Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Japanese comedy

This year a number of comedy duos broke through, but the two that stand out most to me are 日本エレキテル連合 (Nihon Erekiteru Rengou), a female duo and どぶろっく(Doburokku), a male duo.

With the female group, one member portrays an older man who has ordered an android to stand in for his deceased wife. Most of the sketches revolve around him trying to get her to do something with him. Akemi-chan is the android, but is apparently broken; the only words she utters are "Dame yo. Dame, Dame." (No. No, no.)
Check out a sketch below:

Doburokku uses song to deliver their comedy. The tag line is "Moshikshite dakedo," which is something like "could it be?," "possibly?," "maybe?" Their songs are targeted at women they happen to pass on the street with lines like, "Walking down the street late at night; You turned and looked back. As you hurried away; Could it be? Possibly? You're hurrying back home to clean your place for me?" Their addictive tune has been used in various commercials and for various products. Check it out below:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Brace Yourselves. We're in the Midst of Bonenkai Season!

Bonenkai season is upon us.

I'm sure that many have already started going to their parties. My work party is this coming Friday. Two weeks ago we got an email stating a tentative plan for karaoke. 

I need to just have people read and interpret things for me. I love karaoke and assumed they were talking about renting a room for us to jam in. No. It was a plan to rent a karaoke set and have us sing in front of each other in the party room.

Maybe that could be ok...

Then last week I was given the news that songs would be limited to Christmas songs only and there'd be a limit of 30 minutes of songtime. I'm disappointed, but, I don't want to let people down, so I'm listening to my chosen song on YouTube and singing along so I don't trip up too badly!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Today's Horrible Mistake

Krispy Kreme set up a temporary store downtown and I went last Saturday and got myself some delicious original and cinnamon sugar donuts.

Today I went back and got some different flavors. One was a chocolate filled snowman, which I'm planning to save for breakfast. The other was a powdered sugar covered jelly-donut-like thing called "Creamy Cheese."

I stupidly thought of cream cheese and bought it. When I later bit into it, I got sweet, cheese jelly. Disgusting as fuck. I regret everything.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Work, Friendly Reminders and...

After coming into work this morning, the woman who prepares the coffee and other office things walked around placing photocopies of some paper on our desks.

When I settled down to take a look, I saw that it was divided into four parts and had some go-to keigo for the phones and phrases to use when passing people in the hallway.

There are a lot of things like this here; signs in bathrooms telling you to think about others when you use the toilet, reminders to slow down, reminders to greet people in the hallways. A lot of it is neat, in a way. Sometimes a reminder can do a lot to put you on the right track, much like what happens when an elementary school student running through the hallways hears, "Why don't you take it slow?," and they turn around to see a teacher. Suddenly the student becomes more aware, slows down, and, what's perhaps most important, it happens in a moment. No one is yelled at. No one is punished.

My apartment has signs asking everyone to think of others and not turn up their TVs or stereos too loudly, and more. Unfortunately, they are just gentle requests, and when I've called to the management company to ask them to get my neighbor to stop his 30 minute intervals of smoking, they promised a note. "Even though his smoke gets into your room, we can't tell him he can't smoke on his porch. All we can do is remind him that his habit is causing others an inconvenience." 


So, since my neighbors have been having annoying loud squeaky bed sex at ungodly hours, I am not really sure that a phone call to the owners is going to stop anything. Really? Who has sex at 2am on a Sunday night/Monday morning? Or 4:30am on a Wednesday? Come on, that's just weird.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Body Image is Effed Up

I've been in Japan for close to eight years. I remember when I first arrived and how I'd walk around downtown after work. August is unbearably hot and humid in Japan, and yet it seemed like none of the girls walking around me noticed the heat. They looked cool (literally) and put together. From their perfectly permed and styled hair, to their perfect make-up and well-fitted clothing...and heels (!!!), I felt completely out of place.

I was used to wearing jeans and t-shirts with baseball caps. Sneakers...hair in a braid...

Make-up? On me??? 

No way.

I was, however, ready to toss all of the clothes I brought with me from the US. In fact, I did end up sending back a lot of clothes and buying new ones in Japan. At that time, the only people in t-shirts, jeans and flip-flops were tourists. But the more I tried to find clothes that looked good on me, the worse I felt about my body.

The first thing I went after was clothing. Japanese girls have a nice variety of fashion styles to choose from, but none of them look good on an athletic build. Or someone with a larger chest. Or someone with a larger butt...
The short, shorts that look passable on a Japanese girl with slender legs and a flat butt, made me look like a hooker. Paired with the knee-high socks that are so popular here, and I might as well walk down the street with a neon "For Sale" sign flashing at my crotch.

Did I mention that every other girl here has a thigh gap large enough to drive a MAC truck through? TWO! Side-by-side! 

Then I started thinking about make-up. I can try it, right? That should be someone straight forward. No.
Nothing is that easy.
I never wore make-up in the US and I had no idea where to start, so I started with Korean BB Cream...which comes in two shades if you're lucky. Both of them are typically too light for me. 

So, while I was feeling bad about my body, I started to feel bad about my skin color. I never really cared about this stuff when I was in the US. Well, I hated my body in the US, but being in Japan made me hate it even more.

At work, what were probably meant to be compliments made me feel even worse: comments on the shape of my butt, the length of my legs, the size of my chest...the size of my arm muscles. Usually something like: "Oh! Sexy!" or "Wow! Big muscles!" Later, the same group of women would talk about how they want to avoid getting darker in the summer or how they don't want to bulk up. Oftentimes in the summer, I'd get people who'd hold up their arms next to mine to see how dark they got.

Going up a size or two from my US size to my Japanese size was also a big hit. The reactions from coworkers at that time made me feel shitty at best: "YOU wear an XS??? NO WAY!!1" "Well, in US sizes I do" "Well, Americans are big, so..."


At 5'3ish, I feel incredibly short at times. There are a huge amount of girls who are my height but weigh 30lbs less than me and totter around in heels all day. They all look a lot taller, they are a lot thinner and more.

Finally, what is somewhat related is the way that white people are worshiped here. Any clothing ad will inevitably have a thin blonde staring back at me. If you are white and relatively thin, people will ask you to model. To a degree, white people are held up as a defacto beauty standard. Even the mixed models are almost always half-white. Half-Asians get featured only if they meet the standard, and you'll never see half-black models outside of a small number of magazines that cater to hip-hop fans. Heck, the half-black comedians are called ugly to their faces on TV.

So, to sum up, this time of my life has been one of my lowest points with regards to my weight, height, appearance and everything. I weigh the most I've ever weighed in my life and I feel incredibly unattractive. It's this kind of stuff that makes me want to go to the US to take a break and take in all of the different body types. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Random Annoyances

What never gets old here is the random reaction I get from Japanese workers when I'm shopping or out and about. 

On a lucky day, the staff gives me the same treatment as the locals: I'm asked if I have a point card (if the store has one), get my purchase rang up and I'm out with no issues.

That happens maybe 50 - 60% of the time. 

The interactions that piss me off are the ones where, after asking the Japanese person in front of me if they have a point card or coupon, when my turn comes, they silently start ringing up my items. Of course, while they do this, I pull out my point card or discount coupon and they, at times, have to ring up the purchase again. 
The weird thing is that I'll pull out my card, they look at the card and give me the stock line they ask Japanese customers: "Do you have a point card?"

Of course I have a point card, what the hell do you think i just pulled out? 

At other times, as soon as I step up to the counter, the face of the person at the register turns to horror and they just stop talking. Or they switch to speaking to me in broken English and pointing to the digital display to show me my total.

You know, I'm not even going to give them any leeway. I don't live in a small town. This city gets a large amount of foreign tourists, but there is also a good number of foreigners and international students living here who can speak Japanese. 
There really is no excuse to ignore a customer or give them different treatment. You talk to me in Japanese, if I don't understand, then feel free to pantomime or whatever else.

Sure, it's something small in the larger scheme of things, but this is one of those annoyances that just builds and builds.

Monday, November 3, 2014

On Pregnancy in Japan

No. I am not, nor will I ever be pregnant.

I've forgotten the password to this site more times than I can count.

But back to the title. I've currently outlasted the majority of the foreigners I came to Japan with. The ones in my area that are left are all men. All of them are married. And within the past few years the majority of them have decided that they are going to spawn. And yes, their wives are Japanese.

What I've discovered through these men is that they are no more enlightened about pregnancy than their Japanese counterparts.

1. My first shocker was hearing that epidurals are not a typical part of the birth process. My next shocker was that of the three foreign men I've talked with recently, all of whom have kids or have wives that are about to give birth, none...NONE of them knew what an epidural was! Whether their wives want to have one or not is up to them. But the fact that the guys, who are all university educated, couldn't be bothered to research this fucking obvious part of birth kills me.

What's more is that two of them didn't seem to give a fuck. "I don't know what that is, I'll just let my wife decide" tee hee hee. Funny, huh?

2. The next thing you may or may not know of is tearing, known as perineal tears, which sound about as nice as you can imagine. This shit is serious enough to have degrees...like a burn...
Except in this case, it's the result of your gaijin husband's huge gaijin baby tearing its way through your body. If it seems like there's not enough space, the doctor or nurse will take a pair of scissors and cut from your anus to the hole where the baby is coming out, this is called an episiotomy. So, you're lying there, pushing this huge fucking baby out of your cootch, with no anesthesia, when someone pulls out the scissors to cut open your asshole. Again, nothing to numb the pain...confirmed by my coworker this past week.

I should mention that having your asshole either split open or cut open during birth is not something unique to Japan.

3. Finally, I wash shocked at the lack of knowledge about things such as pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, postpartum depression, and any of the other slew of birth-related and post-birth related issues. 

I don't expect men or even women to be 100% on the ball on everything that goes on with pregnancy and birth. But, I really can't describe how thoroughly pissed I feel at these men who really just left everything to their wives. I'm sure they are more supportive than the average Japanese guy, but, really...the three points outlined above are HUGE. They can impact the whole pregnancy and marriage. 

What's worse is that most Japanese women are NOT open to talking about these kinds of things with their husbands. And so, these guys don't know that their wives probably have stitches up their assholes and don't want and can't have sex for at least a month. Three, four, five months after having a kid, I go to forums and see these foreign men bitching that their wives don't want sex anymore. Can you imagine why?

While their wives are stuck being pregnant, these smug motherfuckers are just sitting around like they're the coolest thing since sliced bread. I don't know if I'm overacting, but there's something about this laissez-faire attitude that really irks me. None of these guys, that I know, seem like the types that have given any serious thought to the issues that surround raising a multiracial child. None of them seem to understand the "mama-tomo" interworkings of female-mother friendships, school expectations, and more that they will be faced with as their kids age.

Other sources on pregnancy/birth in Japan include: this, this, this and this.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

i had a surgery

On Wednesday, August 27, I underwent laparoscopic surgery to remove what turned out to be three fibroid tumors. The past few months have been a rush.

The TL;DR/TMI version is as follows:

- In 2010, I went to the gynecologist for the first time since coming to Japan seeking relief from my painful periods. (Like, throwing up all day, terrible stomach and back pain/can't do anything pain)
Told I had two small fibroids. 1cm each, I think. Given meds and told to come back if anything got worse.

- 2011, the sizes are 3 and 4cm.

- In 2013, I went back to the gynecologist because I noticed a large lump in my stomach when I was laying flat on my back. She says fibroid tumors, this time the sizes are 6 and 7cm and I'll need surgery. I was expecting to hear something like that. But, I couldn't afford any surgery and she said it wasn't urgent.

- April, 2014, I switch jobs and have more time. Go back to the gynecologist because my stomach is looking something awful when I have my period, the lump is larger and I've gained weight. The fibroid is now something like 8 and 9cm respectively.

- I get the introduction letter to a surgeon and start visiting him to learn more about the surgery date, and in August, I go to the hospital once a week to bank my blood.

- At the end of August I go to the hospital for 6 days, 5 nights.

- Total cost to me was close to 90,000 yen or $900. Which was the 30% of the fee I pay after insurance has taken care of the rest.

More to come later...

Friday, May 30, 2014

5 More Reasons Why Facebook in Japan is Annoying

A while back I wrote about why using facebook is damn annoying in Japan. 

Today, I'm back with some more reasons. These apply to facebook and apps like LINE and Kakao Talk. Let's start:

1. Do you facebook?
Why do people think that someone they just. met. wants to exchange facebook information? This shit pissed me off in the US before facebook came out. Then it was annoying guys trying to get your phone number like, "Can I get your number?"
If you are a foreigner from a western country the people here KNOW that you use facebook. It's not a question. It is a statement. A statement that says, "You are a foreigner and you use facebook. I know this because I know that foreigners use facebook. Now, you are to "friend" me on facebook, because I am asking you to. To not friend me would cause awkwardness between the both of us and it would amount to you rejecting my friendship. So, despite knowing nothing about you, you need to open up the facebook app on your phone and friend the fuck out of me."

It's like this. But in Japanese.

2. Do you have LINE?
Fucking hell. If you can get out of them getting your facebook, then they ask for your LINE ID. Hell, even if you've given in and given them your facebook, they'll ask for your LINE ID. It's like there's a need to be all up in your business 24/7. Don't have LINE? What about Kakao Talk? No Kakao Talk? Then how about your cell phone email address? Your PC email address? Your social security number, date of birth blood type, mother's maiden name???
Might as well give that away for all the questions you're subjected to.

3. Give up ever having interesting posts
Now that you've friended every other person, you now have to face the reality that none, and I mean NONE of them write anything on their facebook pages. Ever. So, when you're posting some picture of yourself barfing after a night of booze and crack, make sure that all of your new "friends" can't see it. Because, despite having absolutely nothing on their facebook pages, they are constantly checking out yours. Heck, you might think that they've dropped off the face of the earth and forgotten about you, but that's when you go to work and hear, "So, you like drinking? Because I check your facebook every day and I saw those pics of you drinking."
Most people aren't interested in having intellectually stimulating conversations (probably not limited to Japan), but, they read everything you write and take offense to it. Don't like something about Japan? They know it. And god help you if one of your "friends" also posts on 2ch, because you might find your posts translated into Japanese and then you'll have yourself out of a job for saying you like Chinese food better than Japanese food.

4. Guilt trips
If you don't enthusiastically pull out your phone and start friending everyone like your life depended on it, you'll be thought of as "mean" or "cold" or whatever. If this was the US, who cares. But, since relationships are so important here, you've just gone and shot yourself in the foot.

5. Everyone knows it sucks
They know it sucks, but they don't do anything to change it. Your choices are to only friend people who you know well; restrict access to people; whitewash your social media; or, have no facebook, etc at all. The vast majority of people choose to whitewash their online presence. A smaller, but vocal, minority choose to loudly proclaim their opinions. Unfortunately, those opinions are often racist and sexist. 

I'm still trying to figure out the best way to navigate social media with Japanese people. It is definitely an exercise in frustration!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

5 Things That Surprised Me in Japan

"What surprised you about Japan?"

I swear, every other Japanese person I meet asks me this question. No. Wait. That was a lie.

Every. Single. Person.

I usually answer that I was surprised about the heat and humidity (I came in August). Or, that all the people in uniforms and suits surprised me. I mean, I rarely saw people in suits when I was back in the U.S.

But, I've decided to make a list of things that surprised me or were new to me...a little different from the typical "culture shock" thing. Here goes (in no particular order):

1. My Japanese Sucks
I studied Japanese for five fucking years at university and arrived here with the hope that I would at least be able to communicate with people only to have those hopes dashed. The speed that people spoke with, their accents, their word usage...everything was different from what I learned in the U.S. And why wouldn't it be? But, that didn't make that first year frustrating.

2. Everyone Knows English Better Than You
...but they still want you to teach them. Makes no damn sense. The person going on about how "bad" their English is, is the first person to ask you some snotty question like, "What's the difference between 'Can I' and 'May I'? 'May I' is more polite, isn't it?" On the surface it seems like an innocent question, but fuck if I want to be grilled on English usage by someone who wants to stroke their ego. I should have used a better example, but some of the questions are so damn stupid, I just try to forget them.

3. You Should Must Be Happy...Always
In the U.S. you are allowed "bad days" to an extent. I mean, no matter how bad of a day you're having, you don't go into work stabbing people. But, no one is going to hold it against you if you say you're tired or having a bad day or whatever.
The amount of times I'm allowed to mention that I'm having a bad day has fallen to 0 within the past few years. I wake up feeling like death, pull myself to work..."How's it going?" I want to tell them that I feel like I might die or that I am actually dead, but I smile feebly and mumble a "I'm OK." 
It's even worse when you have to meet outside people or teach English on the side, like I do. Up late drinking? "I'm great. I love life." (OK, maybe all that drinking is my bad...)
Let's change that to pounding migraine. As much as you want to just cancel all of your plans, roll into a ball and never leave your apartment, you drag yourself out and put on a good face. All so that your client/eikaiwa lady doesn't complain that the foreigner seemed unhappy or something. So, smile.

4. Other Foreigners Ruin Everything
The reason we can't have nice things? It's the fault of that fucker. Whether it's a mysterious foreigner who used to work at your workplace years before you were ever born and left a bad impression, or a current coworker who Just Doesn't Care, other foreigners can make or break your experience. A majority of the Western foreigners here in Japan are minorities for the first time in their lives. The idea of doing better than the locals so as not to bring unwanted disgrace to your race/culture/ethnicity is just not something someone who is a part of the majority is used to. 
"What I do effects only me" is fine when you're back home. It doesn't fly here. People that don't think before they act literally screw things up for everyone else.

5.  Friendship is Like a Second Job
Oh god. Friendships are just not easy. Well, actually, sometimes they are too easy. Too easy in the sense that asking someone you've just met to be your friend and having them reply in the affirmative means that you are now "friends." When that happens, you've got a creepy, stalker "friend." Congrats.
In other circumstances, you're in constant limbo. "Are we friends? I think we are...but we only talk about the weather..." Once you feel like you've become closer friends, a whole crop of obligations springs up: "Come to this concert I've having...it's only 3,000 yen!," "Teach me English. We are friends after all, so...free, right?," and more. And if you stumble one too many times, you're in danger of being kicked off the "friend" list. Friendship in general has some give and take, but it shouldn't be an obligation. Unfortunately, while it's not limited to Japan, the cultural differences can make it seem like a second job.

So. Those are my five things for now. Will add to the list if and when I think of more! How about anyone reading? Anything to add?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

april fools

It's April 1st and I'm making my first post in a long time. First, I've been busy gearing up for my new job, which starts April 1st! Second, I've been sick, so that's that.

If you've been living in Japan or you're getting ready to visit Japan, be forewarned that the consumption tax will go up 3% to 8%. Previously it was 5%. Oh...my god. People have been going crazy buying up stuff before the taxes go up. Like, bulk buying food and shit. It is the apocalypse. 

Since it's April Fools day, and I remember last year's April Fools, I've decided to post what I find as I find it. So, first is cell phone company au with their mail-order kit phone.

Check out the page and video here. But, it'll be gone once April Fools ends, so catch it while you can! Deagostini is a company that has monthly subscriptions for things like maps, robots, etc. The jingle you hear at the end of the commercial is their jingle. 

Gigazine has a list of the Japanese April Fools sites up so far. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

People Be Cray-zay

I've been looking for a new bike for a while. So, tonight I finally work up the courage to ask the staff at one of the shops about a bike. 
It's got thin tires...kinda scary. The fit is fine. I was all about to buy it, but then the guy is all, "Let's pick out a kick stand." And I'm all, "Whhaaa????"

I guess I've been out of the bike game for too long. I mean, wth, a bike without a kick stand? Why would someone sell that? Why would someone MAKE that? Like, I'm supposed to let my bike float in the air while I am out shopping?

The kick stand was going to be an extra $20 ish. Then, after calculating in the cost of fenders, a light, a basket and maybe a new lock, that would have been like another $100!


So, I told the guy I'd have to think it over. 

Since I've been going around town looking at bikes, I've seen a LOT of nice bikes. All of which cost an arm and a leg. Lately, Japanese people have been buying nicer and nicer bikes. When I first came here, most people were riding huge, shit, one speed bikes with squeaky breaks. These days you see people on "fixies," mountain bikes, city bikes and whatever other types are out there.

What's fucking crazy (in my mind) is that Japanese people treat their bikes like SHIT! I saw a bike parked outside, totally beaten up, today. I know for a fact that that bike goes for between $500 and $600 here in town. I know because I'd love to have that bike! 

When people park their bikes, they park them like they're throwing trash on the pile. My current bike had a back light broken in a parking lot. And everyday after work I have to wrestle it out of the tangle of other bikes. I don't pay good money for people to fuck up my shit. But for some reason, Japanese people do. It's not bikes either! I see it with cell phones ("dropped and smashed my iphone lulz"), with designer bags ("my chanel bag is molded lulz"), and designer wallets ("let me just drop this in a puddle lulz").

Why pay good money for something if you're not going to take care of it????

Japan, you crazy.

Excuses, Excuses...

The other day I was reading through r/japan on reddit, as you do, and I came across a post asking about apologies in Japanese culture. What I found interesting was one reply that said that Japanese people see American style explanations of what went wrong as 言い訳 (ii wake), or "excuses."

I found the answer to be very interesting because as an American, I like...no, I need to know how someone came to their decision. I thought about that thread when I was chatting with my boyfriend last week. He went out drinking with some co-workers, ended up in at some station in Tokyo after the last train and had to take a taxi home...spending a lot of money. Then a day later, he drank too much and had to sleep in an internet cafe.

That's about all the details I've gotten out of him. I was expecting to hear a detailed account of how he went out with his coworker, they ate at this izakaya then went to that snack bar...that they drank 12 bottles of sake and made out with a homeless man before waking up in the middle of the street in their own barf. But just getting the part out about his coworker was pulling teeth!

Perhaps this, along with the apology style is the Japanese way of saying that what led up to the outcome doesn't matter, only the outcome. For me...for Americans, all those steps are so important to understanding...everything!

As a final, I've always wanted to say, "Joe said that Cindy said that you said that I said that I'd go," in Japanese. But the only way I know of cuts out all of the middle parts, giving you a very general, sad, "It seems that according to Joe I said I'd go." ジョは私が行くと言ったそうだ。Very frustrating.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

BoA's Back!

I remember way back when when BoA made her debut. I was starting to get active on the K-pop site Soompi, and people were posting translations of articles from Korea. BoA is a member of SM Entertainment. About the time she debuted, one of Korea's hottest boy bands, H.O.T, broke up (or was breaking up, can't clearly remember). H.O.T was an SM Entertainment group and (female) H.O.T fans focused in on BoA as the reason for the break up.

Soon after her debut in Korea, she was ferried off to Japan for her Japanese debut. She had a lot of success there with Valenti, Listen to My Heart, No 1, Kiseki and more. This was in the early 2000s. K-pop as a phenomenon was limited to the "Korean Wave" in Japan...which was really just Winter Sonata (a Korean drama starring Bae Yong-jun, part of a larger series with different stories and actors that cover the other three seasons).

In the early 2000s, it was said that she was more popular in Japan than Korea. Indeed, a number of her Korean songs at that time were the Japanese songs translated into Korean. While I wouldn't call myself a super fan by any stretch of the imagination, I have followed BoA throughout her career and have cheered her on. 

Recently, I was reading an article on Soompi about her newest Japanese single. When I clicked to watch the music video, I was surprised at how much she'd changed!

She looks like a totally different person! Well, people grow up and change, but I thought I was watching some random girl lip-sync to BoA's song! The song is nice, her dance moves are (as always) the bomb and she looks great. But, I can't help missing the "Valenti"-era BoA! Check out Valenti and her newest video "Shout It Out!" below.

Shout It Out

Thursday, January 16, 2014

misc. links

Just a few links for the week...

1. I know that JET Program hopefuls are getting ready for their interviews. If you are hoping to be a CIR, check out my write-up about the interview here and here.
If you have questions, please leave them on this blog, since I don't visit the other one that often!

And wow, the CIR interview blog is on the first page for google searches! w00t! Of course, there aren't that many people who are CIRs, so, there's only so much to choose from...

2. Are you a non-Japanese girl interested in dating Japanese men? Well, a Japanese guy has an AMA on reddit. There are less than 100 comments, which points to how biased r/japan is to the males. 

3. My friend just posted this article to his facebook page. Japan will be taxing foreign downloads from 2015. Probably because the government is a bunch of dicks. Have I done any "foreign downloads?" No. But, that doesn't mean that I think it's not a dick move. 

Have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

It's a New Year!

Happy 2014!

I only had a brief break at the end of the year. Most of that time was spent trying to clean my apartment, trying to finish up buying Xmas presents and trying to decide what to do with my life.

For the first time EVER!!! I bought a "fukubukuro!" Fukubukuro (福袋), or "Lucky Bags," are mystery bags filled with random shit that Japanese retailers sell between January 1st and 5th. The bags are usually filled with a meh variety of items, and sometimes you get "lucky" and score a great deal. The prices range from 1000 yen to over 100,000yen! 

Fukubukuro attract a huge amount of people out into the cold. The best way to think about it is Xmas meets Black Friday; you've got great (for Japan) deals, limited items and the chance of getting something great! People line up at least a week or two before New Year's in front of the Apple store. Their fukubukuro are hit (AirMac?) or miss (ipod shuffle) at 36,000 yen.

Anyways. I went and got myself a fukubukuro.

I wanted something that wasn't too expensive and that had something that I could probably use. Which is why I bought this revlon fukubukuro. Increasingly, stores have a display so people can see what's in the bag before they buy it. 

Typically what's in the bag works out to more than what you pay for it. So, at least you can feel like you got a good deal. Three types of lipsticks, with the brown one making my lips look super ashy. I guess if I was going for an extreme look it'd be cool. Neon yellow nail polish...yellow is not the favorite color of the average person, but it turned out OK. Haven't tested the foundation (darker because I'm not uber-pale!), but the age defying powder was nice enough.

Since I'm on the topic of makeup, I figured I'd show some of the stuff I got from Sephora last year:

Marc Jacobs blush and nail polish. I don't know why I chose that brown color. It must have looked better online. 

The nail polish was a bit of a fail, but the blush was OK!

It comes in its own little bag and the case is smaller than Chanel, but then again, it's not holding the brush.

The color I got was a little brighter than Chanel. No way to test online. I'm just glad that I didn't fuck up and regret it! Totally recommend! Easy to put on. The brush is soft. The color holds up well....and this has nothing to do with Japan!