JAPAN 2017 | 9D9N itinerary

At the beginning of January, I went on a three weeks trip to Japan and Korea, having been to neither countries before, I was extremely excited!

Over the course of the three weeks, I took an obscene number of photos (naturally), and I thought long and hard about how I should document my experience, and I’ve finally decided to first, start off with a brief overview of my entire itinerary, and then go into details about each day in separate posts. Unlike my previous travel posts where I separated things that I did and food that I ate, they’ll be mashed up into daily posts this time round, just because, well, I think it makes more sense that way. I will also include a spending tracker after each post, and I’ll be working out a more detailed log, basically summarising what I spent my money on, and how much I think is reasonable when travelling in Japan and Korea.

A few things to note before I start, I went during the middle of Winter, I was on my own most of the time, and I wasn’t really on a budget, but I didn’t splurge either. There will be some additional posts that address tips when travelling around these two countries, best way to get around Japan, and things like that and how much money I actually spent (yes I was super OCD and recorded everything down).

Okay enough rambling, here’s my itinerary for the nine days I spent in Japan!

Day 1: arrive in Tokyo; having dinner with a friend in Tofuro, Ginza

Day 2: Tokyo: Tsukiji Market; Asakusa; Shinjuku

Day 3: Tokyo: University of Tokyo; catch the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Yokohama;
Yohohama: Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum; catch the Shinkansen from Yokohama to Osaka

Day 4 part 1: Osaka: Osaka Castle; Kuromon Ichiba Market

Day 4 part 2: Osaka: Owl Cafe; Dotonbori

Day 5: Osaka: Universal Studios Japan

Day 6: Catch the Shinkansen from Osaka to Kyoto;
Kyoto: Kinkakuji; Kiyomizu-dera

Day 7: Get from Kyoto to Naoshima (took a few trains and ferries, hence ‘get’ instead of catch the Shinkansen, if only);
Naoshima: Bennesse Art Site Naoshima

Day 8: Kyoto: Fushimi Inari Taisha; Arashiyama; Nishiki Market; Kichi Kichi Omurice; catch the Shinkansen from Kyoto to Tokyo

Day 9: Tokyo: Shibuya; Shinjuku; Harajuku; spend the night in Narita Airport (yay)

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BULLET JOURNAL | 2017 goals

I started bullet journaling in July, so I’ve been at it for 6 months, I’m still making changes here and there to make the system work better for me. I will be doing an in-depth post about the setup I use, and changes I’ve made, but today, I thought I would share with you my goals for 2017, given that there are only three days left in 2016.

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No, I don’t have the world’s prettiest handwriting, so let’s not focus on that.

Basically, I have 7 big categories that I want to work on to make 2017 a good year: accountability, sustainability, organisation, learning, experiences, hobbies, and cooking – yes this is sort under hobbies but no it deserves its own category. And under each of those categories, I listed things that I want to get done, or habits that I want to start forming.

Goal setting is something that helps me stay motivated, because once you know what you want to achieve, and when it’s something more tangible with action steps, it makes it much easier to accomplish, rather than having something general, such as “I want to be a better person” – what does that even mean?

What about you? What are you rituals at the beginning of each year? What do you want to get done in 2017? How was 2016 for you? As bad as it was for seemingly everyone else in the world?

NOTD | Essie Starry Starry Night

Starry Starry Night made its debut back in 1997, and since then, it has become a cult favourite, and a lemming of literally every nail fanatic I know. When Essie announced their Retro Revival collection, no one was surprised to see Starry Starry Night making its comeback, but everyone was beyond excited.
Three Coats of Starry Starry Night w/ One Coat of Poshe Topcoat
Three Coats of Starry Starry Night w/ One Coat of Poshe Topcoat
Three Coats of Starry Starry Night w/ One Coat of Poshe Topcoat
Excuse the excessive number of photos, but it’s so hard to capture the glitter in the nail polish! Starry Starry Night is a deep blue jelly polish with silver glitters through out, because of the jelly nature of the polish, the silver glitters appear to be both blue and green, and that’s what makes this an amazing polish! It does kind of remind me of Deborah Lippmann Across the Universe, with a similar colour scheme, but obviously the glitters are a lot smaller, and the base is much more opaque.
I love this polish, and am so happy that I finally got my hands on them without forking out over $100 on eBay. Apparently there are some differences between the comeback and the original version however, but regardless, this polish is gorgeous in all its glittery blue glory.
Side note though, the polish started chipping on me barely a day after application, which is quite odd. I’m willing to overlook it and maybe try it with a different topcoat, otherwise I’ll just suck it up anyway since the colour is too pretty to pass.
Where to buy:
Priceline stocks Essie nail polish, I buy all mine from eBay though, usually from the seller beautyzone2007, but I bought this particular polish from honeybee1909.

NOTD | OPI Bubble Bath

4 Coats of OPI Bubble Bath + Topcoat

Here’s a nude you can send your man #WasteHisTime2016. I really don’t get how that hashtag blew up, but anyway, back to polish. This is probably the closest thing I’ve found to a pinky nude for my skin tone, just for reference, I’m a NC15. But of course, nothing’s perfect. And the downfall of this gorgeous nude – it’s OPI Bubble Bath btw – is its formula. It was just so damn sheer, and not in an even way either, which meant I had to apply four coats.

Nail polish story time. Apparently back in the days Bubble Bath was more white, in a milky off white kind of way, but it has since transformed into this pale pink/nude colour. It was a big controversy at the time, and people were mad. The Polish Addict made a comparison post here.

Where to buy:
I purchase my OPI polishes on eBay usually, my two favourite sellers are beautyzone2007 and enchantedbeautyspot.

PHOTO DIARY | Taylor Swift 1989 Tour Melbourne

Taylor Swift, whether you like her or not, you can’t deny that she’s one of the most influential singer-songwriters of our time. Who knew that the curly haired country girl from Love Story would become the chic as human being that rocks a full glitter jumpsuit and red lipstick like nobody else? Her 1989 Tour just ended, and I was lucky enough to score a ticket to one of the three sold out shows in Melbourne.
Vance Joy was the opening act, and my gosh, he was amazing. His vocals were so on point the whole time, and it was extremely heart-warming knowing that he is a fellow Melbournian. In fact, I’m considering going to his show next year after this.
And of course, the one, the only, the T-Swizzle that we were all waiting for made an appearance like no other, and began her hour-and-a-half extravagant performance. Urgh, she’s so perfect, look at that hair, look at those legs, seriously man, how is this even legal.
There were numerous costume changes, and her heels were insane, I don’t understand how she walks in them, let alone dance. But she did it, ’cause she’s Taylor, just doing normal Taylor things, you know?
1989 was definitely a drastic change of musical style on Taylor’s part, but I’ve gotta say, it’s probably my favourite album of hers, in that I enjoy most of the songs in the album. I Know Places is my favourite, just in case you care, Ryan Tedder never disappoints.
As you can tell, I was sitting pretty darn far from the stage, in face, I was in the third last row. This brings me to talk about the one thing that I didn’t really like about this concert, the pricing of the tickets. Six different VIP packages from memory, the highest being around $600. I think this was a pretty inconsiderate move, knowing that most of the Swiftys out there are on the younger side of things, and probably wouldn’t be able to fork out all that much. The mosh – aka VIP A or something, was not even half filled, showing just how ridiculous the pricing is.
Apart from that, I thoroughly enjoyed everything, from yelling every words to Trouble, to being mesmerized by Taylor’s face, it was definitely another unforgettable night!

Oh and, happy belated birthday Taylor!

PHOTO DIARY | Imagine Dragons Smoke + Mirrors Tour Live in Melbourne

You know how sometimes, you go to a concert, and it completely changes your perspective on the artist or band? This is definitely the case with Imagine Dragons. I mean, I always did like them, Demons and Radioactive, being two of their most well-known songs, are some of my favourite songs too. But the sheer amount of energy each member exemplified throughout the concert seriously made me fall in love with the band.

 

I always knew how much music could mean to someone, even though I was never one of those people. But yeh, Imagine Dragons is definitely something special. They changed my opinion about some of the songs that I didn’t really like all that much before the concert, Polaroid for example (no hate please). I am sad that they didn’t performs Dreams, Second Chance, and my absolute favourite song of theirs – America. But oh well, win some lose some right?

 

 

The crowd was great too, or maybe because I was second row hehe. Dan did come off stage for a bit, and literally everyone lost their shit. I TOUCHED HIS ABS OMG CANNOT STOP FANGIRLING. Seriously though, I may sound like I have my shit together now (not really), but all I could do was fangirl during the entire concert. Dan’s just so full of energy, and the song themselves really got the crowd going.

 

They’ve only released two albums, but to be honest, there’s not one song that I don’t like. Sure, there’s some I enjoy more than others, but they all have something special. Some of the lyrics though, really resonates with me.

 

 

This is one of those concerts that as it finishes, you start appreciating the band so much more, and you know you’ll be at the front row when they return. I seriously can’t wait until they release a new album, and comes back to Melbourne again!

 

 

If you haven’t listened to Imagine Dragons, give it a go, some of their songs do take a few rounds for you to get into it, but once you do, trust me, you won’t be able to stop. And if you’re going to a show during their Smoke + Mirrors tour, you’re gonna have an absolute blast!

BOOK OR MOVIE | The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend

I’ve been seeing lots of trailers and posters for The DUFF (good online marketing there, especially on Facebook), but didn’t know it was based a book until I joined Goodreads. A lot of movies nowadays are based on books, or comics, which are books essentially (Marvel I’m looking at you), and so with that comes the question, which one is better, the movie or the book? I’ve decided to make this a new series on the blog, since it’s like, two reviews rolled into one, talk about efficiency am I right? ^______^

So, these types of reviews are probably flooded with spoilers, so if that’s not your cup of tea, STOP READING NOW OR YOU’RE GONNA HATE ME FOREVER.
I did read the book first, and although I don’t really wanna admit it, I did enjoy it. It’s kind of predictable, but the language was quite sharp at times, and it was definitely a fast-paced entertaining read.
Okay, let’s talk details.
Our protagonist, Bianca, she’s funny, smart and cynical – although this is not really demonstrated well, apart from the fact that her best friend keeps on emphasising it. She’s not the prettiest girl, but that doesn’t really bother her. Things aren’t going well with her family, and she decides that sleeping with the infamous school man-whore Wesley Rush would be a good distraction – what?
I kind of get Bianca in a way, we’ve all made irrational decisions at times, and come to regret it later. Bianca is just kind of hypocritical I guess, like a lot of teenagers out there. At the time, she can be really selfish. With both her friends and her family issues, she did not deal with them well at all. In fact, for the most part, she just avoided the problems altogether.

We don’t know much about Wesley Rush, since this is a first-person narrative, with Bianca being the narrator. Okay that’s a lie, we know that he’s tall, dark and handsome. And a massive dick at times. Oh, and he’s a man-whore, Bianca’s words not mine. He started off as Bianca’s sex toy – again, her words not mine – but because he was the only person that was aware of Bianca’s problems, he started caring about her, a lot more than they both thought was possible at the beginning I think.

Bianca’s friendship with Casey and Jessica, they had an interesting dynamic, although at parts of the books I was exasperated, but it was reasonably realistic.

Okay I think that’s all I’m going to say about the book, hopefully I didn’t give away too much!

I watched the movie a few days after I read book, so it was still fresh in my mind.

The casting was a bit off imo, and while Mae Whitman’s portrayal of Bianca was funny in its own rights, it was very different from the book. In fact, apart from the characters’ names and the title, the movie’s nothing like the book.

I understand that the movie couldn’t be as graphic as the book, considering its target audience is probably young adults, and if the movie were to be rated R18+, or even MA15+, it would lose a large chunk of viewers. But that doesn’t mean it had to neglect the storyline altogether, and pretty much write up an entirely new screenplay, which was the case here.

If the book plot seemed unoriginal, the movie version is literally based on a formula that’s been seen again and again, with all the clichés thrown in too. Unpopular girl crushes on guitar playing boy, seeks help from popular jock for a makeover and in return, tutors popular jock so that he can stay in the football team. Bitchy girlfriend of popular jock gets jealous and sabotages unpopular girl, bluhbluhbluh, popular jock declares his love for unpopular girl at a school dance, THE END. Sound familiar? Mmmmm, I think so.

It may sound like I hated the movie, but if I didn’t know it was supposedly based on a book I’d definitely like it a lot better. None of the characters were similar enough to the book version for me to even comparing them, for example, book Bianca never blamed Jess and Casey for “making” her their DUFF, and even after Wesley told her that she could easily find a new group of friends and not be seen as the DUFF anymore, she saw their friendship’s worth as much more than that, an idea that was completely obliterated in the movie.

The movie also ignored the more serious side of the book, with Bianca and Wesley’s family problems, which I thought was the key point to the development of their relationship.

So the million dollar question remains, the book or the movie? I’m going to pick the book for this one. That being said, if you’re in the mood for a light-hearted high school comedy, just don’t expect the movie to be anything like the book and you’ll love it!