymore…

We all wish for church to be focusing on more important messages like love to the neighbor and not judging anyone before judging ourselves. Instead, partly because of lack of flexibility and partly because human values have changed a lot in the past decades, church is all about war rather than peace.. There are also a lot of situations where church and Christian religion as a whole is widely misrepresented by blind fanatics or people who abuse their religious statuses for personal gain. Religion will always suffer from that. But we all hold high standards for church, expect it to be pure good and criticize it when it fails to meet our expectations. Yet, we never fail to lower any kind of standard for ourselves, creating all sorts of excuses for our own actions..  So it is my opinion that we should focus on the good and filter the rest. After all, our relationship with God is a very personal experience. If I don’t agree with something, I let it be. I focus on my relationship with God rather than my relationship with church. I go there to join in the public prayer for the well-being of human kind and not to give any kind of statement. ^-^

Kirill came to Nikolay-Do for Sunday service with a big entourage of priests bringing his own camera crew and bodyguards. It was quite a spectacle. I really enjoyed the atmosphere around. People were joyful and full of excitement. ^-^

Jenya and me before the service. We were all waiting for Patriarch to arrive inside the church rather than outside which was a mistake. By the time he came, it was already so hot and humid, I was grasping for air.. Although really, we were in no position to complain wearing nothing by light summer dresses while all the clergy including Kirill were wearing 3-4 layers of ceremonial robes, heavy and uncomfortable.. Poor priests spent 3 hours performing the service without any ability to take a break and go outside in the fresh air like we did from time to time. I know I am not supposed to do that but otherwise I wouldn’t be able to survive long..

This is the official dressing of Kirill into the ceremonial robe at the beginning of the service.

Kirill is giving blessing to the crowd.

Kirill is leading the service with Daniil politely stepping down and standing beside him. He was promoted into the higher rank today so I am thinking he is not complaining. ^-^

Julia and me outside the church, taking a break. Julia was wearing her Armani Sunday best. ^-^

Every visitor today got an icon of Saint Nikolay of Japan as a commemorative present. Unfortunately, the entrance was only open to those registered in advance like we did. Many of my friends couldn’t join in because the news of registration never reached them.. I feel very guilty of not spreading the news when it was still possible to get in.. Hopefully, the situation was different at Podvorye – another Tokyo church he visited after Nikolay-Do..

Fashion’s night out Tokyo 2012

Vogue Fashion’s night out in Tokyo is getting better every year. Of course nothing can top off the last year when 17 Vogue editors came and brought along designers, celebrities and bloggers from all over the world but it was a special one time event to show support to Japan after what happened in March. This year, nobody major came but nevertheless the shops went out of their way to organize fun events, stamp rallies, contests all the while offering free drinks and food to its visitors. Many also offered limited edition merchandise – FNO-related novelty goods (Roberto Cavalli, Michael Kors, Marc by Marc Jacobs) as well as one of  a kind items you could buy only then and there (Gucci). Japanese girls absolutely love “gentei” – limited time thingies so those were selling out pretty fast.

Moncler window display

This year, I stayed mainly to the South-East of Omotesando area visiting Issey Miyake, Prada, Marc Jacobs, Theory and Roberto Cavalli. I skipped opening ceremony at Omotesando hills because it is the same every year with the same hosts and the same celebrities but here are a couple of pictures taken by my friend’s fiance. ^-^

Van Cleef & Arpels reception at Omotesando Hills (photo taken by Matthew Chong)

FNO opening ceremony at Omotesando Hills (photo taken by Matthew Chong)

Armani store on Omotesando street

New Bao Bao bag at Issey Miyake store. I am in love with this bag. I have it in white and absolutely love it. It gives such an edge to whatever outfit I choose to wear. I have been using this bag every day this summer and never ever did it not go with what I was wearing. I am seriously considering getting the pink one too now. ^-^ By the way, Bao Bao bags are only available in Japan for now but if any of you guys want it, I can help you get it. Contact me at

Dior, Chanel, Bulgari and Maison Martin Margiela stores, Omotesando street

Yayoi Kusama window display at Louis Vuitton. The wax figure is really freaky. It is so detailed, you can see oily pores on her skin and facial hair.. She is one strange lady but I don’t question her artistic sense. However unusual her designs are, they do make an amazing impact. Nobody went past Luis Vuitton without peaking inside. ^-^

Yayoi Kusama closeup (photo taken by Matthew Chong)

Ralph Lauren Rugby window display

In front of Gucci I ran into Gervin – my stylish friend from Philippines. He was as always full of positive energy.

Tommy Hilfiger window display at Tokyu plaza in Harajuku

Sergey and me in front of Dior store in Omotesando

Belvedere bar at Marc Jacobs flagship store in Omotesando

Beautiful MJ bags that we could take photos with. Marc Jacobs store offered a free photo session with Keiichi Nitta as part of their FNO celebration.

On the second floor, Tokyo Dandy organized a creative workshop. Everyone had an opportunity to customize US Vogue’s September issue cover with Lady Gaga on it wearing gorgeous Marc Jacobs gown. Me and Sergey immediately decided to go with a Russian theme. He made a really corky matryoshka out of Lady Gaga and I did this. Mine is not very creative but it was just for fun. ^-^

Then, I run into Marni, my New York friend who works at Marc Jacobs. She was wearing the cutest and most original skirt I have ever seen. I just wanted to keep touching it. ^-^

In front of MJ I also met Anna – Russian jewelry designer and model. She is amazing. I so wished to be wearing heels though when I was taking this picture with her. ^-^

At Prada, I ran into some more friends – two Russian models and my fashion friends Elly and Chiemi.

At Roberto Cavalli I met with Meg – my Japanese model friend and multitalented Misha Janette who as always was so dazzling and so sweet.

Models at Roberto Cavalli

Gorgeous Roberto Cavalli gowns

I finally bought new Roberto Cavalli’s perfume. The smell is incredible. I love it so much!

Corona beer bar at James Perse (photo taken by Matthew Chong)

Thanks to FNO my wish list doubled in length. ^-^ Now in addition to everything I need to buy at I also have to get Bao Bao bag in pink, purple Theory sweater and new MJ wallet because my present one is literally falling into pieces. Good thing my birthday is coming which means it is time to make some strategic suggestions to my family. ^-^