How to: Budget fashion in Tokyo aka lookbook vol. 6

Japanese houses have super thin walls, one reason might have something to do with earthquakes and another reason is because of the endless hot and humid summers. It still surprises me to no end how Japanese people survive winters in their houses, where the temperature is not much higher than just being outside?! In the colder seasons your choices are: either freeze or turn on air conditioning (as Japanese houses don’t have a central heating system), get yourself a fan heater you can take with you wherever you go (kitchen, bedroom, bathroom — that’s what I do)  glue several disposable warmers on you, drink buckets of hot tea, get an electric blanket or get a kotatsu heated table thing. Whenever I say I’m cold, I get this surprised look and “But you’re from Poland? It’s cold there, isn’t it???” It really IS cold in winter, but it really doesn’t mean I am completely resistant to it in some sort of magical way. The thing is we have central heating everywhere, our houses are made of big bricks and are insulated quite well. Our clothes are completely different too, we’re prepared for -20 degrees in winter. Tokyo people are not. While it’s already the middle of December (and high school girls are still wearing extremely shorts skirts <no thighs!!!>), I will show you a few reasonably priced November outfits.

Previous lookbooks:

Lookbook vol. 1

Lookbook vol. 2

 Lookbook vol. 3

Lookbook vol. 4

Lookbook vol. 5

Lookbook vol. 6

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1.

 

/photo taken somehwere in Shinjuku/

White sweater: H&M, ¥1000

Jeans: ANAP, ¥2500

Platform sneakers: Jouetie, bought second hand at Jumble Store in Harajuku for¥3300

Neck warmer: WEGO, ¥1800

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2.

 

/photo taken in Harajuku by the lovely VivaRilakkuma/

Pink cropped sweater: Forever 21, ¥800

Black skinny pants: GU, ¥1490

Black jacket: H&M, ¥6900

Black boots: STYLENANDA, ¥4000

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3.

 

/photo taken in front of Cafe, Dining…and People — a cafe I wrote about →here←/

Sweater: bought in Hongdae, Seoul last year for about 15000 won = ¥1650

Jeans jacket: GU, ¥3000

Skirt: GU, ¥1200

Platform shoes: Nadia, bought at Mode OFF for ¥2000

Hat: GU, ¥150

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4.

 

/There was no one I could ask to take a photo of me and I didn’t really have time to take out my tripod, so for this outfit this shameless selfie is all I have/

Pink sweater: bought in Hongdae, Seoul, for 12000 won =¥1350

White skirt: Hyphen World Gallery, bought at Jumble Store for ¥500

Cherry belt: believe it or not, but I bought in the good ole’ Primark in London about 4 years ago, for £1 or £2!

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5.

 

/photo taken at one of my favourite places in Tokyo, Ueno Park/

Checkered shirt: GU, ¥1490

Skinny jeans: UNIQLO, ¥1990

Coat: bought in a shopping center in Dongdaemun, Seoul, for about ¥6300

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6.

 

/photo taken somewhere in Jiyugaoka after visiting a bunny cafe!/

Sweater: <same as in the picture nr 1>

Skirt: GU, ¥1490

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Thanks for reading and I hope you stay warm ♥ 

Polish Festival in Roppongi + a new video!

Have you ever wondered how much Japanese people know about your own country? Of course you have! It is true that many Japanese are interested mostly in English speaking countries and France (← almost EVERYONE wants to go there), but there’s a number of people interested in Eastern Europe too (though I like to think that Poland is exactly in the middle, therefore it’s in Central Europe). 2 years ago, a lovely older lady — Chika-san — contacted me, saying she loves Chopin and Poland, and that she’d like to start studying Polish. I started teaching her and today she can speak a little bit, we hang out and go to events together, she’s like a mom to me. 1,5 year ago I met Ayaka — a girl interested in Poland, and today we’re the best of friends. You might also want to check out Shinya Ayama’s page —  he’s an artist from Kyoto, who is absolutely in love with Poland! We met last year in Tokyo and I just couldn’t believe how determined he was to live in Poland one day. Anyway! The first Polish Festival was held 2 years ago and it was a big success. I attended it last year and I couldn’t miss it this year!

Polish Festival in Roppongi 2014

 

The festival took place in Roppongi, and if you don’t know what kind of place Roppongi is, let me hit you with the facts. When you’re here, you feel as if you aren’t in Japan, because the number of foreigners on the street is much higher than anywhere else in Tokyo. It’s one of the main clubbing areas, many foreign businesspeople live here (their companies pay the steep rent) and there are many fun events. It’s quite nice. During the daytime.

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As you can see there were quite a few Japanese people! I didn’t count, but I guess there were about 15 Polish people? (I guess Japan is one of those rare countries, where there are not so many of us, I guess it’s no more than 1200 people in total? ← it’s a wild guess, I don’t have any real data)

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A beautiful Japanese lady playing Chopin. Perfect!

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Some nostalgic Polish stuff — Christmas tree ornaments (our Christmas ornaments come in different shapes, not just your run-of-the-mill round ones), wool slippers (there’s nothing better to keep you warm in winter) and accessories with traditional Polish embroidery. What I really like about Japanese people is that they LOVE handmade things and they don’t mind paying more for them — they really appreciate someone’s hard work.

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You can’t see it here, but this particular stall was the most popular. It’s still a mystery for me why Polish pottery is so desired in Japan, but naturally, I’m very happy. Chika-san collects Polish apple pots — I had absolutely no idea that we had them in Poland, until she told me. Oops…

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Polish board games I used to play as a kid — it felt so surreal to see them translated into Japanese. Never in my life had I thought I would see that.

CDs with classical music and sweets — my heart hurt seeing the prices. In Poland I would pay about 100~200¥ for a chocolate bar or instant hot chocolate… Here it was 2500¥! Still cheaper than a flight ticket to Poland, though.

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Decorated eggs, papercutting art, bags, pillows and tons of accessories made in Poland.

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The best part….

FOOD & DRINKS!

I missed fruit beer so much! It’s so delicious, I still can’t understand why is this not a thing in Japan !? We have apple, raspberry, citrus, caramel and many other flavours of beer. Go to any bar in Poland and order ‘beer with juice’ — you’ll get a delicious cocktail, beer plus a little bit of strawberry or raspberry juice concentrate. Trust me — IT’S SO GOOD!

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Many types of sausage, bread, sour rye soup, bigos (= hunter’s stew) and other deliciousness… It is virtually impossible to get this stuff in Japan. Oh how happy I was to taste them again. However! I mentioned in the video that the sour rye soup we got tasted strange, but I didn’t explain why. We got instant soup, that’s why. I understand it is difficult to cook it from scratch in Japan, but they could have put in an ounce of effort to prepare it better. Just saying.

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This has to be the strangest meal I ever had. Raspberry beer and a rose jam doughnut. I totally recommend it though!

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I left Poland on the 30th of June 2011. I visited once, in September the same year. I guess you know the rest of the story (if not, please check this post). Of course I miss it… sometimes. I miss speaking my native language, eating delicious Polish food, hanging around cozy cafes and pubs. I guess you only really start appreciating how delicious your national cuisine is after you leave your country. I think that Polish bread and Polish meat are second to none and our soups are so good, I can’t really find a better adjective to describe them. 

You know what makes me happy? Japanese people don’t have a bad image of Poland. They say “Poland? Chopin, Walesa, cold winter, beautiful pottery”. Some of them even know Andrzej Wajda or Roman Polanski. Now they also know that we have awesome food. Well, at least those who attended the 3rd edition of the Polish Festival.

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And what do you think Japanese people think about your country? Leave a comment if you like (I always read them, but it takes a lot of time for me to reply, sorry about that!)

Thank you for reading!♥

November digest!

Those of you who have met me personally can confirm that one of the phrases you’ll often hear me use is: “Wait, I’ll show you, I have a photo of it”. If I ever recommend a place, an event, a shop, food or any other thing, you bet I have it photographed from all angles that exist. Thanks to that, in my previous post you could see photos I took ages ago with the good ole’ Blackberry. As I’m writing this post, I have exactly 5,351 photos on my phone…so why not use them? This is how I got the idea for this new series that will help me be even more consistent with my blog posts.

I think it might be a nice insight into my daily life in Japan and a nice change after all those lengthy, detailed posts I like so much. 🙂

NOVEMBER

 ∗Apparently, drinks and snacks are not the only things you can buy from a vending machine. Japan went one step ahead and now you can find a souvenir vending machine in Shibuya!

∗I discovered taiyaki only about a month ago and fell in love instantly. There’s nothing better than warm crispy dough with sweet bean paste filling… or any other filling I had an opportunity to try. I totally have to recommend the place I buy all my funky taiyaki from (there’s a little store in my town) → kurikoan.com

∗ Recently, I did some Autumn cleaning and got rid of all things gathering dust. I took out these cushions on the day when household articles were to be collected, but apparently cushions fall into the ‘nonburnable’ category. The trash collecting guys left a special note on the cushions, informing me about it. How nice!

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∗Beautiful sky in my town. In Japan it gets dark around 4 PM, it’s rare for me to actually get off work before twilight falls.

∗Okinawan feast! It still amazes me to no end that there are actually people who don’t like Okinawan style soba. Like… Seriously, guys?!

∗Ultimate working day breakfast. Rice ball and canned coffee.

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∗I thought that car looked cool, so I took a photo. That would explain over 5000 pics on my phone…

∗Ultimate working day lunch.

∗Tenya! Long time no see ♥ 

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∗Forget Hello Kitty, I honestly think that Gudetama is waaay cuter!

∗Cafe in Kita-Senju. You know, I often carry around a textbook with me, in case I actually get any time to study. I had some time to kill and I actually studied. Wow.

∗View of the Arakawa river, on my way back from the orphanage where I volunteer. I volunteer from 19:00 to 20:30 on Fridays. I used to stay until 21:00 but since I moved further away, I have to leave earlier but I get back home around 22:00 anyway. Getting on the super crowded Joban Line on Friday night should be part of some twisted survival reality show, I swear. 

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∗ Hawaiian dinner! They serve awesome food, but they’re hella crowded — the place is called Mokuola.

∗I got to hang out with an idol! Her name is Tia and she’s a member of an AKB48 style idol group called P.IDL. Check out their music, if you’re into that stuff: P.IDL on YouTube

∗I got this from a 9 year-old girl and my heart melted ♥

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∗Supermarket pizza, -30% off the price. Not the best decision of my life and I won’t be repeating it anytime soon.

∗Thank god for Donki and the imported food they sell ♥ Funny enough, I’m not a big fan of regular chocolate, but I’m a total sucker for WHITE chocolate!

∗Socks I’ll never buy, but need to admit they’re just too adorable.

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∗Midtown Tower in Roppongi — there’s a clinic on the 6th floor and I can’t recommend them enough! I’ve had some health problems recently, and because the Japanese doctor I visited a few times examined me only for like 2 minutes, and when I didn’t catch what he said in Japanese and asked him to repeat, he was only like “Nevermind”, I decided to go to a better clinic, where the staff speaks English. I couldn’t have chosen better! → Tokyo Midtown Clinic

∗Tim Burton’s World — exhibition in Roppongi. I loved it.

∗Real Tokyo fashion.

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∗ One of the best taiyaki I’ve had so far — caramel and cornflakes ♥

∗Peko-chan’s new clothes. Peko-chan is a mascot of a bakery nearby my apartment, and she gets new clothes every time a holiday is coming. After the New Year she’ll probably wear a kimono because of Seijin no Hi — Coming of Age Day (and I’ll probably take a photo of her again)

∗ Nearby Tokyo Station. I was looking for a coffee shop, but all I found was shady girls bars. Right next to the biggest business district. Okay…

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∗Found at Ueno Station. How cool is that!

∗High class sushi in Nezu! 

∗Poland Film Festival in Shibuya. I overslept and because I live 47319 kilometers away from Shibuya, I coudln’t make it, to my deepest regret.

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∗It’s kairo (disposable warmer) season again… (as I’m writing this, I have THREE kairo glued on me + fan heater on — Japanese winter is not that cold, but Japanese houses are so cold you wouldn’t believe)

∗Chika-san’s painting is now a part of the exhibition in the art museum in Ueno! (Chika-san is the lady I teach Polish to)

∗Tsukemen time! Ajitsuke tamago = marinated soft boiled egg has to be one of the best things that happened to Japanese food.

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∗Dill and pickles flavoured Pringles. YASSSS.

∗I decided to go half-sleeve with my right arm tattoo and on the 28th of November I had the first session. I’m recording the whole thing, so there will be a vlog coming in a few months! And if you have any questions about Japanese tattoo culture, please ask!

∗After 7 months of studying Korean, I started using the lower intermediate level textbook! Yay!

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That would be all for this November digest. If you have questions about anything you saw in the pics — feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email! I tried to explain what different things are, but if there’s something I omitted (because I probably took it for granted) do let me know!

Thank you for reading ♥