Monday, October 20, 2014

Anna Sui Nails Autumn 2014


...or purple?

My favourite make-up is...Shu Uemura! In case you were wondering. When it comes to nails however, I'm firmly in the Anna Sui camp. The quality, the colours but most of all the bottle designs. Pure perfection.


Recently I've had a craving for a dark navy or royal blue. I kept imagining it, flecked with gold, dazzling all who dared gaze upon my fingernails. The Galadriel of manicures. I have every kind of gold and glitter possible, but it was to Anna that I turned for the new blue. I also got a new top coat because I couldn't find my old one and was too lazy to search properly! 

The twins

Forever in awe of Anna Sui's amazing designs

So, so pretty. They also have that typical Anna Sui rose scent as well. It's not at all over-powering, but much better than chemical-smelling fingers. The Anna Sui nail varnish remover also smells great by the way. Someone needs to turn it into a cocktail. Erm...not literally of course!

As one of the better loyalty programmes, Anna Sui's Nail Fan Club is fairly easy to benefit from. I have a million and one point cards for various shops in Japan and I honestly couldn't tell you what half of them do. At least this one has a good old-fashioned stamp-per-purchase policy. It applies to all nail products, including coats and remover. After buying a couple of colours at the start of summer and two more this time around, I was rewarded with...

If it's in Japan, it has a point card

Alpaca for no reason

...a green pencil case thingy. Well, free is free, but it's not the greatest novelty I've ever received. The lime green colour scheme isn't really my thing either. Still, I'll find some use for it.


Pencil case or...?

Fits an alpaca, more or less


With buying presents for others and other bits for myself, the whole nail card is nearly full now. I hope there's something a little bit more useful for the final gift. Even a little manicure set would be brilliant. Fingers crossed that the Christmas season will produce something spectacular!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Delicious and Nerdy Tokyo

The so-called Blood Moon

It was a celestial week in Tokyo, with the lunar eclipse (sandwiched in between not one but TWO typhoons) turning the moon red. Apparently. Unfortunately, all we got in my corner of the city was amazing cloud-coverage. Booo. It was such a pity because all the local families were sitting out on blankets and deck chairs waiting for the show. It was almost like a street party! But alas, it was not to be. The local children soon got bored but we hung out with the old people for a while. They all had amazing hi-tech camera equipment, I was so jealous! 

My new best friend

I picked up this bad boy during the week - the Tokyo Cafe Guide 2015.  There are so many amazing cafes in this city that you could write fifty of these guides but I'll start with this one. If anyone in Tokyo is up for some cafe-hunting, please let me know!

Polish chocolate

Mysterious Polish chocolate in zebra flavour and palace flavour (or milk and dark as they're also known). My parents sent these to me as a souvenir of their recent trip. My mother was a guest lecturer at a Polish eduation conference and my father went along as bodyguard/chaperone/jet setter. I was so proud. Poland sounds really beautiful, I hope I can visit too someday but I'll make do with chocolate for now!

Persona 3: My new addiction 

Now that school has ended, I have some free time on my hands and what better way to spend typhoon weekends than playing video games. I prefer games like Final Fantasy that require a lot of time to be invested but with a great story as a reward. My brother recommended the Persona series to me and he is, as ever, my taste-maker. I got Persona 3 because (a) I don't have a big console and (b) you can play as a girl. The second point mightn't bother some people but come on, equal representation and all that. Anyway, the game is amazingly addictive. I'm playing it in Japanese so I can't understand everything that is said, but I think it's good practice (or an excuse not to really study...).

Bathroom is finally functional

I'n construction news, the downstairs bathroom is coming along nicely. The WESTERN SIZED bath and fancy Japanese robo-toilet are installed, as well as the floor tiles being finished. For those of you that don't know, my boyfriend has built this room from scratch, by hand and by himself. It's an amazing achievement to have it even this much usable. And the heated toilet seat will be heaven in winter!

Not a nerd, honest!

In other semi-nerdy news, I went to the local Book-Off to get some cheap reads. I definitely find reading sentences the hardest part of Japanese. Even if I know the words and the grammar, putting it all together in my head doesn't always work. So, there's nothing to do but practice. Manga isn't usually a problem, so I can enjoy the story as well as picking up new vocab. This time I got "Yamada Nadeshiko Shichihenge" (ikemen-phobic girl moves in with some handsome guys) and "V.B. Rose". (girl works part-time at a bridal shop run by...handsome guys). But the big challenge is "Biblia Kodoshou no Jiken Tenshou" - a proper novel. It's about a girl who works in a bookshop while having adventures (I think) and my classmate recommended it to me. I haven't plucked up the nerve to start it yet though. My brain will probably melt when I do!

Udon at Yuyu-ya

Finally, some noodley goodness! My boyfriend dragged me to this udon restaurant against my will but I'm so happy that he did. Yuyu-ya is one of those places with an ordering system that is unusual enough to terrify me. That's why despite walking by it everyday I never ventured in. But after tasting the delicious noodles, I suppose I'm converted. To order here you choose your basic dish at the counter and select any extra or unwanted ingredients. Moving along the counter you pick up your bowl of noodles and choose from the selection of tempura, korokke, onigiri and so on as a side dish. There's a soup and hot drink area and then it's time to pay. Afterwards there are some free toppings, such as grated ginger or  tiny pieces of crunchy batter to add to your bowl as you wish.

Typing it out makes it seem simple but everything is easy when you know how to do it!

That's all from nerdy and delicious Tokyo.

Hopefully we have a break from typhoons for a while!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Birthday Celebrations at Lotus Omotesando

Birthday party at Lotus in Omotesando

There was a mini Tokyo bloggers party last week as we belatedly celebrated Alanna's birthday. Finance issues, health issues and the obligatory Tokyo work issues conspired to keep us apart but the reunion was worth it. With Nicola  rounding out our terrible trio, we spent ages trying to decide where to go and then twice as long trying to find somewhere that had tables available on a Friday night.

We finally found refuge at Lotus in Omotsando, a modern, airy restaurant with prices cheaper than the fashionable location would suggest. The evening kicked off with an oh-so-hilarious photo shoot.

Little Miss Tired of Tokyo

Little Miss Milk Tea

Birthday Princess VivaRilakkuma

Then it was time for birthday presents and what did we get her? Let's just say it starts with Anna, ends with Sui and might just be the prettiest thing you've ever seen.

Next up, drinks

A round of drinks to start with

Gimme that minty goodness

Yeah, I can relate

This was definitely one of the better mojitos that I've had in Tokyo. A lot of them don't sweeten it, which makes for a bitter and dentist-invoking concoction. Question: if you eat the mint leaves in a mojito, does it count as one of your daily portions of fruit and veg? Does that mean we can have daily mojitos? Inquiring minds want to know...

Praise pork in all its glory

Tasted even better than it looks

The food was just as wonderful as the drinks. Alanna and I both had the slow-cooked pork belly, while Nicola seemed entirely happy with her her pizza. I've only had pork belly once before so I'm far from an expert but it truly tasted flawless. "Melt in your mouth" is such a cliche but that's what it was. The rice was cooked with ginger (though not as spicy as the waitress warned us) and I could have eaten a second helping without hesitation.

Another factor to not was how friendly and polite the waitress was. We were three foreigners who speak Japanese but obviously don't speak it natively. If we ask someone to repeat what they said, it doesn't mean "translate into broken English please". Our waitress at Lotus was full of smiles and didn't mind speaking a little slower when we asked her to. She didn't make us feel stupid by refusing to communicate in Japanese. It's a small point but respect is important and it guarantees that I'll be back for coffee or (hopefully) MOAR PORK!

So happy birthday to Alanna,  praise be to pork and congratulations to the three of us for having good friends in each other. Tokyo is nothing without people who can accept you for who you are.


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