A great travel tip

July 31, 2014

I realised yesterday morning that I had a great travel trip I hadn’t shared, which is this…

When you travel buy a perfume that you’ve never worn before. When you come home every time you wear your perfume it will remind you of your trip. In Japan I bought a bottle of Guerlain Vetiver from a huge department store in Osaka. I tried it on and wandered around the store to give it some time to settle in before deciding it was right for me.

Now every morning when it’s cold and dark and I smell like Vetiver I return to Japan.


The washi you’ve all been waiting for…

March 12, 2014

My bad – I thought I could be lazy and not take a photo of the washi tape. BIG mistake! So here it is (after email and Twitter requests) – in all its glory. I was surprised to find I’d bought the same blue and white roll three times (must be love). At first I stuck to MT washi tape but was less discriminatory towards the end and made sure I got patterns we don’t have at home.

About 10 rolls have been gifted but here’s everything else… expect very pretty packages coming from this house now.

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109 rolls of washi tape

March 12, 2014

It starts when you arrive in Japan and realise that the washi tape you love so much is one-fifth the price that it is in New Zealand. Then you pick up a couple of rolls here and there and fit them in the little gaps in your suitcase.

“Let’s count the washi tape,” Tom said yesterday when we were unpacking.

80… 90… we got to 109 rolls. Some are being given to other people but mainly we’re going to be one well-stocked household for a good few years. Yesterday we also set up a hot towels station so if you come for dinner we’ll make you a hot towel before we eat – we loved hot towels in Japan and I just don’t know how life can carry on without them.

Tom’s back at work now – I’ve got today off as well. I was wide awake at midnight and struggled to get out of bed at 6.30am so tomorrow (when I return to work) will be hard. Today I’m washing and tidying, getting everything away and filling some Emma Makes orders for stockists. Then I think one last afternoon nap might be in order.

Oh, and I’ve turned the comments on the blog back on so go for gold. You’ll be able to comment again from this post on.

My lunchbox collection from Japan.

My lunchbox collection from Japan.


All our bags are packed, we’re ready to go

March 9, 2014

We have 90kg of luggage to which I say hooray for premium economy baggage allowances!

We had a mammoth effort packing last night and hope we’ll pass once we arrive at the Air New Zealand counter.

This morning it’s off to the art supplies shop to pick up printmaking spatulas for Lynn, then to JS Burgers cafe for one more round before we meet the shuttle to the airport at 2.30pm.

Our flight isn’t until about 6pm so we’ll see you back in New Zealand.

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Tokyo, two ways

March 7, 2014

I started my day taking a train to Ikebukuro to wait in line for a special Kit-Kat. Each day only 300 of them are handmade and Tom was keen to get one for our collection but had to be elsewhere.

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Although the store opens at 10am there were 15 in line when I arrived at 9.40am and about 35 by the time it opened. I got three new flavours for our collection, which I’ll blog at a later date.

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Then it was off to Nappori – fabric town. Having congratulated myself on my amazing way-finding I then got thoroughly lost but found a nice diversion of interesting things to look at down an alleyway. Sometimes the best things are found on the way to where you really meant to go.

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Fabric town was a success with a few different things bought – I’ve tried to stick to interesting patterns and/or made in Japan so it’s material I won’t probably see at home.

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My plan was to head off elsewhere but with the weight of the fabric and tired legs I headed home just in time to watch it snow over Tokyo. It seems crazy that the photo above with the clear blue sky was taken on the same day.

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Tom’s day started at the Tsukuji fish market (again) where he was on a mission to find more knives.

Our hotel is closest to Shinjuku station now, which services 2.3 million customers a day – it’s huge and easy to get lost or buy the wrong ticket – a problem Tom had today.

Still, soon he was on his way. He visits a lot of bookshops – often places he researches and then tries to find so he can search for that elusive Manga title. It’s the kind of approach that makes me mental – if I can’t find something I often give up and just roam around finding other good things. I suspect he thinks the same of my approach.

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Next up was the grounds of the Imperial Palace, which Tom said was remarkably empty. He spent a good while watching some huge carp in a pond before heading off.

While I was watching snow Tom was eating the best pork ramen of his life. Then it was time for more book hunting before home to blob out and rest.

We’ve both just returned from a fantastic Teppanyaki dinner from one of the in-house restaurants. Personal service, Kobe beef and a cooking show while looking over Tokyo – a pretty ideal way to end the day.

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Last chance

March 6, 2014

We’ve arrived back in Tokyo for our final three days. Tom and I are planning on doing our own thing each day so we don’t miss out on anything we really want to do.

We’ve been upgraded in our hotel and have access to a private lounge so I imagine we’ll meet there each night, swap stories, upload photos and drink free beer and wine.

This is how we feel about leaving Japan…


Lights lights baby

March 6, 2014

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Not many people we’ve encountered know where Kuwana is or what their great light show is. I’d seen a photo of an incredible light show on Pinterest and once I knew it was in Japan I was keen to see it.

Our travel agent put this in the ‘too hard’ basket so we had a gap in our itinerary that I was determined to fill. Thanks to Trip Advisor and a few other blog posts we learnt where the festival was, how to get there and to stay in Nagoya, the closest city.

I find searching for accommodation frustrating so picked the easy option – the five star hotel on top of the railway station (Marriott if you’re looking for a recommendation).

It’s wonderful – heres our view from floor 41. We spent a lot of time looking at the view and slept with the curtains open last night.

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But back to the light show – in a word, incredible. Absolutely worth the special trip and going mid-week was brilliant because there weren’t any crowds. The whole thing was accompanied by piped music for that special surreal Japanese experience.

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As a special bonus the plum blossom was out (it’s spring here) and smelt wonderful.

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I’ve also put a heap of other photos up in our Flickr gallery.
If you want to visit Kuwana it will help you to know the light show is called Nabana no Sato.