Hongkong January 2015

Here are some snippets of my Hongkong getaway which is my first travel goal for 2015. I totally enjoyed the whole trip except for the fact that I lost my camera. Thus, all these iPhone photos with VSCO cam enhancement. I felt really down for losing it after 3 years of usage but I chose not to dabble on the sadness. I was rather thankful that I only lost a camera and not my precious life. It made me felt better.

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I fell in love with Hongkong. My jaws dropped in marvel when I saw the modern architecture of the whole city. As much as I love Tokyo, I must admit that Hongkong’s architecture is more impressive. A modern jungle of skyscrapers indeed, I was amazed with how the city managed to maximize the limited space they have.

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 The King of Hongkong films Bruce Lee in the Avenue of Stars with the infamous Hongkong skyline as his backdrop.

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The Central District and the Po Lin Monastery where the famous giant Tian Tan Buddha resides. As the city progresses, a part of history remains in Hongkong.

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When in Hongkong, one should eat dimsum and dumplings. My grade school friend James took me to a street in Jordan where this famous dumpling house is. Too bad I forgot the name of the dimsum place.

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I took with me some of my favorite winter pieces. Hongkong winter was friendlier compared to Tokyo but the wind made it colder for me. No T no shade but I thought it was funny and weird to see people there wearing a down jacket with shorts and summer flipflops in the middle of the cold season. I just couldn’t handle the madness. Is it cold or hot? Come on and make up your mind!!!!!!!!

Knowing that it’s a haven for shoppers, I also visited the famous shopping districts of Hongkong like Causeway Bay, Wan Chai, Tsim Sha Tsui and the Tung Chung City Gate Outlets. Yet the only thing I was able to purchase was a pair of basic black shorts from Armani Exchange and some goodies for my friends in the Night Street Market in Jordan.

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My Hongkong-based friend from university Ben toured me around the city. It was so great to catch up and shared with him some enlightening talks while enjoying Lan Kwai Fong.

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I love Repulse Bay! I wish it was summer so I could have a little dip in the ocean. But I heard that Hongkong summers are nasty because of humidity. Errrrr no thanks!

And I love that Repulse Bay was dog heaven. There were a lot of K9 friends in the area being walked by their owners and helpers.

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More city shots of Hongkong

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So good to finally eat Twelve Cupcakes and Jollibee again. I almost cried while eating Jollibee because it was a big part of my childhood. *sniff*

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Last dinner at Hongkong International Airport before going back to Tokyo.

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My favorite spot in Hongkong, the Victoria Bay where you can see the most beautiful skyline in the world. It’s a testament of Hongkong being Asia’s World City.

I never thought I’d say this but I really love Hongkong. I’m pretty sure that I’ll come back here not only because I haven’t visited Ocean Park and Hongkong Disneyland (I’m planning to go there with friends next time) but because of the vibrant energy it gives to whoever visits it.

*じゃあね~*

A Guide to Self Confidence

It was a sunny afternoon. My co-teachers and I were talking when one of them asked me,

“How did you become this confident person that you are right now?”

The question actually made me think.

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T-shirt: Uniqlo heat tech
Leather jacket: resale FUGA
Pants: GU Japan
Leather backpack and leather baseball cap: Marc by Marc Jacobs
Shoes: Zara
Photos: Rexcy Domingo

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I was bullied in elementary school. I went to this all-boys Catholic institution where all my classmates picked on me for having an unusual long chin. They were calling me names like crescent moon and stuff and they even told me like I shouldn’t bow down coz once I did it, I would kill myself from getting stabbed by my own chin. Aside from that, I was also bullied because of my flamboyancy. I  even remember my 6th grade adviser (equivalent of a homeroom teacher) getting angry with me and my other effeminate classmates because we’re too gay. At that time, I felt so bad it made me cry buckets of tears that I wanted to leave that school.

After I left grade school, I promised myself no one can ever do those things to me again. Nobody can ever step on me like how my classmates and my homeroom teacher did to me. I went to high school and university and thank goodness, I became one popular kid who was loved by most people including my teachers and classmates, though there were a few who misunderstood by sharp tongue and loudness. But this time, I knew how to protect myself and brush off the haters. So what happened?

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Confidence is a very important factor in life. WIthout it, there’s a lot of things that we can’t achieve. But there’s a bunch of people out there who are all having problems with their self-esteem. Based on my experience, these are some ways how I boosted mine.

1. Know thy self.

You have to be aware of yourself. You have to know the best and the worst things about you, your strengths and weaknesses and your assets and your liabilities. It’s actually better if you also try to understand why and how you become who you are. If there’s one person who should know yourself the best, it should be you. Ever since I was a kid, I knew I was special but during my elementary years, there were a lot of things that made me feel insecure which made me forget about my specialness.

2. Accept and love thy self.

I cried too much because of the bullying but I stopped and examined myself. I believed my chin wasn’t funny and my flamboyancy doesn’t annoy myself. I knew myself more and I came into terms with myself. Once you’ve known yourself, you have to accept who you are. You should embrace your wholeness because it’s you and when things go wrong, the whole world can turn its back against you and all you got is nothing and nobody but yourself alone. It’s very hard to exist in this lifetime when you’re not at peace with yourself.

Once you’ve found acceptance, love comes in. This one may take time because  it takes maturity to finally realize what self-love is really all about. It’s not that kind of narcissistic and egotistic kind of self-love but it’s more of, like what I said, accepting who you are and having peace with it. They even told me like I shouldn’t bow down coz once I did, I’m gonna kill myself.

3. Use your assets and work on your liabilities.

If you think you got the face and body plus the talent, go and be a model. If you’re good at calculating numbers, be an accountant. If you’re good at designing and drawing, do something related to it like painting, architecture or fashion or industrial design. If you can write well, be a journalist, playwright or whatever occupation that has something to do with that. You have to make use of your talents because those are your tickets to success. Things will be easier if you’re doing something that seems to come out so natural from you. And when it comes out from you easily, it breeds that certain confidence in your heart.

On the other hand, there are two things that you can do with your weaknesses. One is working on them. You can go there, study it and turn it into a capability. Because sometimes, we just need to be familiar with something to be able to do it. I suggest that you try doing it because sometimes, it’s just us who limit ourselves and our capacities. But if you’ve already tried and nothing’s happening, you just have to let it go (no music cues happening here, okay?). You’re human and we are imperfect beings. We have to accept the fact that we can’t have everything. That’s why we meet people on the way who can help us with these kind of stuff. And whether you buy this or not, sometimes, these little imperfections are what help us to find the right people in our lives. With that being said, we go to number four.

4. Surround yourself with the right people.

My family always believed in my talent. My grandma specifically would go and brag about me to her friends about my activities in school and my latest achievements. I also have a solid group of friends who stick to me no matter what and they aren’t afraid to spill to me the truth once I’m lost.

When I say “right people”, I mean the people who will cheer for you because they believe in you. They are the ones who are gonna push you up and help you float when you’re drowning. They are also the ones who you can seek advice from during times of confusion. They are also the ones who aren’t afraid to break it down to you once you’re blinded by your ego, emotions and even if you only have bothering booger in your nostrils. They can be your family, friends, mentors etc. They don’t have to be a lot. Choosing the members of your support team is like shopping for clothes- quality over quantity.  Once you’ve done this, you can see yourself in a more positive angle.

At the same time, you need to let go of the people who are toxic to your being. These are the ones giving you metal balls of negativity that don’t help you to walk forward in your journey or drown you in the sea of self-pity and insecurity. You need to stay away from them because they are stepping on your confidence which can’t help you to blossom in to this great person you are destined to be. I’ve met a lot of these people. I would usually feel bad to delete them from my life because I’d love to have peace with others as much as possible. But they weren’t helping me at all so I had to do it even if was hard for me.

5. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

Mistakes don’t happen just to put us down. We have to see their brighter sides. They happen for a reason and that is to teach as a lesson or two. We need to bump our heads in sharp edges most of the time to see until where can we go far. Once you’ve failed, never hesitate to try again because once you’re familiar with something, it can be easily done the next time.

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Confidence is a vital tool in life. It will help you seize different opportunities that will also help you be the best person that you can be. Fashionably speaking, it can help you in finding your own style. Once you’ve become confident, you’re not afraid to experiment with clothes and find what message or story you really wanna tell through what you’re wearing.

*じゃあね〜*

Resolutions

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T-shirt: Adidas Originals
Hoodie and shoes: Nike
Harem shorts: LATokyo
Oversized zipped hoodie on the waist and leather backpack: Marc by Marc Jacobs
Ranger bucket hat: Funktique Tokyo
Photography: Rexcy Domingo

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Hi guys! Happy New Year! How were your celebrations? I hope it was all merry and for my Philippine-based readers, I hope your fingers are still intact with you. For the benefit of those who don’t know, Filipinos celebrate New Year with firecrackers like how the Chinese do it in the Lunar New Year. Annually, there are numbers of people- from adults to children- who get injured due to this tradition, and sometimes, stray bullets from irresponsible gun-holders. Oops! No intentions to start with negativity in my first post of the year but there’s nothing wrong if I remind people about responsibility. Ok, that’s it!

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These photos were taken on the last few days of last year so I was having second thoughts if I should post this on the first day of 2015. I didn’t wanna start the New Year with an early throwback because things should be moving forward, not backwards. But since January 1st is a Thursday, I might as well just do it.

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This is the outfit that I wore to Disneyland with my blogger friends. Because I was having so much fun, I didn’t bother myself from taking photos for an outfit post which I didn’t regret at all. I decided to have the same look when I visited the Esprit Dior exhibition in Ginza and the Kyary Pamyu Pamyu-seum in Roppongi with my girl Rexcy. The temperature was a bit higher during my Disneyland and Ginza-Roppongi days which allowed me to walk around without a jacket but I knotted that oversized hoodie around just in case it becomes chilly at night (which eventually did).

The t-shirt was given to me by my dearest Emika on my birthday last year. I couldn’t wait for summer to wear it so I decided to put it on my trusted black hoodie with a heated technology undergarment beneath. It just fits with my new bucket hat which I bought in Funktique Tokyo during their second anniversary party. There was a black version of it but I decided to get the white one since I’m eyeing another black hat from somewhere.

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Speaking of New Year, did you guys write your resolutions or goals for 2015? I already did and it includes physical fitness, traveling, branding, business and personal matters. They are small goals but I hope I can achieve them since I was able to achieve most of my goals last year.

And let me say this: I wish for romance this 2015. I usually don’t say this because I feel so desperate and pathetic and I’m actually not in a hurry. However, I don’t see any harm if I shout that out to the universe for a chance of being heard. Yes, I want a handsome, smart, tall, rich and generous partner. Find me already, for goodness sake!

How about you guys? What are your resolutions this year? Is there something specific that you’re excited about this 2015? Tell me.

*じゃあね〜*

PS: Yes, guys! I’m trying out some different stuff, like the text alignments, outfit details etc, here in the blog because it’s the New Year and it’s the perfect time to do some changes. Tell me how you think about it.

The Best Year Ever

Before I start, I apologize for the lack of creativity in the title of this year-ender post. It also sounds like a cliche that every adolescent girl says if you try to speak it aloud. However, I can’t think of a more appropriate title than this one because 2014 is basically the best year ever in my life. So I think you and I need to just deal with it. In addition to that, this is gonna be a lengthy and wordy post with almost 2,000 words. But I hope that you will stick until the end because I poured my heart to it. Ok, here it goes!

2014 was a good year to me. More than the bad, there were a lot of good things that happened. It was so remarkable that I still can’t believe that it’s almost over now. Where did 2014 go? Maybe I was enjoying it too much that it just went down the drain…in a good way. Let this post be a review of how this year became to be the best year of my life.

1. Moving to my new apartment. Doors opened when I moved out of my parents’ house and decided to live on my own in February of 2014. It’s been a plan since I got here in Japan and after years of gaining courage and money, I couldn’t be happier when I finally did it. Moving out and living on my own terms made me realize a lot about myself. Learning to be independent, being responsible and budgeting my own money are all included in that package but the best thing about it is finally having my own space and peace of mind. Like what I said, I grew up in Manila being so noisy outside but when I get home, all I want is a peaceful room to be in. Plus, I get to practice my amateur cooking skills at times.

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My first day in my empty apartment last February

2. Got promoted in my job. After 6 years of working in the same school as a kindergarten teacher, my efforts have been finally rewarded. I got promoted and I am now the current head foreign teacher in our school. I know I couldn’t get the job if two of my senior teachers didn’t leave. I didn’t want to be in a higher position either because I didn’t want extra load of work. But it happened like a bird landing on my shoulder for no reason. Through this blessing, I learned so much about coping with people at work and understanding them. I know there’s more knowledge that will come my way with this new challenge and responsibility and I can’t wait for them.

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Me while waiting for the kids’ graduation ceremony in the silliest way

3. The year of travel. Three years after I first did it, I was able to travel again. My Southeast Asian trip (Kuala Lumpur and Penang in Malaysia, Singapore for the second time around and Bangkok, Thailand) was one for the books. It taught me so many things about our Southeast Asian friends and their cultures. I’ve seen so much beauty and moreover, I was able to see my best friends again after a long period of time. Traveling, indeed, is something that you spent money on and makes you feel richer. It makes your mind and your soul fuller with all these knowledge and experience you gain from it. I even once said that traveling is better than shopping in a sense that your clothes will get old, damaged and might be even get stolen from you but all that memories you have in a foreign place will always remain and locked up in your heart forever.

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Top row: Kuala Lumpur and Penang, Malaysia, Center: Singapore for the second time, Bottom: Bangkok, Thailand

I also went to some places here in Japan like Kozushima Island and Shimoda City in the Izu Peninsula. It made me realize that there are more wonders I need to discover also in my second home.

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My Izu and Kozushima adventures with friends

4. Becoming a fan of RuPaul. RuPaul and his famous reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race has been in my radar for three years but I never really paid attention until this year. I’ve enjoyed every season and episode of the show that’s why I even downloaded his What’s The T podcast with his best friend Michelle Visage. And what a blessing! This podcast didn’t only make me laugh until my bladders bleed, it taught me a bunch of things ranging from beauty, gossip, life, love and relationships. Not taking life too seriously, the importance of vulnerability, meditation and metaphysical truth, enlightenment and others. I truly believe that this contributed on how I see and treat my life now. Subscribing to their podcast and following RuPaul were the best decisions I won’t ever regret for the rest of my life.

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5. Gaining new friends and cherishing the old ones. I’ve met new friends in my life this year and I’m so blessed that the universe continues to bless me with an abundance of good people. I know I’m a hard pill to swallow most of the time but I appreciate the fact that I’m still able to make new friendships and relationships with others. I credit this mostly to my blogging life. I’ve met (well personally and online) amazing spirits through the Internet and it feels like I’ve known them too long. Thank you and welcome to this crazy world of mine!

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From top left: With Misaki Hoshi of Vintage Qoo, With Saki of H&M PR Team, With Natalia of Tokyoholic.me, With Harajuku fashion icon Elleanor, With Ashley, Misato of Funktique and Tokyo-based Singaporean designer Josiah Chua, With Japanaese brand MYOB creative directors Tanimi and Comi, With Yiling and Dann, and with LATokyo team Leo and Eddie

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From top left: With the Philippines top female fashion bloggers Laureen Uy, Tricia Gosingtian and Camille Co, with the Magno siblings Angel, Aemanuelle and Aivan , with my JP-based blogger friends Kaila, Emika, Kiko and Ashley, long time JP-based friends Dhang Corpuz of FilJap Magazine, Mariye, Din, Ogh, Rexcy, Carey, Ashley and visiting Justin, and with Harajuku style icons Elleanor and Hirari Ikeda

But I wanna be more thankful particularly to those people who’ve been with me even way before I came here to Japan. From my elementary and high school clique to university friends, I’ve learned that friendship is like shopping for clothes- quality over quantity. It doesn’t matter if you only have a few friends but what really matters is the fact that they’re the ones who’ll stick with you till the end. They are the ones who’ll cheer and support you all the way and who’ll break it down for you once you lose your way and get blinded with your ego. The people who can do all of the above are who you call true friends. The numbers don’t matter as long as you have a strong wall of these people at your back. And this year, I’m really thankful for realizing who they are in my life.

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From top left: With my best friend Zowie and her daughter/my goddaughter Raya, With high school best friend Micko in Singapore, With my best friends from theater days Joy and Apprelle in Bangkok and with one of my grade school best buddies Jowen in Ginza 

6. Finally understand and experiencing the essence of family. I grew up in a broken family that gave a me a deep wound in my heart that won’t be healed forever. My life will always be an incomplete jigsaw puzzle. But this year, I was able to celebrate most of the occasions with my family here in Japan, especially Christmas and my birthday which I used to celebrate alone or drunk with my friends and neighbors in Manila. That’s why family celebrations don’t really mean a thing to me while I was growing up. I didn’t really have a full understanding of family is. Or better yet, I didn’t have a family  that made me feel belong. Even if my grandparents and my relatives tried their best to fill the hole, they just could not. This year, finally, after, moving out and finally getting my personal space, I realized that nothing beats the presence of family. Though you will need to be alone a lot of times in your life, there will be moments in life life that’s worth sharing with a group of people who know you in a more personal way. And that’s your family.

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7. Finally realizing that I’m a goddamn lucky person and finding happiness from within. When I came to Japan, I had to remap my goals because everything just got swirled by a huge hurricane. I used to hate the fact that I was here and I felt so unlucky and damned because I was getting left behind by my peers who were advancing in their lives with their doctoral degrees and university teaching careers. I wanted the same in my life but I was brought to a foreign path which I thought was too dark. I felt sorry for myself and usually questioned why it happened to me. When I went home to visit three years ago, a wise professor told me that I shouldn’t compare my life to other people because my luck is different from the luck of my peers. I didn’t get it at that time but I certainly do now. I live in a first world country where living is easier compared to where I grew up as a little boy. I have a good job that pays my bills and lets me do whatever I wanna do in life like shopping and traveling. I can do whatever I want in my own terms because I’ve learned how to be dependent on myself. I didn’t have to sacrifice anything in my life and suffer so that others could realize their own dreams. A lot of people are dreaming about the life I have which I used to take for granted. Since then, I learned to appreciate more what I have in my hands. I can dream bigger but I always feel thankful for what’s on my plate now. Through that, I found happiness deep within. It’s the kind of happiness that’s so simple and yet, it sheds a warm light that fills any void in my soul.

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2014 was so good that I’m quite scared what 2015 Year will bring to me. Yet, I learned also this year that the NOW should be the one that always count. The past is in the past and thinking of the future might make you more anxious so the only thing that you have in your hands is the present (nope! I’m not gonna cue Let It Go here). That’s the only thing that you can change and it will only change for the better if you choose happiness. It’s hard to let go of a beautiful past but there’s always a bright promise from the future so I will face 2015 with great hopes.

Have a good year everyone!

“Dear universe, thank you for a wonderful year of blessings that you gave me. I keep all the positivity within me and release all the hurt and pain of the past and may you transform them to an energy called love. Guide my thoughts and feelings so I may face the future with optimism and strength. Let the people I love feel the warmth of my heart and may you also bless them with all good things. Thank you.”

*chu*

Kyari Pamyu Pamyu-seum: Sweet Costumes in the Candy Forest Exhibition

After all the glamour and luxury of visiting the Esprit Dior: The World of Dior exhibition in Ginza, I went straight to TV Asahi in Roppongi to visit the Kyary Pamyu Pamyu-seum: Sweet Costumes in the Candy Forest exhibition for an overdose of cuteness. I know guys! I’m more into monochromatic stuff- black, white, gray and things like that. But you see, I have a variety of friends and most of them love kawaii stuff. I have Kaila and Ashley in my circle who have influenced me to love kawaii in spite of my image to be a BW person. I think exposing yourself to things which are completely different from you will make you learn a few big things about yourself.  After all, I had a very colorful era in my style history.

For those people who don’t know, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is a famous Japanese pop idol who makes electronic music but is more well known for her kawaii style which is inspired by Harajuku, specifically the decora subculture. According to her WikiPage, she started as a fashion blogger in 2009 and started to join the music industry in 2011, with her hit single “PonPonPon”. Ever since, she made a name for herself not only as a music artist but as an ambassadress of Japan’s kawaii culture which makes everyone dub her as Harajuku’s pop idol. She has graced the world with her hip dance music together with her unique sense of style.

This exhibition showcases all her costumes that she wore in the span of her three years in show business. It has already been done last year but due to insistent public demand, TV Asahi did it again and even brought it to other parts of Japan like Saitama, Yamagata and Kyoto.

I thought it was too early for this sort of homage to her great fashion hits because she still has a long way to go since she’s still on the top of her game. But anyways, this doesn’t mean that there’s no reason to celebrate the artistry of her style that captured the hearts of, not only of young Japanese people, but also of other kawaii culture lovers around the world. I mean, come on! Katy Perry, Niccola Formichetti, Lady Gaga, Dazed and Confused and I-D Magazines love her so much.

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From the moment we arrived at the entrance, we were greeted with kawaii overload. It felt like Disneyland and Sanrio Puroland combined together and multiplied their cute powers. It was indeed a bright pastel colored forest of sweets while you see all of KPP’s costumes and wigs worn by these faceless mannequins with a huge screen that features a video medley of her music videos and tours.

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Esprit Dior: The World of Dior Exhibition

After almost two months of wanting and dying to go, finally, I found the time to visit the Esprit Dior: The World of Dior exhibition in Ginza. It has been on going for almost the same time I’ve been wanting to go and it also coincides with Esprit Dior 2015 Tokyo collection fashion show which was held at the vast-spaced Ryugoku Kokugikan Sumo Stadium. The FREE, I repeat FREE, exhibition allows visitors to take a peek at the world of one of the most powerful fashion houses and see its evolution from the old days of history to the present times. From the founding days of Monsieur Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Gianfranco Ferre, John Galliano to the current Raf Simons era, it showcases how rich its past is and how it still gets inspired by tradition of femininity but with a touch of modernity.

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A portrait of Monsieur Dior by Japanese artist Iximia Kuniyoshi. It felt kind typing that name because the Japanese don’t usually use the letter ‘x’ in writing their names in romaji/alphabet.

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The exhibition specially emphasized on the special relationship of Dior and Japan. There were precious photos of Margot Fonteyn in her Dior costume for Madame Butterfly, Princess Michiko in her custom-made Dior wedding and old fashion shows that took place in Japan years ago. Haute couture pieces from the Dior archive were up to showcase the apparent inspiration from Japanese culture and tradition- from famous paintings, origami pleats, obi belts and others.

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Funktique Tokyo’s 2nd Anniversary

Last week, I went to Funktique Tokyo’s second anniversary party at their shop in Harajuku. I can’t believe how they were able to penetrate the Harajuku scene in a span of two years. Thanks to the hard work of Misato and her husband Hijiri! Funktique Tokyo came about after the Great Tohoku Earthquake  when Misato’s family decided to move to the city from Iwaki in Fukushima for their child Coco’s safety. Since then, the Harajuku store soared high and became one of the most well-known stores in the world famous fashion district.

Harajuku’s street style icons like Hirari Ikeda and Elleanor and other shop owners and staff from the area like Dog Harajuku, Bubbles, Punk Cake and others attended the event and enjoyed a night of drinks, sweets, snacks and good music.

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I felt so little of myself when I had my photo taken with these two Harajuku icons. I bow down to thee! Thanks to Funktique for this photo!

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Merry Christmas from Funktique Tokyo!!!! These sweaters are cute.

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Congratulations to Hijiri, Misato and their very cute angel Coco for a wonderful second anniversary! More power to you!

*chu*

Tokyo Disneyland December 2014

I just can’t believe that this blog’s been running for almost 5 years now and yet, I haven’t posted anything about my Tokyo Disneyland adventures. Well, that’s fine because I’m doing it now and this is the best Disney adventure I’ve ever had in my life. It’s indeed the happiest place on earth but thanks to my blogger friends- Ashley, Kaila, Kiko and Emika- this place became even more fun.

Actually, I was having second thoughts of joining the gang because I was already out of money and I was days away before pay day. Plus, the weather forecast the week before said there was 40% chances of rain but how could I resist the calling of happiness??

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The obligatory group shot in front of TD’s welcoming arch. From the left- me, Kaila, Emika, Kiko and Ashley.

My work is a station away from Maihama station (where Disney is) so I always see these kids and lovers wearing these costumes and head gears whenever they go there. I usually I don’t get the point but I gave in to the trend since I was going there with my kawaii ambassador friends.

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Since it was a Sunday and Disney’s doing it’s Christmas Fantasy theme, a huge crowd welcomed us as soon as we entered the gates of the theme park. It was also Christmas when I last went here with my best friend Zowie two years ago and it was nice seeing this huge Christmas tree again. Continue reading