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Posts from the ‘Out and about’ Category

Zadig et Voltaire Christmas shopping party

Last Friday, Cecile, Eri and me went to Zadig et Voltaire Christmas shopping party at the brand’s flagship store in Aoyama. Free drinks and chocolates were great but the 40% discount is what we all came for. ^-^ With Zadig et Voltaire (read Euro) price escalation over the past few years, the discount was more than appreciative. ^-^ The only sad thing was, I went shopping at the store two days before the party and bought a cute sweatshirt top from their limited Christmas collection at a 100% price.. Oh, the brilliance of Murphy’s law at work. ^-^

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At the party, I took the opportunity to try on everything I could possibly try including the most coveted piece of the collection – the long striped sweater dress featured in catalogs and all the major fashion magazines. As it often happens, the model rocked it so much better than I could ever possibly do. The S size didn’t hide my imperfections but the M size was already too bulky and unflattering.. But being me, I wanted it anyway already calculating lots of IFs in my head (what if I lose weight, what if I wear it with skinny jeans, what if I split the payment into two installments – yes, even after 40% off it was still above my budget). As I was in doubt, I asked my friends on social media to give me their honest opinion about the picture below and guess what? 100% said No. I am still in a bit of a shock. How can something that I really like be seen as nothing special by ALL my friends? Puzzled.. So, I didn’t buy the dress and I don’t think I will even if it remains in stores by the start of the official sale..

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But, girls were more lucky than me scoring some of the great collection pieces that looked absolutely gorgeous on them. I ended up buying nothing even though I have my eye on some of the other pieces. I decided to check out Comptoir des Cotonniers sale first and then come back to Zadig et Voltaire for the final “sale kill” of the season. ^-^ By the way, the official sale starts on 26th of December, right after Christmas. More and more Japanese stores begin their sales at the end of the year instead of 2nd of January that always marked the beginning of a nationwide sale.

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This cropped top received better evaluation from my friends. ^-^

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As this gorgeous faux fur jacket, light as a feather. This is not my style and I am wondering why. I should start wearing something like this. ^-^

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We all received Zadig aroma candles as a thank you for shopping gift (totally not deserved on my part!).

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Another surprise of the day came from Matt, Cecile’s friend who took us to a great Okinawa Chinese restaurant near Aoyama Gakuin university after the event. He turned out to be the 3rd grade teacher of the school my best friend’s daughter goes to and guess what? She is in his class. He has her picture on his phone and everything.  The daughter happens to be my son’s Godmother so go figure how small the world really is. ^-^ By the way, the food at the restaurant was amazing. It was my first experience to stand while eating (it is a common practice in some of the Japanese tiny bars and eateries). I kinda liked it to be able to talk to the chef and even have my say in how my food should be prepared. ^-^

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I don’t get to go out as often as I used to these days so being able to meet friends and have a little adventure on the city is something I am really grateful for and something I thoroughly enjoy. ^-^ Thank you my dear friends for making that day special for me.

1 year anniversary party at Diptyque store in Aoyama

Today, Diptyque store in Aoyama is celebrating its 1st anniversary. I went to their party to check new products and choose gifts for my family. The place was tiny so the party looked more like soiree with lit candles and cushy sofas. The shop presented their newest holiday collection of three fragrance candles in beautiful limited edition holders created by Qubo Glass – an inspirational duo from France. I loved all three fragrances but the blue – “winter” was my favorite.

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The manager of the store kept pouring champagne into our glasses. He must have followed the “Russians drink a lot” sort of idea. ^-^ I certainly didn’t mind. ^-^ I ran into a friend at the party and meet a couple of interesting new people – all in all a successful event.

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I am a big fan of Diptyque. Their candles are the etalon of a perfect gift for me – perfect to give and absolutely perfect to receive. A Diptyque candle brings holiday into the house. The coziness of a twinkling light warms up my heart while the slowly pouring scent calms me down from within. It creates memories of comfort, safety and gratitude. I sure am grateful for the happy moments that the smell of the candle helps me recall. Diptyque is most certainly an indulgence but the one that you never regret because it is worth every penny. ^-^

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Hendrick’s gin party at Yoyogi village

Last Saturday, Eri invited me to a party in Yoyogi village – a hidden lush green oasis with pure white beach sand, palms and surf boards. ^-^ It is an open-air complex that hosts organic shops, yummy eateries and even an event space. The party was for Hendrick’s gin – a brand new drink that’s about to hit Japanese market. It is a Scottish gin infused with rose and cucumber. I tried it in a basil cocktail and it was fabulous – a very fresh but sophisticated taste, perfect for a summertime soiree. ^-^ The bottle is very stylish with art-deco and industrial revolution vibes and I like their marketing campaign a lot. They are positioning themselves as a peculiar drink that is not for everyone, describing their customers as the “society of the unusual” which is like honey to all the hipster bees around the world. ^-^

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I was very happy to see Cecile again. She was wearing head-to-toe Zadig et Voltaire with a nonchalant attitude that only French can pull off. ^-^

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This is Hidemi – a beautiful girl in vintage looking Marc Jacobs who organized this party. She is also a mommy and our sons are same age. ^-^

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The party started slow which allowed us to catch up and share recent gossips. ^-^ Then, the place gradually filled up and I got to meet interesting new people like Carmela – a life coach, Keiko – a textile designer, Crystal – a singer, actually the singer. It took me a while to put two and two together but eventually I recognized her as Crystal Kay – Japan’s most loved R&B diva. There were also the always beautiful Yoshiko and Martin Webb as well as Joe and Dan from tokyodandy.com.

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Thank you Eri as always! I had a great time and now I have a favorite party drink! ^-^

Tokyo Fashion’s night out 2014

It’s this time of the year again. Each shop in Harajuku/Omotesando/Shibuya district prepared something special for the Fashion’s night out and I happened to miss almost all of it, hehe. My dear husband went on a well-deserved vacation to Shanghai leaving me with my little munchkin so I couldn’t really check a lot of stores with a stroller and an 8PM sleeping time. ^-^ But, I couldn’t skip it either so I dressed my son in a matching outfit and went out to at least support my friend Eri who organized an elegant event at Comptoir des Cotonniers Aoyama boutique.

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I had to make this fashion outing kid-friendly so our journey started at Softbank flagship store where we checked cool robots.

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Then, we stared at Hato buses – my son’s recent obsession. Because Hato bus is his favorite toy, he drags it everywhere and of course keeps losing it. The last one we lost at Moscow airport on our way home from our summer vacation so I had to go to Kiddyland to buy him a new one. ^-^

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At Kiddyland, we played with Lego nano trains and Totoro toys – another obsession of his. ^-^

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Then, we headed to Petit Bateau flagship store where he played with ducks while I was spending tons of money on his outfits. I love this brand for high quality basics but it is seriously overpriced.. :/

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I took some snapshots on my way to CdC boutique. I just love the atmosphere of FNO – lots of fashionable folks outside, DJ booths everywhere, champagne flutes are glistering in the lights and people shop, shop, shop. ^-^

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Hello Kitty is being very popular this year. She did a number of fashion collaborations with high-end brands like Mikimoto and Louis Vuitton. Now, it’s Gucci’s time. By the way, did you know that Kitty is not even a cat? It was all over the news recently. Apparently, Kitty is a personification of a cat – a fashion-obsessed character who looks like a cat. ^-^

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At last, we arrived at Comptoir des Cotonniers boutique. For this year, Eri organized a collaboration between the brand and Adrian, a very talented sketch artist and illustrator. He was sketching customers who tried on items from the new Nouvelle vague collection.

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I was wearing CdC so got my sketch as well. Adrian is an amazing artist. In 2 minutes he managed to make a beautiful sketch of me and my son even though we didn’t stop moving for a second. 😉

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My little artist was very inspired with Adrian’s work. He was mimicking him for good 15 minutes while I was sweating next to him, hoping he wouldn’t ruin any of Adrian’s displayed sketches. ^-^

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The new collection is amazing – lots of separates to mix and match and they all are so comfy, absolutely perfect for the cold season. I have my eye on so many things. Unfortunately, I couldn’t shop that night because the fitting room had a long waiting list and because my son was getting tired by the minute.

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I said my sad goodbyes and we left to catch a taxi back home. But not before I did a VERY quick stroll around my favorite Omotesando area behind Prada building. I give the most points to Moncler for their originality. They made it snow in the beginning of September. ^-^

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As usual, Red Valentino and Theory were almost empty. They just don’t know how to create a buzz during FNO. Having a cool DJ booth and free champagne does not guarantee you customers especially if it’s all inside and not visible from the street. And what’s up with all the clothes missing? Don’t you want people to shop? Theory has really missed the mark for me this year by removing ALL the clothes from the first floor.

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We got into our taxi right when it started to rain. I wanted to stay longer (snow, thunder, blizzard – whatever) but my little boy needed his dinner and sleep so we headed back home. Sorry for not having any more pics than that. Promise to do better next year. ^-^

Journeys in Japan – Atami, Kai hot spring

This post as hundreds of others I am yet to post is very overdue but with the scarce amount of free time I have lately, I decided to close my eyes on time stamps and just write about events I want to write about regardless of when they took place. So, stay tuned for the continuation of my Patagonia story. ^-^ Seriously? 5 years have pasted…

Last summer, I took my 7 month old son to Atami to show him the Pacific ocean and enjoy some time under the sun. It was a very easy breezy trip as he was still sleeping beautifully in the moving car (unlike now!) and was satisfied with just happily observing the world from the coziness of the baby carrier instead of running every which way like he does now.

We arrived at Atami in the early afternoon, had lunch at a local diner and then spent some time on the beach, dipping baby’s bare feet in the water. He was scared of the “big bathtub” so didn’t insist on staying long.

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My mom, upon seeing this photo has asked why so many are dressed up in not just clothes but clothes with long sleeves. In Japan, a lot of people wear UV-protective clothing to the beach, especially women who don’t want to get tanned and children whose skin is too sensitive to sunshine. It is hot and uncomfortable but a great way to avoid sunburn.

As you can also see, the sand on Tokyo beaches as well as in every sandpit on every playground is dark grey, almost black in color. You have to go to Izu to find white sand beach but it will be even more crowded than this one. ^-^

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After the hot beach, we cooled down in my favorite MOA museum that held a very beautiful exhibition depicting mount Fuji through the works of Japan’s most famous artist Hokusai.

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This is the bandana I bought for my son at the exhibition. Isn’t it cute with the little clouds over mount Fuji?

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The museum has a gorgeous Japanese garden with a tea house inside but you have to book the seat in advance or be prepared to wait to be seated. The place is very popular.

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It was my second failed attempt to have tea at the museum’s tea house but fortunately I had my cup at the KAI ryokan upon arrival. It was very refreshing after a hot day out.

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The ryokan is very old but some of its parts have been rebuilt with modern standards in mind. The outdoor bath in particular was designed by Japan’s contemporary artist Kengo Kuma. It is really relaxing. I happened to go in the bath right in the midst of a pouring rain that enveloped the bath area in a soft flowing veil of water through which I peacefully gazed at the ocean. It was a beautiful tranquil moment that I often go back to in my mind when I need to relax.

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Ryokan had a drawing room with a small library and self-serving kitchen with herb teas and biscuits.

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The way from the main building to the hot springs terrace was very long and steep but amazingly beautiful especially at night.

At the very bottom of it, there is an open air adult-only bar that we unfortunately couldn’t check. It did look very romantic. You can also enjoy a special Geisha performance there on weekends or so the website says. ^-^

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This is a hot spring terrace with a gorgeous view to the ocean. You can chill there with a glass of free beer or milk after steaming it off in the hot springs.

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The dinner was amazing. We often take the traditional full course onsen dinner because it is served in the room and you can go about your evening at your own pace. With a baby, this sort of arrangement comes particularly in handy. ^-^ The food is always fresh, it highlights the best of local cuisine using the best of local ingredients. After a full Japanese meal, you will never feel full and uncomfortable as for example after a Russian “sour cream on top of everything” meal. After this sort of traditional “kaiseki” meal you feel nothing but satisfaction. It also pleases not only your stomach but your eyes as well.

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The next day, we went to the beach again just to give our little boy another chance to get acquainted with the ocean. I would very much love for him to be passionate about watet and to follow in the steps of the generations of men in my family.

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Stay tuned for other overdue posts on my trips to Ikaho and Karuizawa. ^-^

 

A day on the farm

A few weeks ago, my friend invited me to a farm in Yokohama to pick some veggies and enjoy them barbeque style. It was the second time for me to visit that farm but the first one to go with kids. Both me and my friend have children now but it only enhanced the experience. Now, I have all the excuses in the world to leap after frogs, catch and release butterflies, run around the rice field and be that little girl who never really grew up. I really enjoy explaining things to my son, showing him how they work and what’s inside. It is so gratifying when he listens to me when I tel him not to kill a bug or tries to mimic me when I show him how to eat corn on a cob. I feel I am doing something right. ^-^ My mom asked me why did I take my 1.5 year old son to a farm where dirt and bugs are everywhere. This is exactly why. Experiencing things first hand instead of hearing about them is what’s going to help my son become more curious and capable. At least I really hope so. ^-^

So we picked beautiful seasonal veggies such as eggplants, giant garlic, cucumbers and tomatoes. Everything taste double yummy in the fresh air but those were particularly good.

In the evening, we went to a nearby forest to watch fireflies. I was carrying my son in my hands. He had his little head on my shoulder singing quietly Twinkle, Twinkle little star every time a firefly lighted up. He won’t remember moments like this but I will always cherish them in my heart. It was one fine day.

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Unparalleled Ginza

A few days ago, I went to Ginza to fix my glasses. Having half an hour to kill while waiting for them I decided to walk from Shinbashi to Yurakucho on Chuo street – the main street of Ginza. For the first time I looked at it through the eyes of a casual observer rather than a busy shopper. Being always on the mission to hunt down a particular shopping obsession of mine I had never paid attention to the beauty of its architecture or to the contrast between modern and traditional that Ginza is so famous for.

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Tokyo designers week 2013

Two weeks ago, Laura invited me to join her for Tokyo designers week fair. It was the first time for me to attend it though I have heard about it before. This year it was preceding Design festa in Tokyo Big Sight. Unfortunately, going there is not really an option for me these days so I jumped to the opportunity to visit this one which was much closer, in Shinjuku. A lot of works were introduced by many design schools around Japan presenting works in various niches such as conceptual art and media, package design and DTP, industrial and agricultural design, technology, automotive industry etc.
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Electrifying discoveries

Last week, I went to Ultra Super New x Subject Matter pop up gallery again to check their latest exhibition called “Strangelands”. It showed amazing intimate photography, jewelry and accessories by Australian artisans Lyn and Tony. The photographs were inspired by the rich elements of nature that are often overlooked or taken for granted.
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Tokyo Fashion Night Out 2013

This year, Tokyo’s FNO event was somewhat quiet. In the light of New York FNO being put on hiatus, Tokyo’s was still big and exciting but also a little less glamorous. Plus, most of the people I wished to meet were out of town for NY fashion week.
As last year, I could start the evening only around 7PM so instead of checking all the stores between Omotesando and Harajuku like I usually do, I stayed in only one area, south of Prada store.
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