I was just in Tokyo about 2 days before this trip, so you’d think that going Japantown would only be redundant. But as expected, my family couldn’t go to San Francisco and not make it the first stop in our itinerary. The level of our love for Japan is off the roof, lol.
We simply took a bus to Japantown from our hotel in Union Square. I was leaning on my mom’s shoulder, about to doze off (the jetlag was starting to kick in), when one of my readers recognized me! It was quite surreal because a) I was pretty much half-asleep, and b) I never expect anyone to recognize me, let alone in a foreign country. (Hi Denise! If you’re reading this, thank you for the quick chat! <3)
This is one of the 5 Peace Pagodas in North America. The rest are in Canada, Mexico, Massachusetts and New York.
It was presented to San Francisco by the people of Osaka, way back when they established a “sister city” relationship in the 50s/60s.
There are some areas in Japantown that are definitely worth checking out, especially if you’ve never been to Japan! There’s a Kinokuniya Book Store where you can buy the latest Japanese magazines, artbooks, etc. Just outside the bookstore are places that sell CD/DVDs of Japanese movies and dramas.
Great place to find figurines as well!
Heaven for otakus.
Random (not sad) Keanu. I never got to watch 47 Ronin because of mixed (mostly bad) reviews, but I’ll probably get to it soon. Will watch for Shibasaki Ko and Kikuchi Rinko, and maybe Akanashi? I’ve been so out of the KAT-TUN loop ever since he left the group, but yay for the prettiness of AkaKuro couple.
Purikura in the US - they exist! A lot of the machines are old and broken, and they’re all overpriced at $10 (It will only take you 400yen or $4 in Japan), but I guess they’re still better than nothing.
Sunny weather bird feeding.
Neko, inu, tsuru.
Sanko, for all your cooking supplies. Japantown is quite a small place, so it only took us about 2 hours to go around and check all the interesting places out.
We went back to the Union Square area again since everyone was starting to feel groggy from jet lag. Gotta save our energy for the city tour the next morning!
Westin Hotel along Powell St. on the left. First floor had Goyard and other luxury brands.
The glorious view from one of the restaurants in Macy’s along Geary St.
The Dewey Monument with the Goddess of Victory. It was named after Spanish-American war hero George Dewey. Sound familiar? I’m pretty sure we’ve all read about him in our history books back in high school. Back in the 19th century, his fleet won over the Spanish forces in Manila Bay.
When in America, stuff yourself with the most delicious burgers and fries.
Post St., with Designer Shoe Warehouse on the left. I never leave the US without any impulse shoe purchase, huhu. I’ll probably end up broke if I ever I get a chance to live in the US.
Since the shipping process is so easy over there, I’ll probably just lock myself in my room ala Shintaro in Mekakucity Actors/Kagerou Project and have all my food and toiletries shipped to me, lol.
Someone please bring Urban Outfitters to Manila please!
Because I matched the T-Mobile pink in the background. Hello to the iconic San Francisco cable car behind me. Didn’t get to ride one this time, but I remember trying it out during my first visit in San Francisco about 10 years ago.
Decided to wear a simple Korean-inspired outfit with pink color accent because SNSD! Tiffany and Jessica were both born in San Francisco. <3
Jack Skellington socks and Doc Martens. Tracy, I found your doppelganger.
I’m blue da ba dee da ba die~
Someone bring American Apparel to Manila please!
Japantown and Chinatown in one day! Someone obviously loves Asia too much.
The oldest Chinatown in North America is in San Francisco, and it also houses the biggest Chinese community outside Asia. Whoa!
My brother Juju and his pretty Herschel backpack with teal accents. Did I make a mistake when I didn’t include this in my first San Francisco post a.k.a. the ultimate hipster post?
Obligatory cute couple photo.
Stay tuned for my next post! My San Francisco adventure isn’t finished yet.
In the meantime, I hope everyone’s having a good holiday! So many people flew out of the country today (including my boyfriend who, as of this writing, is on a plane to Kuala Lumpur), and I’m definitely green with envy! I’m itching to travel again, and my Osaka trip in September somehow seems so far away.
Annual summer trip with the whole family! My brother had a year-long internship at Four Seasons Jackson Hole, so we didn’t really see him for a long time. Well, my mom and I visited him in Chicago last October 2013, but it was only this May that all six of us were complete again. It’s been 10 years since my last visit to San Francisco too!
On our first day in San Francisco, I met up with Kiks, one of my best friends in college. He’s been taking his master’s degree at an art school over there for about a year now, and is actually on a summer vacation here in Manila as of this writing! My brother’s flight from Wyoming got delayed so I had the whole morning free to do whatever I wanted!
Kiks brought me to Mission District, a rather hipster neighborhood which I instantly fell in love with.
Bright yellow pants! I belong here.
We didn’t expect the weather to be so warm and sunny that morning that we immediately had to take a break from all the walking within the first 30 minutes of our meeting.
Dandelion Chocolate along Valencia St. was our first stop! Kiks had an iced chocolate and I had some sort of chocolate-coffee hybrid drink which was absolutely glorious.
So many pretty, photogenic places in this area.
Taken at an overpriced barbershop. If I lived in the US, I’d probably just DIY everything! Don’t want to spend $50-100 for a simple haircut, lol.
Mission District is known to have the largest concentration of street art and building murals in the city. Can we have something like this place in Manila, please?
Día de los Muertos? San Francisco’s Hispanic neighborhood is also on Mission District.
Clarion Alley is a small street between Mission and Valencia Streets and 17th and 18th Streets. Here you can find immensely colorful murals…
And houndstooth patterns on the floor!
I am too pastel for this wall.
"These hearts are dedicated to some members of the SF community who died. If your name’s here, you’re dead. :)"
Voldemort, is that you?
Normally, I’d be grossed out with giant insects, but…
I found a rare flamingo!
The area is also notable for vintage-inspired furniture…
…and bikes, the hipsters’ vehicles of choice.
Ever since I got hooked on Yowamushi Pedal, the idea of biking appeals to me so much. I never learned how to properly bike as a kid, but I’m set on starting in the near future.
So pretty! I want to own one of these.
Density was one of the independent shops that caught my eye. Good grammar is indeed sexy!
This reminded me so much of my friends who never go out without lipstick on.
I bet you read the “shiiing” part out loud.
Sock it to me! Let me have it!
A trip to the most artsy neighborhood in San Francisco wouldn’t be complete without some third wave coffee.
Apparently, they have a rule sheet at their back alley which reads, “Please be respectful of our Caledonia neighbors by not talking about annoying hipster topics, or who you f*cked last night. You shouldn’t do that anyhow, but our neighbors actually can hear you.”
Not talking about annoying hipster topics… is so hipster!
I wonder if you’ll get checkered tan lines if you stay put in this area the whole day.
One of our last stops before I had to head back to my hotel was FLAX art and design.
Arts and crafts supplies heaven right here. The possibilities are endless if you have this many available materials!
Somehow, I wasn’t surprised to see pink hair, tattoos, and patterned tank tops after going to The Mission.
Our the way back to my hotel on Geary St., Kiks and I passed by Christopher Clark Fine Art since they had Mucha lithographs. Spazzed like crazy people because we (and our little college group) adore Art Nouveau!
Aaand that, my friends, was the most hipster morning that I’ve ever had in my life. Stay tuned for more San Francisco goodness in the next couple of weeks!
It was during this trip that I was so thankful for Hong Kong being so near Manila. Early this year, I booked this vacation for myself, only to change the schedule a week before the scheduled flight. I had to attend some important events for work, so I was only left about 24 hours in Hong Kong. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
My mom and brother left Manila on our original date of departure, so I met them around lunch time the next day. I missed going to Langham Place and iSQUARE with them when they arrived, huuu~
Dropped my luggage off at the hotel, and immediately went to Times Square to check out the Batman 75th anniversary exhibition! BATMAN IN HONG KONG. When will your faves?
I think it ended last week, so here are some photos in case you missed it—
Retro Batman and Robin!
Straight from the airport, living on an hour’s sleep kind of face.
Blazer from EMODA!
The 2008 Tumbler.
(I had to do a double take while typing the word tumbler because it looks so wrong with an e…)
Old school Batman!
This was the highlight of the exhibit! It’s always double the fun when exhibits are interactive.
People can take pictures from certain photo spots (there are instructions on the floor) to get that 3D illusion that you’re caught by Joker, etc. Cool beans!
Saw these cute notepads at a bookstore in Times Square.
World Cup x MCM. I was thisclose to getting my first MCM bag (it was black/white/yellow with snakeskin) but figured I should just visit the flagship store in Korea when I go in October! I heard MCM is cheaper in Korea by 10-20%, plus the fact that EXO went there so… *fangirl feels*
Quick macaron and coffee run at Laduree.
I got my energy back when I visited my favorite Aland store! BUY ALL THE KOREAN GOODIES!
Can’t miss out on flat-brimmed hats if you’re into K-style.
Black and white, camo and stripes. I felt like I belong already.
I can’t with the glitter sandals though…
iPhone cases that come with the most adorable toy charms!
Sunglasses! I’ve been wearing them more often since I went to the US last May. Can’t believe I only just started to appreciate them now! I NEED MORE SUNGLASSES IN MY LIFE.
There’s Laforet in Harajuku… and there’s Laforet in Hong Kong! I don’t know if it’s owned by the same company though!
Lots of quirky stuff that you can’t really find in malls. There are also a number of stores that sell clothes imported from Korea, if you’re into that kind of fashion. It’s just near the giant SOGO in Causeway Bay.
A store dedicated to our furry feline friends!
Huu, so cute. I die.
Fashion for the boys.
Laforet x KOBITOS! Do not know if cute or creepy!
My brother made a dinner reservation at a restaurant in Central, so we went there early to check the place out because I haven’t really had the chance to do so in the past.
In a nutshell, Central is a high-end business district with lots of designer brands and luxurious hotels in the area. I loved people-watching here because everyone was dressed so well! I got posh, sophisticated vibes from every single person I passed.
L’ATELIER de Joël Robuchon! THE DREAM! I only eat fancy stuff when I’m with my family, and I have my younger brother to thank for all the good food that I’ve eaten so far. Ever since he got back from his internship in the US, his restaurant standards have never been higher! On the contrary, I’m such a kitchen noob. I can’t even cook rice or fry an egg.
Believe it or not, I usually just settle for fast food when traveling alone. I spend all my money on clothes and make-up, if not gadgets lololol I hate spending more than 30 minutes eating at a restaurant when there are other things that I can do instead #travelpriorities
BEST BURGER EVER. The three of us got a sampler each, and it was pure bliss.
Didn’t bother taking photos of all the things we ordered because we were too excited to eat! I swear I’d make a horrible food blogger.
It was during this dinner that I came to the conclusion that this 24-hour trip was worth it. My tummy was very happy!
Welcome to Saint Laurent Paris, my future home. </3
Time to call it a night. At this point, I was a walking zombie.
Woke up the next day, and realized that I was going home already. WHAT THE! I just arrived! *cry*
So I went on hyperdrive, and started going to the nearest malls for some last minute shopping. Went to Miramar Shopping Center for Liz Lisa, Lip Service, SLY, Noela, moussy, snidel, etc.
Went to The One Mall for EMODA, MURUA, and the new STYLENANDA! Park Sora brings all the girls to the yard.
Got the shirt in the middle for my boyfriend. I feel like my greatest contribution to his life is fashion, lol. I get him clothes every time I travel, and I’m so happy that he always wears them!
Last but not the least - collect point at Mira Mall.
Went on a shopping spree at JEANASIS. Lots of discounted items at LOWRYS FARM too. It was a good thing I didn’t splurge on these brands when I was in Tokyo last May! Patience is a virtue. Every sale is worth waiting for, lol.
Before heading to the airport, we had coffee and dessert at Wired Cafe! An invisible ball of energy draws me closer to anything Japan-related, wherever in the world I am. They have cafes in Shibuya, Shinjuku and Shinagawa, so this may seem familiar!
Caramel potato chips! The caramel ice cream was glorious, but I wish the chips were more salted.
You know how McDonalds McFlurry and fries make the most wonderful combination? I need more of that sweet and salty contrast!
Chocolate parfait as a last farewell.
This trip went by too fast. Someone bring me back to Hong Kong. I haven’t finished shopping and eating yet!
(It was such a short trip that I only brought my small a5000 with me. Not bad for a tiny camera, eh?)
On my last day in Tokyo, before I headed to the airport, I decided to follow Gervin's suggestion of going to Aoyama. Aoyama is known for a lot of things, but among fashionistas, this is *the* place to go to if you're in the mood for some high-end local and international designer shopping.
It’s not too far from Harajuku and Omotesando, but I came from Shibuya so I took the Ginza line from Shibuya Station to get to Aoyama-Itchome Station.
Also, there are no photos of me in this post because no one was around to take my photo. #foreveralone Maybe you can spot my reflection, at least.
Balenciaga. I covet.
Issey Miyake Men.
Suddenly, it’s so peaceful and quiet. Nothing like Harajuku and Shibuya!
You can’t skip the Comme store in Aoyama. They have most of the Comme des Garcons lines, including some of their collaborations with other brands.
People sometimes just come to Aoyama for the famous Prada store! I won’t spoil how the building looks like (but you can spoil yourself by searching on Google, I guess) but it was designed by Swiss duo Herzog & de Meuron. If you don’t know who they are, they were the ones who were responsible the Beijing National Stadium / Bird’s Nest.
Chloé flagship store in Japan.
Trivia: Did you know that Steve Jobs’ signature black turtle necks were all by Issey Miyake?
Tsumori Chisato. Bohemian style meets kawaii!
The main store of Yoku Moku is also in Aoyama! You can spot their blue brick lounge from a mile away.
I randomly chanced upon Blue Moon The Natural Bar while walking along one of Aoyama’s big streets! It’s a popular outdoor bar slash organic market that has a quirky, hipster vibe to it. I’ve only seen photos of it during nighttime so I didn’t expect that it looked like this in the morning!
Handmade wood collectibles. TAKAIIIIIIIIIII
Beautiful temple in the middle of Aoyama.
The FURLA Aoyama boutique is one interesting place. They have “FURLA yoga” on the 4th floor!
SARARIMAN x STARBUCKS.
Also, reflection #5.
Okamoto Taro Memorial Museum. His work reminds me of the angels in Evangelion.
Red Valentino. Can I live here? Their Aoyama store looks like some sort of futuristic castle!
The lantern-shaped Marc Jacobs flagship store. At night, the top part is supposed to light up like a lantern too!
Jil Sander Navy!
Undercover. Couldn’t sneak a photo of the interiors, but on the ceiling are thousands of lightbulbs that move with the wind and make sounds!
I was too early for Acne! The store was still closed when I went to visit. Some of the Aoyama stores open early, while some open after lunch or early afternoon.
Like the Alexander Wang store. I’ve been eyeing a particular Wang bag recently, and just when I was so ready to go shopping, the store was still closed! I just took it as some sort of divine intervention. Japan, why must you always drain all my fundsss
Oh well. Settled for pictures instead! I’d wear this outfit in a heartbeat!
Yohji Yamamato! THE MASTER. I was so shocked when the Yohji Yamamoto display at Shibuya all contained super bright colors! I’ve always been so used to seeing just black and white from him, lol.
Trivia: Did you know that Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo (of Commes des Garcons fame) were once rumored to be in a relationship back in the ’70s or ’80s? TOO MUCH PERFECTION~
Last shot before I got on the train back to Shibuya to catch a bus to the airport. I have no idea if I missed anything important in Aoyama, but I’m determined to come back again one day! I’m so in love!
Early that morning, I passed by a school in Aoyama and they were dancing to Arashi. Enough said.
Dumping all my photos from my short stay in Tokyo last May in this post, because I already posted a separate entry for Akihabara, and I’ll be posting another separate entry for Aoyama!
Japan temporarily gives me an infinite source of energy. It’s unreal how much I’m able to do in such a short span of time. When I’m here in Manila, all it takes is one blink for the whole afternoon to pass!
Safely arrived in Shibuya! I usually stay in Shinagawa because I like going home to a more peaceful station. This time, however, I had to book a hotel in Shibuya for convenience.
It’s not that I dislike Shibuya! It’s just that the station and the areas around the station get really chaotic at times, and I have crowd phobia (i.e. just looking at Laboracay photos makes me sick - what more if I go there?).
When I say everything in Japan is kawaii, I mean everything.
I posted this on my Instagram and people really thought it was GD. I doubt GD would be able to freely roam around the streets of Shibuya without being mobbed by fans.
Literally had no time to breathe, but it was all good because I never seem to get tired in Japan!
The elevator at Shinjuku LUMINE EST was so pretty.
Dropped by the Laduree at Shinjuku to buy myself some macarons.
My new favorite place to shop for accessories and iPhone cases is Me% in Shinjuku! You can also find this store in Shibuya 109.
Spotted at Bic Camera Shinjuku. If this were not so expensive (4,100 yen is a little too much, I think), would you get it?
That evening, I had an important meeting with some important people! They took me to a fancy restaurant in Shibuya where we had the most awesome dinner!
Their project just got approved by the Japanese government, and I can’t wait to share it with you once all the nitty gritty preparations are done! Keeping it a secret for now!
I usually don’t like anything with red bean, but this was glorious.
My view every night I go back to my hotel.
My second day was my only free day, so I went to Akihabara to meet up with friends! Wrote about it here.
Here’s a photo of a rainy Shibuya crossing, taken as I went down the elevator in my hotel.
With Ashley and Emika in the middle of Shibuya! You can tell that Ashley and I were in total spring mode, lol.
Emika rocks black all year round! Made me miss my all-black style circa 2010/2011 (?)
We queued at the new Kiki & Lala Cafe, found on the 7th floor of Shibuya Parco. It only took us less than an hour, and I say “only” because on weekends, people line up for 2-3 hours! Crazy!
The cafe also sells official Kiki & Lala merchandise! Japan, just take all my money.
Even the menu is irresistibly adorable! We wanted to order everything!
Kiko and I got Kiki & Lala lattes that come with star-shaped sugar wands.
Ashley and Emika got Kiki & Lala sodas topped with ice cream.
I heard the reason why people don’t mind lining up for this place is because it’s only going to be open for a limited time. Kind of like a pop-up cafe!
Later that night, I met up with my friend Kumiko-san at Cheese Table, also found in Shibuya Parco.
Yes, almost everything in this restaurant has cheese in it, omg! I opened the portal to the cheese dimension, and I just wanted to stay there forever.
We had fondue (not in photo because we were too excited to eat it) and pizza. Nom!
After Tokyo Anime Center, Animate, maid cafe and cosplay purikura with Kiko, Izumi and Emika at Akihabara, Kiki & Lala cafe with Ashley, and Cheese Table with Kumiko-san at Shibuya, I spent the rest of the night with one of my favorite people in the world - Gervin! We talked for hours at the Starbucks in Shibuya (the one that’s visible from the scramble crossing).
I ended up going back to the hotel past midnight already. I told you - Japan gives me super powers. Super extroverted powers.
The next morning, with barely 5 hours of sleep, I met up with the lovely Ogawa couple (Sachie-san from CANMAKE Philippines, and her husband Tomo-san who owns a clothing store in Shinjuku) for breakfast. They took me to this popular french cafe in Shibuya where they served different kinds of bread and jam.
I swear we didn’t plan our matching outfits!
Wore some of my new purchases from EMODA Shibuya 109. Blogged about the store here.
Speaking of EMODA, their global webstore currently has sale going on! Up to 70% off! I’m so torn whether or not to splurge again because I already bought so much stuff in Tokyo last May, huhu. SHOULD I STILL…?!
Went back to my hotel to change! On this day alone, I changed outfits 3 times - once for breakfast with Sachie-san and Tomo-san, once for dazzlin touchMe show, and once for MURUA touchMe show.
Or 4 times, if you count my nighttime pajamas.
Super ladylike style for dazzlin! I was obsessive enough to match my outfits according to the brands’ concepts. I blogged about the dazzlin A/W 2014 touchMe Collection here.
After the dazzlin show, Shogo (who gave me his extra ticket to dazzlin) and I went back to Shibuya Station, where he took a cab to another work meeting, and I went back to my hotel to change outfit one last time. Then I waited for Ashley (I gave her my extra ticket to MURUA) at the station before heading back to belle salle for another show.
After the MURUA show, Ashley and I wanted to try out the Alice-themed cafe in Shibuya. I feel like you can never run out of places to go to in Tokyo alone!
I can’t remember where it was exactly, but I think it’s in the same building as Bershka.
There was a giant merry-go-round kind of structure in the middle of the restaurant. Wish we had similar themed restaurants in Manila too! I can already imagine all the pretty photoshoots.
The menu. CAN I TAKE IT HOME?
We ordered drinks just because they made them sound and look so interesting in the menu, but TBH I’d stay away from them next time! They tasted quite funky, though they were definitely Instagrammable.
Alice cosplay. As expected from Japan.
While the drinks were disappointing, the food definitely delivered! Ashley and I loved this avocado and shrimp dish! It was shaped like a caterpillar too, so we couldn’t help but squeal (at the cuteness) when we first saw it.
Rabbit-themed pasta. This tasted good too! I’d totally come back to this cafe for this dish.
Apparently, this was part of a monthly special offer, so they gave us a free Alice gashapon at the end of our meal. YAY TOYS
My last night in Tokyo, and of course, some purikura had to be taken. <3
After this, I just have two more Japan posts (MURUA touchMe show, and quick Aoyama tour) before I start bombarding everyone with my US travel diaries! Please stay tuned!