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I went to Kumamoto, Japan (熊本) on my way back from Kagoshima a few years back. Kumamoto recently has had a big tourism boom thanks to local mascot Kumamon. Admittedly I was swayed by the Kumamon boom and decided to check out the city.

I found Kumamoto to be a small friendly city full of great local food and kind people. Its a city dominated by the largest castle in Japan Kumamotojo (熊本城), and has a large garden complex, Suizenji (水前寺公園) as well. Transit is by car of tiny street cars and the city felt like a large neighborhood. Every seller was kind and an old lady stopped and complimented on my Mariju nails. It was only a day trip, but I’d like to go back maybe during koyo and sample their ramen.


Kumamoto Castle

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Lovely walk inside Kumamoto garden


A cute matcha store


From the top of Kumamoto Castle


Shrine inside Kumamoto garden


Cute giftshop outside Kumamoto garden featuring Kumamon

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The super convenient and cute light rail of Kumamoto


Yomogi Ikinari Dango, a Kumamoto speciality of sweet potato and azuki bean.

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The great interesting flavors of Kumamoto’s own gelato. I got tomato. It was tasty and ate it while looking at Kumamoto castle.

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A frozen Ikinari dango eaten with the Kumamoto castle ticket


Kumamon souveniers I bought for my friend Alice.


Citrus stand inside Kumamoto gardens.

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People gearing up and me eating another Ikinari dango.

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Karashi renkon: The lotus roots, holes filled with the Japanese mustard mixed with miso paste, is battered and deep fried. It’s one of the most famous local dishes of Kumamoto.

It was suprisingly tasty!

I had such a lovely day trip I keep suggesting to my man to visit there again. He’s not very swayed but I promise Kumamoto is definitely a great stop if you’re heading to Kagoshima, Fukuoka or Nagasaki.

Why so long no posts Mitsu?

So your girl Mitsu made a post about oh woe I was going to quit blogging but blogging is important and we need more words and such and so forth and forthwith… Then what do I do after two measly posts? Take a damn break. Every blogger is hypocritical, every damn one of us.

Well I got older and somehow that meant a lot of busy birthday time and then my man got a job. A job that is in Atlanta. A job they decided they wanted him to start right away at. Houston to Atlanta sounds like no big deal since it’s still the South but America is just damn big. It’s 800 miles away or the equivalent of London to Stockholm or Tokyo to Kagoshima. Atlanta being a place I’ve never even visited before (unlike London, Stockholm, Tokyo and Kagoshima oddly…). So we had to drive out there find an area we like and a place we want to stay for at least a year… in two days. Madness!

But we did it and my new place will be awesome and maybe I’ll even post decorating and we’re slowly moving there so posts will stay hectic. My twitter is a billion times more updated on real life stuff and instagram is semi-updated. I also promised to post a place of my Houston digs on twitter so if you’re a curious bee you may want to check?  I need to edit pictures for the book review/summary but expect two posts of that soon(ish). Other than that lazy blogger is real life frazzled so give me some time.  :peace:

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It’s just starting to get hot but this is the season for Fall exhibitions or tenjikai/展示会 as they are known and I really liked what I saw of Rienda, Duras and Mercury Duo so I thought I’d show them.

Just when I said I wouldn’t do this kind of thing, I do it… typical blogger.

I think summer is the worst thing ever, I fear it. Let it snowwwww, let it snoowwwww!!! Looking forward to Fall fashion (aka my favorite time of year and styles) makes me happy and I’m happy to report about it.

Rienda – Fall 2015 – Modern Glamour

Lots of traditional popular Fall themes such as pinstripe and houndstooth. Mixed with rich items such as jewel tones and fur coats along with floral onepieces.

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Their popular floral dress using an beveled weave for the Spring done in a more Fall palette

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Houndstooth and pointy shoes.

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Pinstripe and light tweeds.

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Transitional outfit but denim jackets are still alive for Fall.

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Floppy hats and mustard.

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Love this lady simple houndstooth.

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Rare all black coordinate by Rienda and floral bottoms.

source: Rienda girls insta and ameblo


Duras – Fall 2015 – Radiant Muse

A continuation of their Spring line with lots of kadeliscope (Persian inspired?) prints, restrained bodycon (tight but not often short) and a swingy bohemian style.

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That print dress is everything and I really want to buy it.

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The A-line dress trend and layered stripes are Spring trends done in autumn colors for Fall.

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Jeweled cardigan trend for Spring making a more subdued trend with pearls. Lots of light colored outers mixed with darker dresses.

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Extremely typical Duras styles. I bought the left dress in Spring in almost the exact same cut. More Fall hat trends.

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Such a cute bustier that could be done Larme or Agejo style. Lavender for Fall I have doubts on but this transitional coordinate makes it work. Duras wants to do a few lavender pieces so we’ll see!

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More tweed set-ups to come out.

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Trying to tell myself I don’t need this dress, but I love the color choices.

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The full collection looking fabulous. I love that they had a selfie mirror as their press advertisement.

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Pointy shoes again! Clutches are big as well as lady-like totes and 2-way bags (top handle + shoulder strap).

source: Select shop Rougefeel ameblo and Duras instagram

Mercury Duo – Fall 2015

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Just like Rienda, a mustard lace overlay item.

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A lot of brands may be trying to make fringe work. Unsure the inroads it’ll make this Fall.

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Boxy cropped blouses continue, and yes there’s mustard!

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A-line floral dress? A-line floral dress. Pick your brand you’ll probably find one.

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This hidden pleats look has been a small summer trend and could be a larger Fall one.

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In Fall skirts. Oh black you hide everything.

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A trend look for Mercury Duo fall. Earth mustard brown, and a floral long skirt, with fringe bag. The bucket bag style is becoming popular (vintage influences). Check all the prints with mustard options. Mustard will be so big!

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Toggle coats in pastels. Light outers will be very popular.

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Welcome back floppy hats.

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Floral sweater set-ups should be big with otona kawaii crowd, a trend from last Fall.

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Earthy mustard browns.

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Chunky heel + pointed toe. There will be so many colors and prints to choose from in this look for Fall.

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Their Fall transitional look.

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I think some brands will try to push culottes. I have doubts they will be successful, but hey mustard!

source: All Mercury Duo photos thanks to trefle select shop’s exhibition report check out their Ungrid report too if interested!

Check for these trends!

BIG Trends: FLORALS, browns, mustards, pointy shoes, light colored outers, A-line dresses, floppy hats

Medium trends: traditional prints such as pinstripes and stripes and houndstooth, pastels mixed with darker colors or browns, fringe, bucket bags, 2-way bags.

Florals for Winter? Moderately groundbreaking….

I actually am really excited for Fall and a lot of these trends seem shop-worthy now. A bit shocked by the complete lack of pants. I know Otona Kawaii and Oneegyaru brands don’t do them often but it definitely seems they’re not in style right now. It’s always cheaper to shop off season so maybe you can find some cute used or vintage pieces that reflect these looks for cheap!

follow the Doll on bloglovin | Universal-Doll facebook | Mitsu on twitter “miss_mitsu” | mewmitsu on instagram | inspired-doll tumblr – join/add/follow? :bow:

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I was tempted to start a whole new blog about vintage brand just because I’m quite addicted. You may have noticed on my instagram but I’m a Chanel fan. Fan is taking it lightly, I’m a Chanel stan. My collection has straight up exploded in the past two years. Last year I bought about 20 Chanel pieces (not only bags). I shamefully hunt sales and bargains.  I’ve hawked the Chanel market especially that going into a shop and looking at a few items I can tell you if they’re inflating their prices or at current market or below.


August of last year’s Chanel bag collection pic. My collection has doubled since then.


I was thinking of calling the new blog Chanel Poverty. Either because I’m going broke buying Chanel or because vintage Chanel can be done on a budget. I’m still not sure which.

But I’ve decided to include it in the Doll, especially since so much vintage is popular in Japan right now and you will see several producers, talent and other famous fashionistas wearing vintage brands. Post on this later. I recently bought the new AneAgeha and they had paired vintage bags with new clothing. I also really want to talk some changes in vintage recently. I’m extremely vintage Chanel addicted so that will be a primary focus of this series, it’s also what the resellers are focusing on, some stores have opened that sell 90% Chanel. However, I also want to speak about all types of vintage high brand.

I absolutely hate discussing money on-line it’s one of my 3 big no-nos about talking on-line. I believe age, weight, and money are my business. I guess I’m old fashioned that way. But I will give you ranges of items I’ve found and how to find within that range.

If you think Forever 21 can be expensive this is not the segment for you. I blog about cheap clothes and discount outlet stores too so please check a later post. But if you’ve got a $100 or more to spend and feel like treating yourself then please read on. I just scored a deal on a vintage Chanel print top for 48$ but those deals are rare.

I also have zero plans about talking about fakes. I don’t like them. I hate that they exist. They’ve only made the more recently brand market murky. I avoid them. Japan takes its counterfeiting seriously so fakes are not as prevalent and shops certainly would be shut down if they advertised as selling them, but always buyer beware. VintageHeirloom has a wonderful guide on how to spot Chanel fake bags, and etinceler authentications is a wonderful authenticator that will do many brand authenications on-line (for a fee). I may do a post on authenticating jewelry and clothing because I do not see many around but we’ll see.


Inside a vintage shop I will talk about in Tokyo.


What is Vintage Brand?

When I speak about vintage brand: I primarily mean the high brand houses originating from Europe. Big sellers are Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Chanel, Moschino, Gucci, Versace, Sonia Rykel, Yves Saint Laurent, and Celine.

When I discuss Vintage for brand items. The term Vintage is universally accepted for clothing, jewelry or bags that are 10 years or older from the current date. Which means 2004 currently is the cut-off for “vintage” items. Some may scoff and say only 1950s or such era is truly vintage, but with the wear that everyday items get 10 years is the accepted cut off within resellers and collectors circles.

I will be concentrating on Japan because my blog is a Japanese Fashion Blog. I’ve bought vintage brand all across Japan online and off. The market and the desire for vintage brand right now is insane in Japan!! There are so many resale shops with two stores opened while I was just in Japan. Buyers from Japan go overseas and soak up all the old items and bring them back to Japan. There’s just a huge interest in vintage right now, especially Chanel.

I’ve taken photos and visited lots of vintage stores across Japan as well which I’d like to share. Also, I’d like to review stores and give recommendations. However if your interest is only in brand and not within Japan I should be able to help there too.


Chanel Poverty or Mitsu’s Guide to buying Vintage especially in Japan

:bow: Intro to the Series

:bow: Reasons I love Vintage Brand

:bow: Japanese celebrities, models and producers with vintage Chanel

:bow: A History of High Brands in Japan and Japan’s First Wave of Resellers

:bow: Japan’s Second Wave of Resellers store talks and reviews (multipost)

:bow: Popular Vintage Brands and key pieces from each brand (multipost)

:bow: Navigating on-line and in personal buying of Vintage Brand and learning market price (multipost)

:bow:  related eating at the Chanel restaurant Beige in Ginza Chanel

:bow:  possible… My full vintage Chanel collection

:bow:  possible… Chanel vintage jewelry and clothing authentication guide


Yes a new series on the Doll, I’ve got a Larme post on the way and a new hair series post as well so just in case I don’t ignore series. I’ve already written three of these future posts on Vintage Brand in Japan so please stay tuned they will come out!

Related articles: Chanel Beige restaurant terrace and Hermes cafe | Gucci Cafe in Ginza Gucci for lunch | Ferragamo Amity pop-up store

A bit shocked by the comments on the Doll changes post, pleasantly shocked! Thank you everyone taking the time to say such kind things. It really pushed me to blog more, but that just means all you see is zero posts and while more typing, research and photo taking before anything comes out.

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Photos unrelated but pretty. Kyoto during cherry blossom season last year.

When I first started the Doll in 2009 it grew out of kogal_panel on livejournal. I was really shocked by the lack of current trend information online for gyaru clothing and style and the lack of brand knowledge. The blog is named universal-doll because the “Doll-kei” trend was really in gyaru fashion at the time and I feel like fashion is for everyone. We can all be the universal doll. Yup, cheesy as it sounds.

Since then the boom of shop blogs and tumblr and instagram and all sorts of mediums have allowed trends to come out of Japan almost instantly. But you guys know that, you follow your favorite shop staff’s blog/twitter/insta. So it’s made the original purpose of my blog obsolete. Which I’m happy about.

And then there’s the problem of gyaru fashion or more how certain pieces have been widely accepted into Japanese mainstream and a lot of gyaru fashion has become less creative in the process.  I hesitate to say gyaru is dying, it’s more like gyaru evolved and melded in. Circle lens are now more natural and come in a variety for anyone beyond gyaru. Eyelash extensions have made the false eyelash look popular for anyone even the OL. And the perception of many have changed with it. I still wear contacts, put on lashes (although less often and not as bold), have extensions (volume not length), my nails are always done, and shop from many traditional gyaru stores (mixed a lot lately with other brands) but I just don’t see myself as gyaru anymore. I think that’s become the perception of a lot of women.


Drugstore essentials. Masks, eyedrops, bath salts and hairspray


I’ve often wondered or thought about quitting blogging. I mean my blog’s original purpose isn’t really there anymore. And I think  bloggers have become more lazy and readers too. Why check out a whole style post when you can just click on it for a second on instagram?

But I love reading blogs. I feel like we become dumber if it’s all just instagram instead of words behind it. I also met a lot of my friends because they had blogs. I thought about quitting a bunch of times. When I moved from Japan, when I got bullied a bit, when I got sick, when my mother died. But I feel wrong pushing people I love reading their blogs to blog more and myself not doing the same.

Bergen, Norway last summer. I really want to go back to Norway.

So I’ve decided to take the Doll a little more closer to me. I will still post shop staff photos, I have a book review and summary coming up about Emiri’s hostess life, kawaii makeup reviews by the ton, I have some magazines to talk about… but I’d also like to make more personal travel posts, maybe healthy eating, there’s going to be a long series on my obsession of vintage brand (with a Japan focus) and some more personal things that I’m more interested in. I don’t really know about my own face on the blog beyond make-up reviews. I’ve thought about personal style blogging but really I feel silly posing for photos. So currently plans for the blog are in a little flux.

mitsublogs-nakano  A street in Nakano, Tokyo

You won’t get a long blogpost about my obsession with the Houston Rockets and NBA in general or my love of kettlebells. But I’d like to get more variety and feel less confined to certain topics (self imposed of course). Please keep reading if you’re interested but understand maybe it’s not the same Doll anymore?