Happy New Year! A review of 2015

Happy New Year all you cuties! I hope you all had a wonderful time with friends and family!

For my Christmas break, I ended up spending time with family and friends. It was a lovely time off and great to catch up with everyone, but I felt that tired hosting so many parties! I think I’ll have to have a rest for a while before hosting another event…

So looking back at 2015, what were my highlights from each month?

January
New year, new beginnings, exciting times! I ate my way through the first month hehe. Visited a LEGO art exhibition and went to Winter Wonderland.

February
Spent Valentine’s dinner as a 3rd wheel but had the weekend with my other half :P Also attended a couple birthday parties :D My Chinese New Year was spent running around Chinatown looking for a place to eat and locating this man with golden balloons with Sue…

March
Attended the BSTF nationals with my TKD group (as a cheerleader) and my friend’s brother’s wedding. Also held a bake sale competition at work – I won best presentation :D

April
Attended Hyper Japan at Earl’s Court. Sadly this place is to be demolished and turned into a hotel :(

May
Went to the May MCM Expo.

June
I participated in the annual Kaichi event where Kaichi High School from Japan comes to London to practice their English and learn about the culture. It’s such a great experience where you get to meet new people and learn about the Japanese culture too. I attended my first free gaming event and got some freebies. Also managed to get my red belt in TKD! Nathan invited us to play crazy golf for his birthday and Manni had a meat-filled birthday at Bodeans :D

July
Visited friends in Ireland! We’ve never met but it was such a warm welcome and the distance didn’t make anything awkward at all! Friends will always be friends <3

Friends in Ireland
Friends in Ireland

August
Moved away from London and into my new flat! Had a lovely evening out bowling with colleagues for our team event. Also helped create a teaser video for our TKD group.

September
Visited Japan! YAY! Was so happy, really want to go back and visit again.

October
I attended MCM Expo in London for Kekiko and spent Halloween in Amsterdam.

November
My birthday month! Basically had a lovely meal with friends in Soho. I also decided it was time to stop TKD as I was living too far out from London to justify travel costs and travel times.

December
Spent Christmas chilling with family, playing mahjong and filling my belly with lots of yummy food. Also made my first ever gingerbread house with my little cousin! We had so much fun and I didn’t realise that the packet didn’t come with sweets to decorate (fail!) and thus we rummaged through the cupboards for sprinkles and sweets. My friends also came round for Christmas and New Years for some karaoke and video games. My team in the office also converted our area into Narnia! Crazy but it was such an amazing environment to work in and felt like we were working outdoors! I also had to help plan and organise the company Christmas party and ended up throwing a Great Gatsby themed prohibition event. We kitted out the bar venue with DIY props, a personalised video and personalised posters so everyone was involved.

Wishing you all a prosperous 2016 and a very happy, fun-filled year!

Best wishes,

Kekidoll xoxo

Line Shop

Travel Diary: Harajuku, Shibuya & Ikebukuro

In the morning we met my friend, Takahiro, at Harajuku station and headed to the park. We paid our respects and I wanted to hang up a wish plaque but couldn’t think of anything specific to write… Ended up just taking a touristy photo instead :D

Meiji Shrine Gate
Meiji Shrine Gate

At Meiji Shrine
At Meiji Shrine

Afterwards we went to Shibuya for some sushi! OMG, sushi was really inexpensive and the choice was vast. Takahiro took us to one which was self operated using an iPad. You select up to 3 dishes you’d like per order and when ready, the chef will ‘ship it’ to you via an automatic conveyor belt. It was so cool! There was even an option to play Jan Ken Pon (rock, paper, scissors) with the computer after spending over ¥1080, winning allows you the choice of a 10% off voucher on your next visit or a free go at their gashapon. I opted for the gashapon and got myself a cute sushi keyring which I gave my little cousin!
Immi with Sushi
Immi with Sushi

Sushi Platter
Sushi Platter
My Kiddy Meal
My Kiddy Meal

Oh on another occasion, Stefan and I ordered a kids meal as we didn’t want to spend nor eat a lot that day and thought it would suffice. However what we didn’t realise is that we seriously confused the waitress because when the chef pinged for her to collect the food for me, she turned around instantly to confirm the table number. When she looks back at table 1, she sees me sitting there and replies to the chef that there’s no child at the table. The chef shoos her off and she warily walks over and asks me if this children’s meal was mine. Shyly, I replied yes and felt super bad for ordering a non-adult meal D: The others thought it was funny and laughed about it throughout our trip. Oh Japan, how you amused us so. Nevertheless, the kids meal was super yummy with fries, fried chicken, mini sushi pieces and a cake!

Polaroids at Harajuku
Polaroids at Harajuku
Cardcaptor Sakura merch!
Cardcaptor Sakura merch!

Harajuku is a small place with a huge sense of fashion. The world famous Takeashita Street is renowned for the hoards of people who gather to show off their fashion on the weekend. The times I went weren’t very busy and we were able to browse the stores casually. I was very tempted to buy a maid outfit for my next expo as they were having a sale, but couldn’t decide on the colour or design at the time. My friend, Emi took us to her favourite shops, many which were lolita stalls and some quirky ones such as Doki Doki 6%. There was a really nice retro toy shop which we all ended up buying something each as souvenirs or for ourselves.

Takeshita Street
Takeshita Street

Takeshita Street
Line Shop

Line Shop

In Harajuku
Immi and I kept coming back here to try out the crepes! We found out the hard way that cheese in Japan isn’t the same as cheese in England… Thus their cheesecake isn’t great and tastes really odd. Brownies are rather yummy on the other hand! Nevertheless we enjoyed our pretty crepes.

When you visit Harajuku you definitely must see the Dawson store here. It is huge! The selection is great and you’re bound to find a few souvenirs to bring home. I stocked up on some cute washi tapes and DIY keyring kits for my little cousins!

Dressing up for our purikura shoot
Dressing up for our purikura shoot

Onesies
Onesies for Purikura!

Purikura
One of the many Purikura photos :)

After a long day of shopping and eating, Emi took us to the purikura shop. Purikura is famous in Japan where you can take sticker photos with beauty x100 (exaggeration) plus enlarge dolly-like eyes. You’re also able to dress up for free and decorate your photos at the booth afterwards. I had a lot of fun and the photos came out great! (although we seriously don’t look like ourselves… Heh )

With love,
Kekidoll xoxo

Asakusa Temple

Travel Diary: Tokyo, Japan

So I finally managed to save up enough to go visit Japan. SO EXCITING! The boyf and I decided to stay in Tokyo for the duration of our stay. We ended up booking an apartment from Air BnB rather than a hotel since we wanted a place to ourselves where we could relax and cook if we wanted to.

On the plane
Leaving for Japan!
The city of lights below
Up in the sky

The apartment wasn’t big but was a decent size for two people. The downsize to it was that the kitchen was tiny and thus we had to use the space wisely when preparing and cooking food.

Making curry
Making curry in the apartment

Curry with an omelette on top :)
Curry with an omelette on top :)

The bathroom was small as well but came with a small bathtub. Which I believe is standard with most Japanese apartments. The area was in Gotanda which is in central Tokyo and literally on the JR Yamanote line, so all the main areas and attractions were within easy reach.

I quite liked our little space as it had a small sitting room for us to wind down after a long day and have our TV dinners.

Family Mart Food
Om nom nom nom

One Piece
Watching One Piece from episode 1 with cheap eats from Family Mart :)

We spent most of our time visiting shrines, Shopping (a lot) and going to cultural attractions. I’m planning to write about each day or attraction separately so stay tuned for these posts! I’ll be sure to link them all here as well 😁

Asakusa Temple
Asakusa Temple

For those interested we ended up visiting:

  1. Tokyo Tower
  2. Tokyo Skytree
  3. Character Street
  4. Harajuku
  5. Shijuku
  6. Akihabara
  7. Asakusa
  8. Kamakura
  9. Tsukikoji Fish Market

and many more… I’ll be posting up about it in the next few weeks so be sure to come back to check them out :)

we found Shibuya 109
Visitng Shibuya 109

It was an amazing experience and I would definitely visit again! Maybe to Osaka, Kyoto or Hokkaido.

All my love,
Kekidoll xoxo

Chilli Ramen

Kannada-Ya: Ramen Restaurant in London

Kannada-Ya is a small Japanese ramen bar that has branches in Japan, London, UK and Hong Kong.

The one I visited was 8 minutes walk from Tottenham Court Road Station in London and was very easy to find; although Google Map was very helpful due to all the road works happening in the area.

The restaurant has a similar take to other no-booking restaurants where the seating is limited and revolves around a fast-food like service. However, they don’t force you to leave even though there’s a queue formed outside. The patrons waiting outside will just be staring at you through the window though…

The menu is very limited and isn’t vegetarian friendly as everything is made with pork. The original ramen is thinly sliced pieces of Cha siu (bbq flavoured pork), some mu shu (fungus), nori (seaweed sheet) and spring onions (standard). Then there are three other options of adding beanshoots, making it spicy or changing the pork belly to the pork collar meat (less fatty).

Original Ramen
Original Pork Ramen

I picked the original to try and the cha siu melted in my mouth.  It was very succulent and not rough at all! However you only get a few slices which wasn’t enough for my appetite. The pork bone broth was delicious and very flavoursome but the starch from the noodles made the broth murky and started to get thick, adding a milky flavour to the soup.
Chilli Ramen
Chilli Ramen

There are also other sides and extra ramen if you have extra broth left over and still feeling hungry!

Website: www.kanada-ya.com

I want to try out more! Would you recommend any restaurants in London?

With love,
Kekidoll xoxo

Kaichi Fieldtrip 2015

At Bournton-on-the-Water
Every year myself and a group of friends would attend a Japanese high school culture exchange programme in London for 5 days. This programme is part of their curriculum where they have to travel to England to practice their English, as well as sight see and conduct a presentation to their group leader (me).
My group at the model village
I found the experience fun and I also met a lot of new friends including other students who weren’t part of my group.
At Hampton Court Gardens
Sometimes it was hard to communicate as some students had lower understanding of English than others which meant I needed to be a lot patient with them to think about their answers.  Us group leaders tried to play all sorts of games with the students such as hangman, Mafia (they loved this), wink murder, uno, card games, Chadrades, observational games etc. These helped us build rapport with the students and engage with them to use English.
Mucking around
We went to a few attractions in London for a couple of days. These included Bournton-on-the-Water,  a lovely little English village that was the home of Brum the little car. The National Gallery, British Museum and Hampton Court. I think Bournton-on-the-Water was the most loved as it captures the beauty of England at best.
Lunch time!
At the farewell party we played some mini games including Bingo and Sumo Clap. Afterwards, it was a photo taking session with all the students and at the end they were all singing One Direction’s We’re on fire.

Tee hee hee
Tee hee hee

It was a lovely evening with lots of tears and cried of joy.
Saying out farewells
Many happy memories were made on this trip and I hope to see my group again soon near the end of the year ^^
Purdy Coaches
Have you thought of visiting Japan? Where would be your top places to visit?

With love ,

Amy

SIRO-A – Japan’s answer to the Blue Man Group

A friend of mine managed to find some really cheap tickets to see SIRO-A in Leicester Square Theatre last year. We managed to purchase them last minute and sat right at the front! Woo!

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Snapped a photo in their photo booth!

The performers were snapping photos before the beginning of the show of members of the audience. Thinking it’ll be on Facebook I nudge a friend to go up on stage ^^ Little did we know that it had to do with part of their act hehehe. I won’t spoil it for you but it was funny!

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Everyone had a mad fun time ^^

The performance was truly inspiring. Using light from a projector, timing, techno beats, acting and dance, Siro-A were able to make the audience laugh, smile and be amazed. An experience I’ve never had before. They were also at the Japan Matsuri event in Trafalgar Square which I loved. If you haven’t seen them before you must! Here’s a sneak peak at what they’re capable of.
SIRO-A – A Technodelic Visual Show: http://youtu.be/gyGSP8dIECU

With love,
Keki xoxo

Japan Matsuri 2014

During the weekend I went to Japan Matsuri being held in Trafalgar Square for one day only. I had totally forgotten about this event until my friend mentioned it the evening before, so I decided to go very last minute. I managed to drag a friend along who met me there but soon found out that some other friends went too via Facebook (why you no invite me?! Hmph!)

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Japan Matsuri!
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I was an air hostess for a day xD
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Please welcome Captain Sean! XD

The event space was large as they used up the whole of Trafalgar Square. There errent many shops to buy much from though as they were all really small and 80% of the stalls sold food. However, the queues were massive and the portion sizes were too small for my liking so Sean and I decided to eat at BiBimBap in SoHo instead.

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Okonomiyaki
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Japanese Tableware
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My panda bowls and free miso soup!

There weren’t a lot of freebies to collect so I ended up buying these cute little panda bowls from the tableware stall that I’ve been eyeing up ever since I saw their store in Hyper Japan. I also drank a lot of Yakult in one day…

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We saw Kumomon
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Siro-A
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Music performance

There were a lot of performances happening on the stage including music, yukachara (mascots), dancing, drums as well as SIRO-A performing a short act ^^

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We got to meet Domo-Kun!

Did you go to the event too?

With love,
Keki xoxo

Kaichi Student Field Trip to London 2014

I participated in the ‘Kaichi fieldwork programme’ this June 2014. This is my second year running and I love participating. This is a field trip for Japanese students in high school (year 10s) to visit England and practice their English proficiency, as well as visiting some sights.

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Pulling faces

It was pretty similar to last year but we got to go to Hampton Court this time instead of Windsor Castle. I had a fairly mixed English speaking level for students in my group. I had 7 in total but was technically 6 as one of my kids was ill and had some allergic reaction, so his skin flared up. Since he never felt well, he didn’t participate in group discussions, came to eat with us, nor presented his presentation all students had to prepare for this trip. It was sad for me but I gave them each a little goodie bag full of souvenirs – breakfast tea, shortbread, chocolate, polaroid photo of them and me, luggage tag, plus the tote bag with London design.
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I miss my Kaichi group

I hope to visit them next year and shall cherish my memories ^^
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Inside Hampton Court

Do you participate in any youth group events?

Xoxo, kekidoll

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