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Archive for the ‘wafuku’ Category

japanese students in their summer uniforms. in japan, it’s a tradition to change all long-sleeved winter uniforms to short-sleeved summer ones. this tradition is called “更衣 koromogae,” which literally means “changing of one’s seasonal clothes,” and usually happens on the 1st of july every year. this doesn’t apply only to school students, but to train station attendants, postal office workers and other professions as well.

my first yukata of the year 🙂 uniqlo has begun selling them, and i immediately fell in love with this one. they get cheaper as summer goes by, but i decided to get this one because it was so pretty and there are chances that they might be sold out when the sales come along.

two more weeks till captain‘s arrival 🙂


i finally came back from my weekend trip to kyoto >w< it was quite tiring but well worth the time!

i've been to kyoto a few times in the past but my main purpose in going down this time was to do my maiko photoshoot. i’ve been wanting to do it for a really long time now, but there wasn’t enough time and now that i don’t have classes on friday, i finally have the chance to go on short weekend trips!

i’ve had my sights set on studio shiki ever since i stumbled upon the site, and i am really glad i went with it in the end! the staff were very professional and helpful, and it wasn’t as tiring or troublesome experience as some people who have been through say it was – rather, it was quite relaxing and felt more like a spa treatment to me hahah!

i chose the mini outdoor photography plan 🙂 it costs 16,000円 but upon arrival, they took one look at my hair and asked me if i was willing to pay an extra 2,100円 to use part of my own hair, which would look more natural. i agreed because i’ve seen photos of people with wigs that looked way too obvious in their photos 😀

it was a really sunny day so i was worried about how the photos would turn out, but they were really nice!

i chose a more traditional and mature kimono because i originally wanted a red one, and the closest they had to red was pink, which had a modern motif… so in the end i went with this one! darker colours were really pretty too, especially the blue, green or purple… i had a REALLY hard time making up my mind!

it was really hard not to smile really wide, because we’re not supposed to show any teeth!

maiko, otherwise known as apprentice geisha (or geiko as they are called in kyoto), are well-known for their distinctively flashy darari obi, which literally means “dangling obi. apprentice maiko, on the other hand, wear their obi in the same way but at half the length.

the white make-up is very distinctive as well, especially around the nape of the neck. it is painted in such a way to create the illusion of a mask, by leaving a thin line of bare skin around the face.

it was really good that i went on a weekday as well, because it means less crowds and people that would get in the way hahah!

the mysterious thing was… it was really hot and sunny but i wasn’t sweating AT ALL :O WHY??

can you see where my real hair was used, and where the wig is?

the wind was blowing at the right time! the special raised sandals that maiko wear are called okobo officially, but in kyoto they are also called pokkuri from the sound that they make on the stone pavements when walking. a lot of people have been warned that it is really hard to walk while wearing them, but it was fairly easy for me 🙂

a close-up. i wish i could smile in a happier way but there was no way i can do that without showing any teeth… oh well.

one of my favourite shots 🙂

when i look at close-up photos like these, i feel really glad that i opted for the half-wig… it looks so natural!!!

the mini plan includes 30 photos taken outdoors. the full outdoor plan comes with 60 photos, but it was more expensive so in the end i chose this one! there are cheaper studio photography plans as well, but i figured outdoor shots will be better since it would look more natural 🙂

being a kimono lover, it was a really fun experience, and i must admit that i am now addicted! i am really tempted to do it again!!! i highly suggest this for anyone with a bit of money and time to spare in kyoto… it’s truly a wonderful experience!

the weather was really good on thursday so i finally went to ueno zoo! 🙂

and since it was warmer than usual, i went out in kimono!

hiro in front of ueno zoo!

entrance fee of 600円 for adults. the picture on each ticket is random… i wanted one with a red panda…

like this!

so adorable!!!

hiro likes zoos! the date changes everyday, as you can see

i love the idea they had here – this water tank is connected to the otter’s enclosure and visitors can have the chance to look at them upclose. it’s too bad though, that they were sleeping when i was there hahah!

lots of kids at the zoo

eyelashes that vivi would die for!

footprints that leads the visitors to different animal enclosures! this one leads to the tiger’s den

i like the blurry effect of this shot!

a clear shot after almost a dozen tries hahah

lots of families too! i wonder if the parents don’t have to work… it was a normal weekday after all…

polar bear 🙂 i like how they sit down all hunched over, and when you look at them they look like a triangle XD

prayers and messages for the giant panda that passed away due to heart failure

japanese monkeys!

the other side of the zoo 🙂 the west and east gardens are connected by a bridge, but you can also take the monorail. it costs 150円 but you can actually just walk to the other side hahah! it barely takes 5 minutes!

lots of preschool kids on field trips too! i don’t envy the teachers who have to keep 50+ kids under control in a place filled with animals..

the lake 🙂

BABY HIPPO *O* he looks just like hiro!!! >w< so cute!!!

photo of hiro with real hippos hahah 😀 too bad they’re sleeping!

i had a random guy take this for me ^o^

ueno toshogu shrine!

hanazono inari shrine! i’ve been visiting lots of inari shrines lately huh…

since the weather turned warmer, some sakura trees are actually in bloom!

plum blossoms

really pretty blowing in the wind

scattered petals on the ground

one of the trees in (almost) full bloom!!! really pretty!

the famous statue of saigo takamori =w=

kiyomizu kannon-do temple

the bright blue sky 🙂 the weather was really good! and now it’s gonna rain for the next few days…

i ballotted for a ticket to aibachan‘s stageplay today as well… crossing my fingers! >w<

i was in osaka, at my host family’s house from the 28th of december till the 3rd of january! spending one whole week in a japanese household was a real eye-opener, especially since it was new year’s as well. it’s hard to blog about each day that i was there so i’m just going to summarize my one week in osaka in one entry! >w< ♥

my room for the whole week i was there ^^

dining room

the genkan, or entrance of the house

this shot represents the ideal japanese winter

the kitchen

the sunroom

front gates which are never locked

i really need a full-length mirror in my house next time

sakura ^^ she’s really obedient!

okaasan and otousan chatting on new year’s eve :3 otousan enjoys a glass of beer =w= okaasan, on the other hand, was busy preparing the new year decorations…

hiro with his own personal new year mochi

i bought this cute outfit from odaiba on christmas eve! i really like it~ it gives off a “my girl” vibe >w<

we watched kouhaku together in the dining room on new year’s eve ♥ it was a really great one this year!!! lots of my favourite artists performed, and i got to listen to a lot of new songs as well ♥ as usual, arashi was amazing >w< i'm so proud of them! their red outfits before their performance was super cute as well!

off to the shrine on the night of new year’s eve! we went there right after kouhaku was over because we didn’t want to be caught in a long line, but it seems like our fears were for nothing…

because it was so cold and the wind was so strong that nobody (sane) would come to the shrine! there WAS a line, but okaasan said it has never been this short before…

i prayed for… you know what, and then went back home after accepting some new year sake from otousan, who was helping out at the shrine

happy new year!!! the next morning, we all sat down at about 10am to have “おせち料理 osechiryouri,” traditional (and expensive) japanese new year food! this would be seabream

one of the boxes prepared by okaasan

my table setting, with a lucky charm arrow from the shrine… a present from otousan!

we had 3 boxes from a traditional japanese restaurant too, because otousan wanted to try it lol

my chopsticks case, with my name written on it in calligraphy by okaasan

after eating, we went through the whole thick stack of “年賀状 nengajou” (japanese new year postcards) that was bundled up neatly by the postman and delivered in the morning, complete with a greeting card from oguri shun!

i was pleasantly surprised to see the boys in the papers on new year’s day! *o*

a whole two-page spread!

at night, i tried drawing new year cards because okaasan was writing hers to reply those that she received… i never knew tigers were so easy to draw!

on the 2nd day of new year, i received a present from okaasan ^^ an incense pouch to go with my kimono!

all bundled up in my furisode and ready to go to the shrine with otousan! i love this furisode so much *O* it’s been in the family for generations!

in front of the train to the city >w< the cutest train ever!

at すみよしたいしゃ sumiyoshi taisha in osaka

with okaasan. she was supposed to come along but then she had to stay back to look after obaachan

with otousan who was trying to look like the godfather

on the last day, we had guests (relatives, actually) so we had a tea ceremony. here i am, helping to grind the green tea powder

then i changed into kimono for the tea ceremony!

wagashi, traditional japanese sweets to go with the thick, green tea

there was a cute tiger-shaped sweet too >w< so adorable! i bit his head off in the first 2 seconds i got my hands on it though…

with okaasan ^^ i was really happy when she commented, “it’s like i have another daughter!”

with both of them

nabe (hotpot… like malaysian steamboat <3) at night with everyone!

it was a grand spread >w< i had the chance to taste ootoro as well!! WHICH WAS AWESOME *O*

their grandson, oozora-kun. he keeps looking at me and smiling >w<;; it was like deja vu because the same thing happened with my cousin from sabah too…

with haru, okaasan’s second daughter. she’s not married yet so she lives nearby ^^ she’s an esthetician! i got a free treatment session from her ♥

before i took the night bus back to tokyo, they took me to the ritz-carlton in osaka for drinks and to listen to some jazz music

it was a really fun and relaxing week! i felt really at home, and they were all so nice to me! i don’t think i could have spent my new year’s here in japan in any other way but this ♥

right after coming back from osaka, i took a bath and proceeded to dress up in kimono to go around the shrines with angel!

kagurazaka, my favourite place in tokyo. it makes me happy to see such a big arashi poster next to the nino one from haikei, chichiue-same ♥♥♥

lining up to pray at bishamonten

poster for the 7 lucky gods tour

the map for the tour… it looks so easy in the drama but when we try to do the same thing on foot… it’s really tiring! the last two shrines especially, since it’s out of the way so we had to take trains!

a wishing board that started out with “拝啓、嵐様” (dear arashi-sama), a play on nino‘s drama, “拝啓、父上様” (dear father) that was filmed here

lol someone is wishing her wish of marrying nino will come true XD i want to wish for the same thing too!

here we go! shrine #1 : bishamonten, dedicated to the god of the same name, the god of warriors

lunch 🙂


shrine #2
kyououji dedicated to daikokuten, god of wealth, commerce and trade

shrine #3
itsukushima jinja dedicated to benzaiten, goddess of knowledge, art & beauty

at each shrine, you pay 600円 to get a statue and have the priest write down the name of the shrine in calligraphy

shrine #4
eifukuji dedicated to fukurokujou, god of happiness, wealth & longevity

a random obaasan stopped us suddenly and told us that she’d take a photo for us lol. random much?

paper bag

shrine #5
houzenji dedicated to juroujin, god of longevity

whenever in doubt, follow the yellow flags, and red-and-white banners with black calligraphy writing!

shrine #6
taisouji dedicated to hotei, god of abundance and good health

shrine #7
kiou jinja, dedicated to ebisu, god of fishers and merchants

finally finished collecting all the names on the calligraphy board!

^o^ yay! they’re all together finally!

it was really tiring but fun! we took too much time dressing up and started out late, so by the last 2 shrines we were running (plus we took the wrong train and went way past our station) because the shrines were supposed to close at 5pm so we were worried about not being able to finish on time!

it was fun taking photos by numbering them with our fingers too! ♥ did you realize that i was doing it???

the boat of fortune is now on top of my tv, with all the 7 lucky gods aboard ☆ i hope i’ll have good luck for the whole year and that my wish of watching arashi in concert at least once more before i leave japan will come true!

i went to keikarou again on saturday with bec, since it was her last day in japan. the shop opens at 11:00 am – we arrived at 10:00am and there was already a line hahah! we were lucky to arrive early, so we went in with the first batch of customers >w<

i wore my green komon again 🙂 i wanted to wear my new yellow one but since it’s aiba-chan‘s place…

bec! i miss you and our morning talks XD

there was a new display item up – an adorable display from the my girl drama!

*O* i can eat these everyday!

we both ordered one of the set meals, it came with soup, rice, 3 dishes and dessert.

蒸し鳥の胡麻味噌かけ steamed chicken with miso-sesame sauce

えび玉 prawn with eggs

鳥肉とカシューナッツ炒め chicken with cashew nuts. I SO LOVE THIS OKAY. THE MEAT IS ALL TENDER AND ZOMG ;w;

杏仁トーフ almond-jelly tofu

we forgot dessert was included in the set and ordered strawberry sherbet as well lol XD we were stuffed when we were finished… i felt so bad because i didn’t finish the eggs 😦

self-cam picture in the mirror of the washroom at bec‘s hotel. yes, that’s glass behind us, and yes you can see practically the whole of shinjuku from the washroom. the most awesome washroom i’ve ever been in to.

our final photo together for this time… there will be another time, promise!!! ❤

i hope you enjoyed your trip in japan! it was a really memorable time for me as well, and i will never forget our amazing experience forever!!! looking forward to seeing you again!!! lifelong friends, because?

life is

life is

life is wonderful

today the weather was really good so i went out to catch a breath of fresh air! guess where this photo was taken?!

my destination for the day 🙂 the train departure melody for this station is sakura! the traditional japanese folk song, not the one by moriyama naotarou or kobukuro

六義園 rikugien is one of the quieter spots in tokyo for autumn leaves viewing 🙂

waseda –> [tozai line] –> iidabashi –> [nanboku line] –> komagome

from the station’s south exit, cross the street and turn left, and you’ll soon come across this sign leading you towards the garden. the entrance fee is 300円 for adults

autumn leaves 🙂

maple leaves, known as 紅葉 momiji in japanese

awesome weather today, really

the garden was really pretty ❤

one of the professional photographers ojiisan offered to help me take a photo hahah 😀 he asked me if i was going to an お茶会 ochakai (tea ceremony), and i laughed and said no, then he said, “ah so you just felt like dressing up today huh? it looks good on you!” it made my day >w<

hiro‘s first time at maple leaves viewing!

lots of old ojiisan with their awesome slr cameras capturing the beauty of the autumn leaves

lots of families were there today too!

late shichigosan celebration

i love her kimono and hakama!!!

🙂 quality family time

she was staring at me the entire time hahah

i’m glad i managed to capture this sweet expression >w<

while her brother gets down and dirty, playing with the soil

posing for her parents’ camera

not maple leaves, but pretty all the same

🙂 a foreigner took this for me… he was so shocked to hear me talk to him in english XD

view from the top

and on the way down…

i used to say my favourite season is autumn before experiencing it, but now that i’m here, i really do love autumn!

after walking around for quite some time, it’s time to rest in one of the teahouses!

i ordered something and waited for it to arrive…

while breathing in the cold autumn air and gazing up at all the beautiful maple leaves

matcha green tea with seasonal wagashi (traditional japanese confectionery)

i love the bitterness of matcha!

autumn sweets, with a maple leaf carved into the mochi and filled with red bean on the inside

the perfect balance

maple leaves *O*

i love the colors of autumn…

neh would love the amount of green here 😀

at the entrance, while i was leaving (when i arrived there were lots of people sitting here so i couldn’t take a photo)

ecologically friendly paper weights

i’ve seen spider lilies, but this is my first time seeing spider crysenthemums!

hiro is amused by the colonel dressed up in a santa suit

i don’t know if you can see it, but the tiles on the bridge were arranged to look like a cherry blossom… it might be a bit hard to tell with the sunlight and shadows though. and i’ve just realized that i caught my own shadow too hahah

an intruiging signboard…

on the streets. i wonder if this place is famous for cherry blossoms…

and that concludes my day out in the sun at komagome today! i wandered down into the alleys and found a shopping district of sorts, and went home with a cabbage and a pack of shimeji mushrooms because it was cheaper than what i usually pay here in waseda 😀


slice-of-life entries of my life in japan as an exchange student :) feel free to comment... they're my daily pieces of happiness!

to read my travel posts, please click on "voyages"

thank you for dropping by, and have a nice day ♥

i ♥ nino

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i ♥ ohchan

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