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Posts tagged ‘shopping’

Dentelle is in the air

Spring is here and with everything around me blossoming, breathing and fluttering, I feel so heavy and dull in my everything black. I need a change of colors and I need new shoes. ^-^ Recently, I purchased DKNY perforated white leather sneakers and I absolutely love them but I am also thinking of getting sneakers in white lace which is the biggest trend of the season. Lace is in every collection from high-end to fast fashion. This summer is going to be all about dentelle and I am excited about it. I am not a girly person but I love implementing girly elements like lace into my tomboy looks. I learned this trick from French bloggers like Audrey Lombard. She inspired me to start experimenting with lace. I also like the combination of casual basics with super delicate lace, like the one Anine Bing is often showcases on her blog and shop.

So lace sneakers is high on my shopping list. So far, I narrowed my choice down to these 5 models.



From top left

1. Migato platform sneakers

2. LEGit

3. Reef Dew Kist

4. Superga lace sneakers

5. Ash flower lace sneakers

I am thinking Reef sneakers in vintage looking knitted cotton cream lace look really cute and probably would suit me the most. ^-^ I recently re-discovered this brand when I was searching for new leather sandals. Each summer, I buy a new pair of leather thong sandals because I wore the previous pair to shreds. My husband’s father always makes fun of me for wearing beach sandals in the city. He just doesn’t get it. When you live in the city where everything is relatively close, you walk a lot. I don’t commute to work, I walk – 20 minutes each way. When I shop, I walk. When I go meet my friends, I walk. I walk everywhere and I do need comfortable shoes for that. Unfortunately for my type of feet it basically means sneakers or thong sandals, period. So I found a lot of options at Reef. The price is about the same as Tkees or Yosi Samra though so it’s all about the design really. I found some of the styles very appealing so I might give Reef a try this year. Plus, they also make shoes for kids, the cutest sandals ever. My husband didn’t let me buy sandals for our son last year saying that he is not yet an established walker but this year, I got the green light so I am going to have a lot of fun choosing sandals for him.

So, happy shopping to me and to you. Vive la dentelle and vive l’été. ^-^




It’s not a secret that I buy most of the stuff online. I haven’t been to a real store in ages especially now that I have a baby. But buying things online is not just about the convenience for me. It is also about the price. Living in Tokyo nothing comes cheap and me being addicted to retail is making it that much harder.. Believe it or not but there are many cases when buying something online from a US store at its original price and paying the international delivery fee and import tax is still so much cheaper than buying it in Japan at a clearance price. ^-^

Plus, when it comes to fashion, let’s just say I prefer foreign brands over local ones – style-wise and size-wise. If I want to buy shoes that actually fit me, I have no other choice but to shop online. In most cases, buying things on the Internet is relatively easy. Most of the US shops are now delivering to Japan and when they don’t, I can use logistics companies that offer re-direct services like Hopshopgo or many others. Yes, it is still cheaper to go through them than to shop in Japan. ^-^

However, more and more shops are beginning to Geo-discriminate customers. For example, or would allow you to shop filling your shopping basket with tons of clearance items only to let you know later at checkout that clearance prices are not available to the customers outside of the US. None of the discount codes would be working either.

For years, I have been shopping at until they opened their flagship store in Ginza and built a Japanese version of the website with a big price adjustment. Suddenly, a 50 dollar pair of jeans was costing 22000 yen (roughly 220 dollars). Every time I tried to access the US website, I was redirected to its Japanese version. Somebody advised me to use a proxy to fool the website’s geo-tracking device into believing I was in the US but I could never complete purchase this way, none of the forms would display correctly…

Until 2013, Japanese Abercrombie store did not offer any kind of sales. The merchandise was always at a full price even during summer and winter sales. So, when US was having a 70% off clearance sale, Japanese was still selling everything at a full Japanese price. This year, they offered clearance for the first time but as you can see below, there is nothing “clear” about it. ^-^



The funny thing is, when you buy something at a Japanese, the delivery would still cost you 40$ because they ship it from the US, not the local warehouse. So you end up paying 120$ for jeans that costs 80$ AND 40$ for the delivery making the regular abercrombie jeans cost the same as a designer’s pair – that’s a kind of math I really hate!

When a couple of months ago, my friend Lille moved to Shanghai, she started using a VPN service called Hotspot shield to access Facebook that was otherwise inaccessible from China. It gave me the idea to try using it for online shopping as well. I installed a free version and went shopping at just to check if it’s going to work and it did work! I could not only see the website with all its seasonal clearance deals but also buy discounted items and have them delivered to Japan!!! All I had to do was hide my IP address with VPN and boom – no more discrimination! The same can be done with that recently opened its store in Japan and closed the access to its US site with US prices.

VPN service is good not only for accessing restricted US-only websites but also to shop securely. I have never had any problem shopping online but for some people the fear of their credit card info being stolen is what’s keeping them from shopping online. I know a lot of Japanese who would rather buy something at a premium price at a real store than to get it online half off.. So, using VPN service can be good because it guarantees privacy by becoming a gateway between your computer and an online world. Instead of visiting websites directly, you are doing so via VPN anonymous server so the website is tracking their IP instead of yours! Neat!

It is also useful for watching movies and programs that are not available to the outsiders like a special John Stewart vs Bill O’Reilly debate on the Daily show or ABC TV series available to the US-only viewers. With my IP hidden, I can easily watch these videos for free instead of buying them on iTunes. ^-^ I can probably also become a member of Hulu and watch whatever at a real cheap monthly fee. Will try that later!

I wish I could also use VPN for shopping at or but they don’t discriminate based on IP, they discriminate based on a physical address agreeing to ship to Japan but not allowing to purchase things at clearance prices.. Which is ridiculous because knowing that the overalls for my baby costs 5$ in the US I will never buy them for 3000yen here in Japan so in the end, they are just losing me as a customer. Their loss!!!

Marc by Marc Jacobs messenger bag

I was never the same since the summer 2005 when I failed to buy MJ’s calfskin pink messenger bag. I reckoned, hey – this is Marc, there will always be more messenger bags, I can always buy a better, newer one next season. Little did I know that there would be no more cheap messenger bags for the next 5 seasons..

MJ pink messenger bag

I started to hunt the old pink messenger bag like a madwoman and found it several times on ebay but it was too popular and the price for secondhand one went up the original reaching 450 dollars when the original one was only 298$. So I bitterly gave up till last week when I accidentally found a brand new winter 2008 collection MJ messenger bag that is too fabulous to miss. It’s only 298$ and its calfskin leather and it’s black with white stitching and it’s messenger!!! It was love from the first sight!

MJ black with white stitching messenger bag

Seibu Shibuya sells it for 54600yen so buying it on will be cheaper even with shipping and custom taxes. According to Japan custom tariff table the total custom tax on a leather handbag is approx. 8000 yen. Since dollar got weaker it became cheaper to buy stuff online in US stores and import it to Japan. ^-^

P.S. Yay!! I got my bag and guess what! The custom tax was only 2500 yen so the total cost of bag for me was 41400 yen which let me save 13200 yen! Oh, I love this math! ^-^