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.