My Treasure Chest

There are a two things that always inspired feelings of wonder in me when I was child, trunks (the kind that you store things in) and lockets. I don’t know anyone who wears a locket in real life- including me, though I do think this one is quite cute.

I remember buying a locket at Disney World and never finding a picture small enough to put inside. I gave up on lockets after that, but when I was about 13 I asked for and received a trunk for Christmas. I proceeded to put in special pictures, every Christmas and birthday card I  ever received,   school memorabilia, and special souvenirs.  I kept adding to my trunk until I was about 25, and by then it was filled to the brim.

About a year ago, I decided it was time to stop cluttering my parent’s house with my junk as I was making a new house with Masa.  Looking back,  I think it was a subconscious way of me letting go of my old life and starting a new one.

I pulled the trunk out and I found some pretty embarrassing  cute stuff.

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Fairy, Sailor Moon, and Pocahontas stickers covered the inside (and I am ashamed to admit a few Jordan Knight stickers).

Two awesome collages  I made in high school. These were a little cringe worthy.

Two awesome collages I made in high school. These were a little cringe worthy.

I also found some blue ribbons from some high school language competitions,a Tinkerbell music box, and lots of X-Men trading cards,

But, wait! I found something amazing at the bottom of the trunk. Something that is possibly worth a small fortune in some circles.

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A BABY-SITTERS CLUB POSTCARD BOOK!!!!

I was a huge fan of the Baby-Sitters Club growing up.  I loved artsy Claudia, cool Stacy, and I could totally relate to Mallory who had a huge family.  I am not sure where I got this postcard book from, but it is in great condition. It is about 40 pages of postcards which are reprints of the book covers. I never ripped out a page and used them as postcards.  As a result, I am sure this is worth about a million dollars!

This was from my absolute favorite super special. Everyone gets stuck on a deserted island.

This was from my absolute favorite super special. Everyone gets stuck on a deserted island.

I am so glad that I got a trunk and put all of my treasures inside it.  It was amazing to go back and see all of the things that were dear to me when I was 13 years old and on.  I must admit that sometimes I would cringe at some of the things I had packed in their- love poems to boy, notes to friends  where I tried so hard to be “cool,” and some pictures of my 1990’s fashion choices. The absolute worst was a diary entry where I went on and on about how I would never get a boyfriend– MORTIFYING!

No matter how cringe-worthy some of the things were it was really heartwarming to finally act out a scene from a long forgotten book which kindled my interest in trunks- an old woman sits in an attic and opens a dusty old trunk. She goes through her treasured memories and smiles at all she has done and sits happy with her memories.

Back Home Again

I’m back in the United States of America!

America...f**K yeah!!

America…f**K yeah!!

It is great to be back! The trip from Japan to America wasn’t too bad this time . I took the shinkansen(bullet train) to Tokyo and 19 hours later, here I am  in sunny south Florida.

My welcome home was especially amazing thanks to this fancy lady:

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My mother at a tea party- yes, an actual tea party

My mother is a very fancy lady (as you can see, she enjoys wearing gloves at formal events- now that’s fancy). She is an etiquette teacher, an event planner, president of  her Women’s Club, and has a full time job. I am biased, but I think she is pretty amazing.

After a long flight I came home to this spectacular room waiting for me (picture heavy).

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Fresh cut flowers

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Beautiful candles

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A goodie bag

the full contents of the goodie bag

The full contents of the goodie bag

my favorite dessert- dove white chocolate

My favorite dessert- Dove white chocolate bites

There were also slippers and pajamas laid out on the bed along with a bottle of water. I felt so special once I walked into the room! It was like being in a five star hotel- and after traveling for 25 hours it felt wonderful to not worry about rummaging in my suitcase for my toothbrush or shower cap.

I woke up this morning pretty refreshed and I am hoping I won’t have jet lag too badly this trip. Tommorow, I plan on spending hours at Target. The day afterward I am going to go wedding dress shopping!

It has been so great to be back in the states!

Doing Laundry in Japan

Before Masa and I moved in together I went all over the Internet looking for good advice for couples who were about to move in together. The best advice I read was this: Make a chore list so that household tasks are clearly defined. Masa and I did this and it has been great. We both know what is expected of each other so there is no fighting or resentment and the house is usually clean. We split the chores 50:50, but there is one chore that I wish I could put off on Masa, and that is laundry.

Why? Well one, Japanese washing machines are small so I have to do laundry everyday or at the least every other day as opposed to the once a week I did back in the states.

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My tiny washing machine which is pretty big according to Japanese standards.

Two, there are no dryers in Japan. The cost to blow hot air at your clothes while a machine tumbles them in a circle would cause your electricity bills to go through the roof. As a result, I have to hang my clothes outside which is a bit more extra work.

I must admit that I do enjoy hanging my clothes out when the weather is nice and the sun is shining. I do miss, however, the fluffy towels you get when you dry your towels in a dryer.

Also, in the winter it is way too cold to hang your clothes out to dry. So what do you do?

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Oh yeah, that’s right! You hang them up in your living room right in front of your unit air conditioner. Your room gets warm and your clothes get dry. Japanese ingenuity in action!

SN: sorry for the poor quality pictures. My camera is broken and going to get a new one when I get to the states.

Stocking Up

I’m going back to the states in less than two weeks (just for spring vacation) !! This year I am trying to be frugal as possible so I am going to try to curb my spending while I’m there.
Japan doesn’t sell a lot of things that can easily be found in America- antiperspirant, sun block that does not have whitening cream in it, and of course black hair care products. Moreover, America seems to have (in my opinion) a better selection when it comes to simple things such as razors, toothbrushes, and lotion. As a result, living in Japan has made become an over -stocker. I buy way more things than I need while I’m in the states because I am so afraid I am going to run out. Unfortunately, I later find myself with five bottles of expired sunblock. I have learned the hard way that is better to buy just one or two bottles of something rather than five.

Here are a few of my overstock bags.

There are four bottles of sunblock in there! What was I thinking?

Razors, toothbrushes, and five bottles of sunblock. What was I thinking?

Do you think I am just an over-stocker or a hoarder?

Stocking up on stuff means my luggage is always on the verge of being too heavy. I fortunately bought this at a Target a few years ago and it has saved me from the awful stress of hoping that my luggage is not over the weight limit.

A luggage scale

My luggage scale, my life saver

I highly recommend this for all ex-pats who need to stock up on annual trips. Its way more accurate than trying to hoist your suitcase on the bathroom scale.

Side-note: Want to hear a luggage horror story?

I am at the airport, heading back to Japan. I give my dad a hug and a kiss good-bye and go to the check- in counter. I know that my luggage is heavy but I am ready to pay the $100 fee. As the clerk is checking me in he says “Sorry honey, but we can let this suitcase on the plane.” I try to explain that I know that my luggage is heavy and I am willing to pay the fee but he cuts me off. It turns out that my luggage exceeded the maximum luggage limit on my Japanese airline which does not allow you to pay a fee if your luggage is heavy. I asked if I could sort it out once I got into Tokyo, but the clerk said no. The rules are that I can’t have my luggage on the plane if one my airlines I’m flying on does not accept it. I was at a total loss as what to do. In the end, I had the clerk call my dad (I didn’t have working cell phone) and my dad had to drive back to the airport. While I was waiting for my dad to come back I picked through my luggage and took out the heavier things I could live without -mostly shoes. My dad picked up my things, and I got on the plane right before it took off.

So travelers, beware if you have heavy luggage. The bigger American flights are fine taking your heavy luggage for a fee, but the smaller international ones may not.

Conversion Chart

About two years ago, right before I moved in with Masa, I bought three cookbooks. I have a horrible sense of smell which means I have a bad sense of taste. As a result, I can eat the same thing everyday for months and be perfectly fine. I did not want to subject Masa to this so I bought the cookbooks in the hopes that he and I can get some cooking ideas and have a varied menu.

Cue ominous music….Those cookbooks have never been opened.

Why? Because right after I ordered those cookbooks on Amazon, I got an invite to join Pinterest. From then on Masa and I have been getting all of our dinner ideas and recipes from Pinterest.

Screen shot of my Pinterest page

Screen shot of my Pinterest page

Living in metric Japan(e.g. grams,milliliters, Celsius)  and using empiric American recipes (cups, tablespoons, and Fahrenheit)  requires lots of converting for flour, sugar, liquids and oven temperature. I got annoyed at having to constantly go on my iPhone to convert recipes so I made a conversion chart that I can hang on my kitchen wall and go back and forth.

Conversion Chart

I must admit, its pretty ugly and I wish I had more design skills to make it look nicer, but it gets the job done. Feel free to download it and use it, and if anyone out there wants to make it prettier please do and send it to me!

 

DIY Fabric Jars

I was on Pinterest and found this cute project.

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I decided to give it a go! I did not have any liquid glue- the only glue I can find in Japan is stick glue, so I used Mod Podge instead.

I first got my materials ready:

1. Strips of fabric that were cut so they were the same height as the jar. I just eyeballed it when I cut the width.

Strips of fabric

Strips of fabric

Mod Podge

Paint Brush

Random jar that was lying around waiting to be recycled.

 

I first coated the entire jar in Mod Podge.

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Then I placed each strip of fabric inside the jar. I made sure they overlapped a bit so there would not be any cracks.

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I then painted Mod Podge on the back of the fabric to seal it in.

Placing Mod Podge on the back side of the fabric

Placing Mod Podge on the back side of the fabric

 

And that was it! I let it dry for two days- my apartment was very cold.

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The glass with wet Mod Podge

From beginning to end it took about 20 minutes for the project -excluding drying time of course!

Here is the finished project. (Note my awesome Archie comic book collection)

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From very close you can see where the fabric overlaps and it is not as smooth looking as the original tutorial’s picture. But from afar it looks just fine and I think I will make some more.