Archive for September, 2012

say ahhhh

So literally right after I came home from my whirlwind trip to California (my flight got in at 4:30am on Monday!), I started the work week and then after THAT was done, I went straight from work to the shinkansen to Noji’s family house for a 3-day holiday. First day was onsen (more naked baths with family), second day was Universal Studios in 95 degree heat, third day was Recovery, then back to the work week again.

So I was so looking forward to having a relaxing “back to normal” weekend with some good food, some shopping, and a little bit of sleeping in, but instead I woke up on Saturday morning to searing pain in the right side of my mouth. A canker sore ?? I looked in the mirror and my right tonsil had turned black and white. “This is probably not good?” we decided, and abandoned our post waiting for the delivery man to come (if you aren’t there at the time you specifically asked them to come back, do you get a black mark in your takkyubin records?) to go to the local ENT that had just days earlier told Noji the rattling in his ear was a huge spider who had taken up residence in there. Actually no, they told him it was nothing which is almost worst.

So we get there and the elevator won’t go to their clinic floor. WHY! We call them, no answer. Two old ladies come out and say “oh no, it’s open! oh the 2nd floor? I don’t know about that one.” Convinced it’s a fluke, we take the train one stop to another ENT that is open on Saturdays and they are also closed. It is at THAT point that we realize something is amiss (actually to be honest, I was still thinking “is there an ENT convention today?”) and our phones confirmed that it was the worst day that could ever exist: a Saturday national holiday.

By then it was like 1pm and to find a doctor that is open on a Saturday (or worse, Sunday) past then is hard enough, let alone make it a holiday, so I got some crap at the pharmacy and we retreated. I knew an ENT that was open on Sundays that was on our train line, so we’d just get there when it opened. My left tonsil was slowly but surely joining in on the fun.

We didn’t exactly get there when it opened (20 minutes later) but that was enough time for 23 people to check in before us. Basically every Tokyoite who, like us, couldn’t go on the Saturday holiday, was there and mostly with children. We got there at 10:20am and waited for three hours. The doctor was a low talker and had a mask on so I have no idea half of the stuff she said to me except “this is a bad case” on account of the fact my tonsils were a gangrene purple color which I guess isn’t a good sign.

After that I had to inhale some weird smokey medicine through this machine straight out of the 1960s and then I got a crap-ton of medicine. It cost about 3000 yen (38 dollars). I always like to go home after a trip to the Japanese doctors and see what kind of “haven’t-been-used-in-2-decades” medicine they leave me with, but this time I got:

Cravit (wikipedia tells me a not an all alarming: Levofloxacin (Levaquin (U.S.), Tavanic (E.U.), and others) is a synthetic chemotherapeutic antibiotic of thefluoroquinolone drug class[1][2] and is used to treat severe or life-threatening bacterial infections or bacterial infections that have failed to respond to other antibiotic classes.)
Mucodyne (for mucus! clever naming)
Tranexamic acid capsules (this is for the swelling I guess but supposedly it stops blood loss? I hope I don’t have any of that.)
Mefenamic acid (pain reliever. Wikipedia tells me a cool fact: Mefenamic acid decreases inflammation (swelling) and uterine contractions by a still unknown mechanism.)

Anyway, I hope I feel better tomorrow. After all, IT’S MONDAY (!!!).


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I’m going home on Wednesday to see my gramma! I wish the circumstances were better, but there’s never a bad time to go home. (I have a 4 hour layover in LAX on my way back, all alone with duty free shopping. Terrifying.)

It’s been two weeks since my last confession: my latest obsession is Hakuhodo makeup brushes.

I’m quick to get frustrated at the markup for Western brands in Japan– the arguably useless Jurlique rose spray that I begrudgingly like is 60USD here! It’s literally half the price in America– and really the only way to avoid having a full-on rage blackout is by buying Japanese brands. The stupid thing is we’re actually still paying more (here’s another example: Cle de Peau concealer is 74USD in Japan, 70USD in the US even though it’s a Japanese brand), but I think that this notion that makeup = expensive is so engrained here that you can’t really escape it anyway. When Burt’s Bees lipbalm costs 6 bucks, you know there is no longer logic involved. I really should stop doing these calculations.

To make a long story short, I needed new makeup brushes and my mind immediately jumped to MAC, the sort of classic go-to brand for brushes. Like most stuff though, the brushes were marked up around 50% of the US price. A bit of googling for other options brought me to Hakuhodo, a brand I’d heard of in the past, but assumed was too expensive and never pursued further. Going on the website and seeing all the different collections and number of brush variations totaling over 550 (!!), I was instantly overwhelmed but the kind people on the internet have already gone through the trouble of buying and reviewing most of them, so I read, and read, and took notes (literally) and went to the small counter at Ikebukuro’s Tobu department store.

Hakuhodo brushes really are a work of art, handmade from different animal hair (primarily goat, blue squirrel, horse, weasel) in every shape you could ever imagine or need. Everyone talks about how soft they are, but they are so soft. They range in price from ~10 dollars to ~200 dollars depending on the type of hair and handle, but the vast majority are very reasonable for the quality. I’ll probably go through individual reviews on feedyourface eventually, but after getting the B110 blush brush at their tiny department store counter, I went the next week to their boutique in Omotesando which has nearly all their brushes and bought 3 more. So luxe! And yet, cheaper than anything I would have got at MAC.

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