Sendai sakura are definitely worth it if you’d like to prolong your sakura needs. After Tokyo and Kyoto’s sakura season is finished Sendai’s sakura season is still going on. After Tokyo’s blossoms fall off I’m usually left with a pink flower shaped hole. Or like last year the sakura forecast was off and I missed most of Tokyo’s blossoms and instead went to Matsumoto (previous post) and also went to Fukushima and Sendai.

There are three parks in Sendai proper that have sakura: Mikamine Park, Tsutsujigaoka Park, and Nishi Park. I chose visiting Tsutsujigaoka Park (榴ヶ岡) because it’s so close to Sendai station. You can actually just walk it in 20 minutes from Sendai station, or take the train to Tsutsujigaoka station(榴ヶ岡駅) on the Senseki JR line (仙石線).

sendai sakura tsutsujigaoka park full bloom

The classic vision of cherry blossoms: pink and frilly

sendai sakura tsutsujigaoka park full bloom

sendai sakura tsutsujigaoka park full bloom

Ohanami indeed. A perfect setting for flower viewing.

sendai sakura tsutsujigaoka park full bloom

This kid knows what’s up. Best part of weeping sakura, you can touch them easily.

sendai sakura tsutsujigaoka park full bloom

Since sakura viewing is a drinking pastime alcohol companies provide free lanterns to parks as advertisements.

sendai sakura tsutsujigaoka park full bloom

This is now my twitter background. Perfect sakura.

sendai sakura tsutsujigaoka park full bloom sendai sakura tsutsujigaoka park full bloom

People go crazy over the traditional Somei Yoshino sakura trees. But I’m gaga for the weeping sakura known Shidarezakura. To me it looks like they’re hugging all the revelers.

sendai sakura tsutsujigaoka park full bloom

The weeping sakura curtain.

sendai sakura tsutsujigaoka park full bloom sendai sakura tsutsujigaoka park full bloom

Lots of cute festival food stalls up at the edge of Tsutsujigaoka Park.

sendai sakura tsutsujigaoka park full bloom sendai sakura tsutsujigaoka park full bloom

Cost of seeing these blossoms once you hit Sendai station? 0 yen!

Sendai is a really nice place to visit and closer to Tokyo than you may think, it’s only a 95 minute shinkansen ride from Tokyo station. Kyoto gets horribly packed for sakura season and if you’d like a calmer vibe Fukushima, Matsumoto and Sendai are all very good alternatives and have later seasons.

If you’re trying to see more sakura post the Tokyo bloom I really recommend the Fukushima and Sendai experience. You can actually do both in a one-night hotel overnight stay in Sendai (whose hotel rooms are much cheaper than Osaka or Kyoto). From Tokyo head to Fukushima spend your day there (I have a sakura post coming up about them and it’s worth it!) and then train to Sendai. The next day see Sendai sakura and other amusements and then shinkansen out.

Although the tragic earthquake and tsunami of 2011 was originally known as the Sendai quake, there is no damage to witness or radiation danger in Sendai or Fukushima when going to the main tourist spots or just out and about in both cities. But they could absolutely use your tourist dollars, so why not see them? They have a lot to offer, especially in sakura season.

I’m planning to go back this year, but actually to see the burgeoning tourist boom of Sendai’s fox village. Then I hope to check even more sakura.

 

If you missed any previous sakura posts on the Doll check them out here I’ve got a fourth in a series of sakura foods posts coming up too.  :hearts3:

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So many reasons I’m a vintage brand fan especially a vintage Chanel fan, but here’s a few and maybe they’ll inspire you to look to vintage.

vintage chanel flap

1.  The price of a classic Chanel flap has tripled in the last decade. After 1950 through 2000 having a moderate steady inflationary rise in price. 50 years of Chanel steadiness and yet it’s gone crazy. This has led a lot of store-buyers to head to the vintage aisle. Thankfully I bought a bag before they raised but in 7 years my bag has raised 2.5k. That’s USDollars. I could instantly sell my bag for how much I paid for, with all possibility even make a profit on it. Admittedly I think the pricing hikes will slow down soon, but it’s still ludicrous.

2. The Chanel flap along with other brand figureheads are the longest lasting bag styles. Coco Chanel herself introduced many of the signature aspects of the bag. In 1955 the signature chain woven strap was introduced and started the flap. The CC pushlock was introduced by Karl in the 1980s however. It is a truly timeless bag both on trend and classic at the same time. Both traditional leather types are surprisingly long lasting. The pebbled Caviar calfskin and the butter soft lambskin. A repairer can repaint, restitch and remake a vintage Chanel bag but it will keep going years after you’re at the cash register (or eBay checkout).

I have two Vintage Chanel bags from the 1980s, they’re pretty solid looking still. I wore one to Disneyworld because I think it’s still very hardy.

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3. Vintage brand costume jewelry is amazing and lasting. The quality of costume jewelry has decreased in the last 10 years. And this is my own experience talking, but I’ve been greatly disappointed with a lot of costume pieces I’ve bought. So much so that it’s made me mostly ban myself from purchasing a lot of recent designs because I see their flaws or bad metal choices. Even seeing some of the resale pieces you see the wear and tear on the newer pieces.

Vintage brand costume jewelry is quite different. It feels more weighty and gold items are 14K plated sometimes double to ward off chipping. Vintage jewelry can be repaired by a third party often easily. They actually sell at-home gold plating kits to fix issues. Jewelers will repair as well. I just bought an item needing a fix and found three jewelers in my area to fix it. SO much is repairable and re-wearable of vintage jewelry!

Although prices on vintage Chanel jewelry has risen quality and beautiful designs by Yves Saint Laurent and others have stayed at a low price.

Also, vintage costume jewelry is an easy way to make an outfit look fancy. A $4.00 beanie with a $100 Chanel brooch = Chanel beanie. An that brooch can go onto a jacket, shirt, skirt etc…

vintage chanel earrings

4. Fakes have clouded the resale market with newer bags and accessories. Some professional authenticators have refused to authenticate anything from 2013 onwards if they don’t have it in their possession, these are the so-called “superfakes”. In contrast, the vintage brand market is less clouded by fakes thus far (knock on wood). Old fakes look really fake or were done in a style never released by the company.

5. Quality workmanship lasts. I have bags 20 and 30 years old and there’s no rusting and only minor wear. You may look at yourself and think differently being 20 or 30 years old. I tore my MCL tendon from running, the doctor asked when was my car wreck. I still have feelings from it 7 years ago. Vintage can take more than my bum body.

A lot of brands including Chanel have taken decided against quality workmanship that got them to their status. They’ve stopped gold plating their hardware or testing leather dyes or sticking with certain colors that didn’t show wear as much. I’ve seen two year old bags look older than 20 year old ones.

6. There are still bargains to be found. Although the vintage brand secondary market is rising. Within the last 2 years the vintage brand market has skyrocketed. More people are getting into it for the reasons above and it’s created a lot more competition. But with some thorough hunting and willing to compromise you can find some really lovely items.

vintage versace ad

7. What goes around comes around (actually thats the name of a vintage store, an overpriced one). A lot of what brands do is either funky or classic. The funky feels neat even 20 years later and the classic is always classic. In my next post I’ll show celebs wearing lots of vintage Chanel and they wear it all in casual or modern ways. I think so many brands such as Yves Saint Laurent, Versace and Chanel all have produced very youthful clothing at times. Karl Lagerfeld has taken Chanel so many ways. There was even a punk collection or two. However you feel like dressing, Larme, Otona Kawaii, Rock etc… vintage brands can have a seasonal answer for you. Look back to to look forward!

Beyonce in the Formation video? Reminds of a wonderful twist on 1980s Yves Saint Laurent

vintage ysl runway

7. It stops the cycle of producing new goods. Consumer waste and excess which admittedly makes me feel guilty. Sure I want to buy, retail therapy is my therapy. Thanks to vintage I’m not creating more material use and waste to do so (other than shipping).

8. Because there’s a thrill in finding something hard to find or a good price. There’s a joy in being a cheapskate. I’m so proud of being cheap and it feels weird, but getting something and paying less for it than market value? Oh I’m at my happiest! Bargain hunting feels amazing!

9. The Japanese Yen is steady at 110-120 yen the dollar. Bad for Japanese wanting to go overseas, good for travelers and shoppers! When I was living in Japan it went from 120yen to the dollar to 90 yen to the dollar. UGH! Tough times! It’s back at 120yen mostly and that makes it a wonderful time to buy from Japan. New or vintage. Abe seems to be very set on keeping the yen low to encourage tourism. There’s so much money spent on tourism recently and there’s even been word creation and new businesses based on the new tourism. My next posts are all about why how and where in Japan so I’ll explain why brand in Japan is such a big thing!

Vintage Brand especially in Japan

:bow: Intro to the Series

:bow: Where to Buy Vintage Brand online Worldwide (Japan concentrate)

:bow: Reasons I’m a Vintage Fan

: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

Sorry I took two weeks off between posts! It wasn’t my intention. I took a week trip to Disneyworld and brought my laptop but I was go-go-go at Disney, and between I got quite busy with day to day boring stuff. Alas I’m back and ready to blog a lot for a month until I head for Japan again! Sakura, Chanel, Make-up, Skincare all coming!

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Matsumoto Castle sakura viewing wasn’t something I expected to do last Spring. Actually I thought I had planned my two week Spring trip to sakura forecast perfection. HAHAHHAA I WAS WRONG!

Sakura are gorgeous super fickle flowers. Forecasts change quickly and even if you wait until a month before to book your travel plans, the predictions can STILL BE off. Six days before I was set to leave for Japan the sakura flood came scrolling across my instagram and twitter and all I could do was sit there and glare. DAMN YOU SAKURA! But that’s one of the big things about sakura planning. You just have to be flexible.

The full pink of sakura season. The pinkness happens at the end of the main variety of sakura blooming.

Matsumoto Castle is one of those great flexible locations. It’s in Nagano prefecture but a very easy day trip from Tokyo (2 1/2 hours by train). Since it’s further up to the north, Matsumoto Castle (松本城 Matsumoto-jo) sakura bloom later than Tokyo. It’s a popular sakura location for Japanese and the castle appeared ready to with lots of volunteers for their “mankai” or full bloom season. Spring is the most popular time to visit and with good reason!

Matsumoto Castle is known as Crow Castle because of its black exterior. I think its dark look really sets off sakura well.

Matsumoto Castle in its full glory. Along with Matsumoto City’s mascot Alp-chan (アルプちゃん) dressed in samurai armor. For the sakura season there was also a roaming guy dressed in samurai armor that you could take photos with (top right).

Anything x sakura or red maple is my WA OTP so when I’m able to get blossoms x castle… so much bonus!

matsumoto-castle-sakura

The castle peaking out from behind the sakura.

There were a few weeping sakura. Weeping sakura bloom later than regular sakura. They’re very plentiful in Kyoto but not so much around Matsumoto castle.

matsumoto-castle-silly-drawings

I usually don’t take many pictures inside of castles because they’re essentially darkened old buildings that house museum examples and mainly great for their exterior and for having wonderful views when you get to the top. I am so amused by old art though.

Climbing the castle was definitely worth it for this view. The moutains in the back are part of the Japanese Alps.

Inside the castle looking out to the grounds and city of Matsumoto.

Mankai or full bloom in all its glory. Matsumoto Castle sakura gave me hope I’d see more sakura that trip.

matsumoto-castle-falling-sakura

Reasons I’m not on this blog, top being –  I cannot pose, I am more like a bakery possum than a human, and I make stupid faces. But damn it’s the only photo I got of the full glory of the line of sakura trees leading up to the castle. Check out that lovely pink sakura rain.

All I did was resize this photo because I wanted to show how some of the sakura very beautifully pink that day.  :dotbow:

matsumoto-castle-sakura-blossoms-falling

I love when sakura fall because they their whole blossom tends to fall.

We snuck in for the last full blossom day of Matsumoto’s sakura season. It was an overcast day and storms were brewing to rain the next day and take down the fragile blossoms.

How to get there: From Shinjuku take the Super Azuza (スーパーあずさ) limited express to Matsumoto station. There is reserved and unreserved seating which you can sort out at Shinjuku station. It’s free if you have JR Rail Pass or it’s 8,000 yen round-trip for unreserved. It’s a 15 minute walk to the castle from the station.

More information at: myoko-nagano

 

And to think this is just the sakura opener for the blog. So many more sakura posts to do. And many Nagano posts to do, too!

If you missed any previous sakura posts on the Doll check them out here I’ve got a fourth in a series of sakura foods posts coming up too.  :hearts3:

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Back with another part of Ageha model, Emira Wiz director and Kyabajo Emiri Sawajiri’s book “Kyabajou Shacho….” to keep it short. Or “キャバ嬢社長 歌舞伎町No.1嬢王 愛沢えみりとしての生き方” Kyabajo Shacho Kabukicho’s Number One JouOu Sawajiri Emiri Toshite no Ikikata. Or Kyabajo Boss: Kabukicho’s Number One Queen. Sawajiri Emiri’s Way of Living.

The tagline for the book is “From a Yokohama Gyaru to a bad Kyabajo in Roppongi to becoming Kabukicho’s Number One and running an apparel brand Emiria Wiz with sales of 1,500,000 in the first month.” (Meaning 15,000 USD of sales.)

If you missed previous summary it’s here in part one. We’re finally into the meat of her kyabajo career and she doesn’t paint herself well, but it’s the reality of being a hostess. It’s not an easy place to work.

Parenthesis are my own thoughts or explanations, the rest is a summary.

sawajiri emiri kyabajo

Part Two: From Bad Kyabajo to Number 1 continued…

From meager life Emiri’s Number One

When Emiri was taking a guest to the toilet she heard the rankings being called out and her name was in the rankings (If you’ve never been to a host or hostess club, hosts and hostesses will take their clients to the bathroom. It’s weird but you get used to it). She was really happy and it pushed her to work even harder and in four months she was Number One at the club.

She was beyond happy when she got Number 1. It was the culmination of everything she had been working on. But it was an odd feeling. She never got called out at school so this was a bit embarrassing as well. But she loved the feeling of being Number 1. So she worked harder to be it. She decided to work six days a week. It was really hard because many of the girls would have birthdays (which involve big parties in host and hostess clubs and women earn a lot those times) so she would have to earn a lot more during those times.

Changing to Club Gentle

Even though she was Number One at the one club she didn’t feel like she was number one in Kabukicho and the idea of being the top girl in Kabukicho was what was driving her. She didn’t think she could achieve number one in all of Kabukicho at her club and she was scouted at the time (scouting and poaching is pretty common in the host/hostess business). The scout told her she could even bring in more high class customers. After a year of thinking she entered Club Gentle at age 21.

“I’m not going to quit until I’ve made more than all the other girls”

The new club had a lot of beautiful women. Being the new girl she went to the club everyday and really struggled. After being there for six months she really hadn’t outsold anyone and this brought on a bunch of emotional stress. But because she didn’t want to lose and not be outsold she appeared super conceited to other girls (DUH!).

She says “Who’s that? I don’t know and I don’t care. I hate them.”. She wasn’t interested in talking to the girls much less making friends with them. Even when another girl would help her she couldn’t even bring herself to say a simple thank you. Of course you need help working as a kyabajo but she couldn’t even do that. She was so focused on beating all these other girls that she looked at them like enemies. After work ended a lot of the girls would go out drinking or eating, but she would never do that. She was really a bad person.

Because of this the head of the club said “You’re the girl causing me the most problems.” She was really having problems with the other hostesses. When she had an important customer she would never let any of the girls around him and say loudly enough for other girls to hear that she didn’t want the customer being with them. The manager said she even sounded like she was trying to kill the other girls. But she couldn’t stop, she just saw them all as rivals. Because of this the rest of the girls really started to bad mouth her.

Two of the girls confronted her inside the bathroom they told her that a girl would be taking her seat with Emiri’s customer. She was so pissed she stood in the toilet for 10 minutes fuming. Afterwards she complained to the manager but this was of no use. Instead she got even more fussy saying “I’ll beat that girl, I’ll beat all the girls!” She was fully hot headed then. But the girl didn’t show up a few days later so she had no chance to fight her.

But after this she tried making in roads with the girls and some of them she was mildly friendly with. But one day a customer said “You’re really only after me for my money?” She was shocked by such a statement and asked why he would say that. It turns out that he heard from another customer that this other hostess was saying that to her customer. She lost a customer because of that. She was completely shocked. Why would this girl even start saying such things and poison the water? She was actually on good terms with this hostess and they were having fun the day before.

After this happened she decided she could only see the other girls as rivals and was right to think that way before. Besides she was trying to live for herself and that’s why she should only spend time on what would help her.

The tears won’t stop….

All she could think about was being Number One, but she was losing confidence. But she still felt so strongly that “I must be on top”. This defeating attitude made everyone else unwanted. She was too scared of even trying to make friends with the other girls. She thought spending any ounce of energy on them would make her lose her focus at her job. There was not even “a milimeter of focus left in her heart for anything outside of work”.

Every day was like this and there was so much she hated about it, and lots of days she didn’t want to go work. Why was it that even though it was the only thing she wanted, but as usual she was still low in the rankings? Work was so stressful and afterwards she’d just cry.

Customers wouldn’t show up anymore, when other girls were chosen instead of her, all these experiences that she had working as a kyabajo were so painful she’d end up crying.

After work she’d sometimes go to a massage place in Shinjuku to relax. The masseuses were Chinese and they’d all ask “in broken Japanese” “What’s wrong?” “Are you okay” (she uses katakana on this to refer to their bad pronunciation… uhhh this fumes me). Even though these girls knew nothing about Emiri, that they would care to ask warmed her heart. Everytime Emiri felt that she was unhappy or wanted to quit she’d go to this massage place and relax her stresses away.

They’d ask her “Emiri-chan what’s wrong” and she couldn’t find the words to respond, but they’d say “Keep doing your best”. These girls often saw her at worst, tears streaming down her face like a kid. She cried so much she thought her whole body was made of tears.

Even though Emiri is trying her hardest, why isn’t it working out? The club was a place she didn’t want to go to. She was weak. And what was so good about being strong? She really wanted to quit and run away.

A woman who she had gotten to know a little at the massage place said “I always think you’re going to tell me something, but instead of telling me all you do is end up crying.” She realized how much she must be troubling the staff but she couldn’t stop crying.

After she cried her eyes she went home and slept. Slowly she realized tears weren’t going to help or make her try harder. Everyone at the shop probably had the same worries and wanted to cry at the tough times. She was just going to have work harder. (If this book eliminated the word ganbaru, meaning to try hard, it would be half the size. New title Emiri’s way of ganabaru-ing through hard lifestyle choices).

The unreal one day of four dohan

So after that she continued working everday and of course continued doing dohan everyday. But she wasn’t entering the rankings (the rankings are usually the top 3-5 girls). At her old club Proudia this is how she was able to make it to number one so why wasn’t it working at Gentle?

She ended up visiting a Kyabajo speciality site that listed the hostesses often. Whatever club was listed first they would pick a hostess at of the top rankings to show off that club as a “billboard”. All the hostesses knew this so they would try really hard to get their club to the top of the site. But they really didn’t know how a particular club was chosen as the top so they were left just hoping.

Of course all the girls looked and checked everyday. It wasn’t just her or her club Gentle, all the other clubs were hoping for the same thing. But on the days she wasn’t helped or selling, she would be asked to help the top girls who were selling. By listening and asking them she was slowly learning the tricks of the trade.

But even though Gentle was a super popular club and lots of VIP came there, she was worried when she couldn’t do dohan or the customers didn’t come in and she was stuck there with nothing to do. But if she didn’t come to work there was no way she was going to get into the rankings. And making even one friend was hard to do in the club so her drive to try hard was failing. It was strange but her love of the hair, make-up and dresses that made up the “kyabajo” look were turning into negative things.

More time went by that way, but little by little she was selling a bit more. She finally entered the rankings as Number 3. The two other girls above her were stellar and both became the “billboard” for Club Gentle at one time or another on that site. That not one but three girls could be selling so much really spoke well about the club.

But she realized that just doing one dohan a day for the club wasn’t enough. So why not two or even three or there was one crazy time of four. She’d come into the club with one and having eaten with another beforehand and try to keep them all seperated in club and not being aware of the other. That so many people agreed to do dohan with her she was happy, but she thinks it’s really crazy now and not the best way of doing things.

 

To be continued…. A little bit left of part two to do and then three is when she talks about her time as an Ageha model and how she got into it. I’m a slow and lazy reader, but here’s hoping in between sakura we can finally get to her talk about working for Koakuma Ageha.  :cheery:

 

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