Thursday, 28 January 2016

Oh, Kimono!

I think this kimono is undoubtedly going to be one of my favourite pieces for Spring/Summer this year.  It's so strange because it's only in the past couple of years or so that I've really got into colours.  My wardrobe used to be almost entirely black, grey, white, occasionally a bit of denim... and then suddenly within the space of about 6 months it had made a dramatic transformation into - well, essentially the wardrobe form of Joseph's technicolour dreamcoat - without me even noticing.  

The colours in this kimono are really something, it made eyes at me from all the way over on the sale rail in Monki.  Of course, me being a bargain hunter (plus the whole rainbow-vision thing), I couldn't say no.  Also - this is a big also - it was only 1200 yen which is like £7... I've definitely found Monki to be a lot cheaper in Japan which is very exciting, so while I'm here I thought I'd make the most of it.  I also love this piece as it's one I feel you can really dress up or down.  It would look great with a pair of black pointy heels and leather leggings or equally great with a summer dress and sandals.  

Kimono - Monki / Top - New Look (old) / Jeans - Topshop Jamie
Belt - Dad's wardrobe / Shoes - TK Maxx

The other thing I am quite excited about are these little lace-up shoes.  I got these when I was in Ireland over Christmas from the TK Maxx store, for I think around €20, so another steal in my opinion.  I've been waiting for the weather to get a little bit warmer before wearing them, but it's actually pretty mild in Tokyo: it's been between 12 and 14 degrees the past couple of days which is amaaazing.  It's been a long time since I've bought some shoes as flat as these, though!  I don't tend to buy ballet pump style shoes as I'm incredibly heavy footed, so often the heartbreak of wearing holes into the bottom of my shoes within a matter of weeks just isn't worth it.  My Mum always used to tell me I could get my shoes re-heeled, which I did a couple of times, but they just weren't the same.  

 Having tracked down the kimono on ASOS, I've actually also noticed that the model in the picture is wearing it as a dress - I refuse to believe this should be worn as a dress (although it does look very nice).  First off, it would never have occurred to me to wear this as a dress because the only fastener is a tie at the waist belt, the same principle as a dressing gown, which I would not eagerly wear out in public, although it has been known to happen a few times.  What if there's a gust of wind and the  kimono flaps open?!  We've all been caught out at least once, but in my experience, the tie at the waist belt is a recipe for disaster.  So obviously it's not a dress.  The other slightly embarrassing thing about the whole ASOS model situation is that the kimono is actually only just knee length on her, yet on me, it's fast approaching the floor.  I'm going to say no more about that matter, except reassure myself that good things come in small packages.

Ruby x

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Sunday, 24 January 2016

What a View!

If someone asked me how many photos the average person could take of a city view before getting bored, I probably would've said 30, at a push.  Since visiting the Tokyo city view in Roppongi Hills, I've realised how far off my estimations were... by 143 photos.  

On Tuesday, Chiara and I visited the observation deck, which is on the 52nd floor of the tower, as well as paying an extra 500 yen to go on to the Sky Deck as well, which takes you out onto the roof of the tower - the total cost for our tickets was 1700 yen, which is just under £11.  It is absolutely freezing on the Sky Deck, but it was so worth paying a little extra to get to see the sunset from outside instead of through the glass of the observation deck.  For anyone thinking of visiting Tokyo, this is something I would highly recommend - it's a great way to see the city almost in its entirety (you can't even see the ends of the city), and looks great both in the daylight and the night time.  We went to watch the sunset between around 4.45 and 5.15pm which gave us the best of both worlds, as we watched the sky transform from a pale blue into purples and pinks and silvers and finally a deep, inky black.  Here I've selected the cream of crop of photos that Chiara and I took while there.  Funnily enough, they didn't need any kind of editing.

As well as getting a stunning view of the whole city, on a clear day, you can also see Mount Fuji which is pretty spectacular.  On Tuesday it looked particularly mystical, with smoke billowing from it's summit (just so you don't forget it's a volcano).  

What are your opinions of tourist attractions like these?  I have to say, this one I really enjoyed as I didn't feel it was overpriced or too gimmicky, unlike perhaps when I went to the Top of the Rock observation deck in New York.  Perhaps it's just the different culture, but the Japanese seem far less interested in commercial ventures than in other large cities I've been to.  I find it incredibly refreshing though - it's very laid back here.  I think I could stay forever.

Ruby x 


Friday, 22 January 2016

Tokyo Bay

When I initially thought of Tokyo, I had pictured big skyscrapers, a sea of neon lights and lots and lots of sushi.  I was right, kind of, but I also missed one big thing: Tokyo is right by the sea.  On day 2 Chiara and I took a trip to Tokyo bay after visiting a market at Tsukiji to get some breakfast (I picked up something vaguely resembling California Rolls - except a lot fresher than the Co-op ones) to have a sit down and admire the view.  I was a sight to see as it was... me trying to use chopsticks in the first place is a bit of a joke, let alone wrestling with mammoth chunks of sushi and a strong coastal breeze.  Let's just say I got a few funny looks from the locals.  

Me being a savage sushi gobbler.

I got these culottes in a ridiculously large ASOS order I did just before Christmas when I was stressed about trying to find an outfit for my cousin's wedding.  Does anyone else do the same thing?  I seem to get into the most ridiculous panics about finding outfits for special occasions and before I know it I've placed a triple-digit, 17 item order.  Anyway, long story short, I didn't wear these to the wedding but at the same time couldn't bare to part with them.  I'm a sucker for culottes at the moment, and this colour is also my weakness. 

Faux Fur Coat - Beyond Retro / Top - Motel Rocks / Sunglasses - French Connection 
Culottes - ASOS / Trainers - Adidas

In an ideal world, I probably wouldn't have paired these trainers with the outfit.  I did even debate bringing some spare shoes with me for the less movement-orientated parts of our day trip, however, I quickly realized how ridiculous a thing that was to do (not to mention also grossly impractical when travelling with a relatively small handbag), and accepted that sometimes in life you have to make sacrifices. 

This top (now in the sale for only £10!) which I ordered off ASOS a while ago has proved itself to be an absolute dream.  Like a good friend, it's been there through thick and thin...  I'm lying again, I had plans for this top for my Christmas outfit which were completely and utterly foiled by all the run-up-to-Christmas/too-many mince-pies-and-mulled-wine bloating situation.  You know what I'm talking about.  Anyway, luckily Christmas is just enough in the past now that this top has been able to make a reappearance in my 'wearable' section of the wardrobe.  

Let me know what you guys think.  Lots of love,

Ruby x


Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Japan Day One: Harajuku, Shibuya Crossing, Meji shrine and Noodles

Konnichiwaaaa! This blog post is coming to you a few days late - apparently trying to stay up past 11pm is impossible here... so finally here is all about my first day in Tokyo:

It is currently almost half past midnight and having succumbed to the temptation of what turned out to be a very blissful 3 hour nap between 7.30 and 10.30 earlier this evening, I'm now (rather unsurprisingly) feeling very awake.  I arrived in Tokyo yesterday, where I will be staying for the next couple of weeks or so with my fabulously talented housemate Chiara - whose photos will more than likely be making up the best part of these posts - and her dad and brother who live here in the city.  Having finally got all my first-term assessments done and out the way, I feel so bloody lucky to be here.  Travelling is always such an eye-opening experience, and Japan so far is like nothing I've ever seen before.

Jet lag almost worked in our favour today.  I first woke up around 4am, and by some kind of miracle, managed to get to sleep again within an hour or so but by 6 it was time to get up - it already felt like lunchtime!  I was glad we woke up early, as we got up to a Tokyo covered in a frosty white blanket of thick, fresh snow.  It was quite something, for my first view in the daylight, to look out and see all the buildings and the parks with these little white hats on.  We swiftly planned an itinerary for the day, made some food to take with us and were out the house by 8.30, wrapped up in layers and layers of scarves and coats and hats and gloves.   

The weather started off snowy and beautiful and tranquil and freezing, but very quickly turned into a puddly, slushy, slippery frenzy.  The wind and rain kept us on our toes, too... I'm lying, I was very much caught off guard and was on the floor within 5 minutes of leaving the house.  Obviously I didn't think to bring any grippy shoes... or waterproof ones, for that matter, so I had no hope of surviving the first downhill descent.  Luckily I managed to stay on my feet the rest of the day!

First up was Harajuku, as we thought it would be best to check out somewhere with some bigger shops first to keep out of the rain as much as possible.  I love the tubes in Tokyo.  They're so fast, incredibly regular, really clean, and seem to go anywhere and everywhere.  You can be in a totally new part of the city with minutes!  Harajuku was great, with lots of different side streets that were like the Japanese version of the Brighton laines (only a lot bigger... and brighter).  We spent a bit of time meandering in and out of the streets and browsing a few different shops, and stopped to have a Lolita-style photo booth experience which was extremely exciting.

For 600 yen we got to hire (rather tiny) outfits of our choice, choose from the vast array of slightly scary looking hair tongs, and have a photo booth experience like no other - the entire shop is full of different booths.  You get to select what kind of poses you want to do and on what style background, what music you want to play, and then once you're finished 'shooting' you can add stickers to the photos, change your hair/eye/lip colour and even add on a nice set of spidery eyelashes or some little animal ears to complete the look if you so wish. 

Afterwards, we headed to Shibuya to see the crossing there, supposedly one of the busiest intersections in the whole world.  It was Monday daytime when we went, so unsurprisingly it wasn't particularly busy, but it was still great to go sit upstairs in the Starbucks with a big frothy cappuccino and watch the hordes of people swarm in all directions in 30 second intervals. 

Of course, we walked across it a few times too.

 After the crossing, as well as a little bit of shopping, we decided to check out the Meji shrine, which is also in Shibuya.

The Meji shrine was beautiful yet so simple, and very much a hidden treasure... I never would've thought I was in Tokyo if I hadn't walked there with my very own feet.  Mid-afternoon the sun finally started to make an appearance, which was such a relief after the morning's persistent rain and wind.  We got back on the tube and then popped over to Ebisu to meet Chiara's dad and brother for some noodles.

(After somehow getting caught up in the middle of some kind of political demonstration - to which no one was really paying any attention.)

And that was my first day in Tokyo!  Keep your eyes peeled as there's plenty more coming.  Thanks so much for reading, hope everybody's really well and let me know what you think!

Ruby x