Bonsai Blues

Well, well, well, what am I gonna do with a pot of bonsai? I shook my head as I placed the offending object on a foot stall by the door. Guess who sent it to me as a birthday prezzie? My father-in-law! Why bonsai? WHY??

David, my father-in-law, has the annoying habit of sending unwanted gifts. I suspect he tends to overthink when it comes to choosing presents, and as a result, Hubbie and I end up receiving gifts which are totally out of sync. Why can he not give me what I want?! I would rather have a shopping voucher than a bonsai! I may sounds bratty but his idea of what makes a personal gift exciting and clever has never seen eye to eye with mine, and I am increasingly getting annoyed. Every year, Hubbie tries his best to communicate with him about the issue, suggesting him boring gifts such as a voucher or a box of chocolate will be more appropriate. Then, the day arrives with yet another wacky unwanted gift, we both have to throw our hands up in the air. What is wrong with him?!

We always give him what he wants at his birthday and Christmas. Like a vintage Scottish whisky, a case of vintage wine, a voucher for a flight simulator at British Airways, etc, etc…

What is this? Is it my new toy? Is it edible?

Bella seems to be the only one who is interested in the bonsai. Sorry bonsai, but you will have to be taken to Hubbie’s office because I can’t stand looking at you!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

A Long Walk @ Tokyo Station

Well, it must have been a longest connection walk mum & I ever did.
Even though, Keiyō Line (京葉線) terminated at Tokyo Station, a distance between Yaesu Exit and the platforms of Keiyō Line stretched nearly 900m, involving 20 minutes of walking.
Latter-day we learnt that the journey would have been much shorter if we traveled to the next station, Yūraku-cho (有楽町), using Yamate Line (山手線) and walked from there!

How ginormous Tokyo Station was, we were tragically unaware of then…

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So many shops within the station.
The concourse was lined with countless kiosks selling cakes, colourfully boxed baked sweets and bento box as well as espresso bars, juice stands, bookshops and even a small branch of Uniqlo.

Temiyage (手土産) is a distinctively Japanese custom.
Gift-giving has been a part of their social etiquette for centuries and it has developed into an art form.
In order to cater an appropriate gift for every occasion – for between close friends and families or for more formal relationships, for celebrations or for commiserations, Japanese retailers have developed sophisticated gift ideas to satisfy Japanese consumer’s insatiable eagerness to impress each other. Especially, at major mainline stations, people are more than happy to kill their time, wandering in & out of the kiosks and gift-hunting for loved ones and colleagues…

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A welcome sight of a travelator!
Overhead signboards for Keiyō Line kept on informing us how far (or close) we were from the platforms, showing “another 500m”, “another 200m”, etc…

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‘Isn’t calling it as Tokyo Station misleading?’ We grumbled as we dragged our weary feet.
We shouldn’t be walking this far just to change to another line. Ridiculous…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Christmas Fair @ The Somerset House

After our leisurely lunch at Les Deux Salons, we strolled along the Strand eastbound towards the Somerset House.
The origin of the Somerset house goes back to the 16th Century, the most illustrious and notorious era of the Tudor time. In 1539, Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford, the brother of Henry VIII’s beloved third wife, Jane Seymour obtained a grant of land at “Chester Place, outside Temple Bar, London” from the King. After Seymour became Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector for the boy-king Edward VI, the manor became known as the Somerset House. The present neoclassical building is the result of the refurbishment designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1685.

As we walked into the courtyard, Alex and I were greeted by excited chatters and laughs from the ice skate rink in the middle. This year, an American handbag and accessories manufacturer, Coach, was supporting this annual fun…

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Our purpose of visiting to the Somerset House was not for a post-lunch skating but their well reputed Christmas Arcade…

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Each room of the West Wing Galleries was designed as an independent shop occupied by well-chosen non high street retailers…

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The item on sale were all irresistibly sweet!
They were highly original, modern without being too sleek, humorous, sophisticated and affordable…

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The main corridor was decorated with pretty lighting…

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And everywhere I turned to, I found at least one Christmas tree…

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The items I was smitten were gingerbread tree decorations…

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A plate with a motto…

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Porcelain doggie necklaces. What a shame that they didn’t have a chihuahua…

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There was a hat seller in one of the galleries…

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I just couldn’t resist trying on a top hat…

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When we emerged from the market, the ice rink was still busy with skaters…

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We moved on to the cafe in the East Wing and had latte & cake…

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The Somerset House Christmas Arcade will be a god send for anyone who is stuck with gift ideas.
The items on sale cater for young & old, male & female. The choice is plentiful. The prices are affordable. And the most importantly, it is INDOOR! What are you waiting for?
I may return to the arcade next week for another gift hunting since I have had enough of West End shopping craze during my repeated trips to the Genius Bar…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Sneak Peek @ Fortnum & Mason

It may sound like being a kill joy but I am not a big fan of Christmas in general.
Every time I see the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street leading up to Christmas Eve, I can’t ignore how commercially driven our modern-day Christmas has become. A supposed to be festive and charitable season now appears to be marred by anxiety and frustration which stems from materialistic obsession. Gifts, parties, drinks, nibbles, expenses, weight gains, etc…

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Hubbie is not a kind of guy to make much fuss about Christmas either, therefore, it doesn’t help. I would love to be more starry-eyed about the biggest festive season of the year. Maybe I should make more noise. Should I decorate my window side with brand-new decorations this year?

Before the brunch date last Tuesday, I dropped by Fortnum & Mason on Piccadilly in where Mrs.Bentley and I were to rendezvous.
Even someone like me who was a semi-cynic about Christmas, their festive shop floor was captivating…

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It was all commercial, no doubt. However, the charm, glamour and opulence of traditional Christmas was oozing from every merchandise on display…

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Hmmm…, nostalgia must be one vital component to create the elixir of Christmas tradition, I admired their splendid ornamentation…

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Regrettably, my visit was all too brief, not long enough for a pre-Christmas conditioning therapy.
I must go back there very soon for a proper gift hunting…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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