Turin — Day 1

Just another trip to Italy, just another, but still was I looking forward to it. Italy is one of those things you could never get sick of. Not only the looks of that country, but also the food and the grumpy yet enthusiastic people. It feels as if this country is somewhat made up in an almost perfect scene.

However ‘just another’ was chosen badly. Very badly. In contrary to what I expected: just another (yet beautiful and amazing) city, Turin wasn’t just another city at all. I wonder why it isn’t more popular: we were with 13 people on the plane. Just as its history suggested, it is quite a royal city. Obviously as all the Italian kings lived there at a certain time. Not only the numerous palaces and facades gives you the feeling of walking in royal companionship all the time, also the fact that almost everything is made based of the royal status in Turin.

When you go to Turin once,  look up, towards the mountains and maybe you’ll find the Superga. It is a beautiful Basilic and next to it, there is a cute cafe where we had our first Cappuccino.

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Our next stop was Caffe Torino. Many Dutch people know this cafe (or so I was told), because that was the setting of a Dutch talkshow about the World Cup in brazil. Anyways! Let me talk about the food and in particular the little snacks you got when ordering a drink. They were too good to be true. Oh they were so delicious, it makes me want to go back there and order lots of water, just to taste them once again.

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How cute is that? Don’t get me started about the desert. Oops too late –

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Will be continued … (So stay tuned!)

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Manic Monday

Although classes only start at 11:30 for me, monday is still monday. It is only my second monday of this year (love the university life), but I have a feeling that these mondays will be the best of my life! I am not as tired anymore (well I always be tired), but I go to class because I want to, not because I am supposed to. That’s a big difference.

However monday is the first day of the week, so I have to get going again. What is better than a good song to walk yourself to class?

Dragon Rises by Sawano Hiroyuki is one of the amazing soundtracks of the Japanese series Team Medical Dragon. As you can guess it is about a medical team, but mostly about Iryu. He is a brilliant doctor/surgeon. Despite his talent he is traumatized by some accident, he tried to save a kid but he failed to do so because he got hit by a blue flame. Since then he hates the colour blue … At least that is what I remember, since I watched these series 8 years ago, when my Japanese was even worse than now.

This song was – if I remember correctly – mostly used when they were in a hurry. Like when the guy with the glasses had to run through the whole hospital with the heart of a patient. So when I am in a hurry, I tend to listen to this song.

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The only skincare must-do

I am by no means a skincare-know-it-all. Until a few weeks ago, my skincare routine contained nothing more than washing my face and now and then using a toner when the red spots on my face became overwhelming. That is because I don’t believe in layering too much products on the face. As for the acne: it worked for me. I have been using Japanese cleansing soap for as long as I remember and I never really had super awful breakouts.

However I do have a lot of redness in my face. Since long I have just been ignoring it, because it started on my forehead when I was a baby. It is something typical for my family, my dad also has it. But – I have forgotten when – it moved to my nose. That way, my nose was reddish the whole year long, as if I always had a cold. Well I am sure it wasn’t that bad, but it started to irritate me once again and I covered it up a bit with a light concealer. You know how things go!

But eventually I got sick of that to. Thus I researched a bit and I found: the moisturizing cream! Oh I could guess some of your reactions. But if you’ve got oily skin like me, you probably won’t be gravitating towards moisturizing products either.

There is a theory though, dear oily skinners, that oiliness on your face has an actual function: moisturizing. So if you take care of your skin and make sure it is moisturized, your skin won’t have that urge to overproduce oil anymore. At least, that is what I have read and what I believe.

For me it certainly worked out because my skin has a more even colour. I wouldn’t say my nose lost all it redness (that would freak me out) but it has lessened, which I am proud of.

This is the new member in my skincare routine: Cîme, Belle d’amour. Protecting Day and Night cream. 

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3 must-read books

First of all, I am not in a ‘Japanese phase’ or whatever you’d want to call it. These last months I don’t feel like going to library. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to read books either, it means that I am lazy. So I searched the bookcases of my mother. Since she is Japanese 99% of the books are in Japanese. Problem number 1: I can’t read Japanese. The other 1% were books in English to practice her English. I guess she picked Japanese writers because then she could easily find the Japanese version also.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

The first book, my favorite out of all three, is written by Ishiguro. He is actually an English writer with Japanese roots. At five he moved to England so his books have probably nearly nothing to do with Japan. I do think it is still a popular book in Japan, at least there is some translation.

So the book handles about Kathy who grew up at Hailsham School. She tells about her life there and the influence the school had on her later life. Since the school is for ‘special’ (I don’t want to explain what I mean with that, because I am afraid to be the spoiler) children, it also a very special book.

So after my very vague describing I probably haven’t incite you enough to read the book. But I try to be as vague as I can because I had seen the film 4 years ago and that was probably the only minus I can come up with. That is, knowing the plot already. It is one of these books that you really have to go with the flow, without any foreknowledge. Just accept that this book is going to be one of the romantic and eye-opening books you’ll ever read.

Botchan by Natsume Soseki

As you can already see on the cover, this book is a (modern) classic. Believing my mom, it is one of those books that school kids have to read in Japan. Was I one of those kids, I probably wouldn’t have liked the book. It is a book that is so typical for teachers to pick out for their pupils to read. First of all not having the right to chose your own book to read almost felt like a violation of human’s rights. Of course I am over exaggerating, but I guess it felt that way. And then there is the typical choice teachers liked to make. When we went to see a movie with school, it was always some hipster alternative movie. I don’t mind, but please, be creative! Why don’t they show us American History X or Awakenings? Movies that make you think about the world?

Anyways, let me explain why you should read this book. Unlike my intro, I did really enjoy this one, because of the simple set-up. It is about a simpleminded guy who lives in Tokyo. Both his parents pass away, and in contrary to his older brother he can’t find a way to climb up the social ladder. So he decides to take courses and as soon as he graduates he is asked to teach somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Real cityman like he is, he gets in trouble with the provincial boys. All the characters are pretty simple, but that makes it all even funnier. I know that Japanese humor is hard to understand for ‘outsiders’ but maybe this book makes more sense, since it is more subtle than the humor that reaches the Western World.

The woman in the dunes by Kobo Abe

This plot is really weird: there is a man who likes insects so he goes searching for new ones all over the country. He has a theory: insects like sand. So he has to search near the sea of course. And there is where he gets in trouble: he finds a weird village in the middle of a sandy place, almost like a desert. All houses are buried in a pit. When he asks for shelter there is a woman way too eager to let him stay at her house. That evening he notices how much there is to do in such houses, sand is coming in everywhere, there is even no running water. But at that time he hasn’t noticed yet in how much trouble he really is.

As much as weird the plot is, as much is it interesting. Not only because of its weirdness, also because of the dialogues. The thoughts and behaviors of the characters are unbelievable yet real.  It is really interesting how he places the characters in a conflict and makes their reactions really convincing. I loved the psychological part of this book, a real must-read!

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Checkered dress: check!

Schots geruite jurk

picture  found at mango.com

I have always had a love for straight dresses. They give you an effortless chique look. Why haven’t I got one already? Because my love for them was so big that I ought them to be worn only by fashionistas. But since I have graduated high school, I forgot how to dress like the crowd.

So this dress screamed at me from the other side of the store. Like literally, I saw the print and I have to say, when it comes to checkered prints, I am really hard to convince. If there is one colour that doesn’t appeal to me, I won’t buy it. But this colour scheme, oh it is so perfect. So I was standing at the other side of the store when I saw the colours and the closer I came, the more exciting I got. Not only were the colours perfect to my taste, also the shape of the dress was very much to my likings. Because of the neutral fit it looks good on everybody (or so I believe).

However since this is a dress and fall is approaching, I had to think of some outfits to ‘transition’ this piece smoothly into the new season. I even got so excited that I came up with an outfit for winter.

page1. Because it is plaid, it reminded me of schoolgirls. I didn’t have to wear a uniform, but if I had to I’d probably wear sports shoes with it. You know, to extentuate the comfort of a uniform …

2. Why wear a dress as a dress? I paired it with highwaisted jeans because it is easier to hide the excess fabric of the dress. The belt tailors my waist again. I added the heels and the cardigan because it gave off a grungy feeling, if you ask me.

3. You have to prepare for winter, since you can’t ever be prepared enough. So of course you have to add a jacket. Boots are a must. Warm winter socks peeping out of them are optional but I love my winter socks. If you are wondering what that black thing on my dress is: those are panties, I just couldn’t find a proper way to exhibit them.

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DIY — Kimono

So summer is over and the first thing I want to have is a kimono. I don’t have to explain why that is a bad thing right? Well maybe I do when you live in a warmer country than I do. I don’t know about where you live, but in Belgium fall is fall. It gets colder and before you know it is already winter. A kimono is the last thing I need at this time.KimonoDIY

So first of all, can we just ignore my amazing sense of photoshopping? I needed a tablet (for drawing). It’s been 3 years since my mom bought me one an I’m still not used to it. Every time I pick up that stylus I already miss the feeling of a real pencil. Now, enough searching for excuses: let’s start!

1. Fold the fabric in half. If your fabric has a back and a front, you’ll want to turn the side intend to be the outer side to the inside.

2. Decide how big you want your armholes and mark the end. Sew the edges as marked on the picture (___) until you reach the beginning of your armhole.

3 Turn your kimono inside out if you want (I didn’t because I want the fringes to show). Cut the front layer of your kimono and hem it.

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So here is the finished product! I like the hem which is less see through, which reminds me of a blazer. The stripes give of a sporty vibe (you know, Adidas) so I styled this kimono in a rather sporty look.

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DIY — sleeveless shirt

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So there’s this thrift shop, where they have these huge sales every month. Of course, every month I have to make sure I’m not missing out on a beautiful almost unique piece of clothing. Maybe I’m addicted to thrifting, but at least it’s a healthy addiction.

So one month I saw this shirt with long puffy sleeves, lace details on the chest … You know what they say: love makes you blind. In this case I was so blind I didn’t even notice the sleeves. Once again, the impulsive me appeared and defeated the smart thoughtful me. Luckily, the consequences weren’t disastrous: I spent 1 euro on a weird smelling shirt. The smell faded after 3 washes, but nothing could be done with the fit. The sleeves were just not doing it for me. They reminded me of those puffy sleeves that medieval men wore together with their tight pants.

So I cut off the sleeves. Obviously.

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