Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I like...

Bloglovin, for providing a fun way to browse my favourite blogs (and to spend some Saturday nights in).

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tokyo + Art: Mike Ness





One of the most interesting things about living in Tokyo is the abundance of creative minds, all gathered in one megapolis. I mingle with a crowd of writers, photographers, painters, musicians, stylists, event organizers, DJs, graphic designers- all artists in their own way, passionate about their art, and like-minded, which can be very stimulating. This city is full of opportunities, and if you take them, Tokyo can be yours to play in- that's the beauty of it. 

My closest friend in Japan, Mike (aka Prince Ness), is a painter/illustrator and has recently been featured in Dazed and Confused's Satellite Voices. I thought he had interesting things to share about being an artist in Tokyo, about living abroad and trying to make it in the madness that is this city. I'm proud of him for what he has accomplished here,  as I know how difficult it can be to break into the art scene in Tokyo, but somehow he has managed to do it.


Kudos!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Low Key Tokyo

This weekend, I took a much-needed breather from the Tokyo party scene and crowded events. Not only was it so refreshing and relaxing, but I also realized how much fun I can have on limited funds. The past two days have involved lots of home cooking (elaborate breakfasts, comforting chili, and avocado salads), fair amounts of exercising (running, and a few walks to and from Shibuya- surprisingly, it was the very first time I did this walk during day time and sober.. I almost got lost), lounging around at friends' houses, word games, and tons of writing and coffee.

My favourite kind of chair

Low-key Saturday night, my friend's new pad

The Yamanote Line

Breakfast for dinner @ On The Corner Shibuya

... and thank goodness for the ¥100 menu at McDonalds. Shhhhh.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Hidden Tokyo

I love how in a megapolis like Tokyo, you can randomly stumble upon shrines and gorgeous Japanese gardens.

The Shikoku girl in me always craves open spaces, greenery, bamboo trees, temples and mountains.




Now that the weather is cold, I long for nights in, hearty meals and exploring the traditional and cultural side of Tokyo- and perhaps plan a trip to the northern prefectures, a region I haven't explored yet.

Any suggestions?

Keeping in Touch

Thanks to the wonders of technology, keeping in touch while living abroad is so convenient. I sometimes wonder how it must have been like to live in Japan, say thirty years ago, when it was only possible to write letters. Yet, I do love snail mail and make an effort to exchange handwritten correspondence, or at least personal emails. Writing to my friends and family is something I really enjoy doing, and even though they read my blog, it does not replace an actual letter.

Lately, my favourite feature has been iMessage- which allows me and my iPhone owning friends around the world (hello, Fashimi!!) to text message each other for free. I am loving this so much, although we sometimes forget about time difference and accidentally text each other in the middle of the night.

Another application I'm obsessed with lately is Words With Friends, which allows users to play an addictive little Scrabble game. I've honestly missed train stops (and my bedtime), trying to come up with words. I'm terrible at the game, but I've been having intense battles with Mike and Sophia, all the way from Australia.

7:00 am games

The game has a conversation option, too

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tokyo Events: Matto Festo

To honour my Shimokitazawa friend and neighbour Matt's turning a year older, we threw a fun birthday bash last night in Nakameguro, complete with champagne, scrapbooks and markers to scribble birthday wishes. The venue was one of my favourites, Just Another Agency- basically a marketing agency that turns into a party space at night, with leather sofas, ping pong tables, and a living room-like cozy vibe.

For the occasion, the birthday boy asked his friends to DJ, so Mike and I came up with our own DJ act we (tongue-in-cheek) named "C'est Sluts". Wait- Mike actually came up with that name. Even though I've created countless playlists for friends in the past, it was my first time to actually DJ and Mike, a seasoned master of the turntables, showed me the ropes.

We ended up straying from our original playlist by throwing in some Billy Idol, Kylie Minogue, and more obscure Nike7UP into the mix. It was a fun dance floor, and a great learning experience. Luckily today is a holiday in Japan, and I'm craving a day in with some homemade pizza and friends.

Happy Birthday, Matt! xo

Yes, there was an actual flyer, props to our friend Eloise for creating it!

Candlelit turntables- romantic much.
Matt, the birthday boy

C'est Sluts

C'est Sluts at work

Mike did most of the work, while I assured a constant flow of drinks

The DJ lineup

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Sessions

My friends and I started a Sunday tradition we call "Sunday Sessions". It started when we were discussing how depressing and dreadful Sunday evenings can be- knowing there is work the next day, and the weekend is over. I used to stay in on Sunday nights and carefully prepare for the upcoming week, but I realized it does not make Monday mornings any better. Instead, we decided to go out and have fun on Sunday nights, while enjoying delicious foods and drinks all over Tokyo- yet still heading home at a reasonable hour.

Tonight's session involved gyoza (dumplings), beer, and a few glasses of red wine in gorgeous Nakameguro. I love the company of those boys- now Monday mornings don't seem so bad after ending the weekend on a high note.

Gyoza: a plate of 40

Wine by Nakameguro River

Good wine and company

On the streets of Tokyo...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cakes and Things.


... and I still love baking.

My friend Kumraz hosted a dinner party in her gorgeous apartment, and when she mentioned she had an oven (thanks, Fashimi!!), I immediately offered to bake vanilla cupcakes for all the girls. This time I used playful star and flower-shaped tins, and got a little creative with the frosting. The cupcakes were a hit, and so was the rest of the food everyone else made or brought.

House parties are a very rare occurrence in Japan: living quarters are usually too small to entertain at home, so most Japanese people choose to meet at restaurants and other venues. My friends and I still love to host at home, and we make do with the tiny kitchens and limited seating space. There's just something about having your friends sprawled across the floor and sharing a tiny kitchen counter that brings closeness (literally) and a particular casual vibe.

After feasting on copious amounts of food and drinks, we ended the night with some dancing to the of sounds some fun DJs, and a much, much-needed walk home from Shibuya.

My gorgeous friends in Tokyo

Boys can wear lipstick too. Fun, fun boys!

More friends- why am I so coy?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Aokigahara Forest and Mount Fuji

Aokigahara, near Mt Fuji

Although my Tokyo life seems to be an endless string of soirées in Shibuya, DJs, and various social events, I tend to favour activities that revolve around nature and exploring Japan.  On Sunday morning, my friend Mike and I messaged each other (after practically no sleep) and decided to hop on a two-hour train ride to Fuji, for a little (and very unplanned) hiking adventure.

Mt Fuji is only open for climbing in the summer months, so the plan was to hike around the local area, and also check out the mysterious Aokigahara Forest. The forest, also known as "sea of trees", contains several icy caverns and is very dense. Aokigahara is sadly also infamous for being a popular place to commit suicide, due to its association with demons in Japanese mythology. Various signs around the forest urge visitors to reconsider their actions, and each year a high number of bodies are found.

The forest eerily has a non existent wildlife, and is completely silent, due to the density of trees blocking the wind. Incidentally, the vegetation is in pristine condition and very lush. Scary but fascinating, and as morbid as it sounds, we wanted to take a glimpse of the area. Indeed, the forest was beautiful, dark, and eerie. We visited a bat cave, which was quite the adventure as we had to literally crawl- claustrophobics please refrain.

We did not venture very deep into the forest, as local park rangers strongly discouraged us to do so, so close to dusk. We took some pictures and hiked around, until it suddenly got pitch black and scary. I think we caused the park rangers a great deal of stress. The forest is a bit difficult to get to and buses are very infrequent, so a carefully planned journey is essential.

It was one of the best day trips I've ever had in Japan. I love being surrounded by mountains and nature (however creepy that place was), I adore long train rides and discoveries, alongside friends to share it with.  All in all, we spent more time in trains and buses singing songs from high school and playing "who would you rather..." than actually being in the forest, but the journey is always the best part.


The journey started on Sunday morning, at Shibuya station, coffee and my idea of hiking gear

Touch screen vending machine at Shinjuku station: I got Pocari Sweat

On one of the many trains that would take us to Fuji

Fujikyu, the cutest train line ever.

Not sure what is going on here.

Before venturing into the forest, we had udon. Although we were tempted by the "nomal taste" dish, we both settled on the Japanese wild "veggetables", delectable dish.

Stylish helmets for cave exploring purposes

Aokigahara

Aokigahara

Aokigahara

Aokigahara

Stunned

Mt Fuji omiyage

I heart Japan

Next summer I'll actually climb Mount Fuji!

**Edit: I found out about this Vice magazine documentary on Aokigahara. The content is definitely not suitable for all viewers, but if you want to find out more about it, I think it's quite fascinating.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

November Favourites

November in Tokyo is chilly and gorgeous.

Here are some things I'm into, lately.

See by Chloé Christmas tree in Harajuku
Even though the mere thought of Christmas in Japan makes me extremely sad this year. Chin up?

White tights
What do we think about white tights? I find they are so girlie and wholesome, despite my behaviour as of late being everything but.

Soup Stock Tokyo
A little soup shop located inside Omotesando station and others across the city. Comforting. 

Persimmons
My favourite fruit, and it's persimmon season. How many am I allowed to eat each day?!

Cape, Top Shop
This cape has gotten a wide variety of comments, ranging from adorable to pumpkin-like. Perplexing.


Cults- Abducted
And this lovely, lovely song. xo

Lost in Translation's Tokyo: Shibuya


Shibuya, Tokyo

You already know how much I love Shibuya... read a bit more about my favourite neighbourhood, as I fully take on my role of editor-at-large and research more in depth for my latest installment on I Want To Be A Coppola.

Thank you, Kellina xo

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tokyo Events: Basement Jaxx

Basement Jaxx
(The Haçienda)

Back in Montreal, you could find me weekly in the Mile End, attending different gigs. In Japan, the music scene is different- bands have to travel so far away, so performances are few and far in between, and the cost is quite extravagant. I gave up going to concerts, and I miss it so much.

Last weekend, British electronic duo Basement Jaxx played in Tokyo, and when a friend added my name to the guest list, I could not pass up on the occasion. I had liked Basement Jaxx's since the days of "Where's Your Head At?", and I knew it would be a fun party. They performed at a new nightclub called Sound Museum Vision in Shibuya.

As expected, it was fantastic: upbeat, sweaty, dance-y. Basement Jaxx played an actual DJ set and not so much their hit songs, although they sampled here and there. My friends and I danced so much, we were completely knackered by the end of the set, and in true Japanese fashion, we re-fueled on sushi at 3:00 am.

Great times, little by little I'm integrating so many of the elements I missed from home in my Tokyo life. Happiness.


Basement Jaxx in Shibuya, 11/5

It was a rather small venue, which I loved

This has always been my favourite Basement Jaxx song:

Monday, November 7, 2011

Tokyo Events: Vogue's Fashion Night Out



On Saturday night in Tokyo was Vogue's Fashion Night Out, where editors, designers and models all gathered on the stylish Omotesando avenue. For the occasion, all the luxury shops help different events and fashion shows. I had to chance to drop by Marc by Marc Jacobs, where I checked out the latest collections and even acquired a small "Marc" face painting on my upper cheek.

Omotesando was swarming with stylish people from the fashion industry, including Anna Wintour and her gorgeous daughter Bee Shaffer, as well as Burberry designer Christopher Bailey, whom I both actually saw in person at Omotesando Hills. Some of my favourite style bloggers, such as gorgeous Rumi Neely from Fashiontoast and Betty from Le Blog de Betty were also present- check out their blogs for their beautiful snapshots.

I feel lucky I was able to attend this event, combining some of my favourite things- fashion and Tokyo (and Marc Jacobs).

Anna.

Omotesando Hills


Oh, we are not models.


Jennifer Hudson
marc face painting @ Marc Jacobs

Bee Shaffer <3




Pictures courtesy of my friend Eriko... thank you! xx