Sunday, December 31, 2023

My 2023

Click for past year's wrap ups: [2022] [2021] [2020] [2019] [2018] [2017] [2016] [2015]

One full calendar year of living in Japan for me! I did spend most of 2022 in Japan as well (starting from late March 2022), but 2023 didn't involve moving or adjusting - it was just a lot of doing! I was so happy to have the opportunity to do a bunch of domestic exploring and just feel comfortable calling this place my "home" for the year. 

Favorite purchases
dazzlin tweed jacket and star embellished skirt set, MercuryDuo choker ribbon long sleeve/short sleeve ribbed top, MercuryDuo watercolor flower high waist flare skirt
EATME belted wooden sandals in black, Dr Martens heart bag in white, MercuryDuo chunky heel long boots
Popflex leggings with pockets, Terui light bands, Ohora petal rain semi-cured gel nail set
I really branched out from EATME this year (and completely away from Liz Lisa if you've been reading these since 2015 lol) and started buying more from some of the other brands that Runway Channel features like Resexxy, MercuryDuo and dazzlin. I have been loving warmer neutrals and longer skirts in addition to the typical black from EATME, but still buy the occasional cutesier item too. 
Both pairs of shoes here are so comfortable and were no brainers for picks to wear on trips (EATME sandals kicked ass during the Tohoku 5-day trip and the MercuryDuo boots survived in Seoul and Hokuriku). Meanwhile, I'm still loving the Dr Martens heart bag. I'm so happy I also got it in white this year and I'm hoping the lavender will restock sometime. 
In the last row, there's some miscellaneous stuff - Popflex leggings with pockets are what I wore on the majority of my runs this year including the races I did and were handy for storing fuel and my phone for easy access. I also started running after the sun went down, so the Terui lights (I wear them on my leg but they're designed for your arm) help make sure I'm visible in low lit areas. I got an Ohora kit from my SIL last year for Christmas, and I love the Petal Rain set. It's been a repeat buy for me over and over again. 

Favorite outfits/fashion
I initially wanted to pick out one outfit from each month, but I decided not to limit myself that way and just pick 12 that I really enjoyed or stood out to me when I was scrolling through the photos! It's majority long skirts and mostly new items, but a few old favorites used here and there. I never would have seen this being the selection 3 years ago, but I'm not mad about it and I love how I looked and felt in these. Review all of my monthly compilations through this link
In other fashion-related notes, oddly enough, I've really gotten into loose leg denim pants/jeans this year? I haven't actually purchased very many (literally just 1 so far), but I've been on the lookout for a pair I'm willing to drop some money on that fit just how I want them to. So far I love the fit of the two-tone wave design pants I bought from EVRIS, but am hoping to find something a little less wacky and am very determined!
I did get my hair cut this year in August, but didn't end up changing the style much. 
I attempted to grow out my bangs in between but I realized during my second attempt that I just feel so much better and more comfortable with the short bangs in the front (versus longer curtain bangs split in the middle). I think I might go for a total shoulder length or higher chop in 2024 though...stay tuned to see if I actually go through with it lmao.

International (outside of Japan) - Oahu, Hilo, Iowa, South Korea
Just one main trip home to Hawaii this year which we planned for during lychee season (in the summer). This is an annual family-motivated activity on my husband's side, and I never want to miss it if we can help it. We went to Hilo for two weekends and spent the week on Oahu in between but the time passed very quickly, and we had a lot to do! During Labor Day weekend, we went to Iowa via layovers in Honolulu and Las Vegas for one of my best friends' cultural wedding celebration. Lots of new experiences there even though we only stayed for a short time. Last, during Thanksgiving weekend, we did a friends trip to Seoul. This was my first time in a foreign country other than Japan, and it wasn't my favorite, so I'm taking recommendations for if I ever visit again lol. 

Domestic (within Japan) - all over the place! Hokkaido, Aomori, Iwate, Akita, Yamagata, Miyagi, Fukushima, Niigata, Tochigi, Gunma, Ibaraki, Saitama, Chiba, Nagano, Yamanashi, Gifu, Aichi, Mie, Fukuoka, Oita, Kumamoto, Kagoshima, Fukui, Ishikawa, Toyama...
I blogged through these as the year went on, so it might be best to check it out in this page as an overview since it will be difficult to go through each one! We had a good mix of friend excursions, family tourist trips and a few for just my husband and me by ourselves. 
One of the standout trips for me was the 5-day Tohoku trip with my parents, my brother and my SIL. I spent so long planning the logistics of it, and we made it all over the region, exploring lots of places I had never thought I'd visit thanks to the regional JR Rail Pass. 
We also did a fair amount of domestic "travel" (to me that's anything necessitating a hotel stay or a drive that's more than 3 hours outside of our home prefecture) for active adventures - hiking & biking in Minamiboso, canyoning and rafting in Minakami, hiking Yatsugatake 2x and Naeba and of course snowboarding at both ends of the year, even being the reason we flew to Hokkaido in February
Another set of favorites for me were the two near the end of year - the Kyushu trip (my first time in the region and visiting all One Piece statues and Eevee Pokelids) and the Hokuriku trip where I finally got to see the giant squid statue!
I'm glad I'll have blog posts to look back on for all the places we visited this year because we were able to accomplish a lot :)

Personal life/miscellaneous
This was a year of running for me! I know that might not seem new since I've been running casually for a while now (and often have it as a section in the recap), but as we trained for the Yokohama Marathon in October 2023, I really started researching more about race (pacing, fueling, etc) strategies and wanting to invest more in myself for this hobby! 
My husband and I did one full marathon this year (26.2mi) and one half marathon (13.1mi). Next year, we have the same plan (one half and one full) but on two completely different courses, so I'm excited to see where that goes!
I decided I wanted to start documenting my running in a similar way to how I used to track my Jfashion purchases, so I have very timidly started a new IG account just for my active hobbies (running, hiking and some snowboarding) which I completely stopped posting about on my main account bc they do so poorly lol. While this account is largely for myself, it's here if you want to take a look (although I'd appreciate the follow/support if you're actually interested - please comment to let me know you're there from my blog!). It's definitely going to be different than the fashion content with very little overlap, so that's why a separate account made sense to me. We'll see how it goes and if I keep up with it!

Also, this shouldn't be a big deal, but if you know me irl, you know I'm a hugely picky eater and not adventurous about it at all - this year I just decided I like (Japanese) Indian food - mainly naan and chicken curry lol. 
It's likely that we're getting a "foreigner friendly" version of these dishes, but the lunch sets are priced amazingly well and I just love eating bread lol. I went from never eating it in my whole life to thinking about getting it every free weekend lunch haha. 

Work is work is work. Nothing special happened this year except that we switched to an alternate work schedule that allowed us to have 3-way weekends every other week (working 8-nine hour days over a two week period to compensate for that extra non-working day). It took me a little while to adjust to finishing the day later, but thankfully we had done it way before winter with the short daylight hours. I had a few opportunities for jobs back in HI, but I wasn't ready to take them yet (it meant moving back much earlier than we had planned). We'll see how things pan out, but it was just status quo and the daily drudge for me. 

What's next for 2024?
A little bit more domestic travel, probably no international travel (unless work is paying for it), but the biggest one is moving back to Oahu! Our current planned return is for early June 2024. While I will miss our friends and parts of our life here, I think I will leave ready to return to "normal" - summer weather all year long, food customizations, communicating in English, driving on the other side of the road and being surrounded by our families. 
We know we'll be back on Oahu and back to somewhat similar (if not exactly the same) jobs as when we left, but the specifics are still in the works.
I'm leaving 2023 feeling hopeful for the year ahead, ready to embrace the changes and the challenges that come with moving and transitioning back to life in the US. I'm looking forward to our remaining 2024 Japan adventures and savoring the good, the bad and the mundane. 
Wishing you and your loved ones the best holiday season and a dynamic start to the new year. May your days be filled with wonder, wellness and welcoming arms. 

Thursday, December 28, 2023

OOTD - December 2023

It's cold! It's really cold! And it's dark in the morning and I don't always have time or come home in what I wore to work originally, so the pictures suck even if the outfits don't lol. 

Outfit 1 (for work) - EATME cut out OP, EATME belted boa long coat, EATME lace up short boots and Dr Martens heart bag

Outfit 2 (for work) - Liz Lisa lace flare OP, dazzlin cape flare jacket coat, MercuryDuo chunky heel long boots and Samantha Vega bijou ribbon purse

Outfit 3 (for work) - Honey Cinnamon fukubukuro blouse, Liz Lisa gingham cafe skirt, Honey Cinnamon fukubukuro jacket, EATME double strap pumps and Samantha Vega bijou ribbon purse

Outfit 4 (for work) - Resexxy layered knit top, Resexxy quilting flare skirt, MercuryDuo clear heel stretch short boots, Michael Kors quilted purse

Outfit 5 (for work) - EATME vest bustier OP, EATME fukubukuro coat, EMODA lace up fitted boots and Dr Martens heart bag

Outfit 6 (for Hokuriku trip, Fukui) - Liz Lisa floral lace border dress, H&M beret, dazzlin lapel 2way flare coat, MercuryDuo chunky heel long boots and Samantha Vega bijou ribbon purse

Outfit 7 (for Hokuriku trip, Ishikawa) - MercuryDuo choker ribbon half sleeve ribbed knit top, MercuryDuo watercolor flower high waist flare skirt, dazzlin lapel 2way flare coat, MercuryDuo chunky heel long boots and Samantha Vega bijou ribbon purse

Outfit 8 (for Hokuriku trip, Toyama) - Liz Lisa bow tie sleeveless top, Resexxy quilting flare skirt, dazzlin lapel 2way flare coat, MercuryDuo chunky heel long boots and Samantha Vega bijou ribbon purse

Outfit 9 (for work) - Charlotte Russe back heart cut out dress, Honey Cinnamon fukubukuro jacket, offbrand beret, dazzlin strap lady pumps and Samantha Vega bijou ribbon purse

Outfit 10 (for work) - offbrand turtleneck top, dazlin back ribbon hold tuck cami OP, dazzlin 2way lady collar coat, MercuryDuo clear heel stretch short boots and Samantha Vega bijou ribbon purse 

Outfit 11 (for work ) - dazzlin bowtie pleats knit top, dazzlin cape flare jacket coat, Liz Lisa teddy bear book skirt, Liz Lisa double ribbon beret, DreamV platform knee high boots and Samantha Vega flutter purse

Outfit 12 (for work) - Liz Lisa grand magasin OP, Liz Lisa fukubukuro pom pom coat, Liz Lisa side lace up OTK boots, Samantha Vega flutter purse

Outfit 13 (for work) - Liz Lisa color scheme bow collar top, Honey Cinnamon fukubukuro jacket, Liz Lisa teddy bear book skirt, Liz Lisa double ribbon beret, Liz Lisa 3-strap pumps and Samantha Vega flutter purse

Outfit 14 (for work ) - MercuryDuo 2way jacquard knit OP, MercuryDuo compact shaggy knit long sleeve cardigan, dazzlin lapel 2way long coat, MercuryDuo chunky heel long boots and Samantha Vega bijou ribbon purse

Outfit 15 (for work) - Liz Lisa bowtie blouse, Liz Lisa cardigan, evelyn front pocket pleats skirt, dazzlin 2way collar lady coat, H&M beret, DreamV platform knee high boots and Samantha Vega bijou ribbon purse

Outfit 16 (for work) - GU 2piece knit OP set, dazzlin 2way collar lady coat, MercuryDuo design heel stretch short boots and Coach mini bennet purse

Outfit 17 (for work) - EATME (2way corset belt) shirt OP, EATME double belt boa coat, EMODA lace up fitted boots and EATME belted frill bag

Outfit 18 (for work) - Liz Lisa sailor collar long sleeve blouse, Liz Lisa fukubukuro pom pom coat, Liz Lisa salon de patisserie sukapan, MercuryDuo chunky heel boots and Samantha Vega bijou ribbon purse

Lots of neutrals or muted colors this month aside from the week around Christmas-ish where I tried to pigeonhole as many of my red/bordeaux pieces in. I've shied away from my darker color items a little because I feel like they won't photograph really well in the dark (you can tell when that happened lol), but I miss them, so maybe you'll see more in the rotation next month!
I 100% gave up in the week between Christmas and New Years because no one would be in the office and I was feeling a bit stressed trying to get organized for the back-to-back snowboarding weekends! I want to get back into it in January though (especially utilizing my long coats more!) :)