Saturday, February 27, 2010

Jap Fashion

My mind is still filled with Japanese fashion, so I thought I'd post some pics of outfits that I saw in the wonderful shops in Osaka and Kyoto.

This outfit looks so effortlessly pulled together ...

... then I realise that it's the accessories that made this super simple white dress look so great! I love the way they add colour with the denim jacket, yellow scarf and woven belt. I'd never have dreamt that such a simple dress could look so great!

I like the simple elegance of this outfit - at first glance, the top looks like an ordinary plain top, then ...

... upon closer inspection, one can see the intricate details that take this top into a whole other level.

I saw this on a mannequin in the Earth, Music & Ecology corner of 0101, Umeda, Osaka, and I was attracted to the gorgeous lacey detail in the front of the cardigan. The way they styled it was that the lacey part wasn't placed flat against the cardigan lapels, but draped off it, making the entire outfit look so sweet and feminine, yet not overly so. The lace part can be detached so the piece is more versatile. I was going to buy it, but I figured I had a long scarf that had some lace details, so maybe I could style it like this and use what I had. Shopping is so inspiring!

Florals were everywhere in the shops in Osaka and Kyoto. If spring flowers haven't quite arrived on trees outside, they certainly have in the shops! There were loads of small floral printed dresses, skirts, tops, rompers etc. I didn't actually try this floral number on cos I'm kinda drifting away fm spaghetti tops as I find them rather too skimpy now that I'm fleshier, but then again, if I could pull an outfit like this together, I may have gotten it afterall!

The "foundation" of the whole outfit:

Instead of the LBD, it was the Little White Dress this spring, and there were some really lovely ones around! Like these:

[Images from 0101, CanCam, and JJ]

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Osaka & Kyoto Goodies!

For fellow shopaholics, these are what I got from my Osaka/Kyoto vacation :)

Biscuits from Henri Charpentier (Takashimaya Dept Store, Namba station)

My niece apparently loved all the biscuits I'd bought from Hokkaido looong time ago, so I was given instructions to get some nice Japanese biscuits for her. I had intended to buy some baumkuchen from Club Harie for her. However (as mentioned in my previous post), I found out that they couldn't keep. And that's how I ended up walking around the Takashimaya food basement wondering which biscuits to buy.

I was attracted to Henri Chapentier as they had such lovely packaging, and the goodies all looked so appealing. Upon reaching home, I searched the internet for this brand, and found so many good reviews (see this from Chowhound). I was reassured that I'd made the right choice. And this was reconfirmed when I opened a box of cream biscuits that I'd bought for myself and bit into one. DELICIOUS! My only regret is not buying more (including their madeleines that the reviewers were raving about)!

Shopping in Japan is such a pleasurable experience (my only wish is that I could either speak Japanese or they could provide more info in English!). When I bought the biscuits, I was shown a pink ribbon, to which I nodded. The young salesman then showed me a variety of coloured papers. I chose a white and pink one for my niece. He then proceeded to carefully wrap all my purchases up in this lovely paper and tie them with that pretty pink ribbon. Exquisite! I left the counter beaming fm ear to ear! Who says retail therapy doesn't work?

Green tea biscuits from Kyoto 茶寮都路里,
from the same shop we had our matcha green tea dessert

On the left is a packet of green tea biscuits filled with cream.
On the right is a packet of plain biscuits filled with green tea cream.
In the middle is a packet of green tea biscuits.

Camellia Oil from Kazurasei
This apparently is the secret to the geishas' beautiful smooth skin and luxuriantly silky hair.

Environmentally friendly bags with beautiful Japanese prints

Vans sneakers from ABC Mart
Everytime I go to Japan, in my very casual and comfy outfits, I end up feeling like a maid. So, in my misguided attempt to be as well dressed as the Japanese ladies, I vainly wore my heeled short boots and trudged around Osaka and Kyoto in them. By the end of day 2, they were hurting so bad (ah ... the bane of a woman's vanity!), I popped into ABC Mart and picked up this pair of sneakers. What a relief! Next time, I'm bringing a spare pair of comfy shoes! )

Doesn't this look most decadent? Little boxes and packages of Burberry, Celine, and YSL! But a close friend had once bought me a most beautiful Burberry hanky (which I use as a small scarf cos it's just too exquisite to be used for anything else) from Tokyo. As such, when I saw them in a dept store in Osaka, I picked some up for myself, hubby, and figured they'd make good gifts for friends.

Lovely unmentionables from Peach John ... here's a little peek ...

A Chanel-esque jacket for cooler spring/autumn days
I took the plunge and splurged on this cos I really liked the blue accents in this jacket. Plus the salesgirl was really sweet and helpful ... the older I get, the more I treasure good service.

An adorable black coat with pink lining and press studs and bracelet sleeves!

Faux leather jacket
I loved the one I got in Taipei, but the crease (which I simply couldn't press out) was driving me mad, so I decided to get this as it was on offer and was this lovely neutral shade.

Peachy pink cardigan with the cutest (or most kawaii) front closures - little cream ribbons!

Osaka Strawberries!

Strawberries!!! Japanese strawberries are probably THE best strawberries around! We saw these at the basement of the Takashimaya supermarket, and I simply had to buy a punnet. Just look at these luscious red beauties!

Osaka Last Meal

We tried this other Japanese Tapas place - The Royal Road Izakaya Norio.

Complimentary starter: Macaroni n cucumber in an egg+mayo dressing

Cabbage salad

Stewed beef

Fried chicken wings - these were really delicious!


Shredded cabbage heaped under the fried egg with bonito flakes topping

Stir-fried beef with vermicelli



Fried quail's egg

Our pre-dinner snack from the food basement of Takashimaya (near Namba station): prawn and potato salad. Delish! I was surprised at how generous they were with the serving of prawns. And I wish I could've taken a pic of the salad counter - the variety was amazing, and everything looked soooo good!

Osaka - Breaded Sticks "Kushi-Katsu"

We were around the Shinsekai area and discovered the area's specialty seemed to be breaded sticks of vegetables and meat dipped into a special sauce (again commonly shared - so no double dipping) - "kushi-katsu".

When we saw a long queue of ppl outside this stall, we couldn't help but join in the queue.

Phew! An English menu! Ordering in Japan is like the box of chocolate in Forrest Gump - you never know what you're gonna get!

This very nice lady (in blue) was so kind to help us get an English menu. And she even went out of her way to get the staff to take care of us. Proof that nice people do exist!

Raw cabbage

Special dipping sauce

Appetiser: Stewed Beef

Kushi Katsu!
We ordered a mixture of leek, lotus root, beef, quail's egg, oysters, scallops, prawns, chicken, and pork.

Osaka - Japanese-Italian Food

After trying Goemon in Tokyo, I was eager to try some Japanese-Italian food. We found this little eatery in the underground passageway just off the Hankyu Dept Store food basement.

Starter: Caesar Salad - Japanese style

Spinach and Bacon Pizza
- An unusual but surprisingly good combination!

Eggplant and Bacon Spaghetti in a tomato base sauce
- this was generally our favorite - little wonder it's one of the restaurant's bestselling dish!

Mentaiko (fish roe) Spaghetti
(This was a little too strong/fishy for my taste.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Back to Osaka - Club Harie

Special mention of Club Harie's Baumkuchen - a round version of our Singaporean kueh lapis. This is sooooo good that it needs its own post!

From previous experiences trying this type of cake, I found it way too sweet or too dense. But this one from Club Harie takes the cake! (Pun intended!). It is so very light, yet moist, and the sugar coating is not cloyingly sweet. In the words of Goldilocks, it is "Just Right"!

Here's a pic of one of their patissiers with the cake in its entirety. She's slicing the cake into various thicknesses for sale. Prices depend on the thickness of each slice. The smallest one we bought to try was JPY680.

I must apologise again for the lack of photos. I had intended to take more photos when I went back to buy some to bring back home. However, I found that these cakes needed to be consumed on the day of purchase, and I was afraid that freezing them would make them less delicious, so decided not to buy them, and hence, the lack of photos.

Nevertheless, I did manage to find Club Harie's website (albeit in Japanese) where you will be able to find more pics of their special Baumkuchen, which is one of the best I've had - much better IMO than the famous one in Hokkaido. So, if you're ever in Osaka, visit the basement of Hanshin Dept Store and queue up for a slice of this delicious cake! Definitely a MUST TRY!