. Origami Living

October 14, 2015

DHC | Unwanted Hair and Soy Isoflavones

It is often a reprieve when the colder months come and we get to cover up instead of reveal. It is a chance to chill off on the shaving, waxing and depilatory we use to keep feeling confident in the flirty dresses and swimsuits that are synonymous with Summer holidays. Honestly speaking though, I can not bring myself to put down the razor and detest the friction of tights on stubbly regrowth so I am forever in search of new hair removal in Tokyo and Yokohama.

A Japanese beauty article mentions the five important factors to consider that may help to thin out regrowth of unwanted hair.

1. Take DHC Isoflavones Supplements and Pomegranate in supplement form. Soy behaves similarly to the female hormone oestrogen and acts suppress body hair.

2. Keep warm. Hair serves the primordial function to warm is so this one is sort of obvious.

3. Prevent small injuries. Hair tends to thicken and grow darker after injury. Who knew?!

4. Hair follicles are sensitive. Again we know what regular massages and treatment can do for a head of hair, but regular picking and plucking, preening and shaving can backfire in the leg department. Reduce your hair removal.

5. Sniff Lemongrass and GAIA Ylang Ylang Essential Oil. These have the effect of increasing female hormone secretion and reduce hair growth.

Halloween 2015 | Halloween Books for Bilingual Kids

Halloween goods have exploded with a bang in Autumnal hues of orange and red and ghoulish black and purple onto Japanese shelves. We have scoured the shops for unusual shaped gourds, pumpkins, woven basket, gremlins and fairy lights to decorate our potted garden out front, but I am Halloween-saturated after a long weekend in the stores so will be back to my preferred mode of purchasing - online  - before long I am sure.

I am shameful to admit that I was well-inspired by Tsutaya Electrics in Futako Tamagawa Rise and their Halloween display, so was online last night adding some of the gorgeous books I had seen my son flipping through to Origami Living.

Tired of rehashing some of the favourites from Halloween 2014, I sought out some new Children's classics as well as some children's books in Japanese. With requests for monsters, pumpkins, witches and ghosts, I have rounded up some of my favourite kids books for Halloween 2015.

Have a look in the Origami Living WEBSHOP under English and Japanese Children's books to see our favorites.

September 17, 2015

Calling Card | The Best Rainboot in Japan

Cafes are such reflective places. I sit here in a cafe this rainy afternoon wondering what my kids are up to, what my husband is doing, how they get the coffee this creamy, why it never tastes this good at home, if we need a new coffee machine. All these rapid thoughts are fired out while the next customer is ordering their drink.

I have my Yokohama brochure in hand, ready to fine-tune the copy all the while preferring to stare out the window at the passers-by and their choice of wet-weather shoe. Doc Martins, shiny brogues, Hunters booties rule supreme, no Crocs in sight. Why is it that after 6 years in Japan I still don't have a decent pair of rain boots. The thought of a stifling pair of calf-hugging shoes seems completely ridiculous when I am running all over Yokohama and more recently Tokyo. A pair of flat leather ankle boots seemed like the obvious compromise until they bit the dust in a puddle of water late last year. Wet socks are never fun. 

Let it be known I am in the market for some good waterproof shoes. The Japanese rainy season prevails. Send your recommendations my way. 

August 25, 2015

Saudade Tea | Japanese Organic Tea

I have not only discovered a new tea but have learnt a thing or two about organic teas along the way. Surprisingly, only about 2.5% of Japanese tea production is rated as “organic”. Is that so? The rest are chemically treated or have pesticides used in their production. Saudade Tea is a modern tea brand conceptualised by two Japanese men, Makoto Honjo and Masahide Minami, who sampled a ridiculous number of regional teas to bring something exclusive to teatime.

The sceptic in me wondered about the package size of these teas, which are considerably smaller than those 100g packs that are commercially available. At only 30-40g a pop I wondered why this was and I have found the theory to back it up so hold onto your teabags for a minute. Organic teas are best consumed in small quantities. A third to half the quantity you would consume of a regular tea apparently. Not only that but once opened the large bags quickly lose their flavor. Honestly this explains why I should have a bonfire with the huge quantity of started-yet-never finished packs of tea in our cupboards.

The focus of Saudade Tea is to bridge the divide between Japan and the world and in doing so introduce tea drinkers to the select regional varieties of green tea in Japan. Believing that variety is the spice of life, each tea is categorized by region and as the Saudade Tea story unfolds, so does the understanding of the founders tea-tasting journey in Japan to its tea producing regions. The brand brings forth the   charm of local rural life, and in doing so you can learn a little about Japan and the farming lifestyle that yields world class organic green tea. Truly a modern brand which makes selecting a Japanese tea easy.

Saudade Tea

August 24, 2015

NUONE | Japanese Whole-garment Knitwear

Shima Co garments are honing in on the people who find not just the little labels in their clothing annoying but those who find the seams annoying. Produced in Wakayama, the Japanese technology used to sew wholegarment items allows for ultra smooth lines and snug fits.

Designed in use for everything from hospital garments to sportswear, means that whole garment knitting technology does think of everyone. I love Shima Co NuOne brand with a fitted silhouette and extra stretch for ease of movement. More functional in their appearance, I like the idea of layering up with this in the Winter months in Japan, especially when my skin is drier and more sensitive to itchy jersey fabrics. Anything with cotton and cashmere silk on the label sounds like it should have a place in my wardrobe no questions asked really. I also like the idea of light layers that are easy to peel off as you jump in and out of heated Japanese trains, department stores in Tokyo and over-heated cafes in the Winter.

It is usually with childlike glee that a give away the pilled knitwear and threadbare jerseys after the cooler months have passed, but it would be nice to be able to hang on to a couple of choice NuOne garments come the end of the Christmas season. Autumn/Winter 2015 might just be a seamless affair.


August 23, 2015

Kanebo | Suisai Beauty Clear Powder

As I continue to battle with my Rosacea in Japan I am always cautious when trying new products on my sensitive skin. Quick to show its disgruntlement when I change my beauty regime, I usually change products cautiously and monitor it for breakouts or redness. As anyone who loves to try new Japanese beauty products knows it is best done with care as I find the strength of the ingredients can leave my face a-blazing (hello onsen facial cleanser!) so I have been cautious with facial products lately and not been too experimental over the past year or so.

I have been using Kanebo products happily for a while now. Always a fan of cleansing powders as facial cleansers I have used Kanebo Suisai Beauty Clear Powder for a little over three months. I am happy with it and the neat single dose of powder is a convenient way to travel. Popped in a few for an overnight trip to Fuji, as I needed to pack light, and came away feeling fresh faced.

Haven't tried any more of the range but am quite satisfied that this is not going to cause my Rosacea to flare up as it is fragrance free and colorant free.

Available in the OrigamiLiving WEBSHOP.

August 22, 2015

SOIL | Japanese moisture absorber

I have been doing the usual Summer clearout hoping to make space for Autumn 2015 must-haves. In the process I have been reorganizing, refreshing and de-humidifying my closet space. In the Japanese summer, I struggle to keep the room moisture-free and I am hoping my new purchase of clay blocks will help to reduce the humidity.

The unassuming blocks of clay, SOIL drying blocks are perfect to create a dry environment for storage by absorbing moisture. In-store they were used in jars of sugar, tea, crackers or seaweed, but I have put them in among my underwear and and jackets at home. The technology used in SOIL products has been in play since the Edo period. It uses keisodo (daitomite or diatomaceous earth), which is renowned for its natural air circulation.

SOIL bathmat is on my wishlist for Christmas 2015, so I was quite excited to test-drive SOIL blocks on my undergarments, before tackling a dripping family of four.

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