July 29, 2014

Okinawa part 4 - Shuri Castle!

Hi everyone! How is your week so far? I'm getting so many calls at work, it's driving me right up the wall. I don't like talking on the phone and I'm so shy, how did I end up working with customers so much? I was looking over my recent posts and there's such long gaps between them, I didn't realize time is going by so quick! I'll try to post at least 3 times a week from now on, though like I mentioned before it's hard for me to generate new post material, I have lots of ideas and plans haha.

But today I will finish up my Okinawa mini-series by talking about the Okinawa castle Shuri Castle, its the main one and there are some smaller castle ruins around Okinawa. One thing important to know is that Okinawa was not always part of Japan. They were a separate kingdom called the Ryukyu until 1609, when they were invaded by Kagoshima island. They remained a separate state from mainland Japan until the Meiji restoration. Though there some elements that overlap from Chinese and Japanese culture, Okinawa's culture is very unique.




The Shuri Castle is a restored castle located on the main island of Okinawa in Naha in the Shuri district which was the former capital of the Ryukyun kingdom. The castle was built in the 1300s and subsequently burned down several times. The current restoration was completed in 1992 and features gardens, a museum, and guided tours throughout much of the main buildings.



The main Castle building
Luckily the day I visited they were having a traditional dance exhibition, I found it to be very interesting as they preformed a great variety of court dances. As they were dances preformed for royalty they were quite subdued compared to the Eisa dances I saw at Okinawa World. After that me and my friend went on the tour of the castle buildings, we had to remove our shoes while inside naturally, and there are plenty of info signs written in English so it's easy for people like me who don't speak Japanese to know what's going on haha.


Throne room
I appreciate this cute anime guy mascot
Scale model of the castle
I particularly liked the throne room, I wish I could have seen more rooms particularly private rooms/bedrooms cause I like that feeling of stepping into a far off time. After the tour you can stop in the last building (on the left) that houses a small museum with dioramas artifacts and a small gift shop. There's a lot of information crammed into the tour and museum but the pace of it makes it go quickly! The last thing we did before heading out was take a stroll through the gardens.

I can safely say Shuri Castle was one of my top castles I visited in Japan for sure, and it's something you can't miss while you are visiting Okinawa. Next we headed off to America Village, so that will be my next and last post in the Okinawa mini-series. It's sad we are getting close to the end now!

July 27, 2014

Coordinate post - Cheery Cherry outfit!

Hi there everyone! How has your week been? My week went fast as usual, but it was a lot nicer since I didn't feel well and took some days off of work. I should have been productive but at least I wasn't at work haha. I am writing a new outfit post today, but after this I don't have anymore outfits to show! I just don't seem to have the time to dress up :( Or when I do, I just feel all tired/lazy and don't want to do anything haha. To actually make outfits it seems like I would have to dress up after work, but then I couldn't get pictures taken until 8pm earliest... Would it be worth it?

Well today's outfit was an attempt to get more creative/vibrant with my fashion. I was looking over my old outfits and I used to use so many accessories/layers and put a lot more personality into my looks, which I am sure is what was attractive to people. I mean the point is to make outfits inspired by Japanese Fashion that can't just be seen on the streets normally.

One reason why it used to be easier to make outfits, I think, is because gyaru was still a well defined and followed fashion style. But gyaru has really declined (The death of gyaru has been very well chronicled over at Universal-doll). Well, I do love Swankiss, and Katie, and Syrup, and Titty&co and Lillily and Milk so I guess my taste has run into the recent light colored girly style, "Larme-kei" as Mitsu so succinctly phrased. I just bought Larme 11 (and the August Cutie), a bunch of Japanese brand, and cute accessories so I'll do my best to make some cute Larme-kei outfits!






dress: Forever21
shoes: MojoMoxy
access: handmade, ebay

July 23, 2014

* Review * Lockshop's Mermaid wig in Beachy

Good day friends! I am excited to finally have time to get this review posted up, I've been wanting to for some time but first I needed to wear it, then I had to take pictures and I decided to make a video review for the first time! I think nowadays people like to watch reviews, and get the info as quickly as possible. But I personally also like to see photos and read some text, especially if I'm at work and can't have youtube come blaring up on my phone haha!

Well anyhow, I was searching for a new wig that was a natural color, with an easy-to-wear and complimentary cut, and good quality. Lockshop is well known within the Japanese fashion community and they offer a great variety of wigs geared towards lolita, fairy and gyaru styles. I had looked at their wigs for quite some time but the shipping cost/need to be a group order dissuaded me from ever ordering. However, recently they moved their shipping office to Germany so the cost is more affordable for us in the USA.


I picked the Mermaid style because of it's soft waves that look good with a face shape like mine, I always like wavy curly wigs anyhow. The length is very nice, for some it may be too long cause it brushes against the waist line but for me I like the luxury appearence of the length. Mermaid comes in many different colors, and several special blends. The blended colors are very lovely and give the wig a much more natural look, like the Beachy color I chose.



The fibers are very soft, but not slick/plasticy, so far I didn't find any problems with shine though I have not tried flash on it yet. The wefting is also very well done, it's thick without being too huge/costumey looking and you can't see the cap though the fibers at all. The parting is done on a partial skin cap which I really like. It upgrades the naturalness alot, and makes Lockshop wigs stand out above fashion wigs which generally have the one point part.

The one trouble I have with this wig is the need for more brushing and maintaince, I need this beforehand from various reviews but even just taking it out of the package it had flyaways all over. I'm rather lazy so this is a difficult point for me haha.


The shipping wasn't very quick, it took a few weeks because it was stock in processing in Germany for quite some time. But that really has nothing to do with Lockshop. They always communicate quickly and the wig was packaged up very nicely. I did actually order a second wig but I began thinking a black wig was too dark for me and sent it back for a voucher, so far they have not received it so I'm starting to worry I'm out like 50$ haha...

Well overall I'm very happy with the wig, the cost and quality are very good, the ordering process was very easy and smooth. I do plan to order from Lockshop again in the future!

July 16, 2014

Okinawa part 2 - dining and shopping!

Good afternoon! I'm trying really hard to stay on track this week with blogging but I can tell you I would much rather just lay down and nap haha. Today at work our main computer system was down so there was literaly nothing for me to do half the day, I just kept thinking how much I could get done if I was at home. Well I will change jobs soon, I will still work fulltime so I won't get any more personal time, I just hope my next job is not worse haha!

Today I will write a bit more about my Okinawa trip, I think this post will require the most research for me as I don't remember the place names at all. Put me back in Okinawa and I could take you right to these places, but ask me the name? Forget it haha! One good thing for me when traveling is my spacial reasoning so I can very easily find places with paper map or such.

When I stayed in Naha, Okinawa, I was in a hotel on a road just off of Kokusai-dori (lit. International road) which is like the main drag downtown. Kokusai-dori stretches about 2km and it's got all the tourists roaming around, as well as the USA military people getting drunk at night. Here there are tons of touristy shops and especially restaurants, bars, cafes etc. There's some conbini and there used to be a OPA mall with all your gyaru needs (Universal-doll covered it's closing here). So it's great for a stroll after a long day sight seeing as most stores along this street are open till around 11pm.


Kokusai-dori
In a shopping arcade street
I didn't spend too much time on Kokusai-dori just because I was too busy really seeing the sights of Okinawa, plus while the atmosphere is interesting I had no need to check out the shops and restaurants.

For a more charming experience make sure to visit the shopping arcade streets that bisect Kokusai-dori at about the mid-point which are named: Heiwadori, Mutsumidori and Ichiba Hondori.  They are all inter-connected so you can roam around for quite a long time. There are tons of gift shops, but also fruit stands, diy craft studios, handmade goods, restaurants and a fish market. It's rathering overwhelming if you are looking for soveineers as you keep thinking "What will the next shop have??" well they all really have the same handful of items in various iterations so just buy what you like when you see it :D


Hello Kitty branded Okinawa gifts
Who in your life needs One Piece Okinawa socks :D



As for eating, we used a travel magazine for recommendations, but there should be plenty on the internet! From a western viewpoint you can check Tripadvisor, Total Okinawa, and Okinawa Hai

Like any place in Japan, there are local specialties that you must try when visiting! For Okinawa it's Chanpuru: a stirfry featuring the goya which is used often traditionally, Taco Rice: a fusion food originating from the American presense in Okinawa, Rafute: thick cuts of pig belly, Mimiga: thinnly sliced and boiled pig ear, Umibudo: seaweed with an interesting pellet shape, Purple potato: it's found in a lot of sweets. Well there's tons of amazing food in Okinawa so try as much as you can! And as always try to find a small/local restaurant for more authentic tastes.


Coming up I will cover the Ryukyuan Palace, and America Village. Please stay posted and I hope these posts will be useful during your own travels! Or if you're stuck in your home town like me - something fun to dream about haha!


July 14, 2014

Coordinate post! - Pop Doll outfit

Hi everyone, I meant to get another Okinawa post up today, and to make videos yesterday but over the weekend I mostly sat around. I'm so tired lately :( But I'll do my best to get it up tomorrow, then my lockshop review, followed by a new Kawaii Healthy episode! In the mean time I thought I would just post up this outfit that I've had laying around for a month or so - it's high time just to show it haha.

I actually made this outfit for Kawaii.i's Leader contest, it was a series of follies with it tho. First I forgot to make the outfit when I originally had planned to, then the next weekend it was rainy and terrible. I didn't leave myself enough time to make a nice set-up. Anyway, after I saw all the cute entrants for the contest I kinda gave up hope of winning haha!

But I'll keep trying to spread Japanese kawaii culture just like I have been all these years on my own. I've spoken about Gyaru fashion at the U of M and worked with Kawaii.i multiple times in the past, so I hope I can do more like that in the future :)





top: thrift
skirt: UNIF
socks/shoes: ASOS
earrings: I'myourpresent
Actually I do like this outfit a lot, I think it has a good balance, if I re-did it the only thing I'd change is the necklace and of course the lighting haha. I haven't been able to make outfits lately either, but I have a cute one coming up that I hope people will enjoy. I'm trying harder to make a bolder look like I used to do, only more cute and not rock as I was. I guess with my face/stature I fit dark looks better, but I think fashion is about wearing what you like and inspires you, and doing your best!
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