My best friend’s first time traveling alone.

I had a visitor from Texas last October.

The beginning starts from when we randomly met on Instagram five years ago. We’ve become really close friends that talk about almost everything, exchange thoughts, and share what we see.

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(This is our page from GEM zine that we created together last summer.)

The first time we met in person was when I visited her to Texas three years ago which was my first traveling outside of my country by myself. Then I went back there again in January 2018 and this time, she came to my country, Japan, where she had been dreaming of. We had talked about her coming here a million times but I feel like the whole process this time went fast once she started looking at the flight tickets. I think it was the right timing for her. While seeing her getting ready and being confused about travel stuff reminded me of 18 year old me. When I traveled for the first time when I was 18, my mom had to teach me everything since she was more experienced. I remember that I was too overwhelmed by things I had to get done by my departure. I didn’t know anything about traveling overseas. So , I could tell that it wasn’t easy for her. So, I was happy that I could be there for her like my mom was for me.

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When she texted me from her airport in America, she was more sad to say goodbye to her boyfriend. I was really worried that she would regret coming here or get sick or something from the plane ride and stuff. But when I saw her at the airport in Japan, she just looked annoyed that she couldn’t find the exit. lol  So yes, she was just fine! I was too excited to see her again in just 9 months because we usually see each other every couple of years.

If I write down everything we did or what we ate during her trip, I’ll have to write a whole book so I will just say WE HAD A BLAST. A nice morning walk that we woke up super early for, the local cafe we went to before catching the train, the museums, the lights of the city that made her excited, and teaching her about our culture.

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We planned out pretty much everything in detail beforehand since it’s a big city and there’s so many things to do.  At first, I thought it was too much and the list would give us pressure but it turned out it made everything so much easier. We could make sure we knew what we wanted to do without having a crazy schedule. Making plans is important especially when it’s your first time!

Hanging out with her in my country felt really normal , like, I constantly forgot that she was visiting. She was also doing really well with fitting in. So, I was really proud. We did so many things and it didn’t feel like 9 days.

Since it was her first time traveling to a different country, I wanted to make it as special as I can which turned out that way. But making the stay special doesn’t mean going to a fancy restaurant, dressing amazing everyday, or taking a taxi wherever we go.

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We had some tough days that we didn’t expect either. When we went to the Shiba Cafe where you can drink some tea and play with puppies, we expected them to be hyper and happy to play with humans but it wasn’t like that at all. All the dogs looked so sad and they started fighting and.. not gonna lie, it looked pretty bad. (please don’t go to the shiba cafe if you visit Tokyo! We learned from this experience)  Or when we went to the big fireworks festival, the crowd of people was just something we’d never seen before. It also started raining really badly so it took us almost two hours to get back to the station which normally takes five minutes thanks to the crowd. (I know it’s insane)

But I’m glad that she had all the different experiences here and glad that she said she wants to come back. Traveling can change someone’s life a lot even if it’s a small change. Even for me, staying with her was really helpful to get used to English more than usual and for being more creative by taking pictures with her. I wish she lived close so we would hang out and do more fun stuff every weekend.

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I was really glad that she made the decision to come here because we’ve been talking how cool it would be. I’m so proud of her for getting out her comfort zone a lot, like talking to the staff at the store and ask about a product in Japanese, even though she was really nervous. Getting on the crowded train which I think looks pretty scary for people who have never experienced it before, and going to make her new passport. I’m glad she didn’t pass up her chance to travel.

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Minimalism and Fast Fashion (what i learned from The True Cost documentary)

When I was a teenager, I loved shopping. I used to go to those typical fast fashion shops and would buy something every time I went. And, I even used to work at a fast fashion brand. But I had no clue how the fashion industry works and what I had been doing to help continue the bad cycle. I didn’t even care because I didn’t know anything.

I’ve done my biggest declutter over almost 6 months. Last month, I watched the documentary show called The True Cost to learn about the fast fashion industry. I’ve been getting interested in the minimalism lifestyle since last year and I think these two topics are connected.

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Do you relate to this: buying something for $10 for decent(if I say politely) quality and when it gets shabby or you genuinely get bored after a few months, the worth of the item starts to go away, but it’s easy to let it go because you got it for only $10. Then we throw it away or “donate” and repeat.

The donated clothes are apparently no longer needed anymore. I thought I could just donate my clothes when I don’t need them so I won’t feel bad for getting rid of them and avoid doing something bad for the environment. I even thought I was doing something really good by doing it. In Haiti, which is one of the countries that receives donations, they’ve gotten too many clothes. What I learned from the documentary was only 10% of the donated clothes go to thrift stores and actually get sold. The rest go to the developing countries. I was really shocked while watching the piles of clothes everywhere through my computer display. I did a little bit of research and over 30 African countries have prohibited other countries from sending used items and it shows how serious it has been getting. In Haiti, the local fashion industry has completely disappeared because of the free clothes from other countries. People automatically stop buying clothes which ended up taking their local retail jobs. As a result, people in Haiti make  clothes mostly for American fashion brands under low wages(less than $3 a day), get treated unfairly and work in an unsafe garment factory. Knowing where the clothes I always bought come from was just really painful and I was mad at myself.

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I’ve started decluttering since the summer in 2018. The beginning was a baby step. I could not throw most of the stuff away when I started it. But I kept cleaning and the more I try to declutter the more I let my stuff go. In January 2019, I got rid of eight big bags of my clothes. It was insane. I didn’t know that I had that many clothes and I couldn’t even remember what I had. Obviously, it felt amazing. After watching the documentary and a few times of decluttering, I stopped wanting stuff as much as I did before.

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Minimalism is a lifestyle and an option. We are people and we want stuff as desired. I think requiring people to be complete minimalist is just wishful thinking because it’s literally not that easy. But we can totally learn from the lifestyle and help to change the situation even a little. We can buy less stuff, we can save money and wait a littler longer than usual to get new clothes from an ethical brand, we can break the silence and talk about this with our friends. Tidying up isn’t the only thing that you should focus on. I believe it’s not all about how it looks.

I went to the city to shop for the first time since the new year started the other day. My friend had a coupon that we could get 10% off in the entire mall and it was almost expired so we went. I was using my washable beauty blender for two years and it got crumbly, so, I needed a new one. I went straight to the makeup store and bought it first. I was looking for new earrings as well, so we walked around from the top floor but what was surprising to me was I couldn’t find anything I wanted at all. Nothing in the mall was attractive to me even though they were “kinda” cute. I would’ve bought them without thinking a few years ago. I ended up finding the perfect ones when we were about to go home. I wouldn’t have found them if I hadn’t waited for something I really wanted!

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What can we do?

I think we just don’t know how everything works. So as I said earlier, we should at least learn, know where the clothes come from and how they are made. Details are: stop buying from the fast fashion and know the worth of products and the true cost. That’s what I’m working on right now.

The documentary was made in 2015 which is already 4 years ago from now. I feel so ashamed for not knowing any of these issues for such a long time. I did buy clothes from these fast fashion brands often because they were cheap and cute. I even used to work in a fast fashion brand. I still have the clothes I bought from them. But I stopped going to these stores after I knew all of this. I don’t even think I wanna go back. It’s because I knew the background of this issue and my material desires have been fading after decluttering as well. I felt really bad for getting rid of all the clothes I had, but that made me realize how bad randomly purchasing stuff is . It’s not easy to get something only from ethical stores due to the prices, the design, and the locations. But, by paying the right amount for something it’s showing appreciation to someone who made it. It’s not just you pay and it’s done. If the store sells something for $10, naturally the cost is supposed to be cheaper than that. We can already imagine that the amount of the payment for the workers.

The brands need to take responsibility for what they sell and WE, who can choose what to buy and where to buy from should be aware of the weight and power of our choices.

I wanna make a list of fashionable ethical brands when I get more information. Stay tuned & I will link some pages where you can learn more about fast fashion and ethical brands. Thank you for reading.x

Fast Fashion Brands to Avoid

How fast fashion is destroying developing countries

35 Fair Trade & Ethical Clothing Brands Betting Against Fast Fashion

What really happens to old clothes dropped in those in-store recycling bins

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Two Years Of Working In Retail

I stepped aside from my job that I worked for two years on January 2nd.

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I started working at a retail store in the city when I was 20. It wasn’t technically my first time working in a clothings store because I had worked at another clothing store before that. But it didn’t last long. Their working schedule was bad and I thought I didn’t fit in at all. I thought working in retail wasn’t for me. But, I still needed a job so, I applied to a different store that my friend was working at. Honestly, I regretted applying after I did because I didn’t like the first one. After a few days, they called me back and I started working in January exactly two years ago. I would’ve never guessed that I’d work there for two years.

I remember my first day well. I chose my outfit with my manager. It was just a plain ivory shirt and jeans. My hair was short so when I look at my old photos from back then, I look like a baby. lol I introduced myself in the morning meeting and I remember I was awkward. They made me hold outfits to show customers at the entrance. At that time, I already regretted that I got the job on the first day, thinking “This is not what I wanted to do”

But I needed the job to make money and also I couldn’t just quit again because of the reason that I didn’t like it. I kept telling myself that I should keep doing it at least a little more or I wouldn’t beat my weakness.

I was working there for 6 months without realizing. My friend had left the job but it didn’t keep me from staying. I started being able to do more tasks. At first, it was hard to talk to strangers while I was working (even for me as a people person) and ask what they are looking for and all the basic stuff that retail sellers would ask. So the first 6 months, I got to practice communicating with complete strangers. I wasn’t that bad at it before but when it came to work, it was a little harder. Also the store had sales all the time. But it wasn’t like “everything is 50% off!” it was like “this thin knitted shirt is 30% off but that sweater is 40%, oh and the cardigans aren’t on sale so don’t make any mistakes!” that kind of sale. So I hated being a cashier because of the most confusing pricing that made even the staff confused. If I make a mistake, I’d get in a trouble so I had to really be caraful about it for a while.

After a year, this was surprising to me too but I found myself enjoying my job. I became really good at doing the cashier and I could easily talk to the customers and I started being more comfortable when I talk. Even I’ve noticed it by myself that I sound more open and bright which was becoming that way naturally. I hated answering the phone calls at work because I honestly didn’t know how to say things properly when it came to phone calls. I couldn’t talk how I wanted because I was too nervous. But now that has been added to one of my easy tasks at work.

I was such a worrywart when I was younger. I’d be so worried about thing I’d never done and get scared beforehand. After I worked there, I was getting more confident not getting scared of things I wasn’t used to every time I went to work anymore. New people came in and I became the person who teaches them. It felt weird at first because I was the one who was taught all the time until then.

After a year and a half, I started thinking about when I should quit this job. It wasn’t like I didn’t like it but, I didn’t mean to keep working there forever in the first place. So, I kind of started figuring out when I should leave. But #1 thing I had to consider was What should I do next?

I wanted 2019 to be something new, not staying the same working in the same place and do the same thing I can already do. So I decided to apply for YMS last July which is basically a working visa in the U.K. that allows me to live and work there for two years maximum. Though I wasn’t chosen, they are open for applications in January and July so I was going to reapply in January. In 2018, I was also trying to do more creative projects such as writing more articles, submitting a video to Awesomeness TV, making a zine page, taking more photos daily, starting this blog etc. I wasn’t really sure what those things would lead to for my future but I didn’t wanna just let time go doing nothing. I just really wanted to get out of the same old situation because I knew 2019 is going to be the same if I just stay the same.

On December, the situation completely changed. I had this opportunity to get a new job which might sound too good to be true. It’s a whole different story so I might write more details about it someday. But yeah, when I knew I could leave my current job and start something new, I couldn’t wait to tell my managers that I’m leaving. The people at the store were super nice though. They took care of me really well. So it kind of hurt me to tell them that I’m leaving so suddenly (since I got the new job all of the sudden) but I was glad when they told me how they were excited for me.

Working there was honestly really hard sometimes because of the huge amount of customers lining up, so many things to remember, taking care of phone calls and unreasonable customers, wearing heels for 8 hours and so on. So I was always super tired after work and wondered once in a while what I was doing.

But after these two years, I am so grateful for how I’ve become as a person. I got the idea of how can I work efficiently for me and for my coworkers which I ended up getting the compliment that I was super helpful from a lot of people. I was able to look at things wider to see what I needed to do and think how could I get done this task quicker. The way I talk has changed and I sound more confidence now. I don’t get nervous when I talk with people I see for the first time anymore. I feel like everything got easier which I think is awesome. The skill I got from the job isn’t something I can only use for the job. It was something I needed to have to improve how I will be in the future.

Saying goodbye to people at work was sad but working there and the people absolutely helped me to grow up. I got to use my English a lot since it was located in the city so that was good too. What I learned was even if you aren’t good at something, you will be changing if you keep doing it. Maybe you’ll even find it fun. Working at a retail store wasn’t something I wanted to do for the rest of my life and I already knew it when I started it. However, it ended up giving me so many things. And since I was able to have my personal time at the same time, I had a good balance between work and my time. I got to travel, try being a writer, and take photos and do things I was interested in while I was working part time. I think that’s why I was able to keep doing it even though it wasn’t what I truly wanted to do. That can apply to any kind of jobs not only retail ones. But I think working as a retail salesperson is one of the best jobs to enhance your communication skills and most important, learn how to be yourself in any environment.

(If you start considering working in retail, you might wanna know if the brand is worth to work for. I didn’t care about it at all before. I mean I had no idea it was even a thing that we should care about until someone told me about it. And after I watched this documentary called The True Cost, I was shocked. Knowing where the clothes from your brand come from and how they are made is probably the first step to make a change for the clothing industry now. I will write about more details probably in the next post.)

Thank you for reading 🙂

3 Lessons From My Previous Relationships (Thank U, Next inspired post)

Look what I got
Look what you taught me
And for that, I say
Thank you, next

 

As woman of 2018, Ariana Grande dropped her most iconic music video for “Thank U, next”, I looked back at my old relationships. I mean, to be really honest, I haven’t been in a “serious” relationship yet. Still, I got a lot of things out of it that I didn’t even think about before and I learned a lot. I will experience more and more from now on but I want to share a some of the things I noticed from my own experiences so far. First, I wanna mention that a relationship related topic is one of the complicating things to talk about. One tip doesn’t work for everyone so please read this post as my own experience and if you have/had a similar situation as mine, maybe it will be a little tip for you 🙂 But if you don’t, I hope you enjoy reading what I’ve gained from the past relationships.

 

1, “I’ve learned from the pain. I turned out amazing”

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So I was sticking with this thought for a long time that “I won’t try again because I once failed” Once I find the one and, let’s say, we start dating. I was like “I thought about this really well, he said he liked me, and I like him too, so nothing’s going wrong!” I know, I was this simple minded. That’s why I felt really upset when things didn’t go as I expected and it made me not want a “next time” anymore.  Letting those bad experiences make you think you’re not gonna be happy again IS wrong. You learned from the past so you can do better next time. Maybe it’ll be your second time, or third time. But as long as you try and learn, it only gets better. My friend told me not to let the bad experience stop you from the next one which might be good. You never know, like, you really never know unless you try again.

2, Be happy, be positive

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When I’m in a relationship or genuinely fall in-love with someone, I feel like I’ve always been the saddest girl on the earth who thinks “I can’t make this happen” “He’s gonna start dating someone else” “If I say this, he’s gonna hate me” Like, I was always in such a dark mood looking through sad quotes that made me even more depressed at night, thinking about him. I do understand why I was like that because I didn’t have confidence and also, maybe it’s only me but being sad only made me feel like I was in-love. I needed at least the proof that I was in-love because I wasn’t satisfied with anything other than that. I was just waiting for the guy to text me, make a move and all. So basically I didn’t have things to do except for being sad which didn’t make anything better. I didn’t know what to do when it comes to a relationship in general, to be honest. But after a while, I realized that it was pointless acting like that. I mean it’s weird but I finally got bored? of being a drama queen because it didn’t make me happy at all! And you know what, just by shfting the mind to a pleasant one changes the situation a lot. I feel like I’m making it sound so easy but you just have to realize it by yourself and try. Just follow accounts that give you nice and happy vibes, see more positive quotes and do whatever makes you smile.

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I picked 2 different types of pictures from Pinterest. (they’re clickable!)

Which picture do you feel makes you encouraged?

Respect your feeling that you like him in a positive way. Talk to him more(not too much obviously but I was this kind of girl who almost never texted even though I wanted to talk because I thought he didn’t care), believe that you’re gonna make this happen and take only good vibes (it’s better than being all sad all of the time), and thankful for having someone you care for this much. Those habits are way more healthy for us when we’re in love and I believe it leads us to have a good relationship at the end and gives you more confidence.

3, Stay in controlled of yourself

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I was SO bad at it.  I didn’t wanna ruin the situation so I did anything to make everything easier for him but me. I ruined my lifestyle because I stayed up late together, made myself broke from going out/eating out too much, and almost lost what I was passionate about because all I cared back then was how I could impress him. Since then, luckily I realized how stupid I was. It was literally one of the bad influences so I’m just so glad that now I know it’s important to be with someone I truly feel comfortable with and see if we can compromise, not sacrifice one of them. I should care for the other and should be with someone who also cares as much as I do.

But I couldn’t have those lessons without having the experiences. Taking care of relationships is really complicating and hard. It’s not like something you can just tell people “Do this!” “Don’t do this!” because there really isn’t a correct way to constant success. Sometimes, things just don’t work out even if you are doing it right. But I believe that those things I wrote in this post can keep you feel happier and helthier for sure when you are fall in love. We should take care of ourselves well before we start loving someone else. I wanna be thankful for my ex for giving me those lessons and thank you, NEXT ❤

 

Lily

 

(header pic: Kat)

Petit à petit / Learning French With Me (new series!)

Here is a new series called “Petit à petit”

I want to make people feel like they can learn new things petit à petit(little by little) through this series.

One of my life goals is being able to speak at least three languages. That has been my dream since I started learning English. I speak Japanese, which is my mother tongue and my second language, English.

I have been learning English by myself for six years. I was thinking about what language would be next and Spanish came to my mind first. I was going to study Spanish last year because I was listening to a lot of Spanish songs but I ended up not being able to study it seriously. I still love Spanish though!

There are a lot of reasons I became interested in English. I liked disney channel, American shows, celebrities, fashion, and also most of my friends were American. But what I can say confidently is I loved the culture, not like “oh I have to study English” “I wanna be able to speak in English”. The language itself wasn’t the first thing that encouraged me to study English.

So, lately  I have been into the French culture so much which is great motivation for learning French for me.

Camille Rowe is one of my icons and I loved the video “How to Speak French with Camille Rowe”. I can’t remember how many times I have watched it.

Recently, I have been enjoying watching french lifestyle videos on YouTube. I like the neutral, natural beauty look that french style has. I like the way they dress, how they look and how simple their life is.

As I’m getting older, simple things seem attractive to me. And I realized that my mom lives similarly to the French. She is one of the people who think quality over quantity. She has the best vintage clothes from the 70’s and she doesn’t care about the trend. She knows what fits her well and what she likes to wear. She keeps stuff that she got when she was around my age and they are still in amazing condition. They are something you can call vintage, not old. And now I have been inspired by that lifestyle more.

I got the book called Lessons from Madam Chic a few years ago. And I recently read it again and it says we all deserve to be treated well by ourselves, for example, eating good quality food that actually makes our bodies stay healthy, wearing the most comfortable pajamas that touch your skin nicely and so on.

For me, learning a new language is absorbing the culture, not only the language. I don’t really know about France and the language yet but I’m so excited to learn and for the day when I visit Paris and use French there. Also, I loooove wine so it will be a good opportunity to know about wine too. Ah, I’m getting excited!!

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It took me so long to get this level of English. I think that is because I didn’t really set the goals. I didn’t have a time limit or anything because I had tons of free time then. So I was just studying whenever I felt like it but now I have things to do more that I should focus on in my life such as work, career, etc. Well, it’s not a bad thing doing it when you feel like it because it’s a hobby. But this time for learning French, I want to try the efficient way to learn and see how it makes a difference.

Let’s plan long term goals

So as I said earlier, I don’t want to take a lot of time to learn French but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna skip the basics. Building the basic is the most important thing for learning a new language because you will have to come back to it after all. So what I need to do is keep studying or at least speak or hear French everyday.

My long term goal would be:

Being able to have daily conversations without enormous effort

Read The Little Prince in French

To accomplish the long term goal, I will do:

Finish at least one text book a month and build the basic until I get used to it.

Speak / hear French EVERYDAY!!

Keep learning on Memrise (the language learning app)

And of course, make French friends!

Une langue différente est une vision différente de la vie.

( A different language is a different vision of life )

21 Things I’ve learned at 21

1, Facing a problem earlier is better than facing a problem later.

2, The result will follow you after. It’s better to do something rather than doing nothing.

3, Being in a relationship wasn’t that great. Well, maybe I just haven’t met the right person yet but I feel so comfortable by myself right now.

4, Acting confident does help you to learn how to be confident.

5, Don’t hate/fight back. Even if the person is amazingly rude to you. You can’t be rude to her/him as well because the only thing left is you feel bad after all. Don’t drop as low as their standards.

6, You can choose your friends. You don’t have to like everyone.

7, Taking an action really changes your life.

8, Waking up early is great! It made me realize how many things I could have done instead of waking up late.

9, Things you thought would be too hard for you will turn into be the easiest thing on the earth after you get used to it.

10, I can take care of plants well. (I thought I was bad at ittt) Taking care of plants is really good for avoiding stress for you because I personally think you care about them only when you also care about you enough.

11, Natural aroma oil smells way better than perfumes. And it’s relaxing.

12, Staying away from a message app lets you do so many things.

13, Wear ONLY comfortable shoes because no matter how cute they are, you’re gonna regret that you wore them.

14, If you wanna save your money, just leave your credit card and cash card at home.

15, Money actually can buy time.

16, Meditation really helps me to relax. Try it for 5 minutes.

17, Always take a deep breath. We tend to forget to breath deeply when we don’t pay attention.

18, Compliment someone for anything you realize even it’s a tiny little thing. Don’t hold it inside because it could make someone’s day by just telling it.

19, Pick good quality food. Knowing where does it come from and how it was made is a part of choosing good food.

20, You don’t know about yourself as much as you think. Ask yourself questions often and try to follow what your heart says.

21, Keep going! You don’t really have to be good at something. You just have to keep doing whatever you do. 

I’ve learned a lot this year and I’m so greatful for everything I’ve done and experienced. Can’t wait to try more and more things in my life!