Thursday, September 11, 2014

My Tokyo Routine

Unlike last week, this week was so disciplined, pretty much every day looked the same and it wasn't so bad after all. Wake up at 6:00, fold my futon, have a shower, long breakfast, pack my lunch, clean my room, go to work, go to the gym, come home, cook, tidy up, write, read, bed by 22:30. Zzzzzzz.

My eating habits are so much healthier when I'm disciplined and pack my own lunch and cook dinner, and I really should do this every single day even if I have all those events to attend. I mean, I could never pass up some free finger foods, but I could do without the in-between appointments conbini sandwich. Lately I've been snacking on edamame and tofu, as usual. I wonder if I eat too much tofu, I eat it almost daily. I should google that.

In other news, I joined a suicide prevention walk on Wednesday, which is World Suicide Prevention Day. It's a big topic in Japan (and everywhere else in the world for that matter) which holds a lot of stigma, but I think it's important to raise awareness. I think a lot of non-Japanese people living in Japan cannot easily find the help they need, or don't know where to turn. I witnessed a lot of people around me experiencing distress during our time in Japan, and unfortunately I wasn't aware of all the resources available, but they do exist, like the TELL Lifeline, which is a number everyone should program in their phones.

On a brighter note, this weekend is a long one (Respect for the Elderly holiday) and I'm so thankful I'll get to sleep in three mornings in a row. I just hope it stops raining, it's been so wet and grey all week.

I've already picked up my 2015 diary

Soba is my absolute favourite

Conbini lunch, not bad at all = ¥400

This selfie app is so much fun (and annoying for others)
It's called B612

Friday, September 5, 2014

September, Week One

I had one of those weeks with an event every single evening, which means glasses of Champagne, late bedtimes, rushed deadlines and skipped gym workouts. I wish I could do it all, but I did manage one introduction to boxing class, which was the best workout I've ever had. Why did I not know that before?? It's a fun way to do cardio, too.

I went to a hair product launch party with MTV, and left with a month's worth supply of hair products, which is kind of a nice perk, not to mention the event was sponsored by Moët & Chandon. I usually never use Japanese brands on my hair as it's not the right fit for my hair type, but this brand was actually fine, it's called XY9 and the striped pink and white packaging is quite nice. The best part of the event was the location, right next to L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele, some of my favourite in Tokyo. After the event, we shared a marinara pizza complete with enough garlic and olive oil to make Italy proud, along with a green salad and potato cake (gateau di patate sounds so much more appetizing). Although the reviews from that place are lukewarm, I think you can't find much better in Tokyo, although the very best pizza in Japan, Dottore, is actually located in Sendai.

I also went to the Canadian Embassy, which is always a happy place to go. I'm lucky I get to go often for work-related purposes and events, and I like how friendly everyone is, and how stepping in feels like being in Canada momentarily. I never miss a chance to take a photo of the Mountie cardboard cutout, who greets guests at the entrance.

This week was not all work and 6am starts- last night, one of my friends hosted a mani/pedi party at her place (which included two fluffy kitties, a spectacular view of Tokyo Tower, her manicurist and lots of wine and cheese) for four of us girls, and it was the best way to end the week. I picked vamp red on my fingers, and went old-school on my toes with the infamous Lincoln Park After Dark OPI shade, almost black deep purple. I also left with a gorgeous, brand new Vince navy dress, which made me realize I never owned an iron in Japan. So I've spent five years not ironing my clothes, and using the good ol' steamy-hot-water-in-the-shower trick to smooth out my clothes. On my shopping list this weekend: iron.

Anyone going to Vogue Fashion's Night Out tonight? Have a great weekend!

Shibuya, 6:20am

Hello there, pink bubbles.

Sides dishes at da Michele

Bonjour, Canada

The view from the bathroom (!) is pretty hot.

Many mirrors= obligatory selfie

This kitty!
Red nails

This face!

Monday, September 1, 2014

End of Summer

The change of seasons in Japan goes according to the date, and not the actual weather. Now that September arrived, decorations have changed to autumn leaves-themed displays, limited edition autumn beverages and shops are presenting clothes I cannot even dream of wearing just yet. The weather is still warm and the air filled with humidity, for another month at least.

Yet I can tell it's the end of summer, the light is different and the cicadas aren't as loud. I had the best summer I've had in several years, mostly because I went back to Canada, but also because I had a proper holiday. For almost a month, I did not work at all, something I never did in the five years I was in Japan. It was so refreshing, and as I came back to Japan, suddenly everything changed and exciting things are happening all over the place. Or maybe it's me who has changed?

Things I've been into lately: Gia Coppola (I love everything Coppola, whether it's wine or movies), Yves Saint Laurent movie (the early collections and runway shows were exquisite, and a young Karl Lagerfeld), my summer playlist, Gambit (the 1966 film), red nails, pencil skirts, greek yoghurt with berries, sparkling water and eringi mushroom sautéed with butter, best discovery of the summer.

September Metro Manner Poster:
Move your fur away from the priority seats?

Latte at Le Coutume, never get tired of it

How tiny are they?!
Definitely NOT trainer-approved

Friday, August 29, 2014

There goes August

It rained all week and it will continue all weekend, but I am loving this break from the summer heat, even though I know it's not completely over- summer will be back in full swing very soon, no doubt about that, so I'm trying not to get excited over autumn collections (too late).

I started a few mornings this week with a workout at the gym, and I'm really loving it, even though I have to wake up at an ungodly hour. I'm doing this 10-week fitness challenge with unlimited classes, it's only a week in but I'm already hooked. If I can take 4 classes per week, that'd be ideal. I've been sleeping very well and eating better too, as it comes hand in hand. 

In other news, I've been addicted to Aesop's oil-free hydrating serum, which is the perfect amount of moisture for humid Japanese summers. In Canada, I had to layer a cream since the weather was so dry, but in Japan it works fine on its own. I just want to buy everything at Aesop, and I love how environmentally friendly they are.

I'm not planning much working out for the weekend, perhaps some writing, some Champagne, some reading, and I want to bake a cake. 

The Tokyo Police mascot family. Where did his pants go?

This + drinking water all day = goodness

Loving this B612 selfie app,
as if we needed an app just for selfies

Monday, August 25, 2014

Mint Candy Apple

Over the weekend, the weather has dropped a few degrees, and it instantly feels a lot better. After an uneventful weekend spent recovering from the week before and missing out on summer festival fun and dinners with friends due to heat-induced illness, I got around to get back into my routine a bit. I sorted through the Canada photos, cleaned my whole apartment, stock up on fresh fruit and veggies and tried my hand at a summer bento. I painted my nails a mint candy apple shade, from Essie, which I bought in Montreal for a fraction of the price. The only things I bought in Canada were nail polish (OPI and Essie, a third of the price compared to Japan), English and French books (including lots of Amélie Nothomb and a plane gem called Crazy Rich Asians), some Lululemon workout clothes, and countless tubes of toothpaste. The essentials!!

In other news, I've had my MacBook Air for now two whole years. It still works really well, except the letters 'e' and 'd' on the keyboard are a little loose, and the memory is completely full even though I transferred most of my files and deleted applications. I love this computer so much, I remember when I bought it, it was right when I actually started to write for a living. It was a reward and a motivation to do more, and it paid off. So much has happened since then, I feel like I've been so lucky.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Is August Over Yet?

My feelings about summer in Japan, crowded trains in this heat and the constant sweat. Is it over yet? I remember when I lived in Shikoku for my first summer in Japan, I barely had to work (or when I did it was at night), so I would spend all day indoors with the air conditioner blasting and curtains shut.  It was actually a pretty depressing and lonely summer. Things are a lot more exciting now, but I sadly don't have the option of hibernating until October. 

Life post-holiday has resumed, but I feel different than before. It's like going home changed everything, even though my life in Tokyo is exactly the same (almost- I do wake up a lot earlier and eat more fruit).  I need more time to figure this all out.

In other news, I discovered a new healthy cafe in Aoyama, called Three. It's one of the rare places in Tokyo which has cold pressed juices, kale salads and hearty servings of gluten-free pancakes covered with fresh chunks of mangoes and bananas. I know all this is trendy overseas, but it's just making its first appearance in Japan. They even have a beauty shop and spa next door, which I haven't tried yet. They also serve alcohol, freshly baked goods and they actually open at 7am. 

I've also been enjoying white wine on the outdoor terrace at Cicada, ¥500 takeout curry at my local shop, homemade breakfasts, peaches, excruciating workouts at the gym and shopping at the depachika (basement of department stores, home to all the heavenly food, which is discounted after 6pm-ish). 

Can you spot me on the train platform?

Cold-pressed juice

THIS BREAKFAST (and no queue).

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Too Hot to Move

Japan is now experiencing its very worst weather, August being the peak and characterized by ungodly high levels of humidity and relentless heat. Every time I step outside I'm constantly sweating, and it goes on even after the sun sets at 6pm. Carrying a towel to wipe my face is just a regular part of my daily summer routine. I think Japanese summer is really miserable, as the temperatures reach extremes I never knew even existed.

On a positive note, there are some things I love about Japanese summer: the cicadas (many people complain about the noise, but I love them!), the summer foods and lighter meals, and drinking so much water and cold tea. Other than that, I just want to sit right below the air conditioner and not go out until late October. I think my level of tolerance for heat is quite low, unlike for the cold weather. When I was in Canada, my mom told me about how I used to spend a few hours outside every day, in the -30 degrees (Celcius!!) Canadian winters, when I was a newborn baby. Apparently new mothers were encouraged to spend lots of time outside in extreme coldness to get the baby used to the cold (bundled up, of course!). Not sure if they still do that nowadays, but I guess it worked.

I spent all of Sunday around Shimokitazawa, which has been my 'hood for now three years, and I couldn't help but notice how touristy and gentrified it has become. I still like it here, but since they built the new station, tore down the old shotengai and added shiny new conbinis on every streets, it lost its charm and appeal. It doesn't feel local anymore, and it's so crowded. I still recommend visiting it if you're ever in Tokyo, but I find it overhyped. Don't hate, I still have some love for Shimo.

In other news, I have pretty lame taste in movies, and while on the plane back from Canada, I watched (in addition to Weekend at Bernies' and National Lampoon's European Vacation) a French movie called 20 ans d'écart (English title is It Boy), which I loved. It's about a fashion magazine editor who pretends to have a fling with an 18 year-old boy just to get a promotion. It was lighthearted and stylish, in fact I'm in love with all the clothes Virginie Efira wears. And good soundtrack too, with Tom Tom Club, New Young Pony Club and France Gall. In fact I've been listening to so much France Gall those past few days- Ella Elle l'a and Résiste, such classics.

BP on a hot day

Dreaming of autumn clothes

Tokyo is ours

Doraemon exhibit at Roppongi Hills

Can never get enough of that cat robot