Sunday, April 19, 2009

{ things I love about Japan #6 }


They're everywhere! We tried most days to buy at least one thing were we had no idea what we were getting. Most were hits.

I'm not sure how Tommy Lee Jones fits into the picture here, but it reminds me of Bill Murray's character in Lost in Translation and also Vincent Chase on Entourage - don't worry if it doesn't make any sense, take the photos, get the cash and no one will ever see it right???

My favourite vending machine purchase was this one:

Thought we were getting a Kit Kat flavoured milk drink, but no it was the most over packaged purchase I have ever made! Four baby Kit Kat's in a glass jar:

Well the Kit Kat's were yummy of course, but the best bit is the jar - so awesome! It now holds all the loose buttons I had lying around. So, it might have been a ridiculous amount of packaging for a couple of baby Kit Kat's, but it's actually extremely handy.

The only downer to the vending machines was that Coca Cola seems to be the drink of choice - not great for a Pepsi fan, but there was thrill in the chase and each Pepsi tasted even better because I had to work for it!

Friday, April 10, 2009

{ things I love about Japan #5 }


The blossoming of the cherry trees in Japan is a very special time, a time for celebrating with friends and family. This trip we were a couple of weeks too early but there were already a few trees starting to blossom. If you are planning a trip to Japan I would strongly recommend trying to get there in spring to see the blossoms. They flower at different times throughout the country but I believe the peak time is normally late March to early April.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

{ things I love about Japan #4 }


They’re so beautifully styled and very inspiring. I just wish I could read Japanese or they had English versions!

Good shop for craft books is the Kinokuniya outlet in Shinjuku. Actually, there are 2 outlets there, the one I found to have the best selection was near Tokyu Hands. Go to 2F and when you alight from the escalator the craft section is to your left.


SHINJUKU (outlet near Tokyu Hands) : The closest exit would be the New South Exit I believe however I always get lost going that way so my directions are probably the long way! Take the East Exit and at the exit turn hard right, walking along the side of the building. After the department store ends you’ll pass the Kirin Beer Pub and then Gap, both on your right. Next on your right is a large set of stairs which takes you up and into the station eventually. Ahead will be an underpass, take this and continue straight, you’ll pass a Uniqlo outlet and then the next main building is the Takashimaya department store. Walk alongside the store and at the end you’ll see Kinokuniya across the road to your left.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

{ things I love about Japan #3 }


I admit, the rail system can be pretty confusing but once you get a vague understanding you’re off! Besides its immense size, and sheer number of rail companies the system is really faultless - efficient + clean.

Some personal favourite subway moments:

* English information on board for every station - what lines intersect with each station, which side of the train the doors will open on, what the next stop is, what line you’re on, etc

* Heaters in the seats. So great on a cold day, not sure if they’re cooled in summer but I wouldn’t be surprised.

* Route finders - not in all stations we but we made great use of the one in Shinjuku. It’s a touch screen monitor and you type in where you are going from and to and it will give you a selection of routes on the screen. Select the one that suits best and print it out to take with you. It gives you departure time, rail company, platform number and price!

* Okay time for my favourite! Besides the information above, the voiceovers tell you to ‘not talk on your mobile phone near the restricted seats (for the elderly, pregnant, less mobile, etc), turn your phone to silent and refrain from talking on the phone on the train at all’.

Absolute bliss! In 10 days I recall hearing 2 mobile phones ringing and only once on public transport and when the phone did ring the owner nearly jumped out of their skin with embarrassment. Not once did we have to sit through someone telling someone their most intimate secrets at the top of their lungs.

Don’t imagine that phones weren’t being used, quite the contrary as I think we were practically the only ones not texting or playing a game. It’s just that everyone has a great respect for others and culturally putting others before yourself is the norm so disrupting other people is frowned upon.

A note for those using a Japan Rail Pass - you can use your pass on all JR trains within Tokyo, not just to get around Japan as a whole. There were only a couple of trips we used other rail networks and therefore had to buy tickets. The Pass can also be used between Narita Airport and the city (approx JPY3500 which was about AUD55 when we were there if you buy it as a stand alone ticket).

Thursday, April 2, 2009

{ new additions }

Some new additions I've been playing with lately - gift tags. I've always loved the shape of tags like this and when I found some in a shop recently I knew I wanted to make some.

The same shop also has a fantasic range of beautiful ribbons at a really reasonable price. I've been selecting a ribbon as a starting point and then chosing the design and colour of the papercut or printed paper to compliment.

The cutting process is quite meditative however I have made the tips of my fingers numb for days following a long cutting session!

Like them? Check out the current range here.