JAPAN 2017 | Tokyo: Tsukiji Fish Market; Asakusa; Shinjuku

Tsukiji Fish Market

First things first, we decided to have a sushi breakfast (!!) at Sushisei, my friend said it had great reviews, and the line outside proved its popularity. The wait wasn’t all that long though, and we were seated at the sushi bar, definitely the best seat in the house imo.

I went for the Omasake set, and seriously, best sushi I have ever had. The freshness and the quality of the seafood was unbeatable, and one of the reason of why I love sushi so much is that although undeniably decadent, it’s still very light, leaving you feel satisfied, but never overly full after meal (unless you choose to have 10 plates at a sushi train restaurant of course, which I did later down in the trip).

The chef prepared the food with such precision, and was extremely friendly, he was telling us about Japanese alcohol, and after hearing that I have never tried plum wine, he even offered me some to try!

Sushisei
4-13-9 Tsukiji, Chuo 104-0045, Tokyo Prefecture
+81 3 3541-7720

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Omakase

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Chirashi

After the best breakfast I’ve had in a long time, we strolled around the market, there was plenty of fresh sashimi if you are still feeling peckish, and a large range of fresh produce for locals to purchase. Dried food also seemed quite popular, there were black beans, kelp, teeny tiny crabs (!) amongst other things. Processed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with hb2 presetProcessed with VSCO with hb1 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 preset

Asakusa

We headed off to Asakusa next, and if you want a good bird’s eyes view of the area, including Tokyo Skytree, then definitely head up to the top floor of the information centre!Processed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with g3 preset

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The street that leads towards Senso-ji was filled with shops that sells snacks, drinks, crackers, and other bits and bobs, and I had a great time browsing/eating my way through it. One thing to take note is that in Japan, even street food is eaten in an orderly manner, and by that I mean once you’ve bought something, you have to eat it within the proximity of the stall, and throw away whatever rubbish you have in the bins provided.
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Senso-ji sat at the end of the main street, and it was packed full of people! My friend and I decided to try out the omikujis, and both of us got the great curse, which meant we had to tie them up to leave the bad luck behind!

We took a side street to walk back to the station, and I spotted a melonpan shop, and oh my goodness they were AMAZING!!! It’s kind of like a turned up version of a pineapple bun, where the exterior is super crispy, and the inside was soft and chewy, it may not sound that great on paper but trust me, it was amazing. I got it with cream inside but I’d advise against it, the cream kind of overpowered the subtle sweetness of the bun itself.

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Shinjuku

Just to get some shopping out of the way, we headed off to Shinjuku, and of course, we went to Zara aka my happy place. I feel like Zara in Asia is so much cheaper in comparison to Australia, and I really had to put my self-control into test in order to only pick up a few things.

After some more shopping and browsing around, we had dinner at Marumo, a restaurant that was in the food court level of the shopping centre we were in. I got the hamburger on rice, what I imagine to be Maruko’s favourite meal (man I miss that cartoon), and yup, ended the day in food coma.Processed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with hb2 preset

Spending Tracker

Sushisei: 2500JPY ~ 31AUD
Sweet black beans: 700JPY ~ 8.6AUD
Daifuku w/ strawberry: 300JPY ~ 3.7AUD
Omasake: 110JPY ~ 1.4AUD
Agemanju: 140JPY ~ 1.7AUD
Melonpan: 350JPY ~ 4.3AUD
Grilled scallops: 600JPY ~ 7.4AUD
Crackers: 1800JPY ~ 22AUD
Zara: 4870JPY ~ 60AUD
Uniqlo: 2145JPY ~ 26AUD
Marumo: 1480JPY ~ 18AUD

Total: 14995JPY ~ 184.1AUD

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JAPAN 2017 | Tokyo: Tofuro

Narita International Airport → Tokyo

After I arrived in Narita Airport, I made my way to B1, where the Skyliner was located, buying the ticket was pretty simple, I bought a one way Skyliner ticket and the three day subway pass. I also exchanged my JR Pass at the JR office, located on B1 as well. After that, I was all ready to go with my Skyliner.Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

I arrived at my friend’s house at around 5pm, and she had picked an izakaya for us to have dinner, so after a quick change of clothes, we headed out to Ginza.

Dinner at Tofuro
1-10-6 Ginza | B2F Ginza 1st Bldg., Chuo 104-0061, Tokyo Prefecture
+81 3 3563 3033

Tofuro is a slightly more up-scale izakaya, with lots of private booth and different sittings, the whole place was very serene, with pops of red contrasting against dark wood. There was even a bridge over a tiny creek!

The food was quite delicious too, featuring lots of local produce around different regions of Japan, including Aomori, where my friend is from!

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Little fishes for us to snack on

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Tamagoyaki

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Fried Tofu

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Grilled Squid

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Soba Set

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It was a great way to start off my time in Japan! After dinner, we went to three (LOL only in Japan) convenience stores, and bought lots of snacks and lollies, as well as a permanent marker LOL, seriously Zebra can do no things wrong.

Spending Tracker

Drink from Family Mart: 149JPY ~ 1.8AUD
Stamp (I sent out the postcard when I was flying out from Tokyo): 70JPY ~ 0.9AUD
Skyliner + 3 days railway pass: 3500JPY ~ 43AUD
Public transport: 140JPY ~ 1.7AUD
Tofuro: 2683JPY ~ 33AUD
7/11: 803JPY ~ 10AUD
Family Mart: 216JPY ~ 2.7AUD

Total: 756JPY ~ 93.1AUD

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: Benesse 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)

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!