Monday, December 18, 2006

Makeup advertising campaigns: Aube, T'estimo, Esprique Precious

Sofina's Aube, Kanebo's T'estimo makeup lines have been relaunched recently and Kose just launched their new line Esprique Precious (not to be confused with Esprique Select).

Rinka, currently a quite popular model and TV personality in Japan, is the spokesmodel for Aube's relaunch. She looks good in the ads - in particular her skin looks perfect - but the hair styling is a little unnatural in the photos for the pink look. They used the purple and pink eye shadow palettes for the photos. The colors don't really appeal to me but they look pretty good on her. I'm still not sold on the purple though.

The actress Asami Mizukawa is the face of T'estimo's relaunch. I don't like the makeup they put on her. The shimmer and colors just doesn't suit. She's super pretty so I think it's just the color selection that I have an issue with. I've seen her in all of the new palettes and I don't think I liked any of them on her!

The supermodel Gemma Ward is the face of Esprique Precious, the catch phrase for which is "おとな。 but カワイイ," which translates into "grown-up. but cute." I'm guessing she's the most expensive of the spokesmodels for these campaigns, since she's internationally famous, but who know? Heh. For some reason, I really don't like the makeup they put on her. She's gorgeous but the colors seem to kind of wash her out, although they do bring out her grey-blue eyes. They should have gone with lighter lip colors. The pink is a bit too heavy on her. You may be unsurprised that the whole concept of the line is of little interest to me.

Maybe the problem is just that I don't like salmon pinkish colors. But other pinks look absolutely gorgeous - the magazine bea's Up this month has lovely layouts of a myriad of pretty pink lip colors - so I don't think that's the issue.

So far, I like the winter ad campain for Shiseido's Majolica Majorca line the best. Pretty and well done. The lip colors don't appeal to me, but they suit the model perfectly. The makeup for Chanel's Spring campaign is stunning though. Strong impact and looks great on the model. The model for Jill Stuart Spring also looks beautiful.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Recent purchases: Origins Underwear for Lips, and Covermark stick concealer

I bought this because the Armani salesman was a little scary and the friendly saleslady was no where to be found, so I had to flee to the Origins counter instead. Underwear for Lips is a lip base to wear under lipstick or lip gloss. It neutralizes the pigmentation in your lips a bit, and lipstick goes on quite smoothly. Still, I haven't noticed any marked improvement in appearance (I wipe off all my lipstick and gloss at lunch) so I am not overly enthusiastic about this item.

My unplanned purchase of CoverMark stick concealer was the result of an uninterested Inoui ID saleslady (again, the friendly lady from my previous visit was not working that day). Lately, I seem to be unable to say no if I try something on. So I have to hide from cosmetic counters. Too dangerous! Anyway, the concealer is convenient and easy to apply, but does sink into lines a little bit. And I could use a bit more coverage. I'll use it up, but again, I am not overly enthusiastic.

Ah well. My clothing purchases have gone much better (although they have also been pricy). I may take pictures for an end-of-the-year entry (inspired by Koneko).

Sunday, November 26, 2006

What do you think of this laptop bag? and furgles

Jade laptop bag from the Darci collection by Abbi New York.
I think I might get it. They have a purple version too, but I found the green one for $54.

Funny how easy it is to shop. I wasn't even looking for anything.

Picture from Abbi New York's site.

Is this not the cutest thing ever?!?!

It's a baby furgles cd/dvd holder.
Picture from
I'd so buy it for presents, but I'm very leery about credit card purchases these days. Can you tell it's much easier for me to shop for women than for men? And if you like ghibli or moomin stuff; such a snap for me to buy gifts.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

City maps

I just discovered superfuture. It has an awesome amount of detail on the Harajuku/Aoyama area. I had no idea that all these stores were there! I should wander around a lot this weekend. Holiday tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

laugh out loud

Today's post at Go Fug Yourself is absolutely brilliant.

Monday, November 20, 2006

email from Jesus (reputedly)

Spam mail is getting more and more interesting. I saved one just because it was interestingly incongruous ("narrative toothbrush"). But today, I got an email from Jesus (reputedly), entitled "thousand of war with me, And slew between cattle? The river,". Nonsensical but rather poetic. Despite containing both the words "war" and "slew," it is an oddly non-violent series of sentence fragments. Perhaps non-violent because there are only sentence fragments and thus manage to avoid having any meaning whatsoever.

Dude, these kids can dance! Some groups really need to stop dancing (coughcoughsmapcoughmorningmusumecough); they should just hire these kids.

2006-11-21: today I got an email entitled "apprentice floppy disk" and the text body begins with "rootless." Heh, a rootless apprentice floppy disk! I love it.

Friday, November 17, 2006

2nd impressions of the secret gardenia

I can't think of a good name for the Laurent Le Guernec creation sent to me by Made By Blog, so for now I'll call it Secret Gardenia. Although that sounds a little silly. Whatever.

At first, the utter creaminess of this fragrance rather overpowered me, but now I'm getting quite used to it and find it rather comforting. A single spritz quickly and softly envelopes me. I like this sensation. It has a pleasant dash of sweetness but isn't over the top. I wouldn't call it simple but rather uncomplicated. Easy to enjoy but interesting although I can't tell you what I find interesting about it! It's certainly nothing like the new stuff in the department stores!

Have you smelled Nina Ricci's new scent? Geez, that stuff is sweet.

In a semi-related note, I have so far been able to test Armani Code (leading to an unmeditated purchase of Origins underwear for lips; I lay all blame on the Armani salesguy) and Bulgari Au Parfumee The Rouge. Now Smell This also has a lovely review of The Rouge.

Armani Code for Women is very interesting; I can't describe it at all. I don't get the orange or ginger that Now Smell This describes; perhaps it's too well blended for me to pick out. It's very nice, but I liked the drydown better than the opening for some reason. Maybe the opening has too much going on for me. This is the second time I've tried it. The first time, my 6 year old friend preferred it over Hermes Ambre Narguile on me :)

In contrast, I lurvve the opening to Bulgari Au Parfumee The Rouge. On skin, I get a n opening blast of dark, slightly bitter tea. Glorious, really. Haha. I love that opening. After a while it morphs into smelling like The Vert, which is nice, but not quite my cup of tea. Har. Um, yeah. The friendly saleslady at Takashimaya Shinjuku described the drydown as powdery. I don't really think of powder when I smell it; it seems more soft than anything.

I'm very happy to have met a friendly perfume saleslady though! It's a first.

Unrelated, but because the Inoui ID saleslady on Thursday was unhelpful, I ended up buying expensive concealer from Covermark. Yikes, there goes my budget! If only the nice lady from Tuesday had been there :(

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Prizes have arrived!

My prizes from Made by Blog and arrived this week! I am rich in perfumes these days.

I'm currently testing both the Laurent Le Guernec creation that Made by Blog sent me, and the Missha travel size perfume from Perfume Critic.

First impressions of my MBB prize: creeammmy! Like butter.
I wrote up some thoughts on it, but as I take notes, I think "geez, Katie and Marina would never write anything so bland and inexpressive." But life is what it is so I will just put down what I think. MBB sent me a great big bottle allowing me to test this fragrance with abandon. I get lots and lots of gardenia, and a bit of almond at the beginning. Imagine a big creamy gardenia blossom the size of a canteloupe melon. The scent stays pretty close to the skin but I can still smell it 10 hours later. I wouldn't characterize the fragrance as sweet, although the creaminess makes any sweetness very evident, akin to how a white canvas makes colors stand out.

Missha: It's hard to categorize, because I'm not familiar with anything like it. I'm guessing it's a greenish perfume; that's the impression I get. Biting raw sap kind of effect, although the fragrance is not that sharp. I don't have any olfactory experience here :)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Kose Visee Aqua Shining Eyes BE 300

Aqua Shining Eyes from Visee is an excellent liquid eyeshadow. It doesn't crease or smear after 8 hours (although I did only test with a light coating, so I don't know what happens if you apply it normally), and looks absolutely beautiful. Shimmer and bits of sparkle give a beautiful effect. Definitely something for evening use though; I think it's a bit much for daytime. It's so lovely that I want to buy more, despite the limited opportunities to use it. I will refrain, of course.

The BE 300 is a pale peach champagne color. One swipe of the doe's foot applicator applies the pigment clearly; you can smooth it out for a sheerer effect.

Packaging is light and a bit on the cheap side but seems perfectly functional.

List price is 1800 yen, which is a bit expensive but you do get a quality product.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Perfume and Rap

No actual correllation between the two in my post, but the title does neatly sum up this entry.

Rapper/singer Akon doesn't always say what I would like to hear, but he has some catchy songs.

15 minutes into Trevor Nelson's show, you can hear his new song. Although if you go directly to his website, you can hear "Smack That" immediately. "Mr. Lonely" and "Locked up" are other classics. Apparently his native language is French. It'd be cool if he used French lyrics sometime. He already has, for all I know.

For catchy but less edgy music, you can check out Cassie.

Perfume Posse poses an interesting question: what 3 perfumes you would get if money were no object?

My choices:
Hermes Hermessence Discovery Set
Frederic Malle Test Kit
Shiseido White Rose

I've only tested White Rose and Hermessence Ambre Narguile once, so these aren't purchases I would actually make, but if I had money to burn, I'd want them.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

In the meantime: Vera Wang, Monotheme White tea

I am currently searching for the perfumes recommended by the Director of Fragrance Development at IFF. As sneaky department stores do not like to list on their websites which brands of perfumes that they carry, I have to physically go and search. I didn't realize Armani was so hard to find; so far Odakyu and Keio do not carry it. Today I will visit Seibu and Tobu.

I never noticed that Vera Wang was available at Odakyu though; I tried it out yesterday. Floral, sweet, rich. A bit too strong somehow for me. It's pretty though; I can see why it is popular. But Fracas is nicer. Fracas lovers would probably freak out at that understatement, haha. Thumbs up for Vera Wang.

Odakyu has a nice layout for their fragrance area. It's spread out and low key; usually the sales people leave you alone to browse through.

In contrast, the Keio fragrance area has fragrances all packed together four shelves high in a little corner, so it's bewildering to browse, not to mention guarded by a garrulous but not terribly helpful salesperson.

They have a new tester at Odakyu's Makeup Solutions area (which carries a lot of foreign brands including Too Faced, Bloom, and Hard Candy): Monotheme White Tea. It's quite nice. A simple sweet tea scent. On the light side, and lasting power seems moderate, but it's a quiet scent with little sillage from what I can tell, and not much development that I noticed. I've only tested it twice. It's quite pleasant, but I'm not enamored enough to buy it. It would be easy to wear, but perhaps a little dull. Anyway, a thumbs up from me (I like tea).

I am currently purging unneeded clothing from my wardrobe. My friend B helped me out a lot the last time she visited, but there's still quite a bit of stuff that I don't need. It's funny how difficult it is to get rid of clothing that I wear rarely but actually like. And clothing that I find inadequate for my purposes, but I use occasionally. And clothing that I don't really like but use a lot. All reasons that I have a lot of unnecessary clothing.
I found some excellent articles on minimizing:

Monday, November 06, 2006

a new take on attractive perfume

Found via NowSmellThis: an excellent article from Luca Turin is available at the Sunday Times.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

a prize for me

Hee, sorry about the self-centered title.

If you're curious, there's a post at Made by blog regarding the perfume recommendations that Ms. Ferval of IFF made for me, and the perfume prize that she picked out. If this post doesn't make any sense, go read Nobi's post, as he explains it all nicely.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Skinceuticals mask, AHA foaming face wash

Kind of busy, but have various mini-reviews to post anyway.

Skinceuticals mask mini-review: excellent. Lovely scent and texture. It only takes a small amount to cover my face; will take years to use up this jar. I keep it in the refrigerator and use once a week.

AHA foaming face wash mini-review: Smells faintly of chlorine. No noticeable foam. Haven't noticed any difference in my skin. It does remove makeup though.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Made by Blog is some fascinating stuff.

I really enjoy the glimpses into perfumery and what various perfumers are like. And Katie and Marina and Nobi's comments are always marvelous.

I gush, but it's true! (Whenever I say "It's true", I always think of Calvin and Hobbes and Calvin-the-alien saying "It twoo!" when he asserts that Calvin-the-boy has taken his space ship and stranded him. Anyone else get that? Anyway, Calvin and Hobbes is genius)

Monday, October 16, 2006

simple, frugal links

I found some good blogs on simple living and living frugally. It's funny how they seem to go together.

* The Frugal Duchess
* Simplicity in Kansas
* Frugal for Life

edit: Found through The Budget Fashionista

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

where to buy atomizers?

Having too many bottles sitting around, I'd like to decant them. But buying atomizers from the local drugstores is getting old. Where's a good place to buy plastic or glass atomizer bottles?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

4711 Cologne

I am currently addicted to 4711 Original Eau de Cologne but it disappears within 30 minutes. A pity. I guess I just have to carry it around if I want to be able to detect it.

While in Yokohama I ran across Fragonard's store in Minatomirai, and picked up a charming case of Eau du Bonheur solid perfume. It's quite bright and cheerful so far.

And Emanual Ungaro's Desnuda is very nice. I want a bigger decant. It doesn't seem readily available in Japan, but I will have to look around.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

commenting on what other people eat

Even monitoring what others eat is rude, much less commenting on it.
- Miss Manners

I've been guilty of this at times, unfortunately.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

shopping issues, luca turin can sell anything

I identify a lot with this post from High Fashion Girl.

Have you read Luca Turin's September column at NZZ Folio? I don't even like most lavenders, but promptly after reading the column, I was off and searching the web to find places to buy Caldey Island Lavender Water. Turin's descriptions are simply entrancing. I'm looking forward to his book "Secret of Scent" which will be out in Nov. in the U.S. I think it's already been published in Europe and available in Japan, which makes me wonder why the U.S. publisher is so slow.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Armani lemming!

I finally stopped by Isetan today and asked the Armani saleslady to show me a nude lip look. It was beautiful! Just the lipstick (over concealer) was a lovely nude (just a hint of rose/mauve to it, so it wasn't colorless). And when she applied a lip shimmer to it, it was really gorgeous. Such a simple look but so pretty! Specks of gold sparkled in the gloss. I really may have to go back and buy it. I think I'll ask the Saleslady to reapply it so I can confirm that the colors are correct. I don't know what color shimmer she applied and I think she used Armanisilk lipstick #18, but I want to be sure. I tried replicating the look with other lip glosses, but I don't have anything with that pretty gold glitter. It's not a metallic look but more glittery. A clear gap in my lip gloss collection. :P

I'm balking a bit at the price though! Both the lipstick and the shimmer together would come to more than $50. I wonder which I want more. I could buy the other one for Christmas :D

I liked the saleslady too. She was helpful and not pushy. When I told her I would think about the lipstick, she chirped that I should come back anytime. I haven't run across too many cheerful salesladies in dept. stores yet. I don't remember what she looked like though, and I didn't get her name.

I'm very impressed by the fuschia Chanel lipstick I have. At first I was a bit daunted by the brightness, but it's very blendable so I'm using just a touch to get a light pink look. The Estee Lauder lipsticks blend very well too. I suppose that's a sign of quality. The Fasio lipstick I have doesn't blend very well.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

mini reviews: Fruits & Passion, Caswell Massey, L'Occitane

- Fruits & Passion Fruity Deodorant in Pear-Linden: The pear linden smell is lovely, but I'm finding the deodorant to be a little too heavily perfumed. I catch whiffs of it at work. It's not quite complex enough to want to perfume myself with it. I sampled Solstis deodorant in the Manila store, and that smells lovely! Light and interesting and summery. I may buy that next.

I have not yet opened my little pot of Monoi Hand Butter but the gardenia scent is luxurious. I look forward to using it in winter. The jasmine lotions also smelled divine; that may be a future purchase if I ever get tired of gardenia and almond. Current objects of desire (and greed):
* Body Care Gift Set in Monoi
* Refreshing Ritual
(Fruits & Passion have a Canadian site too.)

- Caswell Massey Almond sampler kit: Not bad. The unscented lip balm is very moisturizing so I enjoy using it at night. A little too greasy for a repurchase though. The shower lotion and hand lotion are very nice, but a little too sweet like marzipan for my taste. Haven't tried the almond shampoo or bar soap yet. Someday I hope to find Crawford & Williams hand soap for sale somewhere! That is a perfect almond scent. L'Occitane's almond line is nice, but way too pricy in Japan for me to stomach buying.

- L'Occitane Almond shea butter soap: Meh. Not much of any scent, not to mention almond. But the soap itself seems like a very nice, high quality soap. I was annoyed when one saleslady in Omotesando told me that L'Occitane doesn't make almond soap, even though I knew they sold it in the Shinjuku shop. I guess they're no longer producing it, as I could only find a link to the milk and verbena scents.

I would like to try the Almond Shower oil sometime; now it comes in a nice travel size.

Friday, September 08, 2006

mini u.k. street poll on celebrity perfumes

One of the reporters on Trevor Nelson's weekend radio show (BBC radio) went out and had three teenagers sample three celebrity perfumes and rank them. The reporter remarked on the booming celebrity fragrance trend. The sampled perfumes were JLo Love at First Glow, Sean John's Unforgivable, and Britney Spears' Curious.

The final ranking:
3. JLo - comments about the bottle: "It's quite stylish, I think a lot of girls our age would like it." About the scent, "Um, It's not my favorite but it's ok. Um, it's for like older peo... older teens." (LOL at the definition of age).
2. Sean John - "Smells quite nice, a bit fruity." "slightly fe-mi-nine smell, it's not very manly..."
and ....
1. Britney Spears "It smells quite young, like fresh and fruity. Quite good for our age group, I think. Smells how it looks, you know what I mean."

The kids seemed to really like the fruity juice: "It smells really good." Trevor Nelson would only say that Curious smells "really young" to him. And he tried Unforgivable, which was "not bad." Very amusing segment.

The perfume section of Trevor Nelson's Saturday show is at about 10:46 (an hour and 46 minutes into the show) so if you hit the skip 15min button 6 times and the skip 5 min button 3 times, you'll be right at the interview clip. I don't know how long that weekend's show will be up though.

Shiseido Anessa town use sunscreen

There's a lot I could post about my trip to Manila (fun!), but I am being lazy so for now I'll just put a mini-review of Shiseido's Anessa town use sunscreen SPF 30 PA++, from Shiseido's Anessa line of suncreens and sun-protecting makeup.

I finally used up my little bottle of sunblock from last year (or 2 years ago), so thought I would give this popular sunscreen line a try. Sunblock in Japan is pretty expensive; I'd say twice as expensive as in the U.S., but Anessa and Kanebo's competitor Allie go for about $26 for 60 grams. Very expensive in my opinion. However, a friend of a friend buys a ton of Shiseido sunblock whenever she visits Japan, so I wanted to see if it was worth the price tag. Also, now is a good time to buy sunblock since it's on sale at certain drugstores. I picked up mine for 30% off. I would go back and buy more, but this tube may last me a year.

I'm very impressed so far. It has a pleasant, light rose scent (a Shiseido trademark, if I'm not mistaken), and feels very light. Apparently it's supposed to provide a nice base for your makeup, hee. I guess that's very important. It is also advertized as waterproof (although it is for everyday use as opposed to the beach, so I don't think it'll stand up too well to a swim). They recommend you remove the sunscreen with makeup remover. I enjoy applying it each morning, which is a plus (the power of fragrance and texture). I'd like to compare this sunscreen with much cheaper alternatives like Banana Boat Faces Plus and Coppertone Spectra, neither of which are available in Japan. Still, might as well take advantage of the local products.

I wonder if I should still look for a moisturizer.

In unrelated news, I was surprised to find Crest entered the dental products market here! Although they've only started with some motorized toothbrushes. No toothpaste.

Has anyone tried out Integrate, one of Shiseido's new cosmetic brands? Angelina Jolie is the spokesmodel, but I'm bothered by the peachy lipstick they put on her (I just looked at the website and the color looks much better. I think the printing job wasn't very good). The line itself seems pretty nice. The glosses and lipsticks are light but pretty, and they have a very tempting gloss in a lip crayon form! The line is very reasonably priced with lipsticks and lipglosses around $10. 1/3 of the price of Maquillage.

I just noticed that Shiseido has an eponymous suncare line also. I wonder if that's what the friend of a friend buys.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

the cost

The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.

Henry David Thoreau

Friday, August 25, 2006

aol lacks proofreaders

Or people who can spell. On their music videos site, in the "Hear New Songs First" category, they spelled Nelly Furtado's song "Promiscuous" as "Permiscuous," although it is correctly spelled in the "Top 100 Music Videos" listing.

Friday, August 18, 2006

shampoo accessorized with toothpaste, nyc hotels

So, someone tell me why thinks that toothpaste and dental floss are the perfect accessories for Neutrogena Triple Moisture Cream Lather Shampoo.

My theory? Poor categorizations. Like Amazon. Although drugstore's search engine is better.

In a completely unrelated question, anyone have recommendations for NY City hotels?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

stain removal

I was freaking out because the permanent ink at the bottom of my bottle of face wash seeped into the plastic of my shower unit. But! This site had wonderful recommendations. I can state that a denture tablet sprayed with hot water and left overnight will get pesky stains out.

Shampoo is great for getting makeup stains out of clothing.

And when you cut yourself shaving and don't notice until it's on your socks, hydrogen peroxide is great. I actually ran across a site which said shampoo works well too, but I haven't personally tried that.

Friday, August 04, 2006

desnuda by emanuel ungaro, The Emperor of Scent

I may be a fan! It smells soft and refined. A bit on the delicate side but interesting. Something a bit spicy and lightly sweet.

I can't remember who recommended this, but it's quite lovely so far. Not quite me, but not bad.

Chandler Burr's book The Emperor of Scent is excellent. The intelligent, clear writing is a relief to read after scanning through too many poorly written best sellers and I really enjoyed his highly accessible treatment of the science described. Luca Turin sounds absolutely fascinating. Very readable. My father enjoyed it too.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

styling my hair... not!

I tried blowdrying my hair straight today. Just for a more groomed appearance because none of the styling products I own seem to be able to do anything with my currently wavy and frizzy hair.

I lost patience after 5 minutes. Straightening hair takes too long! Hee. I am so impatient.

In other news, I bought Coty's Sand and Sable perfume. A big bottle of summery gardenia. But there's something about the coconut? mixed with gardenia that I don't quite like. I prefer The Body Shop Indian Gardenia over it. I guess I'll just break Sand and Sable up into little samples for my friends to mess around with.

I also found Le Feu D'Issey Light at the duty free shop in Narita Airport, and because it smelled interesting and has been discontinued and is in the absolute cleverest little red rubber casing (you rotate the bottle inside it's case until the nozzle is higher than the rubber casing, then you can spray it; rotate it back for normal storage). I still can't decide whether to resell it or open it up :D. I want it, but it's pure materialism speaking.

I finally (finally!) got to try Yves Saint Laurent's In Love Again. The sample atomizer is kind of poorly designed and dribbles after you spray it, although the logo is cute. The scent is rather nice but a little duller than I hoped for. I wonder if the sample had gone bad? No fresh grapefruit tang. Pretty weak sillage too. Ah well. I need to try 4711. Maybe that'll give me a nice grapefruit.

I also spotted Flower by Kenzo Oriental in the Chicago airport, but they didn't have a tester so I couldn't justify buying it. They did have a tester for the recently discontinued Carolina Herrera Chic, which didn't impress me at first but the drydown was nice and rather chic (harhar). Not addictive though, so I am safe from that lemming.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


I've only packed gifts and my suitcase is almost full. I hereby will stop hoarding gifts for people. Even though it's fun. At least I've stopped sending packages to people (for the most part; I still take requests).

I have a long list of things (mostly beauty products) that are recommended and I would like to try. This list is pretty much just an invitation to consumerism, so I'm really tempted to throw away the list. That way I'll only buy the things that I can recall from the list. However, if I were to throw away the list, I would probably regret it later and be forced to reassemble it by trolling all my favorite websites. Which would be a waste of time. So I keep the list. I've stopped updating the perfume list though. Now I just read perfume reviews and think "How lovely!" and go back to work.

I had my Japanese teacher sniff my Une Zeste de Rose. She seemed to like it quite a lot, even though she's fairly anti-perfume. She only wears 4711 and finds everything else too strong. Despite not being a perfume fan, she apparently receives presents of perfume quite frequently. I am encouraging her to give out little decants of the perfumes, as she never wears them herself. One way to get rid of them :D Perfume should be used and enjoyed, after all.

I bet English teachers read blogs like this and cry about the declining education level in America. Yes, yes, I will proofread and brush up on my punctuation.

In an unrelated note, have you read Shirley Manson's blog (of the group Garbage)? She sounds super cool.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

toilet paper from recycled pulp

All of the toilet paper that is made from 100% recycled wood pulp seems to be pretty flat and unfluffy. I guess the recycled paper just doesn't have any elasticity left?

Listening to:
DT8 Project - 'Hold Me' (Mondo)
Andy Galea vs Soulshaker - 'Unknown' (White Label)
Peetu S - 'Bigger Palace' (Altitude Netherlands )
Memoir - 'Listen To The Release' (White Label)
Chocolate Puma - 'Always And Forever' (Positiva)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Les Parfums de Rosine: Un Zest de Rose

I stopped by a little shop in Jiyugaoka where they supposedly carry 1300 perfumes. They had an impressive display of perfumes though I don't think I saw 1300. Probably they keep a lot in back. I noticed that they carry Hermes Amazone which perfumecritic bought on his trip to the shop Jasina in Singapore. They seem to have lots of Carons also. The lady in the tiny shop had me sniff Perry Ellis F and Les Parfums de Rosine Un Zest de Rose. I liked both scents but the tea in Un Zest de Rose really appealed to me, so I bought the sampler size that she offered. Sigh, looking at fragrances is dangerous. I need to stick to trying stuff on skin, then getting a small sample. No purchasing allowed on first sniff!

update 2006-07-22: The perfume is lovely but doesn't really smell like me. I like smelling it though. I wonder if my mother would like it.

update 2006-08-14: fixed the name of Un Zest de Rose, and typos. Spelling check is my friend.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

waiting for Mille et une Roses

I swung by the Lancome counter at Keio Department store to inquire about it. Apparently it will hit stores in Japan in August. So about a month left before I can try it out. I've heard very good things about it.

Since they don't have it yet, I decided to test out Estee Lauder's Azuree Body Oil spray. I was amused to notice that most of the items in the new Azuree collection are sold out at Keio. Guess it's popular! Anyway, I sprayed on a dash of the body oil and in the process splattered a bit on the counter. Ah well, that's what you get when you spray oil! I'm not so sure a body oil spray is a good idea. Seems to be asking for a mess. The scent itself is nice. Coconut and beachy, but wasn't addictive or anything, so I'll be able to survive the sold out state of things.

I ran across some scrumptious soaps in gardenia and lily, but I am still holding out for an almond soap.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

fragrance spritzes

GF Ferre for Her - floral, simple, pretty. It's ok. Thumbs sideways.

GF Ferre for Him - darker, more woodsy? Reminds me of a fragrance that I can't talk about yet. Would like to smell it on a guy, but I think Omnia is more interesting. Thumbs sideways.

L'Eau par Kenzo for Women - light, methinks these are ozone notes. Not bad. Thumbs sideways.

Flower by Kenzo - what the heck? It smells... like some common chemical that escapes me at the moment. All I can come up with is fragrant nail polish, but that's not it. Household detergent? Ajax? Laf. I don't know what, but it's a very straightforward smell. Laf. Flower?!? Thumbs down, although it's not bad or boring; it just doesn't smell good on me.

And that was all the real estate I had available to test with.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Friday, June 23, 2006

Santa Maria Novella in Tokyo

Wow, I had no idea that this Italian apothecary has shops in Tokyo! Next time I'm in Aoyama I am there! I've read quite a few reviews of their perfumes. The Japanese site seems more modern than the Italian one. Not enough pictures though.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Modest Needs

I read about Modest Needs at Perfume Posse today. It seems like a nice way to help a little bit. I really should donate my time too, but since I'm not doing that at the moment...

On a far more frivolous note, remember Raven-Simone from The Cosby Show? She's apparently a singer now. She seems like quite a technically skilled singer, but I don't like her songs themselves too much. Feel rather Disney-like and lacking depth.

I need to pick up Tori Amos's more recent albums. She's a little strange as a person, but I love her music. I probably still like her album Little Earthquakes the best though. She has a series of bootlegs out; maybe I'll pick up a few.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Go U.S.A.!

Soccer, of course. (er, football if you're not American or Japanese). Good luck!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Revlon ColorStay Overtime Sheer Lipcolor

After my last post, this post is a little ironic. I just tried out Revlon ColorStay Overtime Sheer Lipcolor (sheer mocha). I'm a fan. It's easy to apply and a simple, flattering color. No discomfort and it lasts as long as advertised, through dinner and dessert. I'd like to try the other colors. There's something really nice about lipstick that stays on forever. I'm pretty lazy about touchups so this is convenient. Maybe I'll give up on regular lipsticks and glosses.

Friday, June 09, 2006

current lip favorites

It's funny how quickly I got bored of the Revlon MoistureShine Lipgloss. Well, it took a couple months, so maybe not too quickly?

I bought a Shiseido The Makeup Perfecting Lipstick in April; I love it! Lovely, light texture and strong pigment. And I am rediscovering how awesome the Shiseido The Makeup Lipgloss (clear) is. It makes any lipstick look pretty. I don't know how they do it. If only they'd fix the taste (although it's not too noticeable on top of lipstick). As it is I'll use it happily but not repurchase. Oddly enough the lipstick has no bothersome taste to speak of.

My current favorite lipstick is Shu Uemura Lolishine Rouge #769. It's light and pretty, with a nice glossy shine. I want to try the other Lolishine colors, but 2600 yen is a little hard to justify spending often.

The Shu Uemura Lip Shimmer (strawberry compote) is also a great lipgloss. It goes well with anything.

It's interesting how my favorites turned out to be my most expensive purchases.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Woot! Perfumes to be shaped by blog

Scentzilla, Perfume Smellin' Things and Nobi Shioya (S-Perfume) are collaborating to see what kinds of perfumes can be created when driven by a passion for perfume, as opposed to marketing.

We'll be able to read and discuss the development of the perfumes at Made by Blog. Katie and Marina's proposals are already up and look very interesting. I wonder what the perfumers will make of their desires!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

spritzed at the department store

Yesterday I swung by Tobu while waiting for a dinner appointment, and tested three fragrances.

The first: Dolly Girl limited edition 2006 something or other. Smells nice; in fact, smells just like Secret Wish! Do all Anna Sui perfumes smell the same? I shall have to investigate. Sweetly floral; a little powdery; pleasant but I wouldn't buy. I did buy the eyebrow brush #1 though. I guess there's no lack of stock in Japan.

The second was Givenchy Amarige. Very nice top notes! Love gardenia. But it turned powdery on me within the hour, so I lost interest. The bottle is gorgeous.

The third was Mat Matsushima's Mintea. Lovely top notes; mint and citrus. But it too dried down into a powdery something that lost my interest.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Japanese yukata (light summer kimono)

I bought a yukata at Uniqlo the other day. I've always thought that they were pretty, but as people normally only wear them to the summer fireworks festivals and obon festivals, there are limited oppportunities to wear a yukata. I didn't even go to any summer festivals last year. However, this year I decided that life is short and yukata are pretty and a nice aspect of living in Japan, so I picked up an inexpensive red one from Uniqlo. Normally yukata run from 6000 yen and up (way up; can get into the hundreds of dollars), but they're only 4000 yen at Uniqlo (cheaper materials and more limited selection). I am now the proud owner of a yukata. It's cute, and I think the quality has improved from last year. Made in China of course.

It's surprisingly difficult to put a yukata on properly, but I think I'll manage. The yukata comes with a matching little purse, which I didn't expect. I probably ought to get a white slip for it too.

Friday, May 12, 2006

pop music

I think I'm a new Rihanna fan. Fun music!

Monday, May 08, 2006

i was just looking for good gift sites

Sadly, I forgot that the one problem with gift shopping is that you might encounter something that you want for yourself.

good fortune necklace (but I don't think it's worth $85)

spiral drop lariat (cute...)

Sunday, May 07, 2006


Urban Chick has a great quote:

It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly. - Bertrand Russell

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

for perfume enthusiasts

You might find the pictures of this fragrance shop interesting. It would be fun to visit the shop and see all the fragrances, but I'd be afraid of damaging a fortune's worth of bottles if I stepped inside the place.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Shiseido The Makeup Perfecting Lipstick P12

For some reason, this extremely dark brown lipstick with a hint of mauve suits my coloring perfectly. Despite that, I have to apply it lightly and cover with gloss in order to get a wearable look. Normally applied, it gives a gothic effect because it's so dark. Still, I love the color! A lighter version would be perfect, but all the lighter colors had too much red in them for me. The lipstick is very nicely packaged in a smooth metal tube with a comfortable heft to it. It feels like a precision crafted gadget, really. Rather luxurious. Estee Lauder doesn't have nearly as nice packaging for their Pure Color lipstick.

About 3000 yen in department stores.

I've noticed that Shiseido The Makeup (one of Shiseido's makeup lines) does not seem to be carried by the Shiseido retail shops, although they carry everything else including Cle de Peu. The Makeup only seems to be in dept. stores.

By the way, Clé de Peau has a very nice moisturizing stick. Greasy yet very light. It looks as pretty as a gloss. Sadly it's about 5000 yen.

Friday, April 28, 2006

quick post about Shiseido Men, Shiseido Chant du Coeur

I thought I'd start giving thumbs up/thumbs sideways/thumbs down ratings of the fragrances that I try. I don't try most fragrances for a long enough period of time to give them proper reviews. Please keep in mind I have very limited experience with fragrances, so what is interesting to me may be terribly old hat.

Shiseido Men edt - I was curious because scenteur7 did a nice review of it. It's in a sleek, modern bottle. I would love to give it as a gift to someone. It seems quite reasonably priced too at 5500 yen. I got the impression of mint, without smelling mint. Interesting, fresh, would probably smell great on a guy. Thumbs up!

Shiseido Chant du Coeur - Nice, powdery (but not annoyingly powdery), sweet. Seems sweeter than Saso and a bit lighter in feel. Thumbs sideways, as not personally drawn to it.

Guerlain Lovely Cherry Blossom parfum - recommended by the sales assistant. Nicer than the limited edition put out this year (that thing is way too fruity!), but not terribly exciting considering it's Guerlain. I was drawn to the citrus top notes. Thumbs sideways, as you could do a lot worse, I think.

Clinique Happy for Men - more interesting than Clinique Happy for Women, but didn't particularly like the notes meself. Thumbs sideways.

Bulgari Omnia - Interesting! Spicy, lively. Would like to smell it on a guy, I think, as it was better than Clinique Happy for Men. Thumbs up.

In other news, stymied by the testers for two Rosarium perfumes: papa meiland and another Rosarium no longer being produced. They were those squeeze type perfume bottles and the rubber balloons were broken, which I suppose accounts for the testers being almost completely full. Sigh.

Next time I visit that Shinjuku Shiseido store, I'll try out Tentatrice and Vocalise. After that, We're. I love commuting through Shinjuku!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Clinique Happy, Lancome Miracle

Swung by the Ainz/Tulpe drugstore in Harajuku today, and sprayed on Clinique Happy and Lancome Miracle to give them a try. I really wanted to try Hermes Un Jardin Sur Le Nil but the tester had apparently fled from the weekend shoppers. Mat Matsushima Orange was tempting too, but since it smells like orange, and I know what an orange smells like, I passed on it. I wonder why grapefruit is more appealling.

Anyway, the verdict: Happy was lighter and a little more interesting (less powdery?) than Miracle. But neither was terribly exciting.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

recommended duty-free perfumes?

Suggestions, anyone? Because I need more ways to spend money. Yeah, right.

I will be in various airports this year (why do direct flights from Tokyo to Toronto have to cost $4,000+?), so I was thinking, "Ooh, duty free. Wonder if I can find any bargains there." Unlikely, but it would be handy (bad for my wallet, but fun for me) to have a list of duty-free only fragrances that I should try out.

Ooh, there're two Sephoras in Toronto. Wonder if I will have time to visit.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Gabriel & Dresden

Addictive song of the week: Gabriel & Dresden - 'Tracking Treasures Down' [Club Mix] (Organized Nature). A rather hypnotic song. The lyrics are a little nonsensical at times, but eh. It's all good.

Forward to 10:20 on Judge Jules's program (only the most recent week's show is available though, so it is probably gone now). The forward 5 minutes and forward 15 minutes buttons are very convenient. You do need RealPlayer though.

I'm kind of sick of Amber's song "Sexual." Old and overplayed, although the recent remix is bearable.

Monday, March 27, 2006

what I want

As I seem to have successfully persuaded myself (or perhaps my superego has persuaded my id?) that even perfume samples may only be bought after I have tested the perfume on skin, I wanted to list other things that I want.

I will debate whether this impulse is good or bad later, but listing things is fun.

* almond scented bath goods (liquid soap, moisturizer, anything!)
* facial scrub (preferably almond-scented, but it is more important that it be effective than almond-scented)
* a lip balm in a tube/stick form. Something that smells nice, in a sophisticated package. I am currently drooling over:
- Fresh Sugar Lip Balm $22
- Anna Sui Moisturizing Touch-Up Stick $16 (katiedid recommends)
- KenzoKi Sensual Rice Steam Lip Duo $20
They're all a little pricy, but still conceivable. Now, the Prada Beauty Shielding Balm SPF 15/Lip/Tint at $38...

* 1 gig SD card
* a laptop under $1000
* various comic books and cds (ooh, need to update my budget)

Hrmph. As expected, none of this stuff is important. Time to look for some NGOs to volunteer for.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Saso Soap and Rosarium Papa Meiland or gah, the web is evil

So, the web is clearly evil. I found this shop in Nagoya which appears to have a stock of a lot of discontinued perfumes and cosmetics by Shiseido and other brands. In particular, they have an entire Saso page, including Saso soap, which one Fragrance holic recommended. Simply because it's rare, I want to buy it. How silly is that? It might make a nice present for a friend of mine, but I really have no idea if she will like it. I like it, but...

I was poking around the site a little more, and discovered ばら園パパメイラン (Rosarium papa meiland). I sniffed the fragrance beads at the Shiseido exhibit in Ginza; it had a lovely tea rose fragrance. Naturally, I have no idea if it will actually suit my skin chemistry, but I want it. Bah. Pure materialism. Argh!

And there's this Shiseido fragrance called 禅(Zen) not to be confused with the fragrance later released by Shiseido called ZEN. Fragrance holic describes it as smelling of lily of the valley and gardenia. Apparently suzuran means lily of the valley in Japanese. At least 禅 is still available in various Shiseido resellers, so I can probably test it somewhere.

Must not buy fragrances unless I've tested them. Right.

Good grief, Suzuro perfume is 47,000yen? About $450. Wow. I should stop reading about discontinued or ludicrously priced fragrances.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

perfumes that I'm interested in

This post is prompted by my parents' misunderstanding about my interest in perfume (and as such is probably not interestesting to anyone! Oh well). Any perfume will not do, although my interest is quite broad. I suppose that the problem is that my inclinations and my parents' inclinations do not overlap. My parents' inclinations start and end at Chanel. Ironically enough, I avoid Chanel. Every one I tried just didn't smell very nice on me. And they lasted forever while doing so. Murphy's law. It's certainly possible that my nose is not yet sophisticated enough to appreciate the beauty of Chanel perfumes, but at the moment, I don't like them.

So what am I interested in? Hard to answer, but I am looking for a grapefruit scent and a black tea scent in particular. And honeysuckle sounds delicious. Have you ever eaten the drops of nectar in honeysuckle flowers? Tasty! I adore almond scents, but I don't particularly want an almond perfume. I have fond memories of the fragrant blossoms on my mother's lilac tree, so it would be nice to have a fragrance that matched that.

In a random coincidence, I discovered that my Japanese teacher wears 4711 cologne (grapefruit)! Apparently her mother used to wear it and she thought it was lovely, although she doesn't like fragrances in general. She's promised that she'll bring a sample for me to try at my next class. I'm looking forward to it.

I was going to post a list of fragrances that I'd like to try, but it's appallingly long.

I really want to order Te Nero (Black Tea) lotion by Speziali Fiorentini, but I'm still trying to work through the last 1/4 of my bottle of melon lotion. Maybe I'll make it a birthday present to myself. >_>

Ooh, they carry Speziali Fiorentini products in two dept. stores in Shinjuku. I'll have to check them out soon :D Agrumi(citrus) looks interesting too.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

although i find it irritating

It's probably a good thing that most of the online cosmetic stores that I know of don't ship to Japan. I'd probably buy way too much stuff if I lived in the U.S. As it is, my mother is already upset about the amount of stuff I find necessary to order from and I suppose I will have to limit myself to buying within Japan.

Shiseido White Rose and Shiseido Myth of Saso, Jeanne Arthes

Yesterday, while passing through the underground shopping area of Shinjuku station, I stumbled upon a Shiseido reseller that had testers!

Drugstores and cosmetic chains like Tashiro also carry Shiseido products, but the perfume only seems to be carried by Shiseido boutiques and licensed resellers. Actually, I am totally pulling this out of thin air, as I have only circumstantial evidence. I've only been in one Shiseido boutique (which did have testers, but is way out in Ginza and I never go to Ginza), and one or two licensed resellers. The reseller I can visit every day at lunch has bottles out on display but the lady guarding them will only let me smell the cap, so finding another place with testers was a delight.

I asked if I could test the White Rose(finally!!), and the saleslady was nice enough to break open the little sample vial (apparently they had sample vials at one point. I want one!) and put it on my right wrist. She also advised me that the fragrance would change over time, so I should sniff again in 10 minutes or so. Before that, I surreptitiously sprayed Myth of Saso on my left wrist. I dithered about buying some powder (there are 2 different packages for the same powder, what's the difference? Some are marked on sale, but the color I want is not, why not?), but the store was closing so I left resolving to come back and buy something, and perhaps try out La Scenteur (like White Rose, about $172.17 for a bottle at the current exchange rate), also recommended by the saleslady.

So, my impression of Myth of Saso is a warm, rich fragrance. Kind of familiar and a little musky perhaps, but enough sweetness to leave me with an impression of comfort. I thought it might be nice to smell on my mother.

White Rose: again those first couple whiffs of acetone (thanks Katiedid)! After that goes away, a pretty rose scent. After a while, it gets a little more powdery to my nose, but not too much. It stays a nice soft rose. Maybe a little soapy. It seemed very nice but not something that appeals to me personally. Perhaps I don't like rose very much.

Anyway, I hold out hope that I can find Kanebo Nihohi Sakura testers somewhere.

updated 2006-03-23: after looking around at various pages including this one I noticed that the bottle I tried was the Myth of Saso bottle, not the Saso bottle. I don't think any Saso testers were out, although the perfume bottle case was unboxed (but in a plastic sleeve).

On a different note, while staring at the bottles behind the glass at Tashiro (a cosmetics chain), I noticed a large array of Jeanne Arthes fragrances. If the picture of a celebrity next to a bottle is an indication that the celebrity wears this fragrance, then these fragrances are pretty trendy. I wonder how much business Jeanne Arthes does in Japan. 3 popular young entertainers (popular now, but do they have talent?) and one very popular actress was pictured. Naturally, they didn't have Cassandra Blanc, although they had just about everything else.

On my way home, I noticed that a different Tashiro in Shinjuku station actually has testers available now! So I can go back and try the trendy perfumes on after work. I love easily accessible testers.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

some favorite authors

While I am taking a (ahem) break from work, I thought I'd list some of my most beloved authors and books. A lot of these books were required for various English classes. American public school education is pretty good!

Jane Austen. I love rereading her books. Every time I read Pride and Prejudice I get something new out of it. Every sentence is marvelous. Such a contrast with Dickens, hee. My middle school friend gave me this book and a couple other classics for my birthday. I read the book so much that I wore out the binding.

John Steinbeck. I adored the "Grapes of Wrath." The first book I read was probably The Pearl, which is good but pretty depressing. But The Grapes of Wrath blew me away. I think I read it in a couple days.

Aldous Huxley. A Brave New World.


Farhenheit 451.

The Moomins!

William Faulkner. As I Lay Dying demonstrated to me that a book of characters I hated could still be fascinating and brilliant. I've never read any other of his books though, and I read this one for English class.

All Quiet on the Western Front.

J.R.R. Tolkien. I think the animated movie The Hobbit prompted me to read his books. That movie was great. I think I read the trilogy and The Hobbit, but the main thing that stuck in my head was how scary Gollum was. Freaky!

The Great Gatsby. Adults out of control. This book was really disturbing to me, but I can understand why it's considered a classic.

J.D. Salinger. The Catcher in the Rye. Having spent my childhood trying to please various adult figures in my life, just reading this story was an awakening.

Shakespeare. Opened my eyes to the possibilities in tragedies, and the marvelousness of dialogue. I perhaps was most impressed by Macbeth and Romeo & Juliet.

The Stranger. Fascinating. Hadn't a clue while reading it, and even now only have a dim understanding of it.

Authors of lesser impact:

P.G. Wodehouse. British people are really funny. But I already knew that. Have you ever seen Are You Being Served? Funny show.

The English Patient. Beautiful prose. Not that I'm much of a judge of prose, but I loved the writing, and really identified with the message.

Siddhartha. Wow, fascinating book.

You know, compared to the books I used to read when I was young, I'm not reading books of particular quality these days.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Montien, Chicane and Tom Jones

I picked up "Montien I," the Japanese group Montien's first mini-album. One of my favorite singers Tina is a member of the group, and the samples I found on sounded pretty good.

The mini album is pretty fun and rocking hip-hop/R&B. I like it a lot. Tina's got a great voice. She seems to have a good vocal range; her voice gets pretty deep on some of the songs.

Apparently they have just released their first album, creatively called Montien III. Think I'll pick it up. It's 3000 yen, a little less than $30. Japanese CDs need to get more inexpensive. Still, I like HMV, where I can pick up fine U.K. collections like "Laydeez with Attitude" for a mere 1000 yen. Sure, there's crap like J.Lo's "I'm real" on it, but I've been wanting Sugababes' "Hole in the Head" for a couple years now. It's a total pop song but it's fun anyway.

A random and inconsequential opinion: I prefer Britney's songs to J.Lo's (as they currently stand - I did like J.Lo's debut, but it went downhill from there). I wouldn't pay money for either of their CDs though.

I have no idea who Chicane and Tom Jones are, but their song 'Stoned In Love' (Globe Records/Universal) is brilliant. It's about 12 minutes into Pete Tong's radio show from March 10th.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


Urban Chick's search for blogging inspiration had me giggling at work. >.>

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Jeanne Arthes Sultane

My local Its' Demo (the name is a play on the Japanese phrase for any time: いつでも itsu demo; the store is fully of sundry cosmetics, clothes, snacks, etc. targeted at women) had a sample bottle of this out so I spritzed it on. It seemed pleasant but maybe a little too sweet for me, and not that memorable. I'd like to try out Cassandra Blanc sometime. They also had Sweet Sixteen, but it seems kind of wrong to try a perfume with a name like that. >.>

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Movie: Ghada -- Songs of Palestine

This documentary Ghada -- Songs of Palestine about a woman in Palestine looks pretty interesting.
It'll be showing at Uplink X Theatre in Shibuya in May. I had no idea there were so many indie theatres in Tokyo.

Monday, March 06, 2006

LUSH Angel on Bare Skin

I've been using LUSH 天使の優しさ for about 2 weeks now, about once a day. Although the name translates into Angel's gentleness/tenderness/kindness, I think it must be equivalent to the Angel on Bare Skin product in other countries.

Anyway, it's a clay-based facial cleanser/mild scrub. Personally, I don't think it's terribly effective as a scrub, but it does leave my skin feeling nice and soft. I'm not a fan of the clay-ish scent. It's bearable but not quite pleasant. I won't be buying more of this, as it doesn't seem to have any visible effect on my skin.

So far, I've only liked LUSH's body soaps and bath bombs.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Body Shop Indian Gardenia

After wearing both the perfume oil and the eau de parfum, I give this fragrance a thumbs up.

Neither version lasts very long, but it's a warm, pretty perfume. So far it's the only thing I want to wear this very cold winter. I have built up rather a stock of samples and perfumes to retry during the spring and summer.

Now, I want to try some perfumes that smell like English teas with lemon and sugar. Green teas remind me too much of green tea ice cream.

I'm still addicted to almond scented bath products, but they're pretty hard to find. I can't stomach the 100% markup over U.S. prices in L'Occitane's Japanese stores, and Lush only has the winter season Snowcake soap available (now gone for the year). Maybe I'll try L'Occitane's almond hand soap.

The Body Shop Pink Pepper Eau de Parfum and Passion Fruit Eau de Parfum

Pink Pepper is peppery and sweet. I don't think I like pepper much.

Passion Fruit was initially sweet but turned into vegetables on me. Rather curious.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Pride and Prejudice

The movie just came to theatres in Japan a couple weeks ago. You know, I don't think I want to watch a version of Pride and Prejudice that doesn't have Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy.

He just had the perfect combination of natural arrogance and sensibility for the part.

I'll just have to buy the BBC miniseries. I wonder if my mother would like it. It's only $26.17 at!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

All the Slam Dunk english comic books

Did I mention that I bought the entire set of the Slam Dunk manga (a basketball masterpiece) in the Singapore English edition? All 31 books in one fell swoop at Kinokuniya in Shinjuku. I also got a set for my cousin, who is still waiting for the last 8 books (that I am being lazy about mailing). The U.S. edition only got up to volume 5 before the publisher folded.

The Kinokuniya staff must think I'm obsessed, heh. I wonder if the Singapore publisher is noticing high sales in Japan.

I still want the Slam Dunk Perfect Edition (Japanese only), which is 24 large format books with lovely covers and nice paper. But that would come to another $250 or so, when I already have the regular Japanese version (mostly used books) and now the English one. Maybe when I'm completely fluent in Japanese.

The life of a moderate otaku. (-_-;) I can say I'm moderate because:
a) I have savings. Every month even!
b) My conversation doesn't relate to Slam Dunk and Studio Ghibli (most of the time)
c) Reasons too innumerable to list.

Minus point:
a) I don't particularly care about college or pro basketball (but the women's teams rock!!) but I adore this comic
b) The need to defend myself against the label "otaku" is itself a little incriminating
c) Knowing what "otaku" means is also a little incriminating (Otaku is a Japanese colloquialism for fanatic [such as comic fanatic/video-game addict] according to my dictionary. I was going to say anime geek. In the U.S. it just means Japanese anime/manga fan, methinks).

I am apparently a nerd because I say "parse" to mean distinguishing individual words in a sentence.

Monday, February 20, 2006


Today I succumbed to the lure of 8 varieties of little Hello Kitty figurines dressed up in various winter olympic sports outfits. They come as extras with Lipton's Limone lemon tea bottles. The drink itself is ok, but I wouldn't have bought it without the Hello Kitty figures. I don't normally like Hello Kitty, but these dressed up versions are cute. You should see the snowman version. I must get that one. I'll put a picture online sometime this month, haha.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

movies that I am looking forward to

* "Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (単騎、千里を走る。)," the new Zhang Yimou film starring Ken Takakura (revered Japanese actor)

* The Chronicles of Narnia movie (loved the books as a child)

* The new Wallace and Gromit movie

I'd like to see Narnia in the theatre, but I will see the Zhang Yimou film in the theatre if I have to go by myself.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

have no will power

This month I bought Lanvin Eclat d'Arpege for about $15. It's very light and might be nice for summer. We'll see. So far, it's just ok. The top notes are lovely! Citrusy, bright, and a little sweet, but after fifteen minutes or so it turns powdery and soft and stays that way.

I also bought The Body Shop's Indian Gardenia eau de parfum. They're no longer carrying it in Japan (perhaps discontinuing it altogether?) and although I already have the perfume oil, I wanted the EDP also. It's nice! A bit lighter than the perfume oil, but lasts a little longer.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


It's funny when people refuse to budge the images they've fixed in their mind.

I told people specifically that I was doing 3 things, and for some reason they persist in believing that I will do a fourth thing. Even though I specifically said that I would not do the fourth thing, they continue to believe that I will.

It's amusing because they do not actually tell me that I should do the fourth thing, but they still think I will do it.

Must be polite. Must be polite.

In other news, it's really nice to get a solid night's sleep. I'm totally cheerful today. Hungry too, even though I had breakfast. It is still a challenge to sit up straight though.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Maybelline Color Wear Eye Shadow


This may be a product packaged for Japan. Individual eye shadows sell for 460 yen each.

I tried a medium taupe color, but when it gets into my eyes it seems to be mildly irritating.

I give it a thumbs down for the irritation.

Revlon Moisture Shine Lipgloss

I got Revlon Moisture Shine Lipgloss モイスチャーシャイン リップグロス in Coffee Gleam. It's a nice rich medium coffee color. It's a bit shimmery although not glittery. The color is very pretty.

The texture is a bit sticky so it lasts fairly well. It tingles irritatingly a bit when I first apply it.

It has the same square tube packaging as Revlon SuperLustrous Lipgloss, so I'm a bit bitter at the 125% markup; it's 1680 yen in Japan.

Because of the price, I definitely won't be repurchasing this in Japan. I might pick up a darker color in the U.S. if I see it on sale. For $6 I think the color selection is very nice. I haven't been able to find many dark colored glosses, and brown colors seem particularly rare.

2006/03/08 update: lipgloss ranking:
1) revlon moisture shine lipgloss - basically, it wins because of the color. The light vanilla scent isn't bad either.

2) the body shop hi-shine lip treatment - comes in second because of the pretty color. It smells deliciously fruity too.

3) maybelline water shiny gloss in cappucino cream - comes in third. I love the texture and look, but it doesn't feel as nice when my lips are a bit dry, which they have been recently. Also, the color selection is rather bland.

4) Shu Uemura lip shimmer in strawberry compote - very pretty, lasts decently long, but I've had it for more than 2 years so I'm a little bored of it.

5) shades of hue lip lacquer - pretty, purplish metallic color. Texture is way too sticky and goopy, although the metallic shine is great. I mix it with the shiseido gloss to thin out the texture. Because of the metallic shine, it's pretty much only an evening color.

6) Shiseido The Makeup Lip Gloss in clear (limited edition - I'm such an easy mark) - light, nice texture, but it just doesn't taste very good, and I'm not a fan of the rose scent.

In summary, they're all pretty good, but I will try out other lipglosses before I repeat any of these purchases. Of the above, the Shu Uemura lip shimmer is definitely the best. No irritating smell or taste, no tingling. Just pretty, long lasting gloss.

It's funny, but this pretty much encapsulates my entire history of lip gloss purchases. I've bought a gloss jelly or two, but this is all the lip gloss I've ever bought. I guess I can count how many lipsticks I've purchased in my life too. One Origins lipstick (pretty brownish shade but got too thick so threw it away). One Shiseido lipstick (again, pretty brownish shade but got thick so threw it away). One Fasio lipstick (still using, but the shade is a boring reddish one so not so exciting). Oh, I bought a lot of pink maybelline lipsticks when I was in high school, but they never suited me all that well. Pink doesn't work for me in general. Gee, now I don't feel so bad about multiplying the number of glosses I own by 5 in the course of a year (it went from 1 to 5).

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Shiseido's Message from Orchids: Cattleya Nobilior Amaliae

For the Japan Grand Prix International Orchid Festival 2006, Shiseido is releasing カトレア ノビリオール アマリエの香り (cattleya nobilior amaliae), available in eau de parfum (pure mist) and other concentrations.

Also on sale are eau de parfum releases from previous International Orchid Festivals (pardon my poor translations!):
ナゴランの香り (the scent of Nagoran)
胡蝶蘭の香り (the scent of the butterfly orchid [Phalaenopsis aphrodite])
春むらさきの香り (the scent of cattleya schroederae)

A picture of all four perfumes on sale.

As far as I can tell, these items will only be for sale at Shiseido's booth at the Festival.

Other releases no longer appear to be available:
スターチルドレンの香り (star children)
オレンジカトレア (orange cattleya 2000 release)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

as I slide back into the pit of materialism

(or jump back in)

An interesting entry on cravats.

I wonder why it cheers me up so much to read about wonderful products that are really inexpensive?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

a book of presents

Miss Manners believes that among essential records is:

A book of presents given and received, in order to avoid the humiliation of having the same idea twice about the perfect present for someone, especially if the object in question is one that that person gave you.

I ought to do that. I'll start writing everything that I remember. It's going to be tough to remember anything more than a couple years ago.

Monday, January 23, 2006


Must stop this materialistic spiral I find myself in lately.

First stop, reading:

I like the "If you don't like it, don't wear it" rule. I can think of quite a few items of clothing which I don't like but feel guilty about throwing away.

do Japanese people wear perfume?

Anecdotal evidence: 3 of the 4 people I've inquired of wear perfume. One friend swears by YSL In Love Again, but I've never noticed her actually wearing it. She's probably hoarding it. Another friend switches between 2 or 3 perfumes (Samsara?) but doesn't seem to wear much these days.

There are certainly a lot of perfume sites though, and some impressive perfume collections out there! I was amused to read one lady's blog entry where her more senior colleague suggested that she wear a more professional perfume for work, so she gave Anna Sui's Secret Wish a try. Her colleague approved of her choice.

I've never yet noticed a scent strip in magazines though. I wonder if they don't use them in Japan?

I have noticed a few people with excessive sillage, but that seems a small percentage considering how many people I pass in my daily commute. I don't believe that any of the 25 or so people on my office floor wear perfume/cologne (3 women, the rest men). In fact, none of the people that I have encountered in my building seem to wear scent. Perhaps it's reserved for dates? I don't remember seeing any perfume ads on TV. There are big print ads in women's magazines though.

At, one Japanese equivalent for, there are 107575 postings about ladies' fragrances. There are 268114 postings about facial lotion, and 140651 about mascara.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

jewelry and more consumerism

This White Freshwater Pearls & Garnet Cluster Bracelet is lovely. If I start reading Brown Seven Twelve too often, I may end up buying stuff! It goes without saying that I don't need any more stuff.

I find this red tote and this larger brown one charming.

Ooh, I want these lovely sleek earrings. Another reason to get my ears pierced. >_<

This is a charming handbag necklace but I can't justify $220 for a necklace.

This doesn't fit under crossbody bag or tote bag needs, but I think this little bag is cute.

Falling under tote bag sizing, an Orla Kiely bag.

I ought to face the reality that while I want new purses, I don't need any. Pooh.

Finally, I love these morroccan style earrings!

fantastic looking sandals, but are they comfy?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

i killed my computer

I spilled a sugary drink on its keyboard yesterday.

Gah. It's been a tumultuous 2+ years but I feel very guilty about ending it this way.

I may send it to Sony for reviving, but it may be safest if I don't use the computer for work any more.

About once a year we would have a big blowout, and I just can't take the drama anymore. This time it was clearly my fault.

Last year it was the power adapter that came between us. (Thank you Sony support for being completely helpless to identify the problem).

The year before it was the new memory chip, appearing about 5 months into the relationship.

We'll see where we go from here. I do need to rescue some files in the next week, whatever happens.

ps. I wish Oracle would stop messing with my Java settings. It's very upsetting.

update: 2006.02.13 these wonderful people at work actually managed to revive my computer! The memory was shorted but everything else seems to be working fine. So with some new memory it'll be as good as new.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

drooling over bags

I think this bag is cool.

But this! is marvelous. But I can't spend the price of a nice laptop on a bag.

This is nice too. Again, impossibly priced. This Prada Brevett bag too.

And this Stripe shoulder bag is charming.

I want a tote bag and I want a shoulder/messenger bag, but I only want to buy one bag. Dilemmas. Just kidding.

I'm thinking about this llbean shoulder bag as a compromise.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

canned coffee

Drinking coffee from a can:


Gah, coffee is gross.



Gah, coffee is gross.


(repeat until nighttime)

ps. On the plus side, it's heated nicely by the vending machine. Today's rather cold. I like the hot sweet lemon drinks better, but the machine was sold out today.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Kanebo Nihohi Sakura

I've been spending a lot of time reading Peppermint Patty's site.

Kanebo Twany にほひ桜 (Nihohi Sakura) Eau de Toilette. The parfum version is reputed to be limited edition. Body shampoo and body powder are also available. Apparently at one point fragrance water also existed.

Twany is one of Kanebo's many cosmetics brands.

I went to my local Kanebo/Shiseido chain store to see if they carried it. They had all 4 products. Unfortunately, the saleslady was pretty disinclined to let me try on the eau de toilette. I suppose the bottle they have out for display is merely to showcase the nice bottle. Or maybe testing is for prized customers. Anyway, I was only worthy to sniff the bottle cap. "You should be able to tell from this," she told me. Anyway, it smells nice but not particularly interesting from what I can tell. I'll have to test it on skin at some point.

I was surprised that they carry a Caron perfume too. They had a lot of Kanebo and Shiseido perfumes, naturally. I wanted to try Saso, but I knew the lady wasn't going to let me so I didn't ask. I'm so torn on that store. The saleslady is pretty grumpy and offputting, but the male salesperson is really friendly and helpful. It's also very conveniently located for lunchtime shopping. Perhaps it is a good thing that the saleslady keeps me away.

Anyhoo, I am way overbudget for the next month or two, so I should really stop looking at products.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

a day at the makeup counter

Because she's funny, read about Urban Chick's department store makeup counter adventures.

My life is never so interesting. The last time I ventured into a department store the makeup areas looked so intimidating that I just veered off and headed for the glove section.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

yoohoo (food)

Hey, will I gross you out if I mention that I am currently stuffing my face with grilled fish eggs(焼きたらこ)? In a rice ball. It's good stuff, but I'll admit that it looks kinda disgusting.


ps. There are probably some other qualifiers on stuff that I will eat, such as the fact that I stay away from raw chicken - my stomach just doesn't like it. Raw eggs are no problem though.

Maybelline Water Shiny Gloss

I can't tell if there's an equivalent product in the U.S. because the name is slightly different, but Maybelline Water Shiny Gloss ウォーター シャイニー グロス is a fairly new release by Maybelline in Japan.

This gloss is great. Super light-weight and effortlessly shiny, it currently comes in about 8 simple shades. Probably a side-effect of the almost mousse-like lightness, it doesn't last very long. After a can of tea (haha, an Asian thing?) the gloss is pretty much gone. The texture is so comfortable and light that I don't care though. It's a lot of fun to wear.

I hope they come out with some darker colors. I have the Cappucino Cream (カプチーノクリーム)which seems to be the darkest color available if you look at the website. In person it's a medium brownish nude, which goes on pretty lightly.

price: 840 yen (which is very reasonable compared to other U.S. brands for sale in Japan: curse you Revlon!)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Pantene Smooth and Sleek

I've been using the shampoo, conditioner, and treatment for 6 days now, and my hair is actually smooth and sleek! It's not quite straight, but I love the texture of my hair now. Best of all, it's easily available in Japan. I'll have to try the Silky Mousse Essence once I use up my Muji Hair Fragrance essence (which smells wonderful and does make my hair shiny, but the fragrance disappears quickly).

Anyway, just had to share.

I finally used up my hand cream, yay! That stuff smelled antiseptic. I love using stuff up. Then I can buy new stuff. Ahem. Materialistic? me? I just like change. A little change.

Oh, could share my experiences buying underwear in Japan. Depending on the store, the fitting assistants are very very thorough, which can be disconcerting at first. It took a couple visits to various stores before I was sure of my size though. I was being told different sizes each time for the first three visits, but after wearing purchases for a week or two I finally figured out which size was likely to fit me the best. Of course, it varies by style, so I still have to try everything on for the best fit, but now I know where to start. And I know which stores to try.

Amo's Style is a little gaudy but they may have the most comfortable items. "une nana cool" has simple but cute items for a reasonable price, but I can feel the underwire at times. It doesn't actually dig into my skin, but touches it. Amo's Style's stuff doesn't touch at all. Amphi is nice too, but for the most part their items have too much decoration for my taste. They had exactly one series of items which were simple and elegant, but unfortunately that series was a pain to put on. Amo's Style is probably in between Amphi and "une nana cool" in terms of designs. The best time to shop is during the New Year's sales, and probably the summer sales.

I found The Budget Fashionista helpful for basic advice on fitting.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Shiseido Message From Orchids

After reading this post on the scent of Russian Olive and the accompanying comments, I went and looked up the Shiseido perfume Message From Orchids. Apparently lemmings just leap off the web page and stick to me like glue.

Anyway, after a brief search, there appear to be at least 6 versions of Message From Orchids. Most notably, the limited edition Star Children (Message From Orchids) was released in 2000 to commemorate that year's International Orchid Exhibition (held every 2 years).

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Ginza Shiseido

My visit on Christmas Eve was fun but a little disappointing.

I was expecting white steps, but they've become wooden steps at some point. White Rose Natural ホワイトローズナチュラル and the older fragrances are located around the corner from the stairs in a display shelf. It's rather unnoticeable and we had to ask the sales associate to help us find it. She gave us a sample on paper but I really wanted to test it on my skin. It could have been my imagination but there was the smell of nail polish on the paper. A beautiful rose, and then a whiff of nail polish. It was very confusing. But White Rose Natural is definitely beautiful. Someday I will test it on my skin. The fragrance comes in a stoppered bottle so I wasn't sure how to safely test the fragrance on my hand without polluting the bottle.

The Serge Lutens fragrances are in a dark elegant alcove to the right of the first set of shallow stairs. It was fun to see them in person after reading so much about them. Again, I didn't try any. I was trying to keep my perfume lemmings under control.

There was a Shiseido rose exhibit a couple blocks away so we went off to see a set of huge pictures of roses in various stages of bloom and decay. The exhibit has Shiseido's limited edition Rose Rouge fragrance scenting the air. It felt a bit warm and soporific. White Rose Natural is much prettier in my opinion. Rose Rouge is about the same price: the parfum is 32 ml for 20,000円 (about $200), and the eau de parfum is 50ml for 6,000円. White Rose Natural is only available in parfum.

Upstairs we saw a little exhibit of the history of Shiseido and various key products developed. The first White Rose came out in 1911, if I remember correctly. White Rose Natural appeared in 1936 for 20円 (about 20 cents), and was re-released in 1954. There is a White Rose ink dating from the 1920s. And I developed an instant lemming for Shiseido Rosarium (Papa Meilland) ばら園(パパ メイアン)which smells just like tea roses. At least the powder does; there were samples you could sniff at the exhibit. At any rate, the papa meilland version has been discontinued and can only be found in the refill form online. The regular Rosarium available today is fairly boring. I believe it is a re-release.

The Body Shop Holiday Hi-Shine Lip Treatment 01

My friend picked this up for me in the U.S. because it was retailing for almost twice the price in Japan. I loved the rosy plum-red color and the festive glitter of this gloss. But after a bit of usage I discovered that it burns annoyingly. I'm rather disappointed in that, even though the color is very pretty.