Japanese Pharmacy Obsession #1
I love Japan. My husband and I have been there 3 times now, and we consider it our adoptive country. I have many friends who have lived there for a number of years during different stages of their lives, and I can completely understand the attraction to do this. Unfortunately for me, I think the reality of living in Japan has passed and my life choices don’t make it viable to do this now or in the future. So for now, Japan will remain our #1 travel destination, particularly for the snow, and my love affair with the country will continue to blossom.
One of my favourite things to do in Japan is to go pharmacy shopping! My sister, Kimba, understands me as she has the same obsession. We go into every single pharmacy we pass. My husband on the other hand falls victim to boredom. Pharmacy cosmetics and health products – I could stand around in japanese pharmacies for hours on end, there is just so… much… stuff, and amazing stuff you just don’t find in Australia (at affordable prices). Give me a full day and I would gladly hang out at a Japanese pharmacy. It’s sad for me that I don’t speak the Japanese language, so to get around discovering different products I browse www.kenko.com using google translate. My feature photo is one that I took of my beauty hauls back in January 2015.
So far I haven’t used everything I bought, but I can review the stuff that I have used. Some were successful, others were a bit of a fail. I’ll review each item a few at a time over the coming weeks.
Makiron Itch Time Patches (Pikachu pattern)
These are stickly little circle patches that you put over your itchy bites like a bandaid. I think these are meant for kids, but the key ingredient is diphenhydramine which is an antihistamine and can work for anyone of all ages. I get really awful reactions to mosquito bites, so I was looking for something to alleviate the itch. I pop one of these patches on (about the size of a 5c coin) and I won’t itch it. I’ll keep it on for a few days and the bit usually goes down. I LOVE THEM. I stock up everytime I go to Japan or I get someone to buy them for me when they are over there!
Kose Combi Nick Serekuti Organics Oil Blotting Paper
My skin is combination but mostly oily. Blotting paper is a godsend for me on a normal working day, keeps me matt. I bought of a couple of these to try out, they come in packs of 120 papers. This stuff is amazing. It’s like tissue paper but takes out all of the surface oil from your face. The sheets are quite large as well so you can do a full face with just one paper! I probably use them a few times a day.
Santa Marche Pure Milk Silky Clear Veil
I went through a number of unsuccessful primers/makeup bases before coming across this little beauty. I found it at the cosme shop in Osaka and it is by far one of the best primers I have ever bought for my oily skin! It glides on silky smooth and clear, my makeup sticks to my face ALL DAY and it is really comfortable on my skin. I can’t find it anywhere else though so I have only ever bought 1 and I’ve kept the empty bottle in memory of how good it was. These days I use a different primer but I’ll cherish this one until I can get my hands on more.
I have a bit of an obsession with Japan too. Only for me it wasn’t so much pharmacies but convenience stores. Or the “kombini” as the Japanese like to call it. You can do pretty much anything at the kombini. Need a snack? They have about 30 different sandwich combinations. Sure some of it is always a bit weird for us gaijin, but I could usually find an egg and lettuce. As long as I could find that, I knew my day was going to be ok. And how cute that the crusts are always cut off for you!
Bill paying – I mean, how ridiculously convenient! You can pay your gas, electricity and phone bill all at the kombini. It’s like your one stop for the super disorganised… When you’ve just forgotten about your bill completely or been slack and on your final gas bill reminder notice, just pop in down to the kombini.
Beer – well, living in Japan you drink a lot of the stuff. But you don’t need to go to the bottle-o – in Japan it’s completely legal to sell all sorts of alcohol at the kombini. And slightly scary. I mean, I did used to see very young looking people making alcohol purchases regularly. To me, it seemed like someone should have been asking them for ID first. But not at the kombini. All good. Just come in, grab your grog (many of them have an entire aisle devoted to alcohol), pay for it with your best manners, use lots of “otsukaresamadeshita” (Lit: I have made you tired with my mere existence), and away you go. Yes, you could say alcohol is extremely freely available. As a note of personal preference, Kirin beer is gross. I mean don’t get me wrong, it’s ridiculously cheap. But it’s just gross. It possibly takes similar to cat pee. Not that I’ve tried cat pee, but if I did, I’d imagine it tastes like Kirin. Asahi on the other hand is an excellent value for money beer. Here I Australia it’s super expensive and considered one of those snobby “import” beers. But in Japan, it’s the middle of the range decent quality beer you Can always go to. I remember my friends and I coming up with a song about how much we hated Kirin. It went something like this “we hate Kirin yes we hate Kirin”. To the tune of a random chant you’d do at a footy game. Did I mention you can buy sake at the kombini too? The Japanese really do love their alcohol.
Deep fried squid – up the front of the kombini there is a big metal hot deep fryer.. Similar to what you see in fish and chip shops in Aus. Only they aren’t filled with chips. It’s always random weird seafood. Including my personal favourite, deep fried squid, and other equally unappetising assortment of deep fried unidentifiable seal creatures.. Well. I never had the guts to try it. I did used to take plenty of photos. So unbelievably random.
Anyway. Isogashi. Natsukashi. I miss the place.