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Travel

Ella Goes to Japan

Hello!

Remember me? I was Lani’s and Kyle’s intern last summer. I just graduated from Kenyon College (Mr. Real Life Style’s alma mater) and am now working for RLS full-time!

Two weeks before starting again at RLS, I took the journey of a lifetime. My boyfriend, Kei, lived in Japan for part of his childhood, as his mother is Japanese. Since the country is such a big part of who he is, I was ecstatic to travel there with Kei as my guide!

For a week and a half, Kei showed me all around Yokohama, Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hiroshima. When we returned to the U.S., I knew I had to share my experiences with the RLS community.

While I could write for days about the sights, sounds, and tastes of Japan, this post focuses on my fashion-related adventures (This is a fashion blog, after all!). Read on to learn about my colorful discoveries!

(Spoiler: this post includes pictures of me in a kimono!)

Enjoy!

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Kyo-To-To

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I found this small but amazing store on the 6th floor of Tokyo Plaza, a large shopping mall in Ginza (one of Tokyo’s biggest shopping districts). I fell in love with the funky embroidered clothing and accessories.

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I had already purchased a coin purse before discovering Kyo-To-To, but I was still tempted to buy one of these cute pouches featuring characters from folktales. I resisted the urge but made sure to snap a photo of them:

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Here are some other fun Kyo-To-To items:

Kyo-To-To Roll-Up Sleeve Dress (Ryukin Goldfish), $204.50

Kyo-To-To Clutch Bag (Panda Moor), $58.43

Kyo-To-To Mini Purse (Soba Noodles with Fried Tofu), $12.66

Kyo-To-To Dobby Shirt (Rabbit), $146.07

Kyo-To-To Bale-Shaped Pouch (Ohaguro Kozo Blackened Teeth Ghost), $25.32

Kyo-To-To Banshu Stole (Cat), $92.51

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Kitamura

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On the recommendation of Kei’s mom (shout out to Fukiko!), we visited this adorable store while staying in Yokohama (a city just outside of Tokyo). She called it “The Kate Spade of Japan,” and I agree! As a fan of things disguised as other things, I was immediately drawn to that croissant clutch!

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These adorable bird wallets and card holders were also on display.

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Here are some of my favorite pieces from Kitamura’s 2017 Spring/Summer collection:

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Kitamura Crossbody Bag, $315.91

Kitamura Wallet, $342.99

Kitamura Flats, $297.89 (not available online)

Kitamura Boston Bag, $388.11

Kitamura Handbag, $261.75 (not available online)

Kitamura Sandals, $207.60 (not available online)

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The Flying Hideki Project

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While wandering the streets of Kyoto, this brightly colored storefront caught my eye. Since I’m drawn to bright colors like a moth to a flame, I made a beeline for the entrance. The Flying Hideki Project at Ki-Yan Stuzio sells apparel and accessories showcasing designs by Hideki Kimura, a Japanese printmaker and muralist. As an artist, I love anything that merges fashion with the visual arts.

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Every single item in the store excited me, but I limited myself to one purchase – this small black cross body purse with a silver peacock feather design. Many thanks to Kei’s parents for my treasured graduation gift!

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Here are some of my other favorite items from The Flying Hideki Project:

Flying Hideki Tote Bag in Blue Carp, $37.04

Flying Hideki iphone 7Plus Notebook Case in Smiling Elephants, $37.04

Flying Hideki Baseball Cap in Peacock, $35.09

Flying Hideki Bag in Momiji, $40.90

Flying Hideki Coin Pouch in Happiness Frogs, $11.70

Flying Hideki Fan in Red Jaguar, $46.79

Flying Hideki LIVE Parka in Grey, $116.98

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The Largest Uniqlo in the World

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The Uniqlo in Tokyo is the largest Uniqlo store in the world – 12 floors! The Japanese brand has taken the world by storm with its comfy and affordable clothing and fun line of graphic T-shirts. I found a cute navy maxi dress, and it is now my new favorite summer piece (although, sadly for the readers of this blog, it is not available in the U.S. – at least, not yet!).

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Uniqlo in Ginza, Tokyo

The 12th floor, dedicated to graphic T-Shirts

Blouses inspired by Disney’s Beauty & the Beast

Uniqlo Shea Football Long One-Piece in Navy, $35.98

Me in my new dress

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The Kimono Experience

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When Kei suggested that I rent a kimono for a day (kimono rental is a popular service in Kyoto), I resisted, worrying I would just look strange and out of place in a traditional Japanese outfit. After much wheedling, I yielded on the condition that he dress up with me (he did).

Lo and behold, I had a blast wearing a kimono while touring Kiyomizu-dera Temple. It seemed to me that most of the temple’s visitors were also dressed in traditional clothing, so I actually stuck out less than I would have in sneakers and a sundress.

I am glad to have had the opportunity to learn more about this aspect of Japanese culture (and that both Kei’s and my phones had enough charge left between them to record the experience!).

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To finish off this post, here we are together in our traditional looks!

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With hope, I will be back in Japan one day to continue my adventures!

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You can find Ella Jones and Real Life Style on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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