Mar 26, 2017

Today in Tokyo I found a nice shirt

I am sorry I have no clue how to start this, if this will be interesting or not... I am trying to do more blogs about normal everyday life in my shoes.

Today I went to Tokyu hands, which is a cool store that has a lot of different stuff. I want to make a video about Tokyu hands someday so you can understand why it is one of my fav. stores.

My fav. location is in Takashimaya building (a very rich expensive department store).

Anyway, sometimes they have special little stores that open up near the escalators on each floor in the hall. These special stands, are local buisnesses that sell goods. Sometimes its Kimonos, food, fashion items. Today they had something that I HAD TO BUY!! (addition is live and well guys)



My friend said it looks like Donkey, but at the time for some reason I thought it was a Giraffe....well...whatever it is....I guess its your imagination ^^

It is by a company called BEANXIOUS. They are apparently located in Kyoto Japan and sometimes have little mini stores for a short time around the country.


This is their website  but it doesn't have much on it> http://beanxious.com/ 
So this style of clothing is something at first I thought I would only be able to wear to bed.

But actually this shirt fits my black striped pants and I like it so I think I will wear it both bed and regular....or you know sleep and get up already wearing clothes....lol

It cost like 6000 yen (60$), they had another shirt I wanted that was Native American patterns, but it was 90$ and I could only get 1 (lets not feed the addition too much). I tried to find the shirt online to show you but I actually couldn't find. But here are some other shirts from Google images.
 


 I just thought I would turn todays shopping into a blog because I hardly upload on here....I really do want to make more blogs because some people do enjoy reading.

If anyone lives in Tokyo, you can check it out at Tokyu hands, Shinjuku Takashima store....I am almost 100% sure it was on the 6th floor. Right beside my favorite Chinese tea house (茶語)
 

Mar 7, 2017

I LOVE YAKINIKU & Nikugen opened a new store in Roppongi Tokyo


If you guys know me. You know I love Yakiniku

Yakiniku is Japanese name for what some call "Korean bbq" but its not really Korean because Korean BBQ is done differently.  To keep with the mood of Korea, Japanese Yakiniku often includes kimchi and korean nori.



I LOVE yakiniku. For those who don't know what it is or how to do it. Its basically slices of meat that you order, and grill on a little BBQ on the table at your restaurant.

Yesterday me and a bunch of YouTubers got invited to eat at NIKUGEN, which is a Yakiniku restaurant. They just opened their new store in Roppongi. We got a chance to experience the food and style of the restaurant before other people were able to ^^
 The food was of course good. You can't really go wrong with Yakiniku. We were given a course and I was quite satisfied with the amount of food that came. We got many different kinds of meat, as well as a large amount of vegetables. This dish above had avocado and a korean spicy sause like kimchi on it. I thought that was really good.
 The restaurant also has their own wine cellar to chose wine from.

I thought that part was cool....not just cool as in awsome but literally the area when you enter is quite cool in temp too!



Like most Japanese restaurants the staff were exited and happy.
It was me,  MaaikeInJapan and The Uwaga pies that got to check this place out. All together I thought it was fun. I would have made a video but there was too many people in there and the audio wouldn't get through. But If you need to check out some fresh new Yakiniku branch close to Roppongi station why not go here ^^

http://www.nikugen.jp/roppongi/course.html

Oct 31, 2016

5 years ago I was ...

 5 years ago this is my halloween costume. My ex husband though it was a cool idea so we both dressed as zombie dead ghost geisha. Got a parasol from Toronto China town, cut holes into it. Bought two fake silk yukata robes and covered them in spiders and blood.

5 years ago is the last year I went trick or treating.

I remember as a kid I used to get bags and bags full. My mom used to make costumes for me, every year. I was a popcorn box, rain cloud, present, cherry tree, bag of leaves. Her costumes were always original. Halloween was my favorite holiday. I won a costume contest one year and got 100$ and 10 free pizzas.
This is my best friend. I knew her since high school, grade 9 math class I turned around to borrow a pencil and she gave it to me. I was super shy. We didn't talk, but somehow, we became friends. Her locker was beside me because she was also in my science and tech class.

She has skipped school with me, transfers schools with me, traveled with me, lived with me twice. We have done it all and seen it all.

Even though we are 14 hour plane rides away, we still are best friends.

I remember every halloween we went trick or treating together. Even when I moved to Toronto, she still came to visit me and I went to visit her.




This is 5 years ago but at the start of that year. Star of 2011. Me and my friend from grade school.

Some of my funniest memories with her are when we used to record videos together at her house in gr 8-9. Prank videos. She had a digital video camera, this is when they just started coming out. We would dress up weird and scare our friends, make these crazy videos.

We would spend weeks at each others house planning weird videos and doing this. It was so fun.

 Lets go back to 7 years ago. This is where I used to work. I was the boss. I had an amazing office space. My desk was amazing. You could hang up pictures, bring your work, bring decors. I had my own slippers and stuff. I wanted to bring a plant but then I left working there.

I remember walking into the office, picking up my head set. Listening to customers voices playing back on our auto recorders. Knowing all departments for our building and all gas and electricity utilities info and numbers memorized.

Best job I had. The best job in Canada. I wish things with that company didn't have to change. People in upper management went downhill.


I wonder what things would be like if things didn't go down hill. Would I be head of the whole floor? Would I be in some other branch? Would I be in same office? Would I have that plant on my desk?


 This is my friend. We met at work. I was really shy in the start but we ended up talking everyday. Laughing. Going on the bus.Going out to eat. Even after she left the company we still kept in touch. I feel really bad because last time I went to Toronto she wanted to see me but I couldn't. I didn't have enough time. The thing that sucks is having to worry about time and getting around. Having only 15 hours in Toronto isn't enough.


 Our world is so small, but when it comes to seeing those people you want to see. Its too big. Its big and far and stretched out. We need more time.


This is 5 years ago now again. 5 years ago just a few days before Halloween. I climbed this tree, took this picture to say "look at me, this is what I used to do as a kid here". I was moving in a few days. Moving to a new city. Tokyo.

Did you know when I moved to Toronto my grandma called me and she said to me

"Mira do you like the big city? You seem to like it more, and you are enjoying life".

I remember telling her. I loved Toronto. I was either gonna live in biggest city in Canada, or biggest city in the world.

Well. I was right.

5 years later.  I am here, Living in Tokyo. The biggest city in the world.
More than 5 years ago, without even having any interest or knowledge that I would be moving to here, I knew it.

5 years ago. I was just a regular Canadian girl.
My fav song was "sexy bitch". My fav club was guverment.
My fav food was beef paddies from islington station
My fav store was abercrombie and fitch.
Fav. Game was COD.
Fav. tv show was family guy.
I had an Iphone 3.
Taro bubble tea.
Jerk Chicken
Ice cap
Pizza poppits
Rice a roni
Clam chowder
Canned fish
Arizona green tea
Coconut water
Ginger beer
Curry goat
Peas and rice
Samosas from rabba
Busses at 2 am, Street cars at 4 am.
Buying go tickets to port credit, but getting off in clarkson.
Buying tickets to the ex, but getting off at Union.
Holding your breath as you go through to the greyhound, between atrium on the bay.
New york fries.
Fries supreme
California rolls
Looking out at the sun rise.
Day light saving time
Skype calls with mom
Rogers.
No AC
In the groove
Getting cold. Sun goes down, but at 6pm.
Leaves go away without noticing it.
Then you see pumpkins left and right.
knock knock.
Trick or treat.
5 years ago.
And now......

May 11, 2015

New IMAX theater Shinjuku...not so max :(

Just a few weeks ago, a new Toho movie theater opened up in Shinjuku, Kabukucho, Tokyo. This theater has a huge godzilla statue on top of it that from some angles across the city, looks like godzilla is taking over Tokyo (just like many people have been so patiently waiting for ^^).

Not only is the outside of this theater eye catching, but what is inside is what I was looking forward to. IMAX ^^ and 4D movies (this is where the seat moves around and water sprays at you during your movie)

The other week I went with some of my friends to see a movie in IMAX 3D. Before entering I had prepared my friends for the IMAX experience, they had never been to an IMAX screen before so they didn't know what to expect.


I remember IMAX being so big that it would hurt your eyes if you were too close to the screen. I had assumed IMAX would be the same size in Japan. Growing up in the west I guess you could say I have a strong expectation for "big screens". The movie culture in Canada compared to Japan is substantially larger.

I was not only let down at the size of the screen, I felt cheated out of money :(  I mean, the threater was nice and the chairs are comfy and all. The screen was slightly bigger than a regular theater screen, but It wasn't anything a north American should expect for IMAX size.  It also costs  more (just like in Canada), which made it even worse. Movies in Japan are more expensive than Canada as is, average between 15-20$ per person. The IMAX was almost 30$.

As a friendly suggestion and warning. Don't expect a huge huge huge screen.

ON THE BRIGHT SIDE.


Since the theater was new, the staff were SUPER friendly. You could really feel the energy inside the theater. I also should note I went at 9am (yeah, weird time to see a movie right haha). Even though we went at 9, it was still packed!! (new things tend to pack up fast in Japan).

The staff greeted us outside the theater, the top of the escalators up the theater and when we were going to get popcorn they all were overly friendly and enthusiastic about the new customers in the new store.


Apr 10, 2015

How to look good in Tokyo and save money

You may have heard that Tokyo is a fashion capital, with some of the highest standards of beauty and strict expectations when it comes to appearance for people of all ages and both female and male. It is not considered feminine for a male to enjoy shopping, in fact there are malls just for men and an equally as large market for male customers as there is females.

You may have also heard that Tokyo is super expensive and that to buy a pair of jeans it costs at least 100$ *flails arms in the air in anger*. Well, though the second part may be correct, what you would call expensive depends on the culture that you were brought up in. I find it is mostly the American and Canadian people, who come from places where clothing is very very cheap, who have a problem with the prices in Japan.

Where I was born, you find a lot of whole-sale factory made goods that come from major companies that can afford to make stuff cheap and sell it for cheap. We also have a culture of buying things in multiple colours "blue, pink, white and yellow tank top please" and buying new clothes quite often, especially with the whole "back to school culture" where you buy a new everything for the next year. High end brands are not as popular, and often people will think of a rich and snobby person when it comes to such. Puting on make up everyday and maintaining a professional and "high maintenance" look when you are out in public doesn't have such a pressure in the west.

Well Japan, and especially Tokyo are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.  This will shock you if you come from Canada or America. I have heard a lot of different opinion such as "Tokyo people care TOO much about their looks" to "Everyone looks like a model!!".   Brands are in, make up is in, high fashion is in, looking your best even when you are in your home and nobody will see you, is also in.

Aside from the fact that you are expected to look proper and clean, it is also considered the norm to put more money towards your look. Something that is cheap is looked at as "suspicious", rather than a good deal.  I once wanted to make a video on how much Japanese people spend on buying their wallets, and I wish I caught this on camera.

"can I make a video about your wallet, just a short video, you don't have to show your face"

"no, I can't show this wallet this is just a cheap one"

"how much was it"

"100$"

One thing you gotta know about Tokyo, brands are VERY popular. Louis vuitton is the number one brand that you will see stand out. You could stand on the corner of Shibuya crossing at any time of the day and see more than 10 LV bags crossing about.  It is so common there are even some people say it is "too trendy, everyone has it". (well I don't think so I love LV but yeah)



Anyways.

It is not strange, crazy or silly to spend so much money on fashion here. It is expected to pay about 60$ or so for a shirt or even about 100$ for a pair of pants. It is pretty normal to pay over 100$ for shoes, and a couple hundred on a jacket.

So with all these brands being in style how the heck do people afford it?

Is everyone rich??

Well no. It is all about what people want and what people are willing to spend their money towards.

In Canada, people spend a lot of money on eating out. Eating out is more expensive in Canada than in Japan. People also spend a lot of money on electronics and stuff. But here, people would save up money, just to get the brand items they want.

Another factor you have to consider is taxes in Japan are quite low, so this allows people to save money on such purchases. People tend to keep clothes for a longer time here (and they usually last longer). It is also very common that people live with their parents till they get married AND it is normal for parents to pay for their children's university, allowing their children to have more money to spend on the clothing they want.

But, not everyone has the will or the way to save up 2000$ for a new purse.

So how do you shop high end but save money?? Especially being a foreigner whos parents possibly didn't pay for university, you are so used to being in a culture where you don't save money and or you spent too much money on that plane ticket here :o What do we do?!

Used clothing stores.

In Canada, used clothing stores are looked at as somewhere homeless ppl shop. Poor and or low quality people shop. The used stores usually smell really gross, don't carry brands at all. The image of a used store is just no good one. 

In Japan, used clothing stores are completely different. There is a huge market for them and they are generally divided into two categories. Brand name high priced used stores, and clothing used stores (which also have brand stuff but is not specially for that). They are everywhere. There are over 20 used stores in Shinjuku alone, and thats just one area. There are plenty of people who think used stores are gross because someone else used it, or its damaged. But if you want to look cool and save money its a great place to go ^^

LV sunglasses that are regularly 700$, you could find for about 300$.
LV purses ranging from 60$-1800$ depending on the style.

The stores that have clothing sold usually separate brand name clothing between regular cheaper clothing and often have the original store price on it.




At these stores you can find plenty of wonderful deals. I have bought shirts that originally were 140$, for 10$. I also have had shoes that were 250$ for only 8$ ^^    

Some names of used stores are;   

Treasure Factory - Many chains all across outer Tokyo area. I really recommend Machida store, Funabashi store, Tachikawa or Chiba stores. They have a point card too. Point cards are a big thing in Japan and it is actually worth getting one. Each point = 1 yen. Those points add up quickly and you can use those points to pay for your next purchase. I have saved over 200$ in points at Treasure factory alone ^^


There also is Jumble store. This is a chain store but I recommend you travel to the one in Tama shi. It is bigger and cheaper. 

There are some used stores that only deal with brand purses or brand clothes, and others where it is both mixed.  There is also "men only" used clothing stores such as BINGO (it is a chain, the shibuya store has a small female section but mostly for men).

Some kanji or words you should look for when you want to find a used store is

買取 kaitori     - buy sell ? buy take? I don't even know how to translate. Basically used stuff store.
質店 shichi ten  - used store
質屋   shichi ya   - used store
リサイクルショップ  risaikuru shoppu   - used store




 

Feb 7, 2014

Apartment hunting in Japan

So I have started hunting for an apartment the last few weeks. The end of language hell school I will be moving. I currently live where I live because it is close to school, I don't have to pay much for the train.

So I am moving to a nicer place, bigger place, more green and less full of business men in suits place. FINALLY a place with a friggen grocery store.

Note to you:  Living in the center of a business district = you will be eating at either a restaurant or a convince store the whole time. Good luck on your search for a super market.

Anyways. When you look for an apartment in Japan there are two ways. If you don't speak Japanese, I can't help you on that one. I have no idea about searching as a non speaker, I just know usually you will find sites linked to share houses, dorms, crappy, or home stay type often over priced stuff.

If you can speak Japanese you have two options, internet or go to the store. If you chose option internet, you still have to end up going into the store.

What store? You might be asking if you come from a country like Canada.

In Japan, landlords DON'T rent to you directly. They hire agents, called FUDOUSAN (不動産). It is like a real estate agent, but not just for houses, for both renting, buying a house or apartment.

Now I like to search for things on the internet because you can click options. Like the price range, size, if you want more than one toilet, if you don't want a place that is 100 years old etc. You limit your searches and then you can see pictures, a map layout and information all nearly written about this room. So good!


The thing you search for these things on is a KENSAKU SAITO 検索サイト (sometimes, the companies are NOT a fudousan but just a search site)

AT HOME, apamanshoppu, suumo, are common search sites.

So after you found the place you want to look at, you call the number (which leads to a company, not the landlord). They take you to see the house, then usually they take you back to their office and try to show you other houses.


Because you are a gaijin there is 1 big thing you have to be careful of. A fudousan that takes you to SHIT places.

It is a big stereotype that gaijin love to live in share houses or room share or with 1000 people in the same room. Thus sometimes, you might go to look for an apartment, and the company will say        "well maybe the landlord doesn't let gaijin so let me show you gaijin friendly places" 

BAM they whip out the worst places you can imagine,

"here how is this? it is above a Chinese restaurant, 40 years old, cockroaches, it is the size of a closet, you share a bathroom with 10 other people they are all gaijin how is it sound?".........

Note to you:  NEVER live above or near a building that is attached to a restaurant. IT HAS cockroaches.

Anyways, if you run into the problem of the place you went to trying to give you other crappy houses, just leave and go somewhere else. There are plenty of FUDOUSAN in Japan, don't waste your time.

I recently went to look at some nice places, here are some pictures.



This is the first kitchen I looked at. IH cooking heater (induction heat) and a big sink. It was awesome kitchen. I liked it. It was on the 1st floor though. I don't really want to live on the first floor because I don't want people to steal my underwear (not that I care about pervs having my underwear, it is that
I just don't have that many pairs :/)

 This next picture is actually a different place. I only rent IH cooking heaters because I wont use gas. This one was newer. I like how it also had the little oven to cook fish. BTW Japan has no ovens. Oven = easy bake oven, don't expect a normal stove like they have in Canada. Japanese kitchens are for cooking Japanese food. Thus the different items used to cook.
This is me in the background yay! and the OFURO (bath area). This one was the new model. I liked this because the bath was extra big and this type of new model is really easy to clean since it doesn't get moldy fast.

Anyways some things you need to know about Japanese apartments before going. They don't have fridge, lights or blinds. Those you have to buy yourself. Some places don't have stoves, so you also have to buy that yourself. 

They also don't have laundry rooms or laundry machines in them. Laundry in Japan is a very personal issue. People do it in their house, even if they live in apartment. In Canada apartments have laundry rooms, in Japan they don't. There are laundry mats, but those are usually in the long run more expensive than buying your own laundry machine...I don't even know WHO uses them because having a laundry machine is one of the most normal things you need in Japan. I never had one in Canada and I am used to washing clothes by hand, so when I first rented a place I told my friends I will do that and they said WTF! laundry machine is most common, everyone needs this, NEED. Kinda pressured me into buying it lol. They are right I guess.

Anyways. Japanese apartments rental start day is unlike Canada. Anytime is ok. When you look for apartment it is emptied out because the person who lived there before already moved. Unlike Canada where you usually have to track into someones house while they are still there :O You also get the apartment right away when you find it, after you pay usually max 3 days (unless some other real good reason). Which is interesting because in Canada usually people start looking 2 months or at least 1 month before they move, because you have to give 2 months notice that you are moving to landlord.

EDIT : MORE INFO!


I missed a few points. When you go to visit a house to take a peek inside to see if you actually like the place, the worker will give you slippers when you enter the house. They carry around slippers for the customers to use when they reach the house.

When you rent an apartment in Japan you don't get the place so easily. You have to have a guarantor who can't just be some friend of yours. It is usually your family. Sometimes a company can sign for you, but sometimes companies are denied because they want your family. Why? Well Japan has a really big shame culture, so if you skipped paying rent or destroyed the place and had to pay, they want to make sure your family takes care of it and so you don't escape so easily (you can run from your boss, but not daddy)

So if your family is retired or passed on, or if there is no one else to help sign for you. There are companies that their soul business is signing as a guarantor for people.

Another thing I missed, when you go to a FUDOUSAN, they will offer you tea in their office. This is Japanese custom. In Japan when you enter someones house and sometimes business as a guest, they treat you with hospitality. So when you are in these types of businesses where you usually have to sit down and fill out papers and spend some time there, you often get tea. (you also may get tea at the hair salon too ^^)

There is something in Japan called 礼金 REIKIN  which is like bribe money (which is illegal to ask for and give in Canada btw)  however perfectly legal in Japan. It is common, especially in the past but slowly there are less and less places that have this. When you use the search website you can see which places have it and which are completely free. This is not a deposit, this is money you don't get back. It is a present for the landlord for letting you in and a thank you for them preparing this house for you. Some people mistake this for a fee for them "cleaning" the place for you before you enter, but this isn't true, and sometimes you have to pay extra for cleaning on top of this.  The average price for this starts between half a months rent up to 2 months rent. More than that is less common but it isn't too strange if they ask for 4 months rent.

Also a warning. Not only do you have to pay to rent the place, last months rent, sometimes reikin but you have to pay the FUDOUSAN! Thats right...wtf right!  I mean, in Canada you directly contact the landlord so you don't pay some kinda company for showing you the place. However in Japan you also have to pay them most of the time (sometimes the landlord pays). The price is often the same as your months worth rent...depends on situation though.

I made a video to help you search in Japanese long ago. The video is a little old, but check it out!





Sep 24, 2013

The AWESOME Japanese taxi driver

This is the store of the most awesome taxi driver in the world.


I was going somewhere last night, which was really far (30 min drive), cost me 6000円 ($60).
 
I have taken a taxi in Japan less than 10 times, I am not a talkative person so usually I ignore the driver and hope they don't talk to me. Usually they only start small talk. Maybe this one was different because we had a long way to go.
 
IT WAS EPIC!
 
I had so much fun talking to this guy.
 
First, his personality was like the cool turtle from finding nemo. He must have been well into his 60's but he was so full of energy, talked like a young hip and happening person.
 
When I got in the taxi he didn't know where I wanted to go because it was far and an area where nobody usually goes. I gave him the address and he tried to put it into the computer, but on the computer map the letters were small so he used a magnifying glass. He kept making jokes about how he couldn't see and it was pretty funny.

After we found the address he said, ok lets go. We started driving along and he started to talk about food. He said his favorite food was gyoza and recommended me a very good place to get gyoza. He went on to tell me a story that 'good gyoza is good because the skin is good, not because the inside is good'. Interesting.
 
He asked me what my fav. food was and I said Basashi (raw horse meat). He got surprised (like people usually do) and he said he loves it. Then he we talked about a place called Kumamoto ken, which in Japan is famous for Basashi.
 
I went on to tell him about the story when I first tried to make gyoza, but the store near my house ran out of pork, so I though beef would do instead (which it didn't).  We laughed together about the story because it was so funny. He said its the first time he heard of someone making such gyoza. For those who don't know, gyoza MUST be made with pork, not beef.
 
I really wanted to make a video about him, he was so funny. The way he spoke Japanese was like a young person. Never in my life have I met such a funny person. He told jokes the whole way there, making my ride less boring. I didn't even want to get out of the car at the end.

After I arrived at my destination, I couldn't bow enough to him. I was so happy I got to ride in his taxi, I hope one day I will see that driver again, it was super fun night!