Maybe it's because I'm a girl? In terms of gender equality, Japan lags far behind the rest of the developed world. That lovely fact coupled with the amount of unchecked and public smoking and drinking that the hordes of "salarymen" indulge in daily can make me feel like I'm living in an episode of Mad Men...and NOT in a good way. Or maybe I'm just tired of living in foreign countries. Constantly having to ensure that I'm on top of all my immigration renewals/deadlines/restrictions and not being able to indulge in simple pleasures like an eggnog latte in winter or a backyard BBQ in summer gets old after awhile.
But there are some truly great things about living here, things that no other country can offer. Being able to pay all of your bills whenever you like (even a few days after the deadline!) at any convenience store? Check. Feeling safe enough to walk around by yourself even late at night? Check. Being able to pay COD when online shopping? Check! So while the cons do indeed outweigh the pros, there are a few facts of Tokyo life that I will dearly miss when I leave for greener pastures.
First up? Japanese toiletries and cosmetics.
|From left to right, top to bottom: Riff underarm dress shields, DHC gel primer, Maybelline Angelfit cream primer, DHC oil make-up remover, Shiseido Majolica Majorca mascara and pearl eyeliner, Mavala and BonBon nail polishes|
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Tokyo is a shopper's paradise. Food, clothes, CDs (remember those?), you name it. And wander into any department store or higher-end drugstore and you'll be overwhelmed by the number of make-up and beauty products on offer. Whatever you need or desire in the ways of toiletries or cosmetics, they've got something for it...10 somethings, to be exact. While this can make for a dizzying and lengthy decision-making process, it can be fun. Okay, it IS fun.
This situation, however, has made me totally dependent on cheap yet high quality product lines that are only or primarily available in Japan. What will I do without my thin adhesive dress shields (all you girls who can wear a heather grey top without a care in the world, you don't know how good you've got it), or my awesome Asia-exclusive Maybelline primer? Or my beloved Mavala polish (beats OPI and Essie hands down), which is actually Swiss but is so prevalent here it may as well be Japanese. Well, I'll cope and adapt, I suppose. And if I don't, there's always eBay.
And, to be fair, a PSA...
|Yes, some girls DO dress like this. And yes, the name of the store really is Jesus Diamante.|
Perhaps nowhere else in the world do girls take their make-up as seriously as they do in this city. They spend TONS of money and time on elaborate gel nail art, eyelash perms and extensions, and blow-outs and colorings. From university students to patent attorneys, from age 15 to 50, most women don't leave their house unless they are dolled up. And, as seen in the photo above, in some cases REALLY dolled up. Of course, I'm guilty of that too, at least to some degree, and it does point to a worrying underlying issue if girls are clearly expected to be cute and doll-like first and intelligent and confident second (if at all). But hey, this is a fashion blog, so let's keep the real world out of it, shall we?