Yummy Japanese food from Konbini (convenience stores)

One of the things I love so much about Japan is that you can go to a konbini or convenience store anywhere in the big cities, and get really healthy, cheap food. I often have salads, sometimes with prawns or other protein in them, a little bit of pasta, and some salad dressing on the side. The great thing is – every pack is marked so you know EXACTLY how much fat, protein, carbs and overall calories are in your item.

 

As you can see, they are pretty small by western standards…so just buy a few! I actually like having lots of little different types of food – it’s like assmbling your own bento box :)

 

As I mentioned, you can buy a sachet of salad dressing separately, in various flavours, and again with the calories helpfully delineated on the back.

  

 I thought some greens might be healthy, so got a mixed dish with what looked like bok choy, beans, a little potato and egg.

 

And look, each dish was only 198 yen, which is around $2.45 AUD. This is why many of us say it’s actually cheap to eat in Japan…if you go to the right places.

Sometimes I grab a tuna salad if I haven’t had time to eat before going out…just grab on the way home, eat in the hotel room, freshen up and head out again!

And some pics of the other lovely food items on display….

At the top of the above pic you can see a row of little sandwiches…they are my fave thing to have on hand in the bar fridge at the hotel, for those hangover mornings when you need a bit of sustenance before heading out. Tuna &  mayonnaise is my favourite. There are also soups, pastas and hot foods for those who want a hot meal.

 

The only time I saw an empty shelf in a grocery store/kombini was just after the tsunami and nuclear reactor meltdown, when everyone was buying bottled water in bulk, not being sure if the drinking water was safe. Apparently it was safer than the amount of radiation in Europe’s water, but there you go, such was the media influence and scared uncertainty of the time.

Another tip of mine for those who need a coffee in the morning to get going, is to get a couple of coffees in cans the night before, and stash them in your bar fridge. They go ever so well with the sandwiches, and help you to be alert enough to go out and get a real coffee from a coffee shop.

I have to admit I’ve done a 2am konbini run when I’ve been awake and starving in my hotel room – what a godsend to hungry people in the middle of the night!

If you haven’t yet been to Japan, I tell you don’t be afraid of just walking in and having a nose around (you can even get beers and other alcohol there too). If you’ve been, what were your favourite delicacies from the kombini? Sushi rolls? The steamed buns or fried chicken near the checkouts? Or what?

This time last year I flew to Japan

A year ago today I flew out to Japan. Each year I try to get at least 2.5 weeks in mid-March to enjoy hanami there, along with Wild Rover (the paddy punk festival) and other assorted events.

Last year, of course, was different. I was booked to fly out on March 14, but on March 11 the devastating earthquake, tsunami and ensuing nuclear meltdown took place. 

Already booked to spend a few days in transit in Seoul, I ended up staying 6 days. Not sure whether to believe the hysterical warnings of the aust government and western media, I stayed longer, keenly watching for news on NHK and planning what to do next. Still unsure after that time, I decided to fly into Osaka, where I spent 5 days. Learning from friends who stayed in Tokyo that bar some transport limitations it was functioning fine, I finally flew there (being one of about 3 white faces at Haneda airport).

Here’s my blog account from last March about the Japan earthquake & my crumbling travel plans.

I had a fantastic time, albeit with bittersweet emotion, and despite a slightly more sombre mood in the streets of Tokyo. And, of course, I supported Japan’s economy with my fashion shopping and eating out/drinking out.  Seeing friends who remained there (& a couple newly arrived) brought joy. 

 

 Attending the first goth events after the tragedy, the Post Tsunami Tokyo Decadance and Midnight Mess (pics above), allowed me to catch up and let loose with loved ones and new friends.

Whilst the Wild Rover festival got rescheduled to June, I got to see the Cherry Cokes again (one of my fave paddy punk bands). I even got street papped in Harajuku (pic left), which was a great buzz.

For more of my adventures & pics from last year, see March and April 2011.

Now in 2012,  Japan is busily repairing and rebuilding, and once again the cherry blossoms are, well, blossoming. Fashion Week is happening (unlike last year’s cancellation, just when I finally got invites).

I would so love to be there again now, but sadly it is not to be. Even my November 11 trip seems just a distant memory…but the clothes, and the shoes, I still wear!

So I don’t know when my next Tokyo sojourn will be, what with my India 3 week trip coming up in April, and a few other o/s jaunts in the planning stages. But I raise a glass of umeshu to the amazing country that Japan is, and to my amazing time there last March.

“KAMPAI!!!”

January, looking forward, looking back

So how was your New Years Eve?  We just managed to catch the midnight fireworks then dashed back to Black Cherry Club, where we had fun hanging with friends…but failed to get any really good pics of our outfits :(

I was going to do a retrospective collage of last year…but failed to even get past January.  Looking back at last January – boy, did I have an exciting time!  (And boy, was MY hair RED!)

Starting off with my New Year’s Eve Celebrations in Sydney,

I high-tailed it to the airport on the morning of January 1 to fly to Tokyo. I wanted to be there for the January sales and fukubukuro bags, dontchaknow? I managed to do a lot of outfit posts on the blog (many in black, grey, leopard and fake fur)…quite a record for me.

I also caught up with a bunch of friends in Tokyo, hit a lot of stores including Marui One, Studio Alta, Shibuya 109 and Grimoire, took a few street snaps, and did a HEAP of shopping.

At the end of the month I celebrated my 6th wedding anniversary at the Big Day Out, with a cute hairdo with 2 top-knots.

And I headed out to a goth club in crimped 80′s style hair and danced for the first time in my spine-heeled d squared shoes, as well as my floral hair clip and jet beaded collar from Grimoire.

                                

Hopefully I’ll have just as action packed a January this year, even if I’m not heading to Tokyo any time soon. There are a lot of gigs lined up, from The Damned, to Soundgarden, to Voltaire, to Sisters of Mercy, to Bad Manners, to Arctic Monkeys, and to the awesomeness of Big Day Out and Soundwave soon.

I also have 29th Jan to 7th Feb off, and am contemplating going somewhere new and relatively close for a week..Indonesia? Hit a beach resort, or over-the-water lake retreat in Java a la Anthony Bourdain?  Would love to head to Aceh with an armful of punk cd’s to distribute to the punk kids there who are being oppressed…but travelling on my own not perhaps the best idea. Or Bali – avoid Kuta and head to Ubud, where I’ve never been?

Or there’s always Malaysia, go somewhere I haven’t been before there…which leaves quite a lot. Anywhere in Asia would suit me fine. Hmm…any recommendations?

Gothic Lolita hair & skull print dress

On Saturday night I attended a Haunted Housewarming with a dresscode that said ghouls, ghosts and old school goths.  I decided to try out the Gothic Lolita Hair Rope I bought in Marui One recently, to get that spiky goth/anime look.

Just what is gothic lolita hair rope, I hear you ask? See exhibit A, at left. It is hair attached to a central cord, which you then drape or wrap around your buns, to get that messy updo look. I also bought some that had curly hair instead of the straight, which gives a sweeter,  more wavy/curly ladylike look.

Prisila, a company which has the charming catchphrase “No wig, no life” (teehee),  offers a huge range of wigs, hairpieces, fringes, buns, hairbows and accessories for every lolita, gyaru and Japanese fashion enthusiast.  They have stores in various places in japan, but Marui One in Shinjuku is a very central one.

Check out the website as there is so much there to drool over (hint: use google translate, if, like me, you can’t read japanese).

So, back to the product. How do you use it? Basically, you put your hair into ponytails, wrap your hair around itself into buns, then take each rope and wind itself around each bun. I started off in the middle of the rope, winding both ends around the bun and crossing them over each time, securing with pins as I went. Then when finished I just teased out a bit more for an artfully messy look and hairsprayed the ‘do.

Anyway, enough of the explaining; here’s the result:

As you can see, it is a little Robert Smith/the Cure like. Great on a hot summer night when you just have to have your hair up.  Bones hairclips just add to the old-schoolness of the look. Of course, I should dye my fringe a darker blue/purple to match, which I now have :)

I will also include the ubiquitous cab-cam shot, showcasing the circle lenses (CircleLens2U), and cobweb fake lashes (from La Foret). The outfit shot displays the fab skull dress I snaffled at Studio Alta on my last day in Tokyo, worn with a gothic lolita skirt and Deadlygirlz corset.

Only today did I discover that Prisila have a great “how to” page with lots of helpful videos. Here’s the one using the curly rope wig with a single bun:

And the dress? It is from Aleara by JurianoJurrie, which is on level 2 of Studio Alta.  The  Aleara brand is more gothic, sexy and underground style (so they say), with lots of black, white and red. Another one I wasn’t aware of previously, although the JJ brand is well known, being featured often in Jelly and Nuts.

The dress can be purchased here, and below is the dress on a lither model. It also comes in the off-white with black print, and as you can see, looks good buttoned up so the ruffle shows.

More new brands and purchases to come!

Harajuku Street Fashion – the Fashionate Traveller

Back in March I was in Harajuku, having finally made it to Tokyo…and got street snapped!! The website in question was Fashion Snap, which is one of my faves, and the link to my Fashion Snap pics is here.

There’s a stretch of road on Omotesando, just past La Foret, where photographers from various publications lie in wait for interestingly dressed people to photograph. Like here, where 2 gothic girls are being snapped, and I snap the paparazzi while he’s snapping them:

I got papped once before when with Hana of Finding Tokyo back in January, but never saw if it was published, as we forgot who it was who snapped us. This time I made sure I checked…but as luck would have it, my friends Rebecca and Samuel from Tokyo Telephone, who saw it before I did.

 

 

Unfortunately I’d been out late the night before, at Shibuya Eggman and the Trump Room, and here I am a bit rough and with last night’s make-up on, and no lashes. But you’re not gonna say no when a photographer asks, are you?  Must remember in future to always look immaculate when in Harajuku, just in case…