I just had a *big* bday ^.^ NOT big as in a big huge bday bash where everyone gets themselves thoroughly trashed and then puked all over the train on the drunken trip home from Tokyo, but a nice milestone in life, the number that usually scares the beejeesus out of many women until they realize there's nothing they can do but to embrace it.
Knowing how impossible it is to buy me (or is it most women? :P) a gift my sweet hubby walked all over Chinatown to look for little things he finds meaningful. He knows this gal does carry around sentimental little things in her bag, like that cute charm he gave her almost a decade ago when they had just begun to date. New additions for the new milestone, no? ^.^
Among the things he found are these 3 adorable eco bags. I absolutely love the prints! And if you wondering why there are 3 of them, keep reading :)
A traffic safety charm. Why a frog, you say? Because Japanese folks love themselves some puns. The Japanese word for frog is "kaeru," which is also a homonym for another Japanese verb that means "to return," and in this case, a safe return.
This "kaeru" has flecks of gold in it, so this charm is for "fortune returns."
Speaking of bags, I've always been a one handbag gal, as in I have very few, and I wear one for a long time until I either get sick of it or wear it out completely (doesn't apply to shoes though haha :P). So when I started working in Tokyo, I needed a more "professional" looking handbag I can carry to work instead of the beat up white Nine West bag I've been carrying everywhere since last September. It's all about appearance in Japan, and most probably else where too. But then I didn't want to get the ubiquitous black leather briefcase that will only scream salaryman (erhh...woman), I don't want to shell out a few hundred bucks to look like everyone and their brothers (and sisters) either.
My actual bday happened to be a workday, so hubby met up with me after work for a casual dinner. Walking to the restaurant, I spotted this chic and functional bag on display at a Kazue by Kazue Ono boutique. I knew nothing about this indie leather designer prior to this, but I was definitely drawn to what was on display and promptly ignored it (my only defense against impulse buying, mind you). I found myself wandering right back to the shop again after dinner.
The designer saw me checking out his bag and came over, and of course I was a total sucker to believe everything he said, like his handbags are genuine leather and made right here in Japan (dude, wake up and smell the coffee, I've got nothing against China, but the entire world is made in China!), that this original design is sold only at this particular boutique and not at the other location in Ginza (as if I'd ever go find his Ginza boutique to fact check), and that it had been featured in a drama and flanked by Ken Watanabe in the drama (sure it's a unisex design, but who gives a rat's ass about Ken Watanabe anyway? Not me, and especially not in my decision making process for a freakin' handbag! Hmm...WWKWD? Right...), blah blah blah.
In my defense I was pretty much sold prior to the sales pitch, but damn I had the toughest time deciding between the colors. It comes in Dark Brown, Metallic Bronze, Metallic Charcoal, a nude-ish Camel, a lemony Yellow, milky White, fire engine Red, and a deep blue-based Purple. In the end, hubby bought me Camel, Yellow, and Red and the little devil in me was still eyeing the White (bad, bad, bad D.!!!). The bag is simply awesome, not just because it's a 3-way design but also because it's straightforward yet versatile and can go from the office to town and back. And best of all, the bags were surprisingly reasonably priced and hubby didn't spend his retirement on them.
This Camel color has dark brown accent.
Here's 1 way to wear the back, as a tote without the over-the-shoulder straps, which is how I wear this Camel one to work. The over-the-shoulder straps is the same camel color with a thick dark brown leather racer stripe running its length.
Here's a 2nd way to wear this bag, clipping on the over-the-shoulder straps and fold the top half with handles over.
Here's the 3rd way to wear this bag, removing the top handles and folding the bag's outward, like an over the shoulder messenger bag (hey, smiley face!!!). According to mister indie designer, there has been numerous copycats made after this original design of his, but the copycats cannot be folded outward this way (again, as if I'll be bothered to fact check).
Lining is also a dark brown fabric with a zipper compartment and 2 gadget pockets with camel piping. That's it! Simple, no?
The over-the-shoulder straps is also red leather with a lengthwise racer stripe in black. Needless to say, I won't be wearing this Red one to work in Tokyo. Perhaps at home in the US, but definitely not in a mostly conservative Japanese work environment.
The over-the-should straps has the lengthwise racer stripe in black, and no, I won't be wearing this Yellow one to work in Tokyo either :P
Same nude skin color line and yellow piping for the gadget pockets.
Upon finding out hubby was buying bday gifts, he threw this nifty coin bag as GWP. It is made of leather leftover from the handbags, and I'd have to give him credit for creativity and efficiency.
From the bottom.
Our lovely neighbors and hubby's classmates brought me this cake and all 4 of us proceeded to stay up past midnight on a weekday to chat about everything under the sun. They're both moving back to the US soon for grad school and we will surely miss them. Thank you N. and W. for the wonderful company and the delicious cake!
Here's to the next adventures of life! Onwards!