Monday, March 24, 2008

Hoop and Dash

I know, I know...I have 5 minutes before I need to leave, clothes every where, no zip lock bag but I HAD to share THIS!

Love to love you baby!

Thank You, See You

Thank you so much to everyone that came along and made yesterday's Fragment event in Shimokitazawa such a super success. We truly have so many people to thank and each and every one of them contributes so much to this wonderful community that has been building a warp speed here in Tokyo. Thank you to all of the artists and art lovers, the painters and crowd of onlookers, the dj mix masters and the dancer who loved them, the style creators and the fashion lovers, but most importantly all of our friends that continually support what we are doing. We could never do it without you. Thank you truly!

Yesterday was the perfect Sunday afternoon to say goodbye to so many of my amazing friends. I am leaving for Australia in just a few hours (EEK I gotta pack) and will be back just in time for Hanami (cherry blossom parties) on April 4. I am very much looking forward to time in on the Sunshine Coast with my ma, nan and gran. Then off to Sydney to get hoopy with the one and only Bunny Hoopstar. I cannot wait.

Most people who know me, know that I am not a fan of flying but I am just so excited to go on this trip that my fear seems to have disappeared. Will see how that goes once we take off.

I am sad that Masao cannot come with me and will miss my friends dearly but I know they will all be busy here in Tokyo doing what they do best!

I am going to be away from the internet for most of my trip which will bring out the good, bad and ugly in me for sure but it is a much needed break. I will have time to catch up on the real world and just enjoy the sunshine and family lovin'. It also means that I won't be hanging out here much so I will see you when I get back! Will mis you!

Leaving you will some pics from Fragment. More over at TOKYOMADE and our FLickr.
With Caroline of chief&mischief fame.

My loves Oshima, Akiko and Leila Chan

Tomokuni, Michi and Mochi decorating in fine style!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sweet and Juicy

Tonight was a celebration of independence, new spaces and all things red. My great friend Akiko had a house warming at her new apartment in Ebisu. It was a fantastic game of fit as many people into one Tokyo apartment as you can. We were all very warm and cozy. We ended up playing the longest most hilarious game of Trivial Pursuit - The Pop Version.
It was a scrumptious night of wine and cheese. Akiko even had some French cheese wrapped in soaked sakura leaves, very special. Seeing as I don't drink wine or eat cheese I whipped up a batch of juicy fruit kebabs made especially to match Akiko's kitchen decor - rich and glowing reds.

Very simple raw recipe packed with vitamins and flavor, looks cute too.
Strawberries (I found these gorgeous mini ones, a whole basket of them for about $5 very cheap by Tokyo standards)
Pineapple chopped up
Shredded coconut (ideally fresh coconut would have been best but those babies are few and far between in this town)
Dried strawberries
Kebab sticks
I think you can work the rest out for yourself.
The ultimate raw party or picnic food. So easy, fresh and colorful. You will get lots of delighted ooohs and aaaahhhhhs and your tummy will thank you.

In terms of food combining, strawberries and pineapple are good friends as they are both in the acid category therefore they tend to work in harmony in your tummy when eaten together. Unfortunately I pigged out on dates at the same time not such a great mate with the acidic foods so things are gurgling around down there having a whale of a time making their way through the crowd. Oh well, it was all very delish!

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Used Clothes Shopping in Harajuku

The streets of Harajuku are your catwalk or so the song goes. To me the streets of Harajuku are often smelly, always crowded and merely a path to get from one outstanding used clothes store to another.

I had a little time to kill today in Harajuku so I stopped into my old faithfuls. Hanjiro, Kinji and Thankyou Mart.

Hanjiro, offering a lush mixture of used clothing, remakes and new designs is spreading it's wings at a rapid rate of knots right across the country. Every time I pop in I read news of a new store opening up somewhere. Yay for Hanjiro. It makes me very happy that the cool kids embrace used and remade fashion in such a big way. Big thumbs up to all forms of recycling especially the funky fashion kind.

I managed to pick myself up an original 80s white and pastel zip up Addidas track top for 480yen!

Kinji is on the basement level of the YM building next to the Gap on the intersection of Meiji Street and Omotesando Dori. I could spend hours and hours fondling the endless racks of recycled clothes. What I love most about Kinji is that they group their clothes by style. All the 80s polka tees are together, all the lycra tights are together, all the waist coats are together, all the funky floral dresses are together. Above each of the racks are examples of fashion mixes showing off the layered style that the Japanese do to perfection.

I grabbed an electric blue pair of lycra full length tights for 735 yen and a pair of ultra shiny midnight black lycra tights for the same price which is roughly US$7. American Apparel is great but I have to say Kinji does it better, cheaper and recycled. Good for the Earth and your bank balance.

Thank you mart, also known as the 390 yen store is jam packed with glistening goodies. Aside from the over sized jewels and must try wigs they have a selection of used clothes. It takes some dedication to dig through but can often be worth the trouble. There are 3 Thank you Mart stores in very close range in Harajuku so you are bound to come away with something.

Today I found two red sweaters. I love red and I have a fleecy sweater fetish. The first one I scored has a dancing Native American image on the front, studs down one sleeve and a very trashy silver buckle on the arm, 10 points on the kitsch scale due to the fringed sleeves. Sounds hideous? Oh it is, just the way I love em! The other one is a little Londoner rock. A 3/4 sleeve sweater with a black abstract kind of check print.

Some photos for you!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

In Love with a Japanese Guy

Last week over at Julie in Japan, Julie wrote an article entitled You asked for it...foreign girls dating in Japan. It seems she was getting quite a few emails from foreign girls searching for tips on the art of dating a Japanese guy. As always her article was sweet, interesting and thought provoking. It had me thinking about our love match and even prompted me to go digging around in old Flickr archives searching for photos of when Masao and I first met.


Every couple gets the "How did you meet?" question thrown at them I am sure. The bonus question of "Where did you meet?" is always thrown in if it is obvious that you are not from the same country. Generally we skip the "how did you meet?" and answer the "where?" with something along the lines of "at a cafe called Sign in Daikanyama" This technically is the truth as I clearly remember waiting with a friend of mine to meet Masao at Daikanyama station. He had a friend djing at the cafe that night and had invited me along. The "how" part of our meeting, while certainly not dramatic, is a little long winded so we have been known to give out the modified version. It all seems like a very long time ago now but Julie's post had me thinking that perhaps there are a ton of girls out there wondering how to meet Japanese guys. Similar to Julie I have no full proof tips, I think life goes in the direction that it is supposed to, but I can tell you our story.

at home together

I came to Tokyo in January of 2004, initially for one year. If people ask me why I came I often say it was a childhood dream. Honestly I am still not sure exactly why, I felt an extremely strong urge to move to Tokyo at that time. It wasn't for the money, as I had a great job and wonderful life in Australia. It wasn't for the language because as yet I have not mastered even the basics. It certainly wasn't for manga, kimonos, Sony, tea ceremonies or any of the other Japanophile loves. I just had to come. My spiritual self would look back now and say that I came to fulfill many dreams, ones that I was not consciously aware of back then. I came to fulfill independence, I came to meet Masao, start TOKYOMADE and become a hoop dancer. I came to learn about the world and my place in it, to meet the outstanding people that I have. The mystery of why I am in Tokyo continues to unfold everyday. It is a fabulous life!

Part of what has kept me here is an intensely love filled, calm, inspiring, balanced, powerful and happy relationship with a Japanese man. Masao and I met in the spring/summer of 2004, if you ask him he will know the exact day and time but I am just not good with that kind of stuff. It is true we met in Daikanyama, a very cool part of Tokyo known for it's cafes, clubs and boutiques. The way that we met was completely conspired by the universe. I was not looking for a boyfriend, although I found Japanese guys to be shockingly gorgeous and divinely preened to perfection. What I was looking for was somebody to help me create some short films. I had no experience with the language and very little insight into the culture but I saw an overwhelming need to capture the essence of Tokyo. I was obsessed with Japanese obsession. I wanted more but I needed someone to help me.
I put an advertisement in a magazine called Metropolis. I think it read something along the lines of "Aussie girl looking for friends to help make short film in Tokyo." I seriously cannot remember. Again you could ask Masao and he would recite it word for word. I got some awesome responses. Met some very cool people a few of which I remained friends with and who really added to my experiences here. And then there was be honest in the beginning I would never have thought we would be together for so long. In actual fact I thought he was a little strange ;). Not used to the low key, cool and calm ways of the Japanese boy I thought he was far more into boys than girls and so part of why we hit it off in the beginning I believe is because there was no pressure of thinking about it being a relationship.

kids in a candy shop

Back then Masao lived with his Dad, a very common thing in Tokyo many young people live with their parents, so we would see each other whenever we could. He would take me to all these very cool places that he knew and I would get my fill of Tokyo fun and scenery. We had met a few times with friends and in a group. This is also very common in Japan. Often you will think you are heading out on a "date" only to find that a truck load of friends have been invited. This can make it tricky to "get to know somebody" in the beginning. Perhaps a tip for others thinking about dating Japanese guys is to be patient in the beginning. I think in many relationships in other parts of the world people like to rush, rush, rush, they have expectations built up about what they should know and what should be done. In Japan it is a different game and patience is a virtue, being friends first is a common step, being friends with his friends is sometimes equally important. I remember being very nervous when I knew I was meeting him for the first time "alone", I am not sure why, but I had kind of figured that this was a big step and had real potential. I also figured that dating a foreign girl must have been very knew for Masao when he asked me as we stood under the glow of the Shibuyan crossing "Don't you shave your face?" (Face shaving is the done thing for many a Japanese girl!) It was a steep and fabulous learning curve for both of us from that point on!

Not long after the face shaving question we moved into a VERY tiny apartment in Okubo where we stayed blissfully for 2 years. In that time we traveled around Europe, went to Australia to meet the family, had my mum come and stay, started TOKYOMADE, Masao went from being a salary man to being a stylin' entrepreneur, our lives changed daily for the better, we made so many wonderful new friends all in such confined quarters we had really put our love to the test. If there were going to be any bust ups it was sure to happen then. Luckily it was smooth sailing, aside from the time we decided to order office furniture online I managed to smash Masao in the forehead with a piece of wood causing much bleeding and hysteria. Oh good times!

getting ready

We now live in a much roomier apartment with our own spaces to do what we do. Masao in his office and me in our tatami room hooping. There has been a great deal of learning to do which may be part of what keeps our relationship so strong. There is no doubting that in any relationship where the partners are from very different backgrounds there is going to be intense amounts of learning and coming to understandings. Another tip I would offer up if you are thinking of dating a Japanese guy or anyone who was not born in your suburb/state/country is to be ready to question what you know to be real and true, be ready to learn about a new way of life, be willing to explore other lifestyles and customs. Of course this should go for your partner as well. We are super lucky in that neither of us are particularly bound by any forms of tradition, past or nationalistic pride. I rarely think of Masao as "Japanese" and me as "Australian". We have really created our own world and left all the past stuff behind. This is an important step I think in any relationship.

Naturally I can only speak of my experience with one person it is very hard to generalize. I have no idea what other Japanese guys are like to date or live with. I could only speak of exterior, superficial stuff (which is all pretty FINE in my opinion! mmm ) I have heard some horror stories of demanding, old fashioned stubbornness but nothing could be further from my experience with Masao and all of the Japanese males that I know as friends.

My tips...
Hang out at places you love. There are endless destinations in this city to hang out and meet people.
Be yourself. Trying to be something you are not is not appealing to anyone. Being your individual, unique self is very attractive.
Don't try too hard. You know when you are searching too hard you often can't find the perfect dress, same goes for Japanese guys. ;)
Make friends with Japanese people.
Visualize positively what you would like your life to be like, if that includes a Japanese boy then so be it! They are very beautiful, that is definitely a positive visualization. ;)
Let go of any us and them thoughts.
Join some clubs, learn something new. Oh a Japanese yogi, a Japanese salsa dancer, an artist, coin polisher, manicurist...whatever you are into.
Learn Japanese! (although I never did properly there is always time)
Have an interest and put out an ad to get people to help you. Be sure to meet new friends with other friends, don't go alone. It is not very common in Tokyo for people to invite you to their apartment especially on the first meet up, some friends in this city NEVER see their close friends apartments. So be clued up and NEVER go to apartments alone - goes without saying.

Good luck, have fun, send us your purikura! ;)

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Sakura Sakura

Spring is in the air. Walking through the streets of Tokyo you can spot some of the early blossoms starting to get ready for the spring festivals.

To celebrate the warmth and beauty of Spring in Japan we are giving away a Sakura Pod Canvas over at TOKYOMADE. This little beauty is hot property and has had it's pretty petals featured all over the internet. Grab one for free this month by joining the Tokyo Fan Club. Enter your email address and be in it to win it!


Keep the pretty petals of the Sakura with you all year round with the NEW Sakura Pod Canvas.

A sweet, strongly adhesive seal for the back of any regular shape iPod. Film coated for long lasting durability and fade resistance.

Dress up your iPod with the latest Pod Canvas design from Japan.

Single seal.
length = 9.5cm (3.7 in)
width = 5.5cm (2.1 in)


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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New Yelle

My favorite Yelle song JE VEUX TE VOIR has a new video and I love it just as I knew I would. These babes can do no wrong!

The oversized head bows, the fluro Reebok high tops and the leg lifts - heavenly.
Show love and become a Yelle fan on Facebook. Rock the French electropop style.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Hay Fever Season in Japan

I have a tendency to be some what of a Cocky Locky when it comes to sickness. I turn my nose up to it and hold a strong opinion that everyone else gets sick but not me. Well guess what? I have hayfever. This heinous infliction is sweeping through Japan with pollen counts at record highs. It seems that the flowers really love me this year but I am not so enamored with them.

I am combating the eye watering, nose dripping, body aching symptoms with EFT, chakra meditations and a truck load of citrus fruit, which happens to be divine right now in Japan, so my little bout should be over in no time!

I have a few friends that are also in the savage grips of hay fever. I found this for them the other day some good tips from Dr Mao. Interestingly enough he says steer clear of raw food, I have to question that one. I believe that especially when the body is fighting off something it deserves all the natural, uncooked enzymes it can gather.

Surprising Secrets for Sinus Health
Here are some all-natural ways to gain freedom from sinus suffering.

• Clear your sinuses and your mind with a steamy stovetop spa. Add a few drops of wintergreen oil to a pot of boiling water and inhale the steam. Take care not to be burned by the vapor.

• Herbs and spices like ginger, scallion, basil, garlic, oregano, cayenne peppers, white pepper, horseradish and turmeric will have your sinus passageways unblocked in no time!

• The supplement bromelain - a papaya and pineapple-based enzyme - helps reduce histamine release, the body's natural allergic response.

• Clear your nasal passageway daily for healthy, happy sinuses. Add 1 tsp of sea salt, 1 drop of oregano oil, and 1 drop of wintergreen to a cup of warm water. Fill a small-spouted squeeze bottle with this warm solution. Squirt into one nostril at a time and blow out through the nose. Alternate nostrils.

• Press one clove of garlic, mix with 1 tsp of olive oil and soak a clean cotton ball with the oil mixture and place in nostrils after having washed the nostril with warm salt water. Leave in for 20 minutes and repeat three times a day until the symptoms clear up.

• These two simple self-massage practices that follow are incredibly effective for relieving sinus congestion. For both, sit at the tip of a sturdy chair with your back erect, spine stretched, and your head tilted slightly forward.

1. Inhale and gently press your forehead just inside the temples with your palms. Exhale and release. Repeat three times.

2. Cross your middle and index fingers by placing the tips of your middle fingers on top of the fingernails on your index fingers. Rub the sides of your nose 36 times in a circular motion, warming your fingers first if they're cold.

What you eat affects your sinus health
Avoid the foods that produce mucous and dampness: dairy products, cold and raw foods, corn (including corn syrup), and simple sugars. Choose whole grains like quinoa, amaranth and brown rice instead of wheat, rye and barley, which are typically high allergy grains. Opt for papaya, cranberries, pear, pineapple, cherries, mango, and citrus fruits. Eat more green vegetables such as artichoke, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and spinach.

Both alcohol and smoking should be avoided during a sinus flare-up as they irritate the respiratory tract and worsen nasal inflammation. Also, sinus congestion is often worse with lack of quality rest so be sure to get plenty of sleep and keep your stress level low.

I hope that you find the ways to keep your sinuses clear and freely flowing. I invite you to visit often and share your own personal health and longevity tips with me.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

-Dr. Mao

A surgical mask ROCKS for keeping things out and hiding an insanely runny nose, also a common fashion (?) accessory here in Tokyo.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Hoop Fashion

You know how I love and adore my hoops, I think they are the ultimate fashion accessory and sure to turn heads particularly on the crowded streets of Tokyo. So when I jumped over to check out the latest costume and design range by CHAPTER I almost had to take a little lie down after my heart skipped several beats upon seeing hoops incorporated into their designs.

These funky pieces fit for all hoopy kings and queens of style are designed an created right here in Tokyo by the CHAPTER team Shotaro and Ikumi.

CHAPTER also sell their hoopalicious accessories on TOKYOMADE. The swirling and twirling form of their rings always remind me of the light patterns created by LED hoops and poi.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008


In all it's blinging glory the new Hoopaholic demo vid has hit the internets in a very powerful way! Watch it, love it, feel the glam!

I cannot wait to meet up with the Hoopaholics in Sydney. Only a few more sleeps! You have no idea how grateful I am for this opportunity - eternally!

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Robots in Disguise


Back by popular demand! After being featured by Gala Darling last week in her post entitled Fun Accessories the Mixed Tape Transformer Necklaces were snapped up in no time.

The funky mix masters were featured on other spaces around the internet too so Miss BLITZ Kiss put her fingers to work and created a few more to share with you.

A gaggle (what is the collective noun for a group of transformers?) have been sent off to Red Mutha for the opening of their new Brighton store. The rest we held on to tightly but they are already robot dancing away, snatched quickly by global style lovers!


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Monday, March 10, 2008

Sun Dance

We woke up to a rainy but noticeably warmer Tokyo this morning. The weekend however was STUNNING! These photos were taken by Masao in celebration of the coming of spring! Rock on! Blossoms are on their way baby.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Life is the Dancer you are the Dance

This man is everywhere I turn, and so he absolutely should be.

"Truth" is a highly talked about, sought after, confused "thing". What I know to be the truth is that our purpose here in this human form is a very simple and glorious one, a purpose that we often get tangled up with so much other STUFF. My true purpose as a human BEING is to BE! Sounds too airy fairy? Ask Eckhart about it, he has it sorted. If there were ever a human being in this consciousness that I call "my life" that had the ability to verbalise the "truth" it is Tolle San.


I ordered New Earth after reading on the blog We Like It Raw, about a global webcast event that was in the making. I must admit that I was skeptical when I read that Eckhart Tolle had teamed up with Oprah for the event. The very little I knew about Oprah was that she often filled my afternoon laziness while I was in university. At that stage I thought her shows were filled with Jerry Springer esque couples complaining to Dr Phil about their inability to get their shit together, the answers seemed so simple I couldn't work out why they needed to go on global TV to air their weaknesses. I always thought Oprah was extremely generous, giving and positive but I suspected a 'doing it for the money' motive. Ouch how nasty I was.

As soon as my book arrived in the mail, along side others such as Green For Life and Living Cuisine both super scrumptious and highly recommended resources, I flung it open with highlighter in hand and began to devour. To be honest the first few pages were a little hard to chew. I am the kind that never reads the instructions preferring to simply rip into things and learn from on the job training, so I was searching for "the answer", the juice right there on page 2. I had heard so many striking things about the shift in thinking and consciousness that this book would nurture that by page 7 when Tolle said "This book is about you. It will change your consciousness or it will be meaningless. It can only awaken those who are ready" I was thinking "Oh honey I am more than ready, just give it to me already". My impatience, which I have come to know was/is my ego eager for the answer to build into my repertoire of superiority, was palpable. In truth, I wanted to know it all, understand it completely and confirm to myself that it is what I (my ego) already knew - oh yeah I was down with the whole enlightenment thing! I soon realized it was about giving up "the search", funnily enough something I thought I had done ages ago.

I enrolled in the online, 10 week workshop based on the teachings and checked out the Oprah site for the first time, realizing that what I had created in my mind about Oprah was incorrect. Strip away her material surroundings, her expensive shoes, corporate alliances and what you have is an amazing woman who is in tune with her purpose and sharing her truth with the world. A positive truth.

Eckhart held my hand everywhere I roamed. On the train, before going to bed, walking down the street, lounging around. I was and still am wrapped up in every word he had consciously scribed. Masao asked me this morning, "Is that your bible?" as I skipped through the house clutching it close to me. I have never had a bible but this is as close as it gets I assume. I guess Eckhart is still holding my hand, but his words and truth have most certainly initiated a journey to a new space, a new earth, a new consciousness, taking place right now.


The words between the covers of this book are ones that every human being should read, luckily it has been translated into 35 languages. The words are not going to resonate with everyone. My recommendation: Read it now! You will love it and yourself for it!

I love his giggle!

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Black List Tokyo

Photo by Hiroki and Andrea

Black List Tokyo is an ultra sleek monthly gathering in Tokyo. Exclusively for Black List members and the ones they love, these funky happenings in some of Tokyo's smoothest night spots are a fusion of French club scene and the Tokyo international set.

Tokyo Black List
was established in 2005 by Beno creator of the BOEGE label and his partner Cedric. As the Black List site croons, they are "2 Frenchmen with a passion for luxurious parties and good community". As we witnessed they also know how to keep a crowd entertained and cozy in stunning surroundings well after last Tokyo train.

Check out the Black List site gallery for more eye candy, but here are a few of us lapping up the fun at last month's Parisian festa. All photos were taken by super glam photographers Hiroki (it is worth going just to see his Swarovski studded camera strap) and Andrea.

Masao and I with BOEGE team Beno and Noriko.

Me with what looks like a powerful, red laser beam coming from my head! Yes I have extraordinary super powers, watch out.

My wings in full flight.