Friday, 28 June 2013

The Tokyo Affair 2013 - Kawagoe aka Little Edo (Image Intensive!)

On my trip this April, we decided to pop by Kawagoe aka Little Edo. Kawagoe is a heritage site of sorts and the main streets have retained the old clay-walled warehouse style buildings (Kurazukuri). So what you get is a little town straight from the Edo period (1603 - 1867). It's a good place for a day trip but I think I need to go back next time 'cos we got quite distracted and ended up wandering around quite randomly (>_<)

From Ikebukuro, we took the Tobu line to Kawagoeshi 川越市 station. From there, there's a little map near the Lawson (right outside the station) that shows how to get there. Easy peasy!

The red arrows indicate our route from Kawagoe-shi station; the street upwards from Naka-cho is the main street!

After turning into the street, there're a few small-ish shrines along the way to pop into~

Got a lucky lot in the shape of a fan which is also a keychain! Yayy~~~

The next shrine we passed was residence to a Fertility/Childbirth Goddess I think?

 Nice little temple with a little café on the grounds where the older folks were chilling out~ ^__^

Hitting the main street!

Ok from here on it's gonna be a flow of streetshots for awhile k? =)


Busy busy~

OMG the smell was omg so good~~~

A Kawagoe specialty - Sweet potato with red bean! Loved it!
And then we hit the bell tower!

Ye olde bell tower =P

Just a few minutes from the bell tower is the kimono rental shop, Coedo Vivian! We were really psyched for that because the old town had such good photo opportunities! I regret that in my excitement I completely forgot to take a photo of the place but it's the only little shop just by the bell tower with a yukata (summer cotton kimono) displayed outside. You can check them out at THIS website~
Loads of kimono and yukatas and obis and hair accessories to choose from @_@ Being abit slow, I didn't realize that they had bags for us and ended up defaulting to a black kimono to match my black bag T__T I like black too but they had so many kimonos in pretty colours~~

The bags & hair accessories selection, above is a tiny portion of the obis available
But anyway, tadah!! And from this shot you can gauge where the shop is 'cos it was taken right out front~
With some of my girlfriends.. I kinda look like their mum >__<
We had the basic plan, which is they dress you and do your hair then you get to walk around the town and take photos on your own, just come back by closing time! And it was so cheap too! About 2,700 yen or something like that~

So of course that just sparked off a whole stream of camwhoring..

Hijacking an old bicycle =P

In one of alleys, everyone noticed this little white cat perched on the wall and just inside was a little room and porch where you could have a free cuppa tea and just take in the garden and the cats lounging around..

Yes they're umm..bonding.

At one of the many little shrines littering the can see the other side of my hairdo here =) It was very simple, I suppose more befitting my slightly more *ahem* mature kimono =P

Trying to look like I'm the mama-san and failing badly =P

The super nice staff from Coedo Vivian~
One last shot before I go back to my street clothes

Love these streets...

I hope to go back and do the kimono thing again next time~ I really want to try the girly coloured ones! *squishes face*

You can get more info about Kawagoe on it's official website here~ ^___^

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Cyber C'kin Cell Recharge Snail Serum - Slime-me!

The whole thing about snail mucin in skincare has been around for quite a long time now but I have yet to experience it first hand until now~ This is the Cell Recharge Snail Serum from CyberColors skincare range, Cyber C'kin!

Retailing at S$42.90 at Sasa (now on promotion at S$25!)

Why did I buy this product? Well, I had the most stubborn zit just under my nose that seemed to be applying for permanent residency so on a spur of the moment, I popped it! And it left this awful gaping pore above my lip. T____T (photos further down)

So I was basically looking for something that would heal it FAST. Chanced upon the Cyber C'kin snail range and it was on sale and I'm such a Budget Barbie so why not?

Containing 90% snail filtrate and a high concentration of cartilage glue sulfate (which I think is a fancy term for collagen), this product claims to increase skin elasticity, overall radiance and heal damaged and inflamed skin conditions. If you'd read my previous post on Japanese & Korean Beauty secrets, you will recall this bit below:

"Snail slime, secreted in large amounts when snails are stimulated, contains proteoglycans, glycosaminoglycans, glycoprotein enzymes, hyaluronic acid, copper peptides, antimicrobial peptides and trace elements of copper, zinc and iron. Simply put, it's packed with glycolic acid, elastin, collagen, hyaluronic acid and protein. Given that snail secretion protects its host from bacteria, cuts, UV rays PLUS the fact that Hippocrates (the Father of Medicine) noted an effective combination of crushed snails and sour milk to sooth skin inflammations, this product seems believable enough."

Today's back-of-the-box info:

Dispenses with a regular pump:

I like that the cap and pump are of the stiffer variety but the pump is little stiff. Makes it slightly difficult to control if you want just a drop, but that's nothing to yell about. =) One pump dispenses a small pearl-sized amount, pretty much the amount shown in the following photos.

It's also not particularly slimy or sticky, thank god. And absorbs nicely into my skin, leaving it feeling nice and smooth ^_^ The first time I used it I felt a slight warmth for just a few seconds and as the serum absorbed, it felt like a seal was being spread over the applied area.

I have to say I didn't see much difference in my skin tone or fine lines and my skin isn't experiencing any inflammation so I can't vouch for that either. BUT in the area of potential scarring and skin damage, I think my busted zit fits the profile.
And this is after agonizing over my busted zit for a few days! I applied the snail serum the night I bought it and went to bed with a silent prayer. The next day I woke up and saw that the gaping crater of a pore had pretty much closed up and the redness and swelling was ALOT lesser! Oh Joy!!! And by Day 3, you can see for yourself that it's almost unnoticeable~ =D
In conclusion, the Cyber Colors Cell Recharge Snail Serum:
  • is an affordable serum that should be on sale quite often given Sasa's frequent promotions
  • applies smoothly and absorbs like a dream, leaves my combination/oily skin feeling protected and smooth without tackiness or shine
  • no smell that I could detect
  • works well on damaged skin e.g popped zits & inflammation
  • prevented the formation of a pimple scar
  • might not be as effective on fine lines (but maybe that's because I don't have that many yet?)
  • doesn't seem to have much effect in the radiance department too *shrug*
  • pump dispenser is abit stiff, might pose a problem IF you only want to use a little drop. For reference, 1 pump is enough for half my face.

I think this product is probably good for people with acne and those who have itchy hands and pick at or bust their zits (like me =P) as the serum kinda forms a protective layer over the damaged skin and so the skin has a chance to rest and heal without further damage from the elements thus the accelerated healing of my zit. At least that's how I see it.

In my case, I'm really glad that it healed my zit so quickly and without leaving a scar! I've had zits like this before and when damaged like that, they almost always leave a scar.

Cyber Colors/Cyber C'kin also has a moisturizer cream in the snail range that contains 70% snail filtrate that's on sale for S$25~ I think it might be worth popping by and checking out the testers especially while the sale's still on~ (^___^)

Monday, 10 June 2013

The Tokyo Affair 2013 - Of Shrines & Spring

First, may I begin with some random shots I accidentally omitted from the previous post? ^_^

Gorgeous weather~ (this was after the Oiran Parade)
Of course I had to take a silly touristy pic =P
My face looked fat but I looked happy so whatever ^_^

 I think I'll never get sick of sakuras~ (✿ ♥‿♥)

BIG super-calm-polar-bear-like dog hanging around Sensoji *hearts*

And now we can move on to another temple we visited in the vicinity of Akihabara, Kanda Myojin (神田明神).

The tori gates, showing the shrines official name, Kanda Jinja 神田神社.

This was an important shrine to the warrior class as well as citizens, especially during the Edo period, as the Shogun himself paid his respects there. Today, 2 of the 3 kami (gods) enshrined at Kanda Myojin are part of the 7 Gods of Fortune thus making the shrine popular with businessmen and entrepreneurs who pray for wealth and prosperity.

I really like this shot of the shrine maiden (miko/巫女) holding her hair in the wind ^_^ I'd been eyeing her for sometime (like a perv >_<) and was glad to get a nice natural shot!

Being so near Akihabara, it was impossible to avoid the anime influence~ Almost all the boards were illustrated!!

Aren't they just the cutest!!(*´▽`*)

Leaving Kanda, we headed back towards JR Ochanomizu station and popped into the (rather deserted) Yushima Seido Shrine that was on the way.

Unfortunately, the main hall wasn't open that day so we could only take a look around the courtyard.. Most of what could be seen was very simple.
The Yushima Seido shrine (湯島聖堂), originally built as one dedicated to Confucius, was once used as a school for sons of the powerful during the Tokugawa regime and known as the birthplace of school education in Japan. Now the shrine is popular with students all over Japan who come to pray for scholastic success.

Reflection in the super calm water..

It took quite awhile for my friends and I to decide what was the roof decoration.... 'Cos it kind of looked like a rooster but had some dragon details thrown in the mix... I still think it's a dragon but I can't figure out how that rooster-comb-like part fits in. >_< Anyone?

And now I shall wrap up the post with some random foodporn! Ramen in Shibuya, just beside Forever21!

I had the 激辛らめん which was the spiciest they had on the menu...the staff even made sure to mention as he set it down: "very spicy desu". =D wasn't that spicy. It was a nice warm tingly kind of spicy, quite right for the cool weather that time of year. I guess the smooth broth tamed the spiciness a little? But I enjoyed it ^_^ And it was on the 2nd level with a big window looking out over the street so you could people-watch if you got the windowside tables!

Hope you enjoyed reading this short travel post! I still have 2 more to go! ヾ(^-^)ノ