Monday, 1 February 2016

Cute Things I Like #2

Special Tsum Tsum to celebrate the Year of the Monkey. KAWAII!! (Cute)

Well blow me down it's nearly February. Oh bloody hell it is February. My January has been spent finishing all my Christmas chocolate, and then starting on my BF's stash (sorry BF). ANYWAY, on to the cute things!!!!

#1. Kyary Pamyu Pamyu hot chocolate!!

Cool Japan is back at USJ! Cool Japan is a special event at Universal Studios Japan comprising of temporary rides or walkthroughs from Japanese pop culture. This year, Cool Japan features Attack on Titan, Monster Hunter, Evangelion, Biohazard 2: The Escape, and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. 

Kyary is a Japanese fashion model and singer, and has the bestest/cutest/weirdest songs, possibly in the whole wide world. For example, my favourite song of hers is Tsukema Tsukeru, which is about putting on false eyelashes.

Genius. I think she is a little famous in the USA for being an influence to Katy Perry. 

Back to USJ. So obviously I had to have a Kyary Pamyu Pamyu XR - The Ride hot chocolate. The paper cup had a cute face on to make you look funny when you drank, was topped with cream and sweeties, and was generally delicious and immensely sugary. 

They also had Kyary churros, but alas, my blood sugar level couldn't take it. 

The ride itself was one of the weirdest experiences I have ever had at an amusement park: you wore goggles through which you could see Kyary's 'factory' but not your own body or the person next to you. And then it was a roller coaster. So weird. But very cute. :D.

#2. Tsum Tsum toys

1000% sure I need them all. Gah. 

#3. Gachapon

Gachapon or Gashapon (machines which release a little toy/collectible figure/keyring in return for one or two coins) are extremely popular in Japan and I completely understand why. The toys are ADORABLE. I already have an Olaf keyring, but I really fancy a Stormtrooper (third from the left on the bottom) and would very much like the whole set of cat themed tiny kitchen equipment (third from the right on the top). Sigh. 

I hope you had a good January! What are you enjoying this month?

Erin Lian <3

Friday, 22 January 2016

100 Yen shops! Or my favourite places in the whole world that aren't Disneylands or USJ


It is very hard to give you an honest account of Japan's 100 Yen shops, as I just want to write 'I LOVE THEM, I LOVE THEM SO MUCH', repeatedly, while crying into my keyboard. However, I will battle on. 

100 Yen shops are very similar to the pound shops popular in the U.K. They sell a huge variety of goods, such as: 
  • food
  • cleaning products
  • small electricals
  • stationary
  • cosmetics
  • kitchen supplies
  • cutlery and crockery
  • craft supplies 
The variety of goods is astonishing. They are all RIDICULOUSLY cute, and of reasonable to good quality. 

At the moment, 100 yen is about 60p. Japan currently has a tax of 8% on goods, so most items at the 100 yen shop will actually come to 108 yen at the till. Some goods sold in store can cost up to 300 yen, but the majority of items cost about £0.64 (hooray!!). 

100 yen items that bring me joy: 
  • cleaning sponges/brushes that have faces (gah!!)
  • washi tape (paper tape) that come in many cute patterns
  • tissues that have cute characters on the packaging

Things that you can buy in 100 Yen shops which I find incredibly disconcerting:
  • Ear piercing kits 
  • Syringes with needles (3rd row down on the right)

Unfortunately, 100 yen shops are so enjoyable to look about in that they also cost hours of your life. 

If the delicious food or beautiful landscapes don't tempt you to Japan, you should probably go for the 100 Yen shops.

I hope you enjoyed your little tour! Mata ne! See you!

Erin Lian <3

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Cute Things I Like #1

Oh Japan, you (freezing freezing cold) beauty. We have been back about a week now, and we are still getting back into the swing of things. Like wearing 3 pairs of socks AT ALL TIMES. Jet lag aside (what did I ever do to you body clock??), I have still managed to find time for some adorableness:

When this whole colouring book craze started, I thought it was nice but maybe not my thing - much like team sports or eating healthily. However, BF bought me a Disney colouring book from Tokyu Hands and it is so calming - the same sort of peacefulness I feel when baking. 34645 thumps up.

Cross stiching is bitchin'. Cross stitch all the things! (Then read some Hyperbole and a Half.)

My friend bought me some Inside Out sticky notes for my Christmas. Pure joy. Tee hee. (If you don't get the joke, for the love of goodness stop reading my blog and go and watch Inside Out.)

What are you finding cute at the moment?

Erin Lian <3

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

At the supermarket!


Some things are the same but different:

Loaves of bread in Japan usually have a maximum of 6 slices and each slice is at least twice as thick as a slice from the UK. Also - NO CRUSTS! (Where do they go??)

In the basket starting from the top left going clockwise, we've got: carrots, lotus root, pumpkin, and aubergine.

But some things were a bit of a mystery!:

The picture below is of a vegetable called okra. which we call ladies' fingers, but I don't think I had ever seen or eaten this before I came to Japan!

See those long thin brown things on the top left? Those are gobou, or to us, burdock. (I'm aware that I'm sounding quite knowledgeable at this point, but I actually have an informant.)

Haven't got the foggiest about any of these things (??!!), sorry! (Informant doesn't know either.)

Here is some fresh seafood:

Below are some packets of nabe stock. Nabe is a hot pot dish where you put tofu, cabbage, leeks, chicken (anything!) into a big ceramic pot and boil it using the nabe stock. It is very very delicious and people eat it here a lot (as do I :)). It is very quick, tasty, and healthy. ANYWAY, the nabe stock comes in many flavours, such as: chicken, sea food, kimchi, sesame and soy milk, etc. YUM. 

I hope you enjoyed your tour of a Japanese supermarket :)

Erin Lian <3

Monday, 14 December 2015

Christmas is here!

Christmas in Japan is ridiculously cute (see any picture posted below).

I think Japan does quite a secular version of Christmas, so it has a bit of a different feel to Christmas in merry old England. One of my favourite things about Christmas is all the twinkly lights, and Japan really go for it. There are A LOT of very big illuminations (Christmas light displays) in city centres, shopping centres, and public spaces. For example, Universal Studios has this bad boy:
The Christmas tree at Universal Studios Japan, which is recognised by Guinness World Records as having the most lights on an artificial tree - 360,000!
However, people tend not to decorate the outside of their houses as they would in England.

Some families do have Christmas trees - they tend to be artificial and maybe 3 or 4 foot tall. You can buy very cute decorations in the 100 Yen Shop (which is ridiculously nicer than Poundland).

Some of the Christmas goods on display at the 100 Yen shop
The children I know in Japan do get presents from Santa san (Santa Claus) but I think it is not the (rather sizeable) amount that children in England receive. I think this is because children are given money on New Year's Day. Christmas is often thought of as a holiday for couples here, whereas New Year is family time. The girls I know are going to buy Fukubukuro (lucky bags) with their New Year money - cute!

FINALLY, fried chicken IS popular to eat on Christmas day in Japan (so much so, you need to order ahead of time!). Ovens here are usually quite small and live on the counter top, therefore most people can't roast a chicken at home. So - KFC! Or Mos Burger (a Japanese fast food chain):

It's just so cute, I can't even.

I hope you found learning about Christmas in Japan interesting :) Only 10 days to go now!!!

Erin Lian <3

P.S. I am only writing from my experiences of Japan, I am no expert, sorry! 

Friday, 13 November 2015

Meanwhile, in Japan...

A giant cabbage!

I kept a bit of a pepper in the bottom left hand corner in for scale.

And just in case you were wondering, it costs £9.14 including tax :)

Thursday, 12 November 2015

DIY Advent Calendar

As a person who spends a good 9 months of the year waiting for Christmas to arrive, I really enjoy any excuse to do fun crafty things while watching Christmas specials and cuddling one of those beanie bags you warm up in the microwave. One of my favourite Christmas traditions is the advent calendar, and for the past few years I have made my own for a few special people. This year, I mixed it up with a variety of simple little parcels and origami envelopes.

Here are some of the presents from one of this year's calendars:

My suggestions for little Christmassy gifts to wrap up or put inside your calendar are:
  1. Cute handwritten jokes. (E.g. How does Good King Wencelas like his pizzas? One that's deep, and crisp, and even! HAHAHAHA. Ahem.)
  2. Nail varnish, nail stickers, etc.
  3. Lego
  4. Key rings
  5. Face masks
  6. Cute plasters
  8. Little Christmas decorations
  9. Stationary (rubbers, pencils, etc.)
  10. Little toys (like bouncy balls, paper planes)
  11. Jewellery (for the big spenders out there)
  12. Hanging air fresheners for cars
I really love using envelopes for my calendars, but they can be awkward for difficult shaped presents. However, if you want to make your own origami envelopes (or pom poms!), I found these links really useful:
Origami envelopes
Pom poms

42 days to go everyone! I would love to hear any of your advent calendar ideas :)

Erin Lian