Monday, January 27, 2014

#MelKyoto2014 Day 4: And back again

One of those things I need to learn is to just take an earlier train. I keep forgetting that nothing is binding me to my reserved seat.

And reserved cars are often more packed than non-reserved. Meh. Hopefully lesson learned.

Back to Nagoya where I will frantically write a podcast script and try to get some sleep. I'll try to get some blog entries written, but no promises on when they'll go up.

This was a good trip. I fully enjoyed it regardless of my legs hating me.

#MelKyoto2014 Day 4: Fushimi Inari

Finally came early enough to go all the way to the top. One thing I learned: I am so out of shape.

But it was totally worth it. I think this will be a regular thing. There is something cleansing and purifying about the journey.

And now that I'm rested and had a late lunch, off to Kiyomizu.

It's cliche and flooded with foreigners and kids their school trips, but these are my favorite places. It's nice to go back to familiar places and see how they have or haven't changed.

Anyways, here's to another long day of walking.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

OSD: This Week's Haul - The Smell of Sweet Happiness

Obsessive Stationery Disorder

I was going to be good (how many times have I said that and am I going to say that...), but I needed some Post-its for work and clear big stickies for my Kyoto trip (I'm actually in Kyoto at the time of posting this), and of course that lead to some impulse purchases. (Links are to the Japanese sites, as always.)

  • Post-it four-pack - For all the cool sticky notes that are out there in Japan, 3M's Post-its are still the best for that simple sticky notes. That or the 100yen shop versions, which aren't too bad, but 100yen shops are a whole different level of temptation that I try to stay away from.
  • Clear Film Fusen - These clear sticky notes are made to be put on top of maps and such to write notes. I'll probably write another post about these with some action shots. (Pine Book (the website doesn't have these on it))
  • maste washi masking tape "colorful dot" "colorful stripe" - From here begin the impulse buys. I had to get these rainbow dots and stripes. I'm sure I'll find a use for them. (maste MARK'S)
  • mt masking tape "colorful pop" - Possibly the masking tape company. This pattern was just so cute, I had to get it. I'm obviously leaning towards the white base and multi-colored patterns. I'll find a use for this too. (mt)
  • Zebra Sarasa Clip: Light Pink and Green - This was the most impulsive buy. (Zebra)
Zebra produced these Sarasas in collaboration with Pichi Lemon, a fashion magazine aimed at elementary and junior high school girls. You can kind of see the bows on the clips.

The pens are scented and the names are what got me. The scent of the Green is "Alice's Tea Party", as is depicted on the pen (got this for Samancha), and the scent of the Light Pink, which is unicorns and rainbows, is "Sweet Happiness". The unicorns look like My Little Ponies and the color scheme reminded me of Lisa Frank. 

I couldn't resist. And now I know what sweet happiness smells like. I think...
Here are all of the color: theme: scent combinations. Again, the last part is the scent.

  • Black: Soft Gothic & Lolita: Devilish Princess
  • Red: Retro & Girly: Rose Garden
  • Blue: Rock & Pop: Rock Mint
  • Orange: Sweet Macaron: Colorful Macarons
  • Green: Classic & British: Alice's Tea Party
  • Red Purple: Cosmetic: The Magic of Love
  • Light Pink: Happy & Heaven: Sweet Happiness
Yeah, I love Japan. 

Next week's post will probably be my Kyoto haul, which is going to either be a massively long post, or a series. Probably a series because I'd like to talk about the stores themselves too.

#MelKyoto2014 Day 3:Date with Dad

Today's the main reason I came to Kyoto. A year ago today, my dad passed away. And long story short, some of his ashes are at Higashi Honganji, here in Kyoto.

Timing and practicality kept me from going back home, so I decided to come here instead.

And I didn't want to rush it so I wanted to stay for two nights, which I impulsively extended to three nights. Pondering what to do with my first two days led to the epic stationery trip. Today is a quiet day.

So now I'm on my way to Higashi Honganji to pick up Dad in spirit and go on a date in Arashiyama.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

#MelKyoto2014 Day 2: Look what I bought!

More on the contents later.

First, to rest my feet.

#MelKyoto2014 Day 2:Lunch

3 hours of walking and a lot of money spent. Some not because one store was closed. But there was an impulse buy, but only one and it was less than the thing I decided not to buy, so I say I'm a little ahead, but after this, I'm headed to two stores I haven't looked at yet.

But first, lunch. A client told me about this place. It's a bit busy but pretty good.

#MelKyoto2014 Day 2

Totally late start. But I'm cool with that.

If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen the view from my hotel room. Can't complain. Also a big bath, clean room, wi-fi, and they gave me a chu-hi when I checked in. The complimentary breakfast could have been better (pre-made green tea in a pot? really?) but convenient. And the yudofu was yummers.

On the agenda today is retracing yesterday's 4 hour walk and making purchases. Then either trek back to the hotel or bunker down somewhere until I meet up with some friends for dinner. It will depend on how heavy my bag is.

I emptied my backpack to carry my haul and now totally look like a tourist, which I am.

The stationery budget is currently set at 15,000. Unknown factors are self-control and three stores I missed yesterday. I checked their websites last night and all three had drool-worthy items.

Thankfully two stores I was most afraid of didn't have as much that I felt an urgency to buy. One in particular, Kyukyodo, has seasonal items always in stock in Nagoya, so I might skip it today in the interest of time and for the sake of my feet.

Friday, January 24, 2014


So I'm off!

And one thing I gotta keep in mind next time I schedule a trip is that 8am is rush hour. Avoiding that breeding ground of stress is another perk of my job. But I know my way around decently enough to avoid the most packed lines and even sit down plus I'm getting into Kyoto before 10am and that's awesome.

I'm going to do my best to see the positive on this trip. If sadness sinks in, let it sink in, but overall, just going to let things go.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Not that you can tell in the picture, but it's so much lighter and just plain better. I love my stylist. He understands me and my hair and he's awesome. He's totally worth the trip out here.

Headed to Hama

Getting my hair cut and having dinner with Samancha.

The stones survived yesterday so I added a pearl and another layer of top coat. I know I said these wouldn't work at work, but I think a bit of experimenting is in order. I can probably get away with neutral colors and subdued glitters. Plus it's a conversation piece for lessons.

So I've been scouring Pintrest for design ideas. Got a few, so I'll try some out this year. Love having happy nails. They lift my spirits and sometimes I need that pick me up.

You'll know I dove in when I purchase stones and nail glue.

In other news, Kyoto tomorrow! Will be blogging like a mad woman the first two days. Stationery galore! Whee! Need to pack tonight.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

To work

It's a workshop, so I'm not really fussed about it except it's scheduled until 7. Not a happy camper, but not a miserable one either. After almost three years and positive feedback and results, I'm no longer as worried about my performance at these workshops.

I'd be lying if I said I'm happy about coming in today, but it's better than the middle of my work week or worse yet, after my Kyoto trip. And to be fair, I could have said no. At least this way there is Kyoto and Hama to look forward to.

Just gotta get through today.

And I gots black and gold nails to do it! I really should paint happy nails for my days off. Think of themes and play. Next, I want to paint Cal nails, but I need to get the right blue and the right gold. Though that's the fun part. Hehe.

Okay. Morning, then to work!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

At the theater-After thoughts: Ender's Game

That was kick-ass. This is what I ask for from a sci-fi movie.

I'm really quite satisfied.

Yeah, that's about all I have to say about that.

Just enjoying that post-movie buzz.

At the theater: Ender's Game

Finally remembered to cash in on my points. As of now, I can still watch two more free movies. Sweet!

Looking forward to Ender. But as with any movie, not expecting anything. Keeping an open mind. Here we go.

Lunch, then Ender's Game

Decided to go for the 3:30 Ender's Game rather than rush to the 1pm, so I spent an hour looking at stationery magazines at Sanseido then headed up to Antico Caffe for some food. The barista made a heart in my cappucino. Yay!

Now to unwind and write a bit.

Life is good.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hello DARK! It's good to see you again

Especially after a good night's rest. At least on Sunday nights I really need to sleep at 11 at the latest. And classical through earbuds until I pass out is perfect. Drowns out the noise of the people talking downstairs.

Got a long day today, though by choice. Sort of. Morning lessons, translation check, podcast script writing, evening lessons. I left my Kyoto guide books at the house on purpose so I wouldn't be distracted. Plenty of time to write out a game plan on Thursday.

Speaking of which, I'm pretty sure my supervisor thinks I'm out of my mind for spending two days on stationery. In all fairness, stationery's probably the last thing most of people would think of when talking about visiting Kyoto. I keep forgetting for the majority of the population, paper is just paper and pens are just pens. They don't know what they're missing. Nor would most care.

Anyways, lots on my mind, but today is about what I need to do today.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

OSD: Tricked-out Notebook update

Obsessive Stationery Disorder

I've added two things to my tricked out notebook:
  1. Notebook pen case
  2. Weekly schedule stickies

Notebook pen case

Notebook pencase

I liked the pen holder that I was using; it did the job and while it was starting to fall off, it was nothing a little masking tape couldn't fix. But then I saw the notebook pen case from Pentel that I had held back from purchasing simply because I couldn't find it in blue. Well, I found it in blue. A lovely blue that I quite adore. I've been using it ever since and it's been working like a charm.

Zebra Sarasa, Uni Kurutoga, Pilot Hi-Tec-C, Pentel Slicci, Tombow Mono
Inside are a black 0.5 Sarasa and an 0.5 Kurutoga. On the outside big pocket are a black 0.25 Slicci and a red 0.4 Hi-Tec-C Slim Knock and in the small pocket is a Tombow MONO Smart eraser.

It's convenient and just the right size. I can grab a pen first and then open my notebook. I have easy access to a pencil as well as the thinner pens I use in my schedule book. And the slim Mono eraser fits perfectly in front. Keeps the bare essentials in close reach (stationery problem alert: three pens and a pencil is "bare"). True, it makes my notebook bulkier, but it's worth it.

Weekly schedule sticky notes

Upcoming events were getting lost in the bullet journal style and I simply don't flip to the monthly planner in front, so I added another element: weekly schedule sticky notes.

These are made by the same company that makes the calendar stickies. As you can see, they are quite minimal and that's just what I need.

First, I copy the most important events (due dates and appointments and such) from the monthly planner for this week and next week. This week's sticky note goes opposite the daily notes, moving along as necessary; next week's note stays on the cover of the planner. When things come up, I simply add them to the appropriate date.

I've only had used it for a few days, but so far, it's kept my planner as a planner to keep track of future events, my daily notes as a place to write notes from each day, and the schedule stickies are a clear schedule of upcoming events and to-dos for the week. It feels like things are the way they should be. We'll see how long this lasts. Will keep you posted.

Two more days of work

Plus an all-day workshop on Wednesday and volunteer stuff Tuesday morning.

And I need to clean my room and do my nails and I have an appointment with my hairstylist and dinner with Samancha while I'm in town. I might also catch Ender's Game on Tuesday.

And after that, I'll be in Kyoto! Whee!

I have a game plan in the works and it involes two days of stationery shopping: one for reconnaissance, one for purchase. This is the depth of my maddness. And how many glorious stores I will be facing. Can't wait!

Also in the plan is dinner with some friends, Arashiyama, yudofu, and maybe renting a kimono. I also need to make sure to drop by Kiyomizu and Fushimi Inari.


Mmmm, stationery.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

At the theater-After thoughts:TRICK Last Stage

That was awesome.

They might bring it back again, because it was supposedly the end two movies ago, but I felt a strong sense of closure with that ending. Really happy with it.

And there were Easter eggs galore. Not to mention the end credits were like a bit of a gift to those of us who have been fans all these years.

As for goods, I got the tote bag, the pamphlet, and the stickers. I might go back for more...I want the 3D-----! floater pen. Just because.

At the theater: TRICK-The Last Stage

The final TRICK. Or so they say...

And the goods! I don't know what to do! Definitely the sign stickers. I want the Ueda Jiro book memo pads, but can't justify it. And the canvas bag! For once, I can pass on the clear files.

I'm waiting until after the movie to actually make my purchaces. So much fun.

The theater is filling up pretty well for a Thursday afternon. I'm impressed.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

OSD: First Haul of the Year

Obsessive Stationery Disorder

Picked up a few things at Tokyu Hands last week. Fun stuff! (Links to Japanese sites)
  • A new scrapbook for 2014 even though I haven't come close to finishing 2013... (Jour & Etoffe, United Bees)
  • A postcard by 内田新哉 who is quickly becoming a favorite artist. (Shinya Uchida Official Site )
  • Petit 1 (black) refills for my grandmother (Petit 1, Pilot)
  • A new pencase for my planner notebook. I had been eyeing this one for a while and this is first time I saw this color. So I bought it. (Pilot )
  • Envelope and paper. (松風堂 Shofudo. *drool* More on this place later.)
  • Map tag card of California. I'm a sucker for anything that shows my lovely hime state and includes Berkeley. And a bear. (Mapnote, Maptote)
  • Monthly graphy stickers (Monthly Graph, Custom Diary Stickers, Greeting Life Inc.)
So, Shofudo. I'm going to Kyoto at the end of the month for family reasons as well as for pleasure and I figured that since I was there I should check out some stationery stores. I looked online and jotted down a few names. Shofudo was one of the stores that caught my eye.

When I realized the traditional Japanese style stationery I was oogling in the special display area at Tokyu Hands today was from Shofudo, I had a mini fangirl spaz. Now that I've seen some of their selection, I'm definitely going to drop by. And bring more money with me than I originally planned. They even have a workshop! This is going to be an expensive Kyoto trip.

仕事始め Back to the daily grind

I actually started work Friday, but my full days are on the weekend, so there's something very much "going to work" about Saturdays and Sundays.

Though with all of the long breaks I took last year for various reasons, it hardly feels any different from other breaks. I've got a relatively long Kyoto trip in two weeks, so that might account for my state of mind as well.

I think I like it this way.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

#artoftype Ten Words, Ten Typefaces x4

I signed up for an online typography class to support my increasing interest in creating images, design, and sketching. Part of the course is sharing your project to get feedback from other students, but I thought I'd post my work on my blog too.

The first mini project is to pick ten fonts for ten words (1-sporty, 2-beautiful, 3-simple, 4-loud, 5-traditional, 6-childlike, 7-ugly, 8-danger, 9-futuristic, 10-flirty) and while I considered handwriting them, I don't often have a reason to explore fonts, plus I love scrolling through different fonts to see my personal reaction to each one.

Impromptu shopping trip

Last day of a long New Year's holiday. I went to Gusto for a good 3 hours to work on a typography project and other things while getting my money's worth of free refills.

Then instead of going back to the house or staying for another 3 hours to work on more stuff, I decided to go into town and pick up a few things rather than leave earlier to get them before work tomorrow.

Last minute decision so no makeup on or even with me, but I've got kick ass nails. Last day though. Gotta say goodbye to the Nails on Fire before I go back to work. If I have time, I'm going to try a subtle gradient with white and pearl. Maybe with some silver. Or something like that.

In totally unrelated news, I noticed Season One of 進撃の巨人 was on the all-you-can-watch list on the Bandai Channel. I started watching last night and got up to episode 10 and now I'm considering getting the manga once I assess the amount of free space I have in my room. I love this kind of story and the opening credits totally sell it.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

OSD: January Carnival of Pen, Pencil, and Paper

Obsessive Stationery Disorder

Anyone who has a stationery problem like me, check out the January Carnival of Pen, Pencil, and Paper hosted this month by Heather over at A Penchant for Paper. You'll find a selection of posts about, well, pens, inks, pencils, notebooks, and such. My post about my tricked-out planner made the list. Yay!

And now that I've made an image for the Obsessive Stationery Disorder, I will shorten the post title name to OSD and I hope to keep up posts for this type of post. I have a lot of random products, pens, and OSD habits that I want to blog about. The current plan is to have a scheduled post on Sundays (Japan time) and random other ones here and there, but that could change at any time.

I am also open to requests and questions and such concerning my stationery or stationery in Japan, though I will not guarantee when I will get to answering them.

That's all from me today. May 2014 be filled with awesome stationery, lots of writing and drawing, and new discoveries.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

#MelSketch100 27-28

Another short sketch week. Just the end of last year and the beginning of this year.

Dec 31: 27 of 100

Jan 1: 28 of 100

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Hunger Games Gradient Nail Tutorial(?)

Tried my hand at some fancy nails. Theme: Girl on Fire.

If you search for "Hunger Games nails", most of your results will be a black base with orange flames. Most likely there will also be a mockingjay on the left ring finger. And that is precisely what I decided to do as well, going with the gradient because it's easier.

Normally I'm opposed to following the crowd, but there was a time issue (I had to get the colors at my local drugstore the same day I decided to do my nails) and gradient nails were new territory. I checked out a number of tutorials online to get a general idea of how to do it and what I needed.

When I got to my grandmother's for the New Year holiday, I did a test run and it turned out to be a lot easier than I imagined. This will definitely be something I do again but with more work dress code friendly colors.

I wanted a record of the process so I decided to try out the Shadow Puppet app that has been sitting on my iPad for a whole. It's a photo presentation app that appealed to me more than a regular video. I downloaded it months ago and had been waiting for a reason to use it.

The test run, as well as it turned out, was exactly that and I wanted to fix the orange:black ratio and I didn't even use a base coat, so I did a second run and took photos of each step to use in Shadow Puppet. I gotta say, I like how it turned out. I will be doing more of these in the future.


Obsessive Stationery Disorder: Tricked-out Notebook Planner

Since it is the New Year, I thought it would be an appropriate time to show off my planner. This is my current solution in my never-ending quest for the perfect planner: it's a notebook that I've tricked it out quite a bit.

I'm currently on the second generation and it constantly evolves as I tweek and adjust and as my needs change. I filled the first generation in about three months, which feels about right. I'm not sure what I'm basing that on, but it feels right.

There was a zero generation which helped start this and only when I was nearing the end of the first generation, did I start searching the net for more ideas. Awesome to see all the ideas people have to make up for the general lack of stationery that I most gratefully don't have to deal with.

It was also nearing the end of the year, so the stationery blogs I follow naturally began to start posting planner/journal related posts. This is when I read A Penchant for Paper - Rethinking DIY Planner for 2014 where she linked to the Bullet Journal. (I noticed later as I made my through The Pen Addict podcast that Ryder Carrol was actually a guest on Episode 70.) The system was similar to the one I had implemented in the first generation, but more explained and streamlined. I applied the parts that worked for me and it's been great.

Really looking forward to tweaking the second generation and moving on to the third.

*NOTE: I live in Japan, otherwise known as land of awesome stationery, and a lot of these things might not be available outside Japan.

So without further ado, this is my current planner/sketchbook/cashbook/journal.

Friday, January 3, 2014

#MelShogatsu2014: お雑煮 Day Three

It's kind of like turkey leftovers after Thanksgiving or Christmas. Except it is tradition to eat osechi for the first three days of the New Year.

My grandmother changes the ingredients so it's not the exact same thing, but honestly, I like mochi, so I don't really mind.


Also, on a blog note, I downloaded a new blogging app and am trying it out. So far it's giving me a lot more freedom and now that I think about it, it's amazing i stayed with Google's Blogger app for as long as I did. Hopefully the picture above will link to my Instagram account.

Currently editing a much longer post and dealing with the residual html from switching between apps and the dashboard. Grrr. Crossing my fingers that it will work.


Thursday, January 2, 2014

#MelShogatsu2014 初餃子

Another tradition my grandmother and I have started is to have gyoza for New Year's. Well, we have gyoza all the time, so it's more like just having a regular time with me and my grandmother. :)

First gyoza of the year! Here's to a year filled with gyoza!

As for what I did today, talked to my mom in Skype for a few hours then watched the first Gochi of the year. Yay, Gochi! Need to watch this one more often this year. :)

#MelShogatsu2014 御節

While osechi items each have lucky meanings behind them, they're not particularly my favorite. Turns out the same goes for my grandmother. We decided to forego the expensive osechi sets and just get a few of the traditional osechi items that we like. Since we didn't have to worry about leftovers we don't quite want to eat, this resulted in a much easier New Year's. 

#MelShogatsu2014 紅白歌合戦

A few personal favorite moments and things from last night's Kohaku:
-Ayase Haruka completely out of her element and Arashi supporting her
-TOKIO being TOKIO and the footage from twenty years ago
-MASHA! That man is so damn gorgeous. Still tempted to try for his dome tour, but TOKIO's turning twenty and I need to save for that. 
-Miwa Akihiro being kick-ass awesome.
-Funasshi being Funasshi and scaring/annoying the crap out of everyone.
-Ishikawa Sayuri's Tsugaru Kaikyo Fuyugeshiki was so totally classically enka and awesome.
-Kanjani being Kanjani and still fitting in. Well done!
-Golden Bomber was fun.
-The Mizuki Nana and T.M.Revolution duet was awesome. I want more of these.
-Arashi's performace was solid. Makes makes me want to see them live again
-Izumiya Shigeru almost made me cry.
-It's Kitajima Saburo's last Kohaku! Dude! The end of an era. His performance was so totally awesome. He came in on a dragon. So cool.

The other awesome thing was that my grandmother stayed up for the whole thing. She usually goes to bed around nine-ish. I'm glad she got to see Sabu-chan's last Kohaku.