Thursday, 21 January 2016

心斎橋 shinsaibashi shopping

shinsaibashi, shinsaibashisuji shopping center, shopping in osaka

There's (almost) nothing quite as satisfactory as a good shopping trip with a best pal. We spent a Saturday in the Shinsaibashi area when we visited Osaka. Shinsaibashi-suji Shopping Centre is a super long shopping arcade with a lot of Western brands. Guilty of buying a shearling coat from Stradivarius (which turned out to be cheaper in HK AND England), but Japan was getting pretty cold.

Our main indulgence was Japanese cosmetics. Who knew you could spend over an hour in a pharmacy. We came back the day of our flight and went crazy. Pretty sure I didn't even need half the stuff I chucked into my basket, but have to take advantage of the Yen whilst it's still cheap! There's also tax-free shopping in pharmacies and hoards of Mainlanders practically buying out everything. Ended up buying Lululun face masks as gifts, and then plenty of DHC, Dejavu, Dark Media, Suisai and Shiseido. And also mouth ulcer stickers. (Why don't they sell them anywhere else?!)

shinsaibashi, shinsaibashisuji shopping center, shopping in osaka

We also wandered to Kuromon Market (a bit too late). A lot of the stalls were starting to close as we got there, because we're always one step behind at life, but we managed to feast on some takoyaki and sashimi. And here's also a picture of Dotonburi Canal, which we went past in the daytime. Everything in Japan is just so picturesque.
  shinsaibashi, shinsaibashisuji shopping center, shopping in osaka, dotonburi canal

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

hold back the river | 京都-style

kamo river, geisha district gion, ootd outfit of the day, travelling in japan

In light of my recent Kyoto post and backtracking the past year in order to complete my 2015 chronicles, Izzy helped and found these photos she took of me looking unprepared along the Kamogawa River. Next to Pontocho Alley and looking gloomy in all its quaintness, it is still a pretty scenic view. Shame it was starting to get murky and there was no photobomb from girls in kimonos (which there are plenty of in Gion). I'll be forever nostalgic for those Kyoto days.

kamo river, geisha district gion, ootd outfit of the day, travelling in japan

kamo river, geisha district gion, ootd outfit of the day, travelling in japan

Cardigan - Stradivarius
White jumper - Bershka
Jamie Jeans - Topshop
Trainers - Puma
Bag - Longchamp
Sunglasses - Rayban


And lastly, here's a photo of the river near the Gion-Shijo Station, Kawabatacho end giving me 1 Litre of Tears vibes. kamo river, geisha district gion, ootd outfit of the day, travelling in japan

Friday, 8 January 2016

i solemnly swear i am up to no good

harry potter, world, japan, universal studios, osaka, travel, asia


As a sufferer of post-Harry Potter depression, and a Ravenclaw, of course I had to go to the recently-opened Harry Potter World when I went to Japan. Yet to visit the US, but fyi I've been to the Warner Bros studio tour twice :D The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is in Universal Studios Japan, Osaka, and I'm still wondering why the UK doesn't have one because I clearly recall, en route from Platform 9 3/4, King's Cross to Edinburgh Waverley, that there a lot of land. Pretty please.

harry potter, world, japan, universal studios, osaka, travel, asia


So, Universal Studios Japan doesn't cater for foreign visitors. Like, everything is in Japanese. Everything. I guess the all-in-Japanese ticket website was a clue really. We only went there for Harry Potter World anyway. We initially panicked, thinking we weren't going to get into HP World because all the packages were sold out online and in Lawsons. But it's pretty easy to get a timed-entry ticket once you're in the park - you just have to print one off at the designated machines. We got there in the morning and still had to wait until half 3 for our time slot /yawn.

harry potter, world, japan, universal studios, osaka, travel, asia


The HP World is predominantly remodelled after Hogsmeade, complete with snow-capped shops (Honeydukes, Zonko's, Ollivanders etc. albeit that some of these shops belong to Diagon Alley). There's also a substantially-sized Hogwarts castle, some gargoyles, a Hogwarts Express and also a big lake (the lake where Harry conjures a patronus to save himself?). We only went on The Flight of the Hippogriff, which was a quite anticlimatic ride (expect to go round in literally just circles). The Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction was a 3-hour queue and since not everyone was a fan of HP, we couldn't justify waiting that long. Cry. So close yet so far.

harry potter, world, japan, universal studios, osaka, travel, asia


Instead, we drank steaming mugs of Butterbeer from The Three Broomsticks to keep warm. For anyone that hasn't had Butterbeer, it's very much a cold drink that tastes similar to Cream Soda served in cute plastic mugs from an outside kiosk. I don't actually like Cream Soda, but I do like Butterbeer. But maybe that's because I like anything Harry Potter.

harry potter, world, japan, universal studios, osaka, travel, asia
Shearling coat - Stradivarius