Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pretty in Peony

     In dramatic contrast to last year's bizarre weather (solid rain from the previous autumn/winter and snow as late as April), spring is fast approaching here in Tokyo and will probably take over the land in a week or so. Due to the warm weather and sunny skies, the cherry blossoms are opening all over the city and will hit their peak as early as this coming weekend, so we're going to make some time to gawk at them since this is our last spring in the country. We had wanted to check out the spectacular (and spectacularly crowded) stretch of trees along the royal palace moat, which are illuminated at night are supposed to among the best views in the city, but due to the recent disaster up north and the subsequent energy issue, the traditional light-up has been cancelled this year. But no matter as there are plenty other places to admire the beautiful blossoms... though I secretly prefer the ume/plum blossoms of my birthday month, which are even more beautiful with their white to rich pink blooms and dark, sometimes even black bark.
Ume are so beautiful, and the liquor made from their fruit (umeshu) is amazing

     Today was Tuesday, aka my Saturday, so the fiancee and I headed out around noon to embark on a day that was both productive and enjoyable (a rarity indeed). We hauled some of my skirts and more expensive cardigans to our local dry cleaner's, along with some of his work pants and a few work shirts that required a whitening treatment. Dry cleaning is actually pretty reasonable in Tokyo; the prices are not bad (and in some places even downright cheap) and shops can be found in every neighborhood, usually on the way to the local station. And if, as in our case, your local shop does their cleaning on-site, you can get your stuff back in 2-3 days. After that, we took a quick trip to Akiba because I wanted to get a new PS3 title. On a whim we stopped by a small used game store to see if they had an imported copy, which surprisingly they did- nearly $20 cheaper than what I had expected to pay for a new copy. Score! After that we hit up Ginza, where I found a fantastic suede dress at H&M (which can be seen on fashiontoast's Rumi Neely in the midst of this post, though I myself got a lighter bone colored version), which, originally priced at close to $200, was on sale for $50. The Banana Republic nearby was having a 30% off sale, and the fiancee fell in love with a great charcoal zip-up and I finally found a black cardigan that was both elegant and fun (before today I only owned one, which I got nearly 4 years ago and should probably be retired). Then we picked up some macaroons at Laduree and hoped on the Yamanote for Shinjuku, where we ran a few errands and had a quick dinner followed by an after-dinner coffee at our favorite cafe in Tokyo; Starbucks will do in a pinch, but Paul Bassett is where it's at.
     This past weekend at work spring was definitely in the air, so I decided that it was a perfect chance to wear the Gap peony skirt I had seen and lusted after a few months ago. Actually, I had worn it to work already once before, but my camera battery decided to die on me after one blurry shot. But this time I made sure to charge it, so all was well:
I love the peonies, they look so lush. I'd also love to see this in a hydrangea print!

Peony silken skirt (in truth, 100% polyester, Gap), ruffle placket cardigan (J. Crew), grey lace tights (Japan)
     Seriously, Gap has really been putting out some gorgeous things lately. Their skirts are especially lovely, and look way more expensive than they are. Their tops and sweaters have still been kind of 'meh' but I have high hopes for them. Can't wait to see what full springtime will bring!

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