Tomodachi Collection “トモダチコレクション” and discovering the DSi as a learning material

When I visited Tokyo, my boyfriend and I took a lovely pre-pizza evening walk and stumbled across BookOff, which was a welcome surprise. (Yes – before you judge me as crazy, a pre-pizza evening walk is a fantastic way to savor the excitement of having a pizza!)

Recently he has been getting back into retro game collecting, so it was good fun to search through the treasures that BookOff holds. If you’re unfamiliar with BookOff, it’s a Japanese chain of recycle shops where people can trade in books, DVDs, video games and more. The condition of the items they trade in are usually close to immaculate, and unbelievably reasonable in price.

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After my visit to the LINE Friends store in Harajuku on Sunday, I discovered today that the LINE Friends Cafe opened in Tenjin on March 19th! So naturally.. I had to pop in – and I have to say, I think it is even better than the Tokyo store!

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On Saturday, I flew over to Tokyo as it was a long weekend and I figured it’s time to finally visit the LINE Friends store in Harajuku!


LINE is a messenger application which is hugely popular in Asia, and growing in popularity across the world. It’s available in a number of languages and is popular as you can send messages, make voice calls, share images and more for free using mobile data or WiFi. A somewhat cuter Whatsapp, let’s say.

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Animate Cafe: Ensemble Stars Review!

In my last cafe review, I visited some pretty and quiet little cafes that weren’t too out of the ordinary. This review however, will look at the opposite end of the spectrum!

I’ve been trying to get into some mobile gaming recently to pass the time during commutes, but my Japanese level is so low I have been living vicariously through a friend who is a big fan of “Ensemble Stars” – or EnStars as it is affectionately shortened to. Ensemble Stars is an idol group mobile game, set in a high school where young lads who attend perform together. Apparently it’s a spin off of a female idol group game, aimed instead for a female audience. I can’t really comment on the actual game play – I haven’t played it myself.. but I learned how much of a big deal it was once I was invited to a limited run theme cafe based upon the game!

Idol groups are a pretty big deal in Japan – large collectives of beautiful girls and handsome boys who can sing together harmoniously, perform dance routines, attend meet and greets and appear on talk shows. All while looking fabulous and capturing the hearts of the nation. Think AKB48 and the Johnny boy’s.

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Getting Crafty – Making accessories

Recently I discovered the joy of buying craft materials in Japan! I feel like lately, I have spent way too much money in these shops, I can’t really complain.. The quality and selection of the stuff you can buy in these shops is waaay superior to some of the stuff back home.. and I guess I can justify it, as it has been a little too cold to go out and do much lately!

So.. here is a little peek at the selection of what I bought in my last visit..

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rebel riotori fukuoka cafes review

Fukuoka Cafe Reviews!

Having visited a good few cities in Japan now, I have found that Fukuoka has such a wonderful charm. I can really see why previously it has been voted as the #1 city to live in in the whole world!

I’m a lover of good tea, strong coffee and funky fusion drinks – so I’m always game for exploring cafes (usually armed with my sketchbook!) and trying something new. I want to keep track of my visits to some lesser known cafes, or ventures into Japan-only seasonal flavoured coffees in chains like Starbucks and more! For my first review edition.. let’s look at my Fukuoka forays!

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Last weekend, a lovely Japanese lady I met recently offered to take me to Yame, home of 八女茶 (some of the nicest green tea you’ll ever have) and the Hina doll bonbori festival. Many private residencies in the town display their Hina dolls in windows for visitors to see, signaled by bright pink paper lanterns hanging outside. If you have a real passion for dolls or strong interest in Hinamatsuri, I really recommend visiting Yame!

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