Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Japan '09

As a senior in college I studied International Business and Italian in Italy for a month.  While there I visited many points between southern and northern Italy, as well as Belgium and Amsterdam.  After that experience I wanted a bigger challenge the next time I decided to leave the states.  

It had always been a goal that in my lifetime I would travel to an Asian country, preferably Japan.  I don't remember how regularly I checked for airline tickets with hopes that I would find something in my price range.  Either way, one day there they were, non-stop tickets from ATL to NRT.  

It didn't take long for me to recruit my sister and brother-in-law, Jennifer and Jonathan, to join me in the adventure and three months from that day we were on an airplane headed to Japan.  

From Narita (NRT) Airport we took one of the express lines into Tokyo.  Lucky for us we stepped off the train, luggage in tow, in the middle of five o'clock rush hour.  I could do an entire post on the 45 minutes we spent there, pressed up against the wall watching seas of people fly past us. Just waiting for our chance to merge into the crowd.  In the end we made it to our apartment rental in Nishi-Ogikubo, a small town outside of Tokyo.  We spent the next few days going to various destinations from Tokyo Disneyland to Mt. Fuji.  The four days of non-stop sightseeing left little time in between for quality shopping.  But on our last day I felt confident enough to explore Japan on my own.  With my Sister and Brother-in-law doing their own thing I could browse at my own speed.  Here are the priceless items I picked up on our vacation, and a few ways I like to style them.

Look #1

Jacket: Japanese Thrift Store
Romper: Target

Bracelet: Betsy Prince
Earrings: Jewelry Store in Arizona

Shoes: Japanese Boutique - The clasp is genius and takes the hassle out of trying to get your sandals on and off.  I would give anything for another pair.  

Handbag: Hobo - Bridesmaid Gift

Look #2

One thing I noticed when I was in Japan was how much they love to layer oversized clothing.  The button up short sleeve cardigan is the perfect example.  It's made really big so that it can drape down and around the body.

Sweater: Japanese Boutique
Top: Anthropologie
Shorts: Belk

Necklace:  Harmonica - Urban Outfitters
Penny - Dad's friend who cuts diamonds
Alabama - Friend of a friend
Scissors - Gift from a good friend 

Lucky Brand Ankle Boots from Belk

Brown Leather Bracelet: Local Birmingham artist Jen Cifonie

Look #3

This is the top from the Bhamfashion Instagram post.  I wear this top all the time because it's comfortable and cute.  I can be seen wearing this most Sundays.

Top:  Japanese Boutique
Pants: Anthropologie

I honestly have no clue where I got this bag, but the bracelets came from my friend Lu Bai.  Lu and I  also have what I think is the most awesome friendship necklace ever.  See my half below. 

Necklace: Naked Art Gallery

Shoes: Amazon - Tretorns

Here's a few other items I found on my trip to Japan

Some of the English translations on clothing in Japan were a bit confusing.  Below is a sweater I found with one of my favorite quotes.

Quote: Thing in the World is Of Course the World Itself

I collect bracelets from every where I go.  Sometimes I like to wear them all at once.  It reminds me of the full life I have lived thus far and the great memories I've made. 

I got this top in a mall that had store after store of local designers.  The way this designer created the bow on the front of this tank blew my mind. 

Beethoven V-neck T-shirt: Japanese Thrift Store

Green Cotton Top w/ Pockets:  Local Japanese Designer

I got this dress in a cramped little store in Harajuku.  Reminiscing on that experience made me remember that in Japan they give you paper hair nets to wear when you are trying on clothes.  

Leaving Japan was not easy.  My sister and I both cried on the train ride to the airport.  We both still say how much we would love to live in Japan, or at least visit again.  

When we left Japan in 2009 the Gyaru style was very popular for girls.  However, this trend has recently started to lose steam.  The new thing is to a be Neo Gal.  These girls use social media and the internet to track western trends and mimic them with a twist.

Gyaru Girl

Neo Gal

Although the Neo Gal is all the rage there are still plenty of Japanese that dress to the beat of their own drum.

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