dorchadas: (Do Not Want)
Like I mentioned, I ordered a new pair of shoes to take to Japan. The first pair of sneakers I've had in probably over a decade, not counting the pair that my parents bought me for the trip to Hawai'i--Kauai's red dirt famously permanently stains clothing it contacts--which lived in the back of my closet for years and then eventually got thrown away without being worn more than once.

And they look pretty good!


Yes, of course they're black

The mistake was thinking that they're sneakers so I don't need to take too many precautions to break them in. And they are sneakers, but they're not exercise shoes and they have a bit more structure to them. So I wore them walking to a friend's going-away party and now I have blisters on my toes.  photo c9a2ed93dbfb11e324f5b3e281e5e1b2.gif So now I'm stuck wondering if I'll heal fast enough to do a bit more walking in them and hopefully break them in more, or whether I should give up and take my boots to Japan. Or try one of the tricks like taking a hairdryer to the shoes or putting in water-filled bags and freezing them.

It won't be a disaster if I have to take my boots, since they're easy to take on and off and they're already broken in, and I have sandals to bring as well. I'm mostly just annoyed at myself because this is what I already do when I get new shoes.
dorchadas: (Chicago)
A few things.

Dreihaus Museum
A month ago, my parents suggested going to see the Downton Abbey clothing exhibit at the Dreihaus Museum, a 19th century house downtown now converted into, well, a museum. I haven't seen a single episode of Downtown Abbey and know almost nothing about the show--they I have read To Marry an English Lord, one of the books that inspired the show--so I didn’t really care about the clothes, but I loved the rest of the house. Big portions of it were done up in dark wood with wainscotting as high as my waist, tiles or dark wallpaper, extremely high ceilings, and lavish carvings. It’s exactly the kind of decorating I would do if I had infinite money.


I would gladly put everything in this picture in our apartment.

Though there’s a bit too much light in that picture for me. Draw all the curtains, put a fire in the fireplace so there are shadows dancing around the room, and I’d be happier. Sure, I’m a stereotype, but it’s comfortable here.

I was a bit disappointed in the audio tour. There was the occasional cue on the various plaques throughout the house, but 80% of them related to the Downton Abbey exhibit. I was hoping there would be a bit more context for the original inhabitants of the house, but I suppose that’s not the draw. You can tell that because my parents originally wanted to get tickets for over a month ago but they were sold out until this weekend. They added another month to the exhibition and now that’s sold out too. The only tickets available are a few daily walk-in tickets.

Boots
This took place before the museum but wasn’t as important. My parents thought that we could get in to see the non-exhibit part of the house first and then go see the exhibit when our ticket time came up, but it turned out that the exhibit was spread out throughout the whole museum and so we couldn’t get in at all. So we went shopping for new boots, since my current boots are literally falling apart on my feet and if there were a particularly rainy day my feet would get absolutely soaked. We looked around a bit, and then we walked into Macy’s, I went over the sale rack, and I found these:


Black. Pre-distressed. Narrow. Suitable for scavenging through the fallen ruins of our once-glorious civilization. And they were up for 80% off so I got them for $27. When the salesman rang them up, he said apologetically that he couldn’t provide any further discount on top of that. You know, I’m okay with that.

Now I’ll just have to make sure to break them in before my old boots lose what little structural integrity they have left.

あん
After that, we met [livejournal.com profile] drydem and his wife [twitter.com profile] ameliaaldred for dinner at Sable Kitchen and then headed down to the Gene Siskel Film Center to watch a movie they had suggested. It was called Sweet Bean on the advertisements, but the original title is あん.

It was Japanese in a way I’d have a bit of a hard time describing to someone who didn’t already know what I meant. If the movie had been American, there would have been a whole section dedicated to the evils of stereotyping and fighting to make sure that Tokue was able to keep working at the dorayaki stand, or maybe the schoolgirls would unite with the dorayaki baker to stage a protest against the owner’s plans to remodel the place where they stop in for a treat every morning before school. But, well, しょうがないな. Some things you just have to accept. It’s how you react to them that matters. I tend to take that approach to life too, which is why I think I liked the ending so much even though a lot of reviews I saw said it was overly sentimental.

I don’t know that much about cinematography, but I found the shot composition interesting. Almost all the shots were close-ups on one character at a time, occasionally with other characters blurry on the edge of the framing. A lot of the other shots were shots of nature: cherry blossoms, autumn leaves, that sort of thing. And other than maybe a few minutes here and there, there was no music whatsoever. I don’t watch enough movies to really give a good opinion of how ordinary this is, but I thought it was a neat stylistic choice.

I’m glad I could understand the Japanese, too. There were a few bits here and there with subtleties that I would have translated differently than the subtitled did, and an untranslated bit at the end just as the credits begin to roll where some children run up and order dorayaki, and when he asks how many they want, one shouts out, “Ten!” It was a lovely ending.

Also, I would kill a man for some taiyaki right about now.

Manicure

Mar. 13th, 2016 12:54 pm
dorchadas: (Angst)
I've always preferred having longer nails (same with hair) and I'm really not sure what the reason is. When I was a child, I remember telling people that I liked having them longer because it made it easier to turn the pages of books, which--much to my surprise nowadays--they accepted as a legitimate answer, maybe because they all knew how much I loved reading. When I got a bit older people stopped caring, except for when we went on field trips when various girls would fawn over my nails out of jealousy that I didn't do anything to maintain them and they still looked great. I specifically remember the time when we went to the Shakespeare Theatre to see Julius and Caesar, where they wanted to paint my nails and I figured why not?

And speaking of that, Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] softlykarou and I went to go get a manicure.


Hey now, hey now now.

I think it looks pretty good, actually. I wasn't sure whether I would like it before I went in, and I was originally planning to just get a clear topcoat and get the nails filed until the woman behind the counter asked us to pick out a polish color and I figured sure, why not? (this is a theme...) I got black, obviously.

I used to occasionally wear makeup in certain settings--[livejournal.com profile] ashiri_chan and [livejournal.com profile] softlykarou can both attest to that--but much like my fashion changed in my mid- and late-twenties, I fell out of the habit. Fashion was pretty much the same way, where I went from a bit more diversity to basically wearing untucked dress shirts/polo shirts and khakis all the time. I'm glad that I've settled on something a bit more distinctive, though really it's more just reverting to the way I would have dressed back in my late teens and early twenties if I had unlimited money.

It took an hour and a half, so I'm not sure how often I'd be willing to do this. On the other hand, [livejournal.com profile] softlykarou picked the salon we went to because the few bad reviews complained that it was too quiet and no one said anything at all and she knew that would be a huge selling point for me. And it was! Not just for the normal reasons, either. I've only been to a nail salon with [livejournal.com profile] softlykarou once before and the conversation I had there went like this:
Salon attendant: "Is that your daughter?"
Me: "That's my wife."
No further words were spoken.
dorchadas: (Teh sex)
Okay, I'm not sure that's an entirely accurate characterization. Even if I did consider buying this suit when I found it online. That's pretty much exactly the kind of formal dress style I want and it would look great on me. I just don't wear formal clothing nearly often enough to justify it to myself.

Anyway, suits aren't the point of this post (I'll get back to you if I buy one).

For a long while, I basically never bought any clothes for myself. My parents would occasionally make remarks about how I would only wear black, but then whenever they would buy me clothes it was usually black t-shirts with cutesy white text on them (I had something like two dozen of those at one point). Through most of high school and university, I pretty much dressed in all black unless all of my clothes were dirty[1]. When I got a more respectable real job at the newspaper, my parents would start mixing in khakis and the occasional plain color t-shirt or polo to their presents, and so the black clothing kind of fell away and turned into, well, something pretty generic, and that's basically what I wore for years.  photo emot-effort.gif

Until a couple months ago, when out of nowhere I decided that I had my own personal style and I was time to build my wardrobe around it. The kind of clothes they sell here. Or here. Or that get reblogged here or here.

And now I'm buying a bunch of new items, and going through my closet and throwing away or donating a bunch of worn out clothes, or even just clothes that I keep to wear to work because they're solid color and thus appropriate--I have a powder-blue shirt two sizes too large for me I've inexplicably kept for several years until today, when I got rid of it--and replacing them with pieces that I think fit me a lot better.




This is me in "clothes for rich elves" mode.



And here, right before I head out to do a run on that Mitsuhama server bank.



Not wearing black for once.



I think I've spent more on clothes in the past couple months than I've spent in the past...maybe the past decade, if you exclude the new coat I bought. And maybe even including that, honestly. And that's not because I spent an unreasonable amount recently--less than that suit I linked above would cost me--but just because for the longest time, I didn't buy clothes. Maybe one new shirt a year. And now the floodgates are opened.

I realize one of the reasons for this might just be that this is always the way I wanted to dress, but it wasn't until [livejournal.com profile] softlykarou and I both had adult jobs that I could afford to dress that way.  photo latest.gif I think there's a lot of merit to that. On my meager university budget, I did buy a few pieces that I still have and that fit in with my new wardrobe (and still fit!), but that was about all I could afford. Now that our apartment is decorated, we have all the furniture and utensils we need, and I'm saving enough money to quiet that internal voice that spent most of [livejournal.com profile] softlykarou's years in grad school screaming in terror, I need something else to decorate. And, well...

Hmm. I guess it's also true that I've had an interest in fashion for a while, it's just that I used to use it to advise [livejournal.com profile] softlykarou on her style choices. She has a pretty good sense of what she likes now, though, and my help isn't as necessary anymore. So I guess that it's being repurposed? Maybe that's it.

Maybe it's just the latest thing I've latched on to. That happens a lot when I'm working on RPG stuff.

[1]: I had a pair of red pants that [livejournal.com profile] greyselke hated, and you could tell when it was laundry day because it was the only time I wore them. I probably shouldn't have worn them even then, but...
dorchadas: (Teh sex)


I tend to have really good luck with footwear. I wore sneakers in high school, but I switched to boots when I realized exactly how difficult it was to find sneakers that were entirely black--though I did have one pair that I wore until they fell apart. Then I got a pair of boots that lasted me almost eight years, through most of university, all of Ireland, after I got back and through the period that I was dating [livejournal.com profile] softlykarou and our marriage, into Japan, and then I only got rid of them because the sole wore down so thin that walking on wet pavement would get my socks wet (and I'm pretty sure I never saw a cobbler in Japan. Or maybe it's just that I don't know the Japanese word for "cobbler"). Then I asked my parents to send me a pair of boots from America, because there was no way I was going to find shoes that fit me in Japan without looking all over the country, and those lasted around three years until a few days ago, where I switched to the boots I'm wearing in that picture.

I had a lot of emotional attachment to my first pair of boots, because they'd been with me for years on three continents, but I didn't care much about the second set and I was happy to get rid of them, though that may have at least partially been inspired by how I stepped in a huge puddle the night before before I went shopping and they were still wet.

I'm not sure if my choice of boots says anything about my evolving taste, but my first pair were mostly fabric and I'm actually not even sure if they had any leather at all. My second pair looked a lot like motorcycle boots (they may have been, I don't know), and my current pair could probably double as dress shoes, since they're textured and have the same kind of toe modeling as the dress shoes I currently own. Or at least, they'll be able to once they stop ripping my feet apart. Having only had to break in new boots twice ever I'm not really used to it, though it has happened with other shoes too, like the time I wandered all around Tokyo in new sandals in the summer, which was not my wisest decision ever. I've looked around online, and gotten advice from the reasonable to the ridiculous, but I suspect the only thing to do is pay my debt of blood and hope it doesn't take too long for them to adjust.

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