I’d wanted to visit Japan for a very long time and knew I would want souvenirs; for months before going I was avoiding buying things I need so I could instead shop in Japan. You may have seen this snap on my instagram – one of my most liked images – today I’ll show you what I got! I have to say I felt very hypocritical as I’m just not the “haul” kind of girl. I don’t go crazy with my purchases; I shop rarely and I hate buying replacements or items similar to things I already own. I’m also very conscious of where my stuff comes from and goes back too (as you may have guessed from my ethical and vegan lifestyle choices). That being said; I absolutely planned to buy a lot in Japan and purposefully took more money than I thought I’d need to live (first time I’ve ever done that for a holiday…!).
Clockwise starting TL: brown cat tote bag, rabbit badge, socks x 4, gold rucksack from Harajuku, more socks, floral ears, variety of kanzashi*, heart-shaped Lolita sunglasses. Not pictured: about a million more pairs of ballet socks.
CLOTHES AND ACCESSORIES
I didn’t buy any clothes as by Japanese sizes I am a humongous obese person – everything was absolutely tiny as anybody who has dealt with SE Asian sizing before will know all too well. Instead, I splurged on socks! I spend a small fortune on imported ballet socks every year from the Japanese store Tabio in Covent Garden. Even though I stopped dancing about 4 years ago I wear the socks daily in the summer! In Japan it was 3 pairs for the equivalent of £2 and in London one pair costs about £9…! I’m glad that I didn’t buy anything I won’t use (well possibly the kanzashi) as it would have been very easy to succumb to a whole succession of novelty bags and hair things.
The ears and sunglasses are from Shibuya 109 – a huge shopping mall of lolita/goth/harajuku style clothing. I always wear ears when performing and thought these would be good for the summer. I’ve used the two bags almost daily. I also bought a kimono and two haori (summer jackets) from a place in Kyoto which I totally forgot to put on the floor when taking these images and was too lazy to go back and photograph.
Clockwise TL: notebooks, My Melody envelopes, journal, washi tape, mini card, grid notebook, london-themed masking tape (!), wooden animal pegs, mini card, Moomin stickes, animal file stickers, business cards, business card envelopes (!), terrifying stickers. Not pictured: a load of stuff from the Studio Ghibli place.
I love stationery! I get through notebooks, pegs and tape at the rate of knots thanks to a very intense organisation system, but I really should have left the greetings cards as I am terrible at sending cards. Giving in person is fine but anything that involves going to the post office is basically a lost cause for me (thank you, PA). And who knows when I’ll next write a letter that calls for a My Melody envelope, but at least should that precious day fall I’ll be prepared.
Clockwise from TL: deer bag, My Melody tissues, japanese lady love omamori*, squirrel and duck keyboard brush, origami and paper chains, thank you bags, heart-shaped clips, no idea what that grey thing is and have no recollection of purchasing it, rabbit page clips, small geisha charm, chicken thing. Not pictured: an absolute ton of food.
Literally no idea what the grey thing is. I use these little bags a lot for compartmentalising all the boy’s stuff for gigs – who doesn’t want to have their big boy bow tie and braces to be stored in an adorable deer bag?! (This is probably why nobody in my band respects me). Similarly page clips are SO useful when it comes to organising music (I actually bought 4 packets of these and the other 3 have already been used). I think the thank you bags and paper chains probably could have stayed in Japan, I thought they’d make nice gifts but buying nondescript gifts that aren’t directly assigned to a person is never a good idea; they’ll probably be sat in my room for the next 6 months. Please tell me I’m not the only person that does that?
Clockwise from TL: boiled sweets featuring all your favourite Sanrio characters, envelopes with literally the exact same deer as on the bag in the previous picture, branded Hello Kitty ears, Hello Kitty tweezers (!), My Melody phone case, My Melody comb, My Melody pancake mix (may or not have bought 3 of these), Sanrio Puroland carrier bag (technically not a purchase), Little Twin Stars biscuits, small My Melody envelopes, Hello Kitty chocolates, My Melody and Keroppi tissues, Hello Kitty kanzashi, My Melody sweets.
(Not pictured: a load of food including Hello Kitty shaped pasta, Hello Kitty shaped boiled sweets,Hello Kitty shaped rice crackers, Hello Kitty and My Melody socks, My Melody ears hat).
I talked about this in my Sanrio Puroland post and vlog (where you can see me buying some of this stuff) that the park is really geared towards the merchandise. I actually left with one medium carrier bag and there were many people holding huge boxes or 6+ family size bags, so was actually quite balanced with my purchases in context…not that it seems it here! I’ve used the phone case the most, obviously, the comb and tweezers now live in my bag, and the tissues are serving me well during hayfever season. I went to Sanrio Puroland quite late in the trip so quite a lot of the images and characters were already on stuff I had bought (such as the deer and the envelopes) but I didn’t mind! And FYI the Little Twin Stars biscuits are absolutely disgusting. They genuinely taste appalling.
One of the worst photos I have ever taken. Clockwise starting TL: carrier bag (technically not a purchase), two pack of Disneyland and Disneysea notebooks, Easter 2015 postcard, reverse of carrier bag…, geisha Minnie bag filled with sweets, sparkly Minnie hair bow, “love” omamori with Mickey and Minnie design.
I really wanted some specifically Japanese mementos of Disneyland – I mean you can get most of the Frozen-related crap and generic Mickey and Minnie duvet covers or whatever in both London and Disneyland Paris, so I’m good for that kind of thing! I sought out Pan Asia Gifts, the one shop (!) selling “Asian-themed merchandise” in Disneyland Tokyo, which is where all of the above (bar the bow) came from. I thought the postcard would be a nice way to commemorate all my beloved, insane Easter decorations from DisneySea! If you’ve not read my in-depth analysis of why DisneySea is the best park you can do so here (and Disneyland post is here).