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.