EVERYTHING I BOUGHT IN Japan

Hey guys, instead of writing a travel guide or story about what I did in Japan, I took out nearly everything I bought there, laid the items out on my dining room table, took iPhone photos of them all and posted them here... 

Um, why? You ask.

Why ANYTHING? I reply.

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I'm not entirely sure why I bought these jeans in Japan because they're stocked in New Zealand and in New Zealand I wouldn't be the largest size in the store (no joke, I got a 27 and that was the biggest size there) but hey, I was there, when in Rome and all that jazz. They're Levis with a seam down the front. They're what they called the 'altered straight leg' jean, and they're cropped. Like, on me they're ankle bone length so on a normal person they're literally going to be capri pants. Actually, in hindsight now I have worn them a bit I think maybe they're a little too big in the waist but I really do rate them overall, good colour, cool fit. I got them at the Levis store in Harajuku.


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The first time I went past the Press Butter Sand store in Tokyo station, there was a massive queue and I couldn't really figure out exactly what a 'Press Butter Sand' was meant to be.  The second time was on my way to Narita airport and I did an instagram story about it and six people told me it was the 'new Tokyo Banana' and 'an amazing cookie - get it'. Three people told me to not bother with the line because it wasn't worth it but I ignored them and took a number (the queue was so long they got you to take a ticket with a time on it to come back to line up - like Disneyland FastPass) and 20-something minutes later I got my hands on a box.

The thing is basically a sort of square shortbread cookie filled with Hokkaido buttercream (like icing sort of) and butter caramel which I think is just straight caramel with extra butter. The thing is pretty good, if you're at Tokyo station one day, I suggest trying it. 

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The above is the Tokyo Banana, which, as you may already know, is the 'treat of Japan'. I've never had a Twinkie but I'm pretty sure this it is very similar - a sponge-type cake with a caramel-y banana cream filling. It's not super my thing but Lani rates it.

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Left is my favourite convenience store treat that I tried. It's basically just a chocolate covered macadamia but the macadamia has this kind of crisp layer of what I think is sugar? 

The sour lollies I brought back but I have no idea what they taste like because I'm saving them. 

Number Sugar was a just spot I walked past on the way to our Airbnb one day. They sell individually wrapped caramels, I had to get some to see how they compare to the Jacques Genin ones in Paris. (They're good but the Jacques Genin ones are better, in my opinion.)


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Ragtag is a chain of designer vintage stores in Japan. It's kind of like Scotties or something. All the items are cleaned and checked for authenticity, and because it's Japan, there's all the high end designers brands in there - Chanel, Prada, etc. It's dope but most stuff is pretty small - Japan sized people small. (There's no place to shop like Japan to make you feel like the biggest most gigantic person ever.)

I went to four different branches of the store because I got obsessed. The first one I went to was on our first proper day in Japan, in Shibuya, and I walked out with the navy Chloé mini on the right, which ended up being around NZ$200 (tax free!). At the Harajuku Ragtag I got the above mens Comme Play hoodie for maybe NZ$115.

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At the Shinjuku Ragtag I grabbed the above right Margaret Howell wallet was something like NZ$55. 

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I mean, how can one go to Japan and not at least just have a look at the Muji? I've been to the Muji in Sydney and various ones in Europe and America but NOTHING compares to the ones in Japan! We spent over an hour in the one in Ginza, they have everything - all the usual toiletries and clothes and furniture and things but also this one also had bicycles, a café, fresh produce and even a kitset HOUSE for god's sake! 

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We got some tea, and I also bought the below mushroom chicken rice kit, not entirely sure what it is but hey, it was on sale.

I'm not entirely sure why but we also bought two linen cushion covers and a linen tea towel... WHEN IN JAPAN, HUH. 

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To qualify for tax-free purchasing, you had to spend over a certain amount. I waited in the tax-free line for ages and then got there and they told me I was like, 150 yen short or something, so I had to quickly rush off and buy a pen, hence the above pen. I also got the above stapler thinking that it could be my new work stapler, but I have since discovered that this stapler doesn't take your standard size staples so it's kind of been made redundant...

The below socks are for a baby, I just thought they were cute so I got them for Ben's sister's kid. 

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I spent a good 20 minutes looking at all the makeup, I must've put back at least 10 things before deciding on the above items - a UV Lucent powder (no idea what that is really, not sure why I bought it), a stick concealer that I forgot that I had bought until literally this moment when I zoomed into the photo wondering what that was, and a dark brown liquid eyeliner in pen form.  (The further I get into writing this blog post the more I have realised I maybe have a shopping problem??)

The above t-shirt was something like NZ$15 in the end, just a boxy, cropped tee. 

 


Couldn't really leave Japan without going to the NikeLab.

In hindsight it may have been better to actually unwrap the things I bought and then take a photo. Oh well, it's too late for that now, you can use your imagination or maybe just click these links here:

NikeLab Essentials Training Sportsbra (also comes this awesome navy colour but they didn't have my size left) 

NikeLab Essentials Training Tights  (the shorts are also cool but  my budget didn't extend that far)

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Now these bloody shoes. Okay. My brother told me about these a couple of months ago - they're a limited colourway of the Nike AirZoom Mariah Flyknit Racer. They didn't come to New Zealand. Anyway, I saw them in the Nike Harajuku store and they didn't have my usual size (8.5) but they had an 8. This is where I admit I can get kind of psycho and obsessive when it comes to shopping - I decided that because this seemed to my only opportunity to get the shoes I would just deal with the 8 and I bought them. I got back to the Airbnb and tried them on again (tight AF) and felt mildly sick about it

Two days later I saw the same pair of shoes in an Atmos (sneaker store) and I wondered if maybe they them in the 8.5 and thought if they did, it meant that I was meant to buy them. They didn't. I decided that was a sign I wasn't meant to have that size. 

The day after that, I walked past ANOTHER Atmos and tried again and it was the same answer - no 8.5 but they had an 8, but then the shop assistant came back and said "why don't you try a men's 7.5? We have that?"

Long story short, I bought the same pair of shoes again, leaving with two pairs of the same shoe in slightly different sizes. Then I freaked out about how much money I had spent on this shoe ordeal and spent 30 minutes on the internet trying to work out whether I could get a refund on the original pair, and then I read this article on Wikipedia about how there's an anti-Chinese sentiment in Japan and I freaked out even more, convinced myself that the Japanese sales assistant wouldn't want to give me a refund because I'm Chinese, and then made Ben (he's white and everyone loves white people) go back and try and get the refund with my credit card and IT WORKED SO IT WAS ALL MEANT TO BE.

Wow, not a great story. 


I spent an exorbitant amount of time in various chemists across Tokyo. I guesstimate that I would've spent at least 3 hours staring at various Japanese beauty products, and $NZ250 on them. Below are a few that I bought. The selection of purchases was really based on two things; firstly, I asked Makeup Artist, Amber D, what I should get and basically just got everything she recommended, and secondly, because I can't read Japanese, I picked things based on the packaging appeal. 

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I got a lot of pore type things. Bioré pore strips (not pictured because I opened them there) and face masks that you paint on and peel off (like PVA), and some kind of gel that cleans out your pores (no idea how but look at the above pictures - how could you not be convinced?) 

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I also got a SPF50+ sunscreen (again, not entirely sure why because it cost like NZ$27) , the above 1-Day Tattoo thing (waterproof eyeliner), and what I think is supposed to be a primer (it says 'Essence Gel Makeup Base') but I put it on and it makes my face kind of white so I'm not sure about it. 

The below is some kind of eyebrow pen and I think the other thing is an eyeliner (I would check but it's in a bag in my room and I can't be bothered get up - again, just remembered I bought it when I saw the picture and wondered what it was), and finally the bottom right thing is a Mascara that Amber told me she thought was good.  

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PS: Full disclosure: I bought more beauty products but didn't post them partly because I feel semi embarrassed about how many things I got and partly I opened them and used them so they didn't look good in the pictures. I also forgot to add the convenience store umbrella and raincoat I bought, both of which came to under NZ$15 and are some of my favourite items.

PPS. Not to end this on a downer but I have to be honest here and say I feel kind of sick about all the things I purchased, especially since I got back like, two weeks ago and can't even remember that I bought half this stuff. Some life lessons to be had here lol. 

Katherine Lowe