Saturday, June 30, 2012

Nivea Sun Protect Water Gel SPF30 PA++

I mentioned I am doing some (okay, a lot) of shopping for my sister, and it includes stocking her up on her favorite sunscreen, the Nivea Sun Protect Water Gel SPF30 PA++. She actually prefers the Water Gel Cool version for its, well, cooling effect, most probably from the menthol in its ingredients. While at it, I also picked up a couple of the regular version for myself to try ^.^ 

I just finished up my last stocked bottle of Allie from the 2011's formulation and am completely open to trying new sunscreens. In the past, I had been sticking with only Allie for the face and Mentholatum Skin Aqua UV Moisture Gel SPF27 PA++ for the body - please note this review link is for the 2009 formulation that is no longer available, and the current Skin Aqua UV Moisture Gel is a new and improved 2012 formulation that is photostable(!) and has slightly higher SPF to boot (can't wait to try this one too)! So as you can see, the Japanese sunscreen market is continually making improvements and I can't keep missing out on the good stuff! 

Nivea Sun Protect Water Gel SPF30 PA++ regular (white bottle) and Cool version (blue bottle).

Friday, June 29, 2012

Only in Japan... Tokyu Hands Edition Part IV

More funny stickers hubby and I spotted at Tokyu Hands ^.^

The Japanese says, "Cheating is prohibited." The English has an added clause, "unless you want to breakup with your girlfriend." Not sure where they got this because the Japanese text is short and simple. Also, the English text introduces the moral dilemma of whether cheating is okay or acceptable when you want a breakup. Hmm...

A decent translation, only the Japanese text isn't a somewhat begrudging command in the form of an annoyed question. Rather, it's an outright aggressive and extremely rude command. I mentioned before one can be vulgar and profane in Japanese without being literally vulgar and profane, this is a good example. To say this to a stranger on the street would be an equivalent of, "Shut the fuck up for a bit!" or if you're yelling at a friend or a younger sibling, it would be, "Shut up for a bit, you [insert name-calling here]!" 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Kua 'Aina Part II

It has been raining a lot recently. While I don't mind that too much (I telecommute from home), poor hubby is commuting to Tokyo everyday now and neither of us are ever in the mood to cook by the day's end. That means we order in a lot, but that too gets old after a while. So over this past weekend, all of a sudden he craved for an avocado burger and off to Kua 'Aina we went ^.^ 

I ordered a teriyaki chicken sandwich, which was good but they were a bit skimpy with the chicken - see how tiny the piece of chicken was in comparison to the huge slice of toast? ^.^ Hubby got his avocado burger and inhaled it in seconds. Those fries were heavenly!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Kiss Pure Bloom Cheeks

Yes, I finally finally finally got around to these lovely Kiss Pure Bloom Cheeks, although I *think* they might have been discontinued as I can't even find them on Kiss' website anymore. They are still sold at Plaza as well as the Kiss boutiques though. I was attracted to these because of their beautiful embossed heart-shaped pattern. It's just too bad that one you use the blush the pattern disappears.

01 Bougainvillea and 02 Cosmos. All pictures taken indoor with flash unless otherwise noted.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Only in Japan... Tokyu Hands Edition Part III

The Tokyu Hands branch I'd been to was rather small, because despite having 6 floors and 2 basement floors further divided into half-floors (for example, floor 1A is one flight of stair from floor 1B), each actual floor was only the size of a single shop and it wasn't a sprawling department store in any sense. Still, there were 2 whole floors (that's 4 halves) dedicated to all things stationary! It was among the several aisles of cute and sparkly stickers that hubby and I found these hysterically funny ones. We were going through and read them one by one, giggling like nut jobs and contributing to the inflammatory stereotype here that foreigners are mostly weird, crazy, suspicious, etc. 

The Japanese says, "Aim right!" Damn right! They ought to put one of these stickers in every public bathrooms, for all the guys and gals who are disgusting enough to not clean up after themselves.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Anthony Logistics Facial Scrub

Hubby is almost done with this travel sized 59mL/2 oz. tube of Anthony Logistics Facial Scrub, with my "help," of course :P

The Facial Scrub (the orange tube) came from The Perfect Shave Kit, which also includes the 2 oz. Pre-Shave Oil hubby used up long ago, 8 oz. Glycolic Facial Cleanser used up late last year (and I ended up liking it so much I bought multiple backups ^.^'), 6 oz. Shave Cream used up a while back also, and 2.5 oz. After Shave Balm, which has been lasting for several months now since hubby doesn't need much for each use. Over all, the Shave Kit was a really nice deal as the products are all generously sized and just the retail value of the Pre-Shave Oil, the Glycolic Facial Cleanser, the Shave Cream, and the After Shave Balm combined is already $80. The Facial Scrub and the toiletry bag are just extras bonuses thrown in.

Anthony Logistics Perfect Shave Kit
***Picture from Sephora USA.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Okonomiyaki Fugetsu

An okonomiyaki shop hubby and I recently frequent is Okonomiyaki Fugetsu, although only in the past couple of times did I actually remember to bring my camera to take pictures ^.^ 

Out of all the restaurants I picked this one because of its name "Fugetsu" (風月) which literally translates to "wind and moon." Nothing special, but if you're acquainted with older Chinese literature, you might remember that "wind and moon" is an old idiom for sex ^.^ "Wind" represents a male lover, the man, and "moon" is the feminine counterpart, the woman. Sort of like a restaurant named "the birds and the bees." Who knows why a restaurant would pick a name like that, my guess is not on purpose. Then again, that's the kind of "innocence" the Kum & Go folks would claim. Right, uh huh. It does draw attention and visitors, doesn't it?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Only in Japan... Tokyu Hands Edition Part II

More ramune in "normal" and wacky flavors!

- Wasabi Ramune: I am actually curious about this one, believe it or not! May be I'll take the fall next time ^.^

- Kibidango (millet cake) Ramune: curious about this one too, although I'm hesitant to try it. Why? Because I'm afraid it might have the taste of mitarashi, a soy sauce syrup that they smother some dangos with. The vast majority of the time, I love the mix of sweet and salty, but for some reason my palate just rejects this combination of mitarashi dango. In my opinion, the soy sauce usually comes out rather strong in mitarashi, and so it overwhelms the much more mildly flavored dango. I prefer my dango with kinako, or soy bean flour.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Castledew Diacut Eyes 9 Colors Part III

Wahoo, I finally got my grubby hands on the newest Castledew Diacut Eyes 9 Colors E907 Pure Angelism! I'm thrilled because not only this is a pressed powder palette, which I prefer over their baked ones, it has not 1, not 2, but 3 sparkly top washes! 

***Picture from VOV Korea.

The Castledew Diacut Eyes compact. Picture taken indoor with flash.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Only in Japan... Tokyu Hands Edition

Remember this Pepsi Pink that was the limited edition flavor last November? (Psst, check out this list of past limited edition Pepsi flavors!)

While out doing some shopping for my sister, I stumbled upon a treasure of gag-n-giggle inducing shelf full of different flavored Ramune from the famous (or infamous, depends on who you ask) Tokyu Hands. You probably have heard of Tokyu Hands before, it's a multi-floor shop selling things you never realize you need until you drop a few hundred bucks and leave the place with bags full of them. That's how it always works, doesn't it? Here, see Tokyu Hands' official website in English, or better yet, google Tokyu Hands and see for yourself! Hell, Dick Page spent a precious few days in Tokyo and where did he tour but Tokyu Hands?

So here I present - tadaa - Ramune gag gifts!!! Some of it are just "normal" flavors, but some are definitely gag worthy. Of course they're nowhere as gross sounding as Jelly Beans in Booger, Dirt, Earthworm, Earwax, Rotten Egg, and Vomit flavors, but they're still pretty, umm, wacky stuff.

- Squid Ink Ramune: Squid ink pasta? May be. Squid ink soda? May be not...
***Squid ink pasta picture from Kitchen Connaisseur.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Excel Shiny Shadow

Even though I don't go to class everyday anymore, I'm still looking forward to any excuse to use these Excel Shiny Shadows ^.^ They are sparkly top washes with mega bling!

***Picture from Tokiwa Style Online.

There used to be 7 colors available, but SH02 (a pretty blue green) has been discontinued so I definitely missed out on that one. As a whole, these are pigmented, intensely metallic, and are extremely sparkly.
Due to all the shimmers they're not as soft and smooth like their sister Glossy Shadows, however in comparison to the vast majority of the sparkly top washes out there, they are far more superior in both texture and pigmentation.

Top row: SH01 Bronze Gold, SH03 Silver White, and SH04 Yellow Gold.
Bottom row: SH05 Blue White, SH06 Mocha Brown, and SH07 Shiny Beige. All pictures taken in natural light without flash.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Soap Crazy Part XI (Picture Heavy!)

Wow, I just realize I might have bought enough soap from Etsy to last me a lifetime... ^.^' ...and I brought most of them with me to Japan too as we expected to stay for a few years. Whatever, I guess that just mean I'll be bringing them back home again :P

My shower always have 2 bars of soap in addition to a bottle body wash (Johnson's Body Care Dream Skin Relax Body Wash). Why? Because I just get bored easily like that. Anyhow, the below are the bars of soap (listed according to Etsy shop) hubby and I managed to use up since my last soap post.

Anderson Soap Company: my go to shop for soaps, as always. It's too bad he had stopped making goat's milk soap a while ago, but I still like his glycerine and shea butter bars.

Green Clover & Aloe Shea Butter Soap: a surprisingly "masculine" bar of soap with a cologne like fragrance and denser but finer exfoliating scrubbies. Hubby really liked it, but didn't as much because  felt too scratchy (and not in a good way) on my skin.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Only in Japan... Part II

...may be not just Japan, but Asia in general, there's this ceaseless trend of really funny-crazy-are-you-kidding-me names for snacks. The below aren't the best examples, but I'm not much of a snacker even if I'm on a cookies kick lately. Here are what I came across during my shopping runs for my sister.

Who cares about Harvard when you can have Harvard cookies? The chocolate cookies have vanilla cream filling and the vanilla cookies have orange cream filling. They turned out to be ho-hum, a little blah even. Where are those pesky corporate lawyers when you need decent tasting cookies? Come on!

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Within the past couple of months, some things have happened back at home which leads to the difficult decision that hubby and I would need to return to the US of A first instead of going straight to Taipei as we originally planned. So knowing hubby and I would be leaving Japan in a couple of months, somehow my sister has tricked me into becoming her shopping assistant and my apartment her personal warehouse to which she sends all her otaku collector items ^.^' Hubby has jokingly worried that the mailman thinks he's a creepy gaijin otaku because he's always home when the packages show up LOL! As for myself, I've been running all about town to supply her of candies, dry foods, skincare, sunscreens, and soaps. So while I'm at it, I might as well share with you some of my favorite Japanese candies ^.^

These Kishiri Crystals are "throat candies" aren't meant to be candy candies. However, they're so yummy they might as well be. You know how Ricola is supposed to be a cough drop but it's so mild it's not really effective as a cough drop? These are much much milder than Ricola, so mild they taste like a minty milk candy that is quite delicious! While at Don Quixote one day I found a super sized bag for the original Milk Mint flavor (blue bag) as well as the special Peach Mint (pink bag) flavor. I haven't tried the peach mints yet, but I'm pretty sure I won't hate it.

Peach Mint versus the original Milk Mint

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Body Shop Passion Fruit Cleansing Gel

With The Body Shop Vitamin E Cleansing Cream as my every-2-mornings cleanser, this Passion Fruit Cleansing Gel is my daily night cleanser as a gentle follow up to Naive Makeup Cleansing Oil (which I just finished as well and will review the new replacement soon!). 

I bought a few of these bottles when The Body Shop was having a huge Originals sale before discontinuing them again. I'm so glad I bought when I did, because this cleanser turns out to be much more gentle than I thought it would be! And it comes in a gigantic 250mL bottle too that has been lasting me for quite some months now (since late February, was it?), so long I'm actually getting, umm, bored of it ^.^ 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hadanomy AquaPlacenta Concentrated Mist

I finally finished my 1 fl oz. bottle of Caudalie Beauty Elixir and happily moved on to this Hadanomy AquaPlacenta Concentrated Mist. Yes, you read that right, placenta as in placental protein.

There have been many debates on the benefits of placental protein and many companies have put them into cosmetics and skincare, especially in Asia. In Japan, there is no shortage of products touting placental protein as an ingredient. But this trend, so to speak, is actually not that recent. Even back in 2004 before I left home for Japan the first time, I had heard of placental protein in skin care. 

Y. was a Japanese language partner I met during my last year of college (we still keep in touch and I had visited her a few times in Kyoto already). It was winter of 2004 and she was in between her home-stay program, so I invited her to spend a few nights at my house. As she was prepping her skin prior to bed, she pulled out a mysterious small bottle from her toiletry case. I asked, and she said it was a serum made out of placenta. I raised an eyebrow, and from my reaction she smirked a, "You don't know anything, do you?" smile. Then she proceeded to tell me that every 6 months, she and her aunt would spend an equivalent of $160 (almost 20,000yen at the time, which translates to roughly $255 with the current exchange, not counting 8 years' worth of inflation) for 2 small bottles, which with sparing nightly use would last them each 6 months. I nodded, astounded, and wondered why on Earth would anyone spend so much money on a tiny bottle of placenta "stuff." Eww was my exact thought, and after the ick factor wore off I started to question whether such an ingredient is properly tested for, well, anything really.

Hadanomy AquaPlacenta Concentrated Mist

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Body Shop Vitamin E Cream Cleanser

Been using this Body Shop Vitamin E Cream Cleanser in the mornings. Mine is only a trial sized 60 mL/2 fl oz. bottle from the Vitamin E Skin Care Starter Kit, which also includes another 60 mL/2 fl oz. of Hydrating Toner, a 15 mL/0.5 oz. each of the Moisture Cream and Night Cream, which I've used up a long time ago but forgot to review :P 

Vitamin E Skincare Starter Kit

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Maquillage Eye Color N Part III

This next set of Maquillage Eye Color N's have a very interesting member among the greens! There are also several mixed metallics and 2 full metallics!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Maikohan UV Compact Powder SPF 19+ PA++

Update June 8, 2012.

While browsing on Sana's official online store for Excel Glossy and Shiny Shadows, I saw that they still carry the line Maikohan! This whole time, I thought (perhaps erroneously) that the line had been long discontinued and no longer available! So I went ahead and got myself a backup for the UV Compact Powder SPF 19+ PA++ below ^.^ The compact is too adorable to resist and it's petite size makes it really convenient for travel. I've been packing this compact on short day trips because it's an excellent mattefier with some (albeit dubious) sun protection to boot! 

Maikohan UV Compact Powder SPF 19+ PA++ Sakura

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Maquillage Eye Color N Part II

Hooray, the Maquillage Eye Color N

These come in 2 forms, powder and cream. I only bought the powders, because as you can see, they now come in these cheap "holders" having lost to their older sibling's sturdy clear sliding cases. To begin with I'm already iffy with the cream eye colors that come in jars or pots instead of the more hygienic and better protected/storing squeeze tubes. Shiseido is only pushing my patience, putting these out in plastic cases thinking they can force me to buy the compacts to hold them. Forget it. I just don't buy the creams and that's that. Until I can find a large compact to fit them all in, I'm storing these powder ones in their outer plastic packaging for added protection since their "holders" are so flimsy. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Excel Glossy Shadow

I was at Plaza playing with the Excel Shiny Shadows I've been eyeing since picking up Revlon Luxurious Color Diamond Lust Eye Shadows. Next to the Shiny Shadows were these Glossy Shadows, which confused me greatly because I just couldn't figure them out. I swatched both the Shiny and the Glossy side by side and saw that the Glossy were nowhere as sparkly as the Shiny. So after spending a good long while staring at the swatches underneath the soft white light of the display, I walked away scoffing at both. I planned to buy the Shiny Shadows from Sana's official online shop instead since Plaza didn't have all the 6 colors available, but the Glossy Shadows I just didn't get at all! They're pressed powder, and so we're not talking about swiping clear gloss on the lids or anything like some designers do on their runway. So why are they called Glossy, and how are they different from the Shiny? One of life's biggest mysteries, I know -.-'

Excel Glossy Shadows in GL01 Gold, GL02 White, and GL03 Pink.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Maquillage Eye Color Part III

Picking up where I left off with Maquillage Eye Colors. There are a few semi metallic in this lot, but only 1 has full metallic finish (GD865). Better than no metallics at all, I guess ^.^

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