After a few years completely immersed and devoted to Japanese brushes I decided it was time to see who is behind these treasures. To be very honest, I was a bit scared to travel to Japan on my own, specially due to the language barrier but I had to do it, when something is in my head, until I do it I won’t rest.
I had to visit Kumano, the origin of my favorite brushes, and then come back with some pictures and stories to tell you, so here I am back from the source of our passion with a more clear idea of what Kumano is and how our beauties are made. I often visit museums during my trips wherever I am but this time it was very special, a museum combining art and brushes, for a brush lover it just can’t get any better.
Today I will share some details, not all the details but enough so that if you are also interested in a trip to Japan with the “brush and beauty” topic in mind, you know a little bit what to expect. Please don’t expect me to be 100% correct and do your verifications because due to the language I could not get a lot of details. Another very important thing is that due to problems at work and with our dog’s health, I could not prepare for the trip, just no time. Since I could not postpone the dates, I had to leave just like that.
I feel like I missed on many things due to the lack of preparation but despite that the trip has been high in emotions and unforgettable, I have no words to define how I felt when I was with this beautiful people, what I haven’t told you -yet- is that everyday I had tears in my eyes because of them, I have never ever felt so much kindness and generosity and I had to be very strong to appear calm and “normal”. Being there is overwhelming in every aspect.
Sorry, this is going to be long, I will try to summarize my best and hope you won’t click away 😉
The idea was to arrive in Tokyo on the 27th of May, sleep in Tokyo one night, leave on the 28th to Hiroshima, meet Hakuhodo and Tanseido on the 29th, meet Chikuhodo and Koyudo on the 30th, travel to Kyoto on the 31st, travel to Tokyo on the 2nd of June, finally spend a few nights at the same hotel and fly back to Switzerland on the 8th of June.
Important note : Keep in mind that before you leave to Japan you have to check :
- If you need a visa
- If you want a railpass to travel inside Japan, you have to buy an exchange voucher in your country since you’ll not be able to get it directly in Japan. This is a pass that will allow you to travel cheaper, you buy the pass but then you don’t pay for the trip or the reservations. I bought a one-week railpass and it saved me a huge lot of money. Some more details here.
- If you need cash (and you will) you cannot easily withdraw cash, for me it was actually impossible, since the end of April 2013 they changed many ATM’s and Maestro cards are not working anymore for now.
I took some cash with me before I left but I had to order it. Here is Switzerland not all the banks have Yens, they will need to order them for you.
Travelling and getting around
I left on a Sunday morning Swiss time and arrived on Monday morning Japanese time. On arrival I went to the JR station, exchanged my voucher against the railpass and in the same station bought the Suica card (when you load cash on it, it allows you to take the Tokyo metro without having to think about tickets). Only problem is when you have to load more cash on the Suica card, the machines are in Japanese ! First time I asked an agent for help but then for the following times I managed on my own -very proud of me- I felt like a local ! “of-course-I-can-read-Japanese” expression when tourists where blankly staring at me doing it 😀 😀 😀
The Metro is the best in the world, it’s so easy to travel around that you will be very pleasantly surprised. The stations also have numbers, for example let’s take the Ginza line, you will see either the name of the station “Shimbashi” or the initial of the line then the number of the station “Shimbashi” equals “G-08”. Simples.
For the JR lines (the bigger lines that take you to Hiroshima, Osaka, etc), there are either unreserved seats or you can reserve a seat, if you do, they will assign you a “car number” and a “seat number”. With this info on your ticket, you go to the platform and place yourself in the queue related to your car. Again : super simples.
When it gets crazy complicated and irritating is when you need to find the exit in the station, in Shinjuku where I was the second time, there are more than 200 exits. It will drive you crazy at some point. I could go from my hotel to the Isetan department store just walking underneath the station… providing you get the right exit. Good luck by the way.
Luckily you can ask anyone and they will go beyond imagination to help you. Even if you don’t want to bother them, if they spot you opening a map they appear like magic ! I remember one day I didn’t need help, I just didn’t remember what was the name of my connection so I opened my map and a very old man saw me and he started to walk towards me, I didn’t need help but he just wanted to help me… the poor man spoke no english and had been victim of a stroke in the past so he could barely walk and barely speak, he was doing so much effort to help me and he was so proud and happy to help… I listened to him, thanked him, and when he left I couldn’t help a few tears. I just can’t believe this, they will steal your heart. Bless him…
When you are outside the stations, sometimes the gps is lost too, since you may only have wireless internet and no phone to locate you, the position may be confusing. I got lost every single day. You also have several layers of roads so in these situations gps is not very helpful. Look up and see if there is any other level … just in case !
First day I stayed near Tokyo main station in order for me to get back easily to the station in the morning. My train to Hiroshima was departing from there on Tuesday at 10:33 am.
When I first arrived at the hotel on Monday morning with my luggage it was around 11am. I couldn’t check in until 3pm so I had to leave my things there and go for a walk… it was near Ginza so I headed for Ginza and for the TAU shop. I was a bit disappointed because they did not had a lot to choose from -I have many brushes so I am being difficult here-. It’s fun to see these brushes in person, be able to feel them before purchase. But you will get so much more to chose from on the internet websites. They don’t speak a lot of english so I couldn’t easily ask them questions. Unlike in European department stores and despite the fact you can touch all the brushes, the brushes are in excellent condition so you are able to actually feel how they are and what their original shape looks like since it’s not altered or distorted.
Then I found myself in front of huge department stores ! had to get inside… It was surreal to see the Japanese beauty counters in person ! I wanted to try everything but suddenly I had a little panic attack because I realised it will be impossible to do that, way too many things. I thought I had to accept the fact that there was no way for me to be able to play with everything !
Left the department store with a few palettes inside my bag.. I hadn’t even checked in and I already had a bag full of goodies !
At this point the phone and internet connection I had ordered hadn’t arrived at the hotel yet (my fault since I ordered them at the very last moment), I had a map but the streets are rarely written. It’s so confusing. I got really deeply lost in directions. I walked for two hours but I was at the total opposite from where I wanted to be. I decided to ask for help… I entered a flower shop, a lady and her mum were there. The lady opened google maps and told me “you are here, your hotel is here”. Holy !! I wasn’t at all where I thought I was ! Then she left the shop and wanted to walk with me to the hotel, we walked for half an hour, I was telling her that she didn’t need to but she just insisted until I said ok, so she took me to my hotel and even called the lift for me ! I really didn’t know how to thank her, I wanted to pay her a drink or something to eat but she said she was very happy to spend some time with me (she doesn’t even know me!). Again this is extraordinary !
After 6 months of winter in Switzerland, snow and rain, I arrived in Japan where many people carry umbrellas… because of the sun. Such a cultural difference between our countries.
After the hotel check-in, I went to the station to book my seat for my Hiroshima trip and visited the food mall of the big department store in Tokyo station. I couldn’t help buying macarons and japanese delicatessen to try, there are so many things you will want to try that you will also get lost there !
Tuesday 29th, 2013
My phone and internet connection arrived at the hotel at 9h45 and I had to leave the hotel at 10am. It was so tight !!! So lucky I just got them on time. I thought I had to postpone my trip to Hiroshima at least for a few hours but it worked out ! This is what they look like (internet connection and phone) :
If you reserve a seat in the Shinkansen trains and you don’t take the train, they don’t really like that, the reason is that sometimes the trains are quite full and that blocks a seat that could have served for someone else. When I left Kyoto for Tokyo I had to wait nearly two hours at the station because there were no seats available before, just reserve as soon as you know which train you will be taking, you will have more chances. They will always try to assign you a window seat and will always try to not put someone in the seat next to you. If they do, it’s because they have no other choice.
If you travel from Tokyo to Hiroshima you will have to change trains at Osaka. Except if you take the fastest train but it’s honestly not worth it. This was my schedule (when using the rail pass, be careful what trains you select in the “Optional conditions”, my pass allowed me on the trains Hikari, Sakura, Kodama and Tsubame but not on the directs Nozomi and Mizuho :
I arrived at 15:30 on Tuesday, it was pouring with rain – monsoon. I was waiting at the pedestrian crossing with all my luggage and suddenly the rain “stopped”, I looked up and a lady was protecting me with her umbrella. She told me something in Japanese, I have no idea what she said, so I said “Arigato”… 🙂 I tried to learn a few words beforehand but that I quickly forgot when I had to use them simply because of the stress 😀
That Tuesday I just wondered around the station, there are big department stores where they sell food delicatessen (yes again), drugstore products and … brushes !!! youhouuuu !
My very favorite “delicatessen” is this sort of pancake with white beans paste inside, this was just my favorite gourmandise ! they make them in from of you and then wrap them with beautiful paper, they are still warm but they don’t remain wrapped for a long time 😛
In the shopping center called “ASSE” attached to Hiroshima station there is a shop for Kumano brushes there, just in case 😉
It was difficult finding anything because everything was written in Japanese, it was like being parachuted in another planet. I felt really lost and overwhelmed, not knowing where to go…
The hotel was amazing, I was staying at the Sheraton in Hiroshima, I totally recommend it. The only problem is the bathroom… if you go with a “friend” get ready to see each other naked 😀 you can see through the glass doors of both the shower/bath and the toilet, not 100% clear but clear enough ! Just saying… 😉
My first day in Kumano (Hakuhodo – Museum – Tanseido)
Hakuhodo sent someone to pick me up at the Hotel lobby. I don’t know who was more nervous, him or me 😀
He was so kind, he spoke english that’s why he had been assigned the task to pick me up. We talked and laugh during the trip to Kumano which was around 40mn from there, I kept on asking him questions and I think he was getting sick of me 😀 but we enjoyed the trip. Then we arrived at Kumano but the manufacture was really in the middle of nowhere. I will tell you exactly what happened at the Hakuhodo manufacture but this will be a full post just for that. It was a dream… I was really nervous, so I forgot all the Japanese words I had learned ! They gave me such a warm welcome ! Unbelievable ! You will fall in love with each and everyone of them !
After my incredible visit to Hakuhodo, Mr Ko Takamoto (Hakuhodo’s General Manager) took me to the brush museum since I had to meet Tanseido there, I wanted to visit the museum before meeting them, only problem : I was running late. It was 12h30 and I had to meet Tanseido team at 1pm. I had just 30mn to visit the museum !
Mr Takamoto entered with me and we made our way to the reception, I was excited like a bee. I looked at the employees of the museum and the bowing kept on going and going and going and suddenly I realised !!! I was with Hakuhodo’s General Manager !!! JEEEZZZ !!! this probably explains all the bowing going on ! I had no idea what they were talking about so I took my purse and told them I wanted to visit and pay my ticket, Mr Takamoto shaked his head. I had no idea what he meant (but I really wanted to visit !) then a man appeared, he was the curator of the Museum Mr Takeshi Matsuda. Mr Takamoto asked him to show me around and so he did, in english !!
I don’t know how many of you would have loved to be there with me at that precise moment, probably some of you for sure. Again, it was a dream come true.
Mr Matsuda showed me the gallery with the paints and he talked about brushes but I was so excited I couldn’t focus properly !! 😀
Anyway, here are some pictures of the museum that I can share with you.
The Museum is on the right :
Everything is written in Japanese, no chance I could understand… Well “Information” and “History” is written in english but then… so glad I had the curator of the Museum with me !
You could touch and feel the different type of hair :
This is the view from the inside to the outside, see the two hearts ? I saw them pictured in some Chikuhodo handles but I don’t know what they represent so far…
This is the place where the master works but he was taking his lunch break so I could not see him…
We entered the master’s room (without our shoes of course) and Mr Matsuda explained a bit about his work.
And this is the shop that you know… mainly calligraphy brushes but also a few nice make up brushes.
At 1pm, Tanseido’s team, Jun and Natsuko came to pick me up and took me to their manufacture. Again the visit will be commented in a separate post because it will be too long. It was absolutely amazing, I have been welcomed like a queen, but more details later 🙂 They took me back to my hotel, so the trip was really easy, that day I was picked up and then dropped at the hotel.
In the evening, Jun and Natsuko took me to dinner in a fun place. At some point I was eating things that I should not and not eating things that I was supposed to eat….
These green beans are delicious but don’t try to eat the outside like I did, no chewing possible ! Tanseido’s team were looking at me a bit surprised ! I just did not know…. I had to spit it out 😀
But you can eat the head of these…. I could not, I ripped the head apart with my chopsticks….
Our dinner was great fun !!! and of course we continued talking about brushes !!!
My second day in Kumano (Chikuhodo – Koyudo)
I had to travel to Kumano on my own, since a taxi from Hiroshima to Kumano would have been way too expensive, I decided to take the train to Yano, and then take the taxi from there. I tried to take the bus from Yano but everything is in Japanese so I just could not manage… but the taxi was fine. When I said I wanted to go to “Kumano Town Office” the driver had no idea where I wanted to go…. he was very funny but he did not understand. So I said just “Kumano”, and then…. “Kumano center”, then he said “hai” which means yes or ok….
We left Yano, he drove to Kumano and he was talking to me during the trip, I couldn’t understand what he was saying at all. Then after 20 mn I saw what it looks like Kumano Town Office, and I said “hai hai hai” 😀
He looked at me and he was sooooo happy, you can’t even imagine !!! he was laughing like crazy ! He was probably wondering why on earth I was going there !
This is an exterior little monument outside the Town Office :
And you can see that from there, it’s 3km to the museum :
Malin from Kohlindo.se gave me the name of her Kumano friend (Yumie). I had an appointment with Yumie at 9h45. Since I was there at 9am, I wanted to see if I could get a coffee somewhere. I entered the Town Office, said “Coffee” and they showed me a little local coffee/restaurant inside the Town Office. Only locals there, but since they had menus, I wanted to try breakfast 🙂 I selected something that looked like a breakfast and it was de-li-cious. Soup, rice, coffee, a big toast, an egg, I was starving so that was just perfect ! Couldn’t eat everything due to my food intolerances but it really was fantastic !
When Yumie arrived, we headed to Chikuhodo. It was the first time I was meeting Yumie, she is the sweetest, seriously I was blown away by her infinite kindness. I was really nervous to meet Chikuhodo’s President Mr Shin Takemori, really very nervous. When we arrived, it was again such a warm welcome, unbelievable, so simple and so kind. I will tell you more in the separate post because once more, it will be loooooong and again just like Hakuhodo, Tanseido and Koyudo, you will love them and that doesn’t help with our budgets 🙂
At lunch Yumie took me and Mr Yutaro Takemori (Mr Shin Takemori’s son) to eat sushi. It was the first time I tried sushi in Japan and it’s just not comparable with Swiss sushi. If you love sushi you have to go to Japan just for that !
This is the Kumano restaurant, you have to take your shoes off and then it’s like a little hut inside the restaurant, this one has room for your legs to be sitting like in a chair (hole underneath the table so it’s more comfortable) but some restaurants don’t :
The roads in Kumano are really narrow, I mean really ! you can barely drive a car there ! When I saw Kumano’s map, I thought I could walk from one place to the other but the center is actually quite far from the manufactures and you won’t always see the names of the manufactures. Unless you have something arranged with them, it’s not going to be easy and if you don’t speak english, try to call a taxi 🙂 . I was really happy they took care of me and Yumie was amazing, I will tell you more in my Chikuhodo post but what she did for me is so huge that I don’t know how I could ever thank her.
I guess you want to know what Kumano looks like, just a pic here, it’s a mix of houses, with little roads and beautiful trees…
During my Chikuhodo visit, I had the opportunity to use a calligraphy brush in Mr Takemori’s office, I deeply enjoyed it so Yumie wanted me to try the water writing in Kumano’s museum. She drove me there and we played, it’s a special paper where you write with water and after a few minutes it disappears, great for training for example. She then offered me a calligraphy brush (her husband owns a little manufacture too) and I bought that special paper at the museum and now I am playing at home ! It’s my new way to relaxation… love it.
In the afternoon Yumie dropped me at Koyudo’s place, I spent the afternoon with them, omg, all these beautiful brushes …. Again, I will tell you more in the separate posts that will arrive soon because I will have a lot to say about them.
Koyudo asked me if I had something planned (as you imagine I didn’t) so Koyudo’s team (the ones that are behind your emails and orders) came to Hiroshima to have dinner with me. It was a do-it-yourself but since I had no idea what I had to do, Koyudo team did it for me 😀 You may have written to them and you may think they are cold since they reply with short replies, believe when I tell you they are the sweetest people, here we have just a language barrier unfortunately, they are now just like family to me.
Very typical Hiroshima dish… (I think), you are supposed to add egg as well but I could eat egg so it was less “typical” for me, despite that it was really delicious. I loved it !!
The sight seeing day in Hiroshima
I went to Miyajima island, it was so beautiful ! it’s like a fantasy world over there ! Very surprising how the deer wander around everywhere, I love deer so I kept asking myself if I was dreaming !
It was a beautiful day, very hot, the rain had stopped and the island was not too full of people, it was easy to walk around and enjoy. It was my first day without appointments so I felt a bit more relaxed.
The smell of the ocean and the sand on the island was probably what made me realise I was on holiday ! Honestly, I didn’t want to leave the island, probably that next time I will stay there for the night.
When I was having dinner with Tanseido’s team the day before, Natsuko told me that her sister had a local bakery in Miyajima -not in the tourist area- and that if I wanted to go she could give me the address. I took the address and thought that I could at least try. After my walk around the island, I asked several times for directions in order to find her bakery, showing the locals the address in Japanese, at the end I got there but I had no idea if there was a bakery where I was standing… suddenly a door opened and a beautiful woman started to talk to me in Japanese with a smile from there to there, I had no clue what she was saying, I thought she was telling me to go away or to help her with something but then she told me to enter (I guess), I entered and then I saw the bread and cakes !!! the bakery !!! Her sister was so kind, so incredibly pleased and honoured that I came to visit her.
Apparently she was informed of my possible visit so she was expecting me and hoping I visit 🙂
I bought a few delicious cakes and the man that was there with her gave me an island spatula as a present with the Torii imprinted. Spatulas are the typical thing over there. Can you imagine that ? I don’t even know what to say anymore, they were just so excited to see me that I initially thought they mistook me for somebody else.
Her beautiful sister and me… me very sweaty… sorry about that! It was really hot and humid!
The typical spatula, present they gave me :
Then back in Hiroshima, I went to see the Peace Memorial Park, of course it was impressive to be there, we always remember what happened and it feels weird to be so close.
After my sightseeing day, I left to Kyoto, I arrived late and the taxi had no idea where the hotel was, I felt he was really stressed out and he had to call the hotel to ask for directions. But we got there eventually.
I didn’t really do much in Kyoto because I got really sick, could barely walk and the pain in my stomach was killing me ! Of course I still managed to visit a bit, enter a temple and go to Yojiya… Yojiya has a big shop and my hotel was 5mn walk from it, I didn’t even did that on purpose ! I wanted to be near the temples and my hotel was near the main road too.
There is also a Yojiya cafe, where I ate a fruit sandwich and I ordered a cappuccino just ’cause it was beautiful … but I suspect these two things were the cause of my pain afterwards 😀
For somebody who can’t eat lactose or gluten it was a bit too much, I know I know…
This time the hotel was a traditional japanese hotel, I thought you may want to see what this looks like so here are some pics of my room, basically you sleep and sit on the floor.
The bathroom had a very little bath and a foot shower (I guess?? but I don’t know how I was supposed to use it).
The great thing was the hot water for the tea, it’s always hot, which is great, but first time you want to use it is tough. After a while I found out that if you press on the 1 it unlocks, then the 2 it pours hot water (I put the numbers on the pic, the numbers are not on the machine!) Since I had never seen that kind of machine I had no idea what button did what. Same for the iron, I asked for an iron but everything was written in Japanese, there are warning signs everywhere but since all is written in Japanese, good luck with the usage…
After my little adventure in Kyoto I left for Tokyo, but at the end I don’t think I did much in Tokyo actually, just a bit of sightseeing and shopping. I was really overwhelmed by the activity, all the people, the difficulties I had to feed myself, find the places I was looking for.
In Tokyo I had the opportunity to meet my Japanese colleagues for dinner, I know them since 7 years ago, sometime they come to Switzerland but just for work. I asked them if they would like to have dinner with me and they said yes, so the appointment was in a restaurant called “Ninja”. I drank Sake and a cocktail called Cleopatra beauty or something like that, we ate several dishes that we shared, the sushi again was too good to be real !! The evening with the “ninjas” was absolutely hilarious.
My colleagues were impressed that I could so easily travel by metro on my own, but it really is not difficult. As long as you have an english metro map ! My colleague Osamu :
My amazing colleagues (Nozomi, Osamu and Chiaki) and the ninja who was taking care of us, she asked me where I came from and at the end she took this “HASTA PRONTO” roll and opened it just like a ninja would… and with the big ninja moves ! 😀
We had a magician “master ninja” playing tricks and honestly it was mind blowing. I was the “victim”, he asked me to take 3 coins, to hide them in my hands, shake them, so I did. Suddenly I had just 2 coins in my hands… what ???? Stunning !!! I have no idea how he did that but I think my jaw hit the floor !
This is a “cheesecake” frog, how cute is that ? I could not eat cheesecake and I did not want to risk being sick again but that was pure evil temptation… I did not eat it but I was dying to … 🙁
But too risky, I did not want to repeat the Kyoto episode 🙁
On Wednesday I spent the day with Estrella that I met via this blog, when she saw I was going to Japan she contacted me, so glad she did because we had such a great time ! Not only I was happy to spend time with a friend, but she was just mind-blowing, we could do anything together, talk seriously, talk makeup, have histerical fun, go shopping, go to the hairdresser, anything. Sometimes it’s difficult when you meet somebody for the first time but here no problem at all !
At lunchtime we had Ramen, she took me to a fantastic place, it was so tasty, I need to ask Estrella this address for the future ! She said this place was better than the others and that was true ! Not easy to eat with chopsticks but she showed me how to do it and from that day on, I was entering these restaurants and eating like real locals (or trying…). At least I knew how to order and where the things were, that’s really not easy when you are alone and you don’t know how all this works.
In the evening we had sushi and then we had drinks (just don’t remember the places…), not that I was drunk !
I really wanted to play with these things, we played and I LOVED IT ! Next time I go to Japan I will spend a bit more time in there that’s for sure 😀
When you go alone to Japan it’s just not the same. It’s much better if, at least for a few days, you can meet someone. I will never go again on my own, it’s so much fun to share the trip with someone !
I went back to the hotel that night, well, it was late but I was really happy that it was such a fun day ! I hope I can meet Estrella again soon !
The day after I went sight-seeing and shopping and I did manage to meet with Rosy, she has great posts about brush shopping in Tokyo 🙂 We went to Isetan for shopping, we spent some time at the Chicca, Tom Ford and some other counters, trying things and shopping… 😛 I am so happy that I could spent a little time with her !
During my trip I have bought a “few” things, mostly brushes. I thought I had already too many but gosh I have been naughty ! I will have reviews to write for the next year without having to buy anything else again ! (yeah, sure).
You can find brushes from Takeda, Hakuhodo in some big department stores, but you may struggle to find them ! sometimes they are a bit apart, like in the “present” area instead of the beauty area. The selection is not huge, just a few brushes displayed but at least you can see what the quality is like.
Regarding my beauty purchases, I am now trying the drugstore products I bought and all the items, some are really on top of my dresser and some are not often used yet. I leave that topic for another post 🙂
In one of the biggest department stores I took a pic of the instructions in the toilet, you know how Japanese love luxurious toilets and hygiene, I thought I could share this pic with you … just for fun !
Inside the lady’s, there is a place to sit your child while you are busy, how clever is this ??? I have never seen that before and I really had to share ! Amazing !
For more sightseeing I went to the Tokyo Skytree, had to queue for nearly 2 hours but at the end I still managed to get inside and up to the highest point. You have two levels, the floor 350 is the first stop, then you can take another ticket and go up to the 450 floor, that’s what I did. That’s ok, you don’t really feel scared but there is just one moment where your heart goes AWWWWWW…. When you take the elevator in the 345 floor to go to the 450, suddenly there are no opaque walls anymore and you can see outside….
You can pay them to take your pic at the top, it costs 1200 yen. I have scanned mine for you but I swear, I was not trying to strangle the doll ! … weird !! 😀 I may need to work on my maternal instint at some point.
This is the view from the elevator in motion, you can’t see much but believe me it’s impressive, the first time everybody will shout, it’s like being launched into space, you start your ride and it’s opaque then it becomes clear. The elevators are really fast, your ears may POP and hurt… !!! Mine did.
On my way back, I was again a bit lost…. I thought why not pop inside the Kashoen boutique… again…. 😛 and then I met the Vice-President Mr Shunsuke Takamoto, we had a nice chat and we discussed the brushes of courses. I will write to him this week because of one topic we were discussing regarding Switzerland. It’s fun to discover that after my trip I have met so many amazing personalities and that they were always so kind with me.
Some more sight-seeing… the Shibuya crossing :
… and its dog :
Asakusa, Sensō-ji area :
Harajuku : (not that you can see anything…)
Now, if you want to go to the Hakuhodo main store in Omesanto, I got lost for nearly two hours but it’s actually not that complicated… here is some help :
Somebody from the boutique was outside distributing leaflets, when she gave one to me I told her “I was looking for you”, we took the lift and went inside 🙂
Can you spot the brush ?
They have the whole range !
… and exceptional beauties… but too expensive !
Then I went to Tokyo Bay with the monorail, the robot monument there is huge, you can see somebody’s head near his feet 🙂
You will soon get the posts for each manufacture visit (one for each), I am working on it 🙂
If I had to change something about the trip it’s certainly the preparation and I would try to learn a few sentences. I left unprepared and that costed me a lot of time. It’s also sometimes really sad to be there on its own, never again, but I did enjoy this trip a lot specially because I met so many wonderful people ! I will never forget them. They spoiled me and they all treated me like a queen !
I did a few things just like the locals, I slept in the metro, ate Ramen, I have been offered sweets by a stranger in the metro (I accepted and I ate them…still here), I could talk about this trip for hours despite the fact that I didn’t do that much.
The day I left I couldn’t stop my tears, I don’t know why we always need to cry when we leave Japan, I don’t understand, you tell me… so much emotion it hurts.