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Japan: My Japanese Christmas

This was my third Christmas spent in Japan.

The first in 2009 I had my family with me, the hotel had a big tree (which disappeared pretty sharp after!), we had presents and board games. It wasn’t quite Christmas without carols in the local village, a turkey dinner and Christmas TV. But it was close.

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Kansai Lovers

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I went to Kansai Lovers again this year, an afternoon of live local bands. A lot were the same as last year such as Dookie Festa, Sound System and Arukara.

I love their video!

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The event was really fun, it only cost ¥1000 and we forward planned this time and took a picnic with beer! It always amuses me how the Japanese audience don’t really dance or nod their heads, just raise one hand in the air and point their finger!

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Rilakkuma: Fansclub Halloween Rilakkuma 2013

I love official Rilakkuma Store releases, but I also love Fansclub UFO releases! Although the quality is a little less, I find the series to be cuter, and generally they are cheaper if you are good at UFO cranes! I was really excited to see the new September releases as I wanted to see the new Halloween items.

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Hmm…so-so. At first I thought they were wearing Christmas hats!

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Pretty standard Halloween item, I hope they light up.

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Getting better….I like Korilakkumas candy lollipop.

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Squee! Yay. Ghost Rilakkuma – perfect!

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They are also releasing a large size acorn Rilakkuma, I think he looks very sweet.

The orange hats on the other plushies look like orange pumpkin versions of their Wonderland series crowns…what do you think?

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Gion Matsuri 2013

I was lucky enough to visit Gion Matsuri again this year, my post from Gion Matsuri 2012 is here.

We have to work on the 17th so could only visit for Yoiyoiyama, where the roads are closed and the parade floats are stationed around the main area. It’s lovely to walk around, see people in yukata, eat festival food, enjoy a beer, listen to the music and look at the floats.

Before the roads are closed at 6pm we did some shopping, had dinner and of course tried the UFO machines our latest obsession.

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Walk down the river, where we saw lots of herons and a lazy muskrat.

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Finally winning the swimming ring Rilakkuma.

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Relaxing and sharing a beer by the river.

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Getting busy.

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Mos Burger mascot.

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One of the floats for the parade, men wearing yukata sit in them and play music like tinkering bells.

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Before walking back the station we got some festival food, I got a frankfurter on a stick!

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Lucky Pack and Sales shopping Osaka 2013

Late Dec early Jan is 福袋 (fukubukuro) aka lucky pack season! Shops sell off their old stock in a hidden bag so you don’t know what you are buying except that it is a bargain. For example Swimmers ¥3000 LP contains ¥15000 of stock. Nowadays you can often choose the colour or size of the LP items or there will be an example picture of the contents. Shops like Angelic Pretty and Baby, the Stars Shrine Bright make special LPs with items made just for the LP.

Most LPs are available the first opening day after New Year, either the 1st or 2nd Jan. On NYE I saw some girls queuing at OPA and apparently the que got two blocks long by 8am. Though it wasn’t quite as epic as the girls I saw queuing all night at Shibuya 109, Tokyo in 2009. This years Harajuku LP craziness is here!

Sam and I decided to try for an Angelic Pretty lucky pack on the 2nd. We arrived later than planned, about 11am and que was still down the street!

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It moved pretty quick and after 45mins we were at the door.

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Our friend Lona told us all the Toy March had gone and the only salopette LP left was pink, she was getting the JSK set in black and me and Sam decided to do the same!

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(This but black).

It took another hour in the que to pay but eventually our mission was complete! I had to rush to Liz Lisa to collect my reserved LP and then had plans with our friends in the aft. Sam and I parted in Umeda with a high five for luck!

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