Saturday, April 27, 2013 :: Some Thoughts…
Before we enter into the weekend, I would like to share a little of my thoughts here. What better way to talk about how I feel than in my personal space.
I believe most of you have read through my previous post on my experience in Japan. As this blog is part of my social media platform where most of the time the things that goes up here are polished and refined before this selective info of my life goes into your eyes for your reading pleasure, many do not see the full picture of what happens before or during the process.
Prior to the trip to Japan, I was struggling hard with balancing work and giving myself a break. When it comes to overseas trips or material buys, the burden of the debt never fail to flash across my mind successfully guilt tripping me if I chose the any other options other than putting the issue of debt first on my mind. Many times I was on the brink of breakdown because I never stop guilt tripping myself – imagine the voice inside me always telling me “don’t you feel guilty? why are you not putting all your resources in VGY instead? do you think you can really enjoy?” Even the tiniest spending spoke to me harshly “c’mon you don’t need this kinda pleasure, you just need to maintain guilty and stay responsible”.
I still remember when John asked me to take a vacation with him to Japan in 2013 after the Chinese New Year, I cried so many times and told him I don’t wish to spend my money on anything else unimportant and if I can quote myself “don’t make me feel guilty I won’t be happy for this trip”. I guess I drove him to desperation because he was already planning to propose in Japan but after witnessing how many times I broke down, he blurted out in exasperation “if you don’t wish to go Japan with me, how can I propose to you”. I told a couple of close friends about my dilemma and one told me to not let my debt weigh me down. She said I still have a life to carry on living for. And I thought what joy it is living if I never forgive myself enough to have treat myself well.
Over time approx 6-9 months before we finally booked the ticket to Japan, John often talked to me about how I should learn to identify what is important and not to be so hard up on myself. It took time to finally stop the inner voice in my head and I eventually learnt to not guilt trip myself for every little thing I do – to accept that I need to loosen up. Things improved drastically after I visited church with John on Sundays and felt strangely more relieved even though nothing much has changed in my life. Regrettably, up till now, I can’t deny I still hear this little voice telling me people are watching my every step and even if I don’t remind myself, other people will – “so why are you not feeling guilty?”
To the people out there who question and remind me about my debt, raise brows on how I spend my money and lead my life, do you think I do not know better than you on how I should lead my life?
2 weeks after I came back from Japan, I came to know of a group of people who talked negatively about both John and I. It came across as a shock because they are the people whom we brushed shoulders with and even congratulated us on our proposal. We are extremely thankful to the person who have told us about it because he/she came with a good intention - to let us know because he/she understands what was said is untrue and believed that we are mature enough to rectify the situation without it getting out of hand.
Admittedly, negative feedback can be tough to deal with. Especially when I do have a vulnerable state of mind that I have been fighting to heal for a prolonged period of time and it does not help that these negativity weakens my defense. As hard as it may sound, I try to understand what the person’s concerns are. Maybe it was something I said or do that made the person react this way. I found that it was easier to understand what made them say the things he/she said by puting myself in the person’s shoes. Perhaps when you leave that negative feedback anonymously, you do so without thinking and with not much malicious intent (I hope), but I do try to understand why you do so.
What people expect me to do is to react immediately but on the contrary, I take a calmer approach. It is natural for anyone to defend themselves immediately. However, by raising the defense bars on myself, it tells the world more about myself as a person than about the comment/feedback itself. I do get riled up when I see negative feedback by anonymous individuals, but I will sleep on it for a couple of days – by the time, my state of mind will be logical and I experience a more mature and deeper set of emotions.
Being the owner of an online business, I see any negative feedback about VGY clothes as positive because they tell me the opportunities for growth which I may be blinded towards. No matter how well I run a small business, there may be blind spots that I do not see because I am too involved in the picture. These negative feedback served as a different perspective which I can consider for improvement.
Just how good can it be if I only experience positive feedback and compliments most of the time and refuses to acknowledge the negative ones? Not that positive feedback isn’t good – it is because I find them extremely encouraging and inspiring and it puts a smile on my face. It is not hard to put a smile on my face if you know me personally.
I am looking forward to a splendid birthday celebration for a friend at a hotel later tonight and a liberating time in church tomorrow morning. And VGY manufactured designs for SS2013 will be pouring in steadily over these few months so keep a look out because they are extremely gorgeous pieces with my personal guarantee on great quality :) Also, I am tying up with a luxury skincare brand for some surprise this coming May/June. Cannot be more blessed to be selected to represent Singapore for this :*)
Good things happen because I believe in Him :*)
Lastly, Salon Vim 313 will be closed for a 10-days renovation in May and John is bringing me to Taiwan for their famous streets snacks to fatten me up!
Work hard and play harder because you deserve it! ;)
Be extremely happy this weekend, peeps!
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Friday, April 26, 2013 :: Japan Travelogue Day 1 & Day 2
Blogging about the trip to Japan brings back so much wonderful memories – This yearning in me wishing we can go back in time and do it all over again. It was such an unforgettable and memorable trip – as it was a proposal trip John planned. I will come to the proposal in day three and four travelogue ;)
I FELL IN LOVE WITH JAPAN.
Japan is such an interesting country because you get to fully experience the juxtaposition of modern and traditional life. People there are proud of their culture and they have a unique style unlike the western countries. I find that they do not try to emulate popular styles but instead put together their own outfits. When I first see people walking down the streets in horribly ridiculous outfits, I was shocked. But then we saw fashion photographers stopping them in their tracks (something like The Sartorialist) like their style is something worth writing about. We were completely in awe.
So our flights were scheduled to leave at 6am in the morning and I just couldn’t get to sleep the previous night. Aside from luggage still unpacked at 3am ugh, the excitement, anticipation and the overwhelming jubilant feeling made me stay wide awake through the night. Somehow, I just felt this trip would be a special one ;)
As soon as the plane landed in Japan, I thoroughly regretted not bringing thicker wear although John mentioned countless times it “WILL be extremely cold, babe”. Out of annoyance, I challenged him back and scoffed at “how cold can it get”. Haha man that was such a wrong move. It was hell of a weather. It has got to be the longest amount of time we spent together not holding hands – just sticking our hands into our pockets because it is right where they belong –.-
At the airport, we took the Narita Express to get to Shinjuku where our hotel was located.
Dropped our bags at the hotel and came out for dinner. This ramen store we randomly walked into serves pretty kickass ramen. Can I say just any random stall on the streets beat Ippudo Ramen Singapore hands down haha.
Snapped some photos outside the freezing ramen store because John said my hair looked extremely luscious (after the Redken treatment the day before). On a side note, Salon Vim released a new hair treatment called the Hair Privy treatment and it is wayyy better than Redken Cocktail treatment in my opinion. Ask for it the next time you head down to Salon Vim!
Hair by John from Salon Vim @ Somerset 313, Level 4.
Follow Salon Vim on Facebook here
and on Instagram @salonvim.
One thing about ramen in Japan, the soup base is extremely thick, flavourful and salty. This is too salty for me considering I can down a teaspoon of salt anytime. No, I am just kidding haha. But really, it was so salty I couldn’t finish my noodles and soup most of the time.
This picky fella eats everything in Japan because it is made in Japan -.-
This is what I call selective eating and mindset.
The cold weather made the after-dinner feeling extremely enjoyable because the heat from our stomach radiates up the body and removed the coldness making us snugged and re-energized. And because of the long walks, the food digested pretty quickly and within the next hour, we felt the hunger pangs again. This time round, we walked into the next random sushi stall and had our after-dinner fix.
Just any random sushi stall on the streets is comparable to Sushi Tei in Singapore.
Hah I just had to make the comparison!
Went everywhere to look for Aigle boots cos Hunter is overrated and do not suit petite girls like myself.
I love how the brown suede knots (not clearly shown in the photo below) gives a subtle touch of elegance to the ruggedness of Aigle boots.
Everything in Japan looks so pretty! Why don’t we have these in Singapore?
The super mini cup noodles!
We bought ice cream back to the hotel and guess what, the fridge in the hotel was not as cold as the weather. The poor ice creams actually melted in the fridge -.-
Thank god for these. My face started peeling like a monkey on the very same night we landed.
Wore Ted’s Structured Shirt in Yellow and layered it with an unreleased daisy knit. Both from VGY
On a side note, I am not intending to launch the daisy knit as it is almost sold out on VGY retail fronts. Please drop me an email if you are interested in getting the last few pcs! Available in navy blue and black! :)
A handful of customers told me to try Yoshinoya in Japan so it took me some pleading before John finally relented to Yoshinoya for breakfast the next morning geez.
And boy, the Yoshinoya dishes are 100x better than the ones in Singapore! We were so hooked on it we went back every morning haha!
Went to the department store to purchase a Head Porter backpack to store our shopping for the day!
HP stuff are relatively cheaper in Japan than in Singapore. The backpack which John purchased cost close to $400 in Sg but was only $200++ in Japan!
Unlike in Singapore, we had to take a train everywhere we go because taxi charges are exorbitant in Japan! Say for a $10 ride in Sg, it would be about $30++ in Japan. Wanted to rent a car but we decided to go for public transport to fully experience the rush hour culture in Japan.
Headed to Ginza for some shopping!
Visited the Chrome Hearts store. But sigh, CH is getting so common on our shores.
Every.single.person is wearing a T-shirt or cap from CH regardless of their style :(
We have even seen people wearing CH tees with cargo pants and patent loafers! So wrong yo.
Chanced upon this store selling confectionaries and they are sooooo good!
Travelled down to Harajuku which is on Japan’s railway Yama-No-Te line.
If you get on this train line, you can stop by many popular places in Tokyo like Shibuya, Shinjuku, Shimbashi, Ueno to name a few.
Thank goodness for John. He has a flair in understanding Japan’s complicated railway system and reading maps. With him around, I totally became a follower haha, and a stupid one without having to exhaust my brain cells. I was telling him I will become even more stupid after marriage because he plans every step for us and I do not have to worry or think about anything else lol.
Back to Harajuku, the moment we got down from Harajuku Station, we find ourselves staring at one of the most popular and hippiest place - Takeshita street. Have always seen this place in photos so I was extremely thrilled to find myself standing just right in front of this famous street!
This crepe stall in Harajuku is supposedly one of the oldest and most famous one. But the crepe tasted bland :(
Maybe we ordered the wrong flavor? But the experience of eating crepes while standing along the street like the Japanese in the chilly weather was priceless.
The Liz Lisa store.
Headed for some shopping at yet another Chrome Hearts store at Jingumae near Takeshita Dori.
Visited all the street labels like Neighborhood, Supreme, Visvim.
We thought of not shopping in sg for half a year then head down to Japan and sweep up all the new arrivals at these stores haha. John spent a couple thousand at Visvim at one shot because it was….so much cheaper in Japan. They have a branch store in Sg at Raffles Hotel but the prices there are exorbitant.
Supreme store is on the 2nd level of Neighbourhood store
I really love the look of all the shops in Japan. Even the corridors and front yards are delicately decorated with plants, chairs, pebbles etc exuding an inviting presence.
Our friend residing in Japan told us about this famous pancake restaurant in Harajuku known as Eggs & Things.
It is hard to miss it because this was the only place with ridiculous queues. We went back for 3 days but to no avail because each time, the queue just got worse.
This was not all. At the end of the building, the queue continued around a bend and onto the main street!
If you are following me on my instagram (@vaingloriousyou), I posted a photo while at a ramen store which I promised to introduce on my blog. Near to Harajuku at the top of Omote-Sando street at the intersection, we found one of the best-known tonkotsu ramen shops in Tokyo known as Kyushu Jangara.
The price point was reasonable and the noodles are tender and extra thin. You can also choose the degree of noodle thickness, level of soup texture and soup fattiness. For heavy eaters, keep your soup to get a free refill of noodles known as “Kae-dama”.
We got the window seats and it was so fun to people watch haha.
Endured an extremely long walk to visit the well known beautiful and historical Meiji Jingu Shrine. It was terribly freezing cold that we could not feel our hands and toes anymore. Amidst the unforgiving bitch of the weather haha, we were amazed by the massive space leading up to the shrine.
Barrels of sake donated to Meiji Shrine!
Halfway through the walk, John was on the brink of freezing and could not speak properly by then haha.
I was so intrigued by Meiji shrine I stood in line to wash my hands in the purification trough. It was soo sooo cold that after washing my hands in the freezing waters, I felt a sharp pain and numbness in my fingers! My tears almost rolled down haha. It was extremely unbearable but look at those heroic Japanese peeps -.-
Prayers left behind by visitors and tourists in every language possible.
Had a strong urge to leave my prayers behind in Japan so I decided to write a prayer message on the woodblock ema. Prayed for the best for all my loved ones :*) I was shivering so badly I made such bad grammatical errors with barely legible handwriting on my woodblock! But my prayer was from the bottom of my heart so I am sure it will be understood :*)
I read that the forest contains 250 different species of trees donated from Japan and all over the world! We were in the middle of the nature miracle!
It was evening time by the time we left Meiji Shrine. Visited Starbucks and was pleasantly surprised to see Sakura White Chocolate on the menu! It was so addictive we (or rather, I) went everywhere looking for it the next few days because it was sold out at most outlets pretty early in the day!
Even though we were freezing cold and hungry (again), we walked along the streets at Omote-Sando to fully cover the entire street and make sure we do not miss out any shopping haunts haha.
True enough, we found Histeric Glamour! This is a place where beautiful jeans can be found!
Took a train down to Shibuya to witness the coolest intersection known as “Shibuya Crossing”. This is a place where hundreds or even thousands of people scramble to cross the roads amidst blazing lights and gigantic video screens! Haha, I was so ecstatic I climbed up a railing to take a photo and exclaimed “I AM IN TOKYO!” :p
With no humps on the roads in Japan, most cars can be lowered till there are just barely 2 inches off the ground –.-
Tokyo if I were to describe it is a gray city. It is not a very beautiful place but it is strangely beautiful because of its culture, the functional building, the people and the bright lights at night. In all, that makes it an interesting country worth visiting.
As an animal lover, of course I had to visit Hachiko!
The train experience in my opinion is very much disciplined and courteous. People lined up to get into the train so there was no jostling.
Headed back to Shinjuku and found another random sushi restaurant haha. The sashimi sushi served were relatively more expensive than the others along the street.
The restaurant was filled with smart looking office men in suits. We stood out like a sore thumb haha :p
I only know how to appreciate salmon sashimi and just that amongst all other sashimi which I refuse to touch. But John ordered puffer fish sashimi and y’know…I just want to have/try everything he had/tried. So…had the first slice into my mouth and I couldn’t stop! It was so fresh, tasteless and just…chewy goodness lol. But I did have that psychosomatic trace of fear knowing that if this dish was not properly prepared, it could kill us right there at the dinner table.
Eating puffer fish (fugu) sushi is like dining with death. Because it contains a poison called Tetradotoxin which can be fatal at very very low doses. Sushi chefs must train for years and pass an extraordinary difficult exam before obtaining the fugu license to serve this plate of sushi. And people are willing to pay hundreds of dollars to dine with death – just like us. Kiasu Singaporeans – die die also must try.
So the dinner sums up our 2nd day in Japan!
I hope you like this travelogue because it took me really long to prepare! :)
Please do not ask me for the itinerary because the only record we have are these photos!
Stay tuned to Day 3 & 4 because it will be the first time I detail such a personal and memorable event on my blog! :*)
Thank you for staying with me as my reader although I do not update often. My heart is always with all of you and I cannot wait to share the time of my life in Japan with all you lovely girls.
Have a lovely weekend as always!
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