Turning Japanese

I’m turning Japanese

I think I’m turning Japanese

I really think so

Um, that’s pretty much the whole song.

Today I was showing pictures of my trip to Japan to a new co-worker, because one of my favourite things to do is talk about my trip to Japan whenever I can.

For realsies.

I’m¬†typically excited to meet new people solely because I get to talk about my trip to¬†Japan. I will find any excuse I can to bring it up. For example, this morning I was in a tea¬†shop¬†with H and was admiring a¬†teapot with a cherry blossom print on it and from there¬†I managed to lure an employee of the shop into a 5 minute conversation about how although I love Tokyo there really is something special about Kyoto. Her eyes actually lit up at the mention of¬†Kyoto and how she’s always wanted to go.¬†To which I replied (as I always do): “Oh! You totally should. You have to go.”¬†All the while giving my now signature half-smile¬†with just¬†a touch of pity, tapering into¬†a soft sigh of wistful longing and remembrance all wrapped up in just the faintest¬†hint of superiority.

It’s a skill.

And a disease.

I can’t help it. From Stuff White People Like #58 ‚Äď Japan: ‚ÄúIf you find yourself in an awkward silence with white people, just mention how you want to go to Japan. They will immediately begin talking about their trip to Japan, or their favorite stuff from Japan, but it will be entirely about them. This is useful as you no longer have to talk, and they will like you for letting them talk about themselves.‚Äú

Here are some photos from my trip to Japan in June of 2008 with MM and K. You should go.

Handy handles on the pricier, above ground trains

Pretty flowers in the Imperial Palace - East Garden

Imperial Palace - East Garden

Vending machines everywhere! (some even dish out full meals)

In the heart of Tokyo

Storefront in Tokyo

Fans in a Kyoto market

Temple grounds in Kyoto

Temple Grounds in Kyoto

Kyoto Station - massive!

Signage in the Tsukiji Fish Market

An artisan in the Tsukiji Fish Market

View from the Park Hyatt Tokyo (the hotel from Lost in Translation)

Shibuya - home of the world's busiest pedestrian crossing

Cute house in Aoyama - I wanted to move in!

Shopping in Harajuku

A sushi-train restaurant - I wish they had these in Canada


5 Things I Can’t Live Without

OK so technically I could live without these things (we’re not talking oxygen, water or Cheetos, here), but I’d rather not.

Here goes.

#1 – My Tokyo Starbucks Travel Mug

In case I haven’t mentioned it 3,429,583 times, I ‚ô• Japan. And I¬†enjoy¬†Starbucks. My travel Tokyo mug from a Starbucks at the epicenter of Tokyo’s busiest pedestrian intersection, Shibuya (you can actually see the Starbucks I purchased it from in this youtube clip), brings together my love of both these things. I once accidentally left it in my office kitchen overnight and was sick the next day and called my co-worker in a screeching panic to go get it back because I was actually having anxiety not being able to see it¬†in its prime¬†location on my kitchen counter. It was the worst. I cried a little.

Also, a favourite quote of mine from Stuff White People Like #58 – Japan: “If you find yourself in an awkward silence with white people, just mention how you want to go to Japan.¬† They will immediately begin talking about their trip to Japan, or their favorite stuff from Japan, but it will be entirely about them.¬† This is useful as you no longer have to talk, and they will like you for letting them talk about themselves.


Travel Coffee Mug from Starbucks in Tokyo

#2 – My Passport

If I could only save 1 thing in a fire, it would be my passport (to clarify:¬†I¬†don’t have pets or an Ipad¬†,so…..). I regularly wake up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night and reach over to juuuuuuuust next to my bed to make sure it’s still in its place in my box o’ crap and important papers (taxes, restraining orders, warranties, etc.) that I keep in my bedroom.

I love my passport. It completes me.

Over the last 4 years alone, it’s seen me to Tokyo, Vancouver, Chicago, London, Amsterdam, Paris, Las Vegas, Costa Rica, New York City (for the 3rd time) and soon… Curacao.

I will admit that I’m looking forward to renewing my passport in 2013. My current passport photo makes me look more like a 40ish¬†divorcee from Maine who’s seen too many long nights comforted by Chardonnay and Lionel Richie albums. You know what I mean.

#3 – My Rosebud Salve Lip Balm

I put this shit on everything. Lips (duh), dry elbows, my cuticles¬†and my eyebrows (when they’re in need of a good taming). I will say that although this salve is super long-lasting, it has a strong scent that I find a teensy¬†bit perfume-y. It lasts forever though and I like the scent/taste a bit more than Carmex¬†products which I still use (on my desk at work I currently have Carmex¬†lip balm in all 3 iterations: solid chapstick¬†tube, lip balm pot and a squeezy¬†tube).¬† They compete for space with my Bliss¬†hand cream¬†and Milhouse Van Houten¬†figurine.

Rosebud Salve

Rosebud Salve - Back

Carmex Lip Care Line

#4 – My New Laptop

About a month ago my 5-year-old desktop computer (Lucille, I called her) gave a delicate cough, whispered “I just can’t anymore” and passed away peacefully.


Lucille was old. She worked hard for me. I downloaded a lot of truly awful TV onto the old girl. And I got her for free, which was a nice perk. Though she wasn’t cheap. Fancy ladies come at a price. Her hard drive crashed in May 2011 and fixing it cost…a lot. But¬†I figured since she was free (my parents got her after complaining to their Internet provider about slow service, and since they’d just bought a new computer she came to live with me), I didn’t mind investing a little in her upkeep. This time around, my trusty computer repairman simply covered her with a sheet and told me it was time to move on. And move on I did.

With the help of my co-worker H (aficionado in all things techy and geek) I purchased this Toshiba laptop. And we’ve fallen madly in love. Luckily, my computer guy was able to retrieve all of my photos and downloads and music from Lucille so within a few days I was back up and running as before. But with a looooooooot more desk space.

The best part? She was on sale. I’m still deciding on a name but leaning towards Chelsea or Vivienne.

#5 – My Leather Jacket

I am not kidding when I say that every time I wear my leathers, another chick will stop me and ask me where I got it. A few years ago I was in search of the perfect leather jacket. I almost bought one in Paris, but MM stopped me. It was like 300 euros and not even that great.Dejected, I brought my search home to Toronto but gave up after a few months. One afternoon, I was walking through the Toronto underground PATH system in the¬†financial district and passed a Danier. They had a rack of leathers out in front with a¬†huge SALE sign. Marked down to $199. I decided to take a peek and the saleswoman¬†asked if I wanted to try one on. I was pretty broke at the time,¬†still paying off my¬†somewhat spontaneous trip to London/Amsterdam/Paris but I asked for a medium and thought I’d at least try it on.¬†Then the saleswoman said: “No. You’re a small.” After I stopped laughing I explained that my boobs haven’t fit into a size small since 6th grade. She insisted. I tried the small. I had a fashion orgasm. I bought it.

I have never loved a piece of clothing more. It’s perf for Spring and Fall and looks equally as good over a pair of jeans, some converse and a t-shirt as it does over a dress. We’re going to have many happy years together.

My leathers from Danier - bomber with flower lining


What are your day-to-day essentials?


Happy Canada Day everyone!

Apparently July 1 is the busiest moving day of the year. Moving vans as far as the eye could see in Toronto! I spent the early part of the day helping K move and later we had a BBQ at M and B’s. Lovely. Then the fireworks started so I made a hasty exit¬†and peddled my bike home in terror. I abhor fireworks. They happen too often in the summer. Ugh.

Anyhoodle, today M and I were nostalgic about our trip to Las Vegas this past October and are looking forward to our third trip to New York in a few weeks, and it got me thinking about some of my favourite travel photos from the past 5 years.

Hope you’re having a great long weekend, whether it’s a stay-cation in the city, a cottage road trip or a flight to somewhere new!

The New York New York Hotel in Las avegas

At the Eiffel Tower in Paris with M

Notting Hill homes in London






Granville Island in Vancouver


Imperial Gardens in Tokyo