Kochi

· Food, Illustration, Travel

Finally ! Back to tell you more about my Japanese road trip, which was exactly a year ago. On that same date, I was in the city of Kōchi ! The ambiance really changes from what we’ve been living this year, no? I hope this will make you dream a bit. It was so nice to plunge back into all the pictures from another time, time of the live-and-let-live attitude.

So I will tell you all about the tour we did in the city of Kōchi, located in the Kōchi prefecture, on the Shikoku island where we’d been wandering around… Do you follow? We stayed 2 nights in Kōchi (the city), which gave us a bit of time to discover all the points of interest.

 

Kochi castle

We didn’t get inside, to keep up some time to visit others city areas but here is a quick glance at the surrounding park. This castle built in 1611 during the Edo period is now a museum.

For Japanese animation fans, you should know that this castle can be clearly seen in a Ghibli movie « Ocean Waves » where the scene takes place in Kōchi (I haven’t watched it, as most of the Ghibli movies = yes I know, shame on me! But I am planning on catching up on Netflix).

 

Katsurahama beach

The car was useful to access the beach otherwise I think we could take a bus (because it’s 30min away from the city center). This beach surrounded by pines is quite amazing and we got lucky enough to have this beautiful weather.

Unfortunately, swimming is prohibited considering the dangerous stream, so you won’t need to bring your swimsuit, or you can wear it (but it will stay desperately dry).

This beach is well-known for its statue of Sakamoto Ryoma (with also a dedicated museum if you want to know more about him). In a nutshell, the end of feudal period came thanks to him in Japan, so he deserves a bit of attention.

On the side, after crossing a small bridge above the beach, a cute temple overlooking the waves. This place is very impressive and photogenic as shown on the pictures.

 

Hirome market

This city market is an indoor market made of 7 different sections but the food section is still quite large. We took this chance to grab our lunch by stopping by a few food stalls. I don’t have any specific stall to recommend, just follow your intuition and own desires!

Grilled squids and mochi crêpes

 

We tried the local speciality : the skipjack (bonito) tataki, the emblematic dish of the Kochi prefecture. A kind of pink tuna lightly grilled, half cooked that comes with green oignons, ginger and/or garlic… the perfect plate for a date with your lover.

Katsuo no tataki (tataki de bonite)

 

The region is well-known for citruses and sweet potatoes fries. Enjoy, this market is the place to discover new flavors, get wild, dare trying!

 

Chikurin-Ji temple (Temple 31)

Let’s not forget about the 88 temples pilgrimage of Shikoku : this temple was worth the detour for our calligraphy collection but also for its 4 storied pagoda and for its relaxing green bower. Please admire.

 

 

 

Other visit ideas

Here are a few ideas (that we unfortunately didn’t have time to try) but that seem interesting if you stay around.

THE MAKINO BOTANICAL GARDEN : This garden is dedicated to a famous Japanese botanist, Tomitaro Makino or « the father of Japanese botany » (yeah that’s right). Facing the Chikurin-ji temple, this garden will pleased the maple tree, chrysanthemum and other Japanese natural beauty lovers.

THE YOSAKOI DANCE FESTIVAL : A festival of traditional dance that takes place every year on August 10th and 11th (except this year maybe!).

The Yosakoi dance uses an accessory that you’ll see pretty much everywhere in the region : the naruko (a kind of Japanese wooden castanets). Lots of dance groups come to participate to a contest organized during the festival. The ambiance must be so friendly, colorful and festive (and I can imagine the food stalls hehe!)

THE GODAISAN OBSERVATORY : to overlook the city and admire the landscape.

 

Kochi yummies

We mostly ate on the go, while doing markets, but here are two addresses recommended by the locals that caught our attention (and pleased our taste buds).

KUMONYA (1 Chome-4-15 Harimayacho, Kochi) : an izakaya restaurant very local and authentic.

We sat at the counter, obviously no English menu, so we followed the chef recommandations… and it was so good! Skipjack in all kind of forms (tatami and maki) seashells (I couldn’t tell the name), grilled eggplants, everything was delicious!

PÂTISSERIE NEGRITA : I think it’s a chain of pastry shops. If you miss French pastries with a Japanese twist, this place is just made for you. Quite small but it was perfect to satisfy our sweet tooth. Very special thought for the nice waitress (that might have changed since last year).

 

Housing in Kochi

We booked a simple hotel : the Comfort Hotel Kochi mostly for its location in the center. We had some misunderstanding about a reserved parking space that actually was not! So we had to find a public parking but everything ended up well…

From what I recall, the room was quite small but good enough as we just stayed to sleep.

 

I hope you enjoyed the tour, especially as this end of lockdown period is still unclear. See you for the next episode to leave the city and travel along the Shimanto river! (English translation by Quiterie)

My blog is turning 13

· Illustration

Year after year, when I see the 25th of May on my calendar, I have a smile on my face… I don’t really celebrate it every year but I always remember this day of 2007 when I had the idea to start a blog « to see », just because I thought it was a great idea to chat with people from around the world, and also because I was bored of writing long comments on other fashion blogs (Balibulle or Punky B for instance) and that I needed a new space to express myself and create.

Social networks didn’t exist at that time (but MSN did !), it was the time when the only way to communicate with you was the comment area below. Honestly, I would have never thought that I could be writing you here 13 years later… Some of you have been following me since the very beginning, some of you later on and other just found out about this blog : I grew up and got older with most of you, while sharing my passions and this sounds just crazy.

We read quite often this enthusiasm in blogger interviews and I won’t be original because, yes, this blog changed my life (human relationships, life-experiences…). I’ve kept doing what I like and I don’t regret anything.

 

A lucky charm blog

But why should we expound on this anniversary, this particular year? Maybe because this year I also turned 40 and 13 is traditionally known as a lucky number and the blog has been a lucky charm for the past 13 years. I’ve changed since the beginning (stylistically/physically speaking, it’s the more obvious), my aspirations and concerns as well, but I think I’ve remained loyal to my initial desire : being sincere and enjoy every single time.

With this article, I will rewind these past 13 years to sum up the best (and the worst), even though I didn’t transfer all the archives on this blog that officially started in 2008. As I told you I don’t regret anything : all these years have contributed to be what I am today and I hope I’ll keep being in touch with you here or elsewhere the coming years. I don’t know where it’ll take me but it will always be a pleasure to write and share here, I’ll keep doing it.

To laugh and see the all the changes over these past 13 years, here is a selection of my best souvenirs and funny looks/hairstyles year after year. There would have so many things to say, but here is an overview (if you want to go more into details, you can freely read everything from the beginning!). I assume all of it, ahah!

And eventually, to be even more cheesy, it’s time to say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart, it’s also thanks to YOU, or it wouldn’t be the same at all <3

 

2007:

  • Best memory : The first time I met Alix (I wasn’t showing yet my face on the blog!) but here is a collector picture of that day.
  • THE look : I was in love with the dress I was wearing that day, purchased during my first trip to Japan.


2008 :

  • Best memory : My trip to the United States
  • THE look : Everything in this look is everything I wouldn’t wear today! (A skirt transformed to a scarf (!), a saroual pant, a fluffy cardigan and this manga inspired haircut) but it makes me smile.

2009 :

 

2010:

  • Best memory : My first comic book “Serial shoppeuse” published (the theme is at the extreme opposite of my today’s convictions) but it will remain in my memory forever, for the work I had done, the emotions I had felt, especially during the book fair or signing session in the French book stores once again with you! … and beside, one thing that just changed my life, the surgery of my myopic vision I told you about here and there.
  • THE look : it goes in every direction (Pirate boots obsession) but, despite of this I met Ewan so whatever!

2011:

  • Best memory :Being a one-day model for Jean-Paul Gaultier as part of an ambassador program with (among others) Stéphanie and Pauline and this fabulous trip with the JPG team to Montreal.
  • THE look :The quest to the perfect perfecto marked the beginning of this year, my style was getting slowly more simple (I said slowly) and here is a look that I don’t think I would wear today but I still have two pieces (the breton shirt and the perfecto) and I still love them a lot.

2012:

  • Best memory : My second comic book “Globe-trotteuses” released (and once again some signing sessions across the country with you <3) and this day spent with my favorite band Keane
  • THE look : I finally (sadly) purchased the pair of platform sneakers from Isabel Marant, to create this look (=sneakers still in my cellar) but I still got this fashion challenge in London with international bloggers that you probably know.

2013:

  • Best memory : A year full of travels : Seoul then a gataway to the Thai paradise, then a second time to the USA… and a lot of good moments with my friend Lionel, met a year before, by luck while working.
  • THE look : I (finally) gave up this spiky haircut to keep my hair more natural.

2014:

2015:

  • Best memory : My fall trip to Japan (again!) that made me discover another face of this country and this collaboration with Swarovski that was the starting point of a love story with Christmas.
  • THE look : My hair longer than ever got cut short (with my style more and more simple : Alleluia !)

2016:

2017:

  • Best memory : the backstage of the 25th anniversary of the Disneyland Paris’ parade and a trip to Bali that made me think more deeply about my consumption and priorities (we refined/transformed our apartment that year)
  • THE look : My outfit style and my haircut got closer to my ideal minimalism.

2018:

  • Best memory :My winter trip to Japan under the snow, my British road-trip and one of the most beautiful collaboration I’ve done during these 13 years for Kenzo. They gave me a full carte blanche to work with a great team (at Beaubourg and for this video)
  • THE look : Simple, with pieces I’ve already got in my closet, and only a few newbies, such as this look in the middle of an exhibition of Tadao Ando.

2019:

  • Best memory : My roadtrip to Japan (that I actually haven’t finished to tell you about) and all the concerts (Take That, Spice Girls in London, Backstreet Boys, Keane, Marina, Little Mix, the Lollapalooza festival…) and a perfect cosy Christmas season.
  • THE look : only a few newbies in my closet and simple looks, easy to wear.

2020:

 

I hope you enjoyed this retrospective : at least it will show me how I’ve changed (like a Pokemon evolution ?) and I really hope we will share more experiences together in the coming years (… with or without walker?). (English translation by Quiterie)

Seen on Netflix

· Culture, Illustration

For years I resisted the call of Netflix, I was too afraid to be caught in the spiral of binge watching and of letting my social life dwindle (SPOILER ALERT : Netflix isn’t responsible for my non-existing social life these past 2 months) but since end of december, with the cosy Christmas atmosphere, I decided to give it a go and subscribed.

And I don’t regret it! (especially during the lockdown period!) Especially since it didn’t really infringe on my other activites (I watch it during the evenings or a bit on the week-end, instead of the boring/anxiety-inducing programs of the traditional telly). I am almost up to date on my “series” culture (although I still have a lot of things to watch … cult series included, but I’m not losing hope!) but above all, I found tailored programs for my culinary and getaway tastes.

So here is my list of what I have watched up to now (I might enrich it as time goes by) (=do not hesitate to share your recommendations in the comments!) Maybe you’ll be inspired if you are looking for new things to watch …. or know what to avoid! (that being said, I’m a “make-your-own-opinion” type of person… you never know, we don’t all like the same things!)

 

Japan and Asia

I listed everything I watched that has something to do with Asia, with a strong Japan prevalence, you know me!

 

QUEER EYE : WE’RE IN JAPAN!

1st series I saw on Japan : I just loved the kindness, empathy, tolerance and warmth of this Queer Team that helps japanese people take back their life, be it in terms of looks, self-esteem or decoration. Some tears might be shed and emotions had in in the Land of the Rising Sun.

 

TERRACE HOUSE

Terrace House “Tokyo 2019-2020”

 

This japanese reality show was my (not so secret) indulgence for the beginning of 2020 and the beginning of the lockdown period. I discovered the seasons backwards, and started off with Tokyo 2019-2020 (which is still ongoing) and then followed with Opening new doors 2018, Boys and girls in the city 2015-2016 and finished with Hawaii Aloha State 2016-2017, the only available seasons on Netflix (I’m really rooting for the other seasons to be added to the catalogue).

My Instagram Stories and post are already stock full of debriefs, but to sum it up, if you are a fan of Japan, of japanese culture, and if you like analysing human behavior, following pretty romances (and drooling in front of all the japanese food), this is a show for you.

Terrace House “Opening New Doors 2018” with my favorite cute couple <3 (Credit photo : Sam Byford)

 

My favorite season is Opening New Doors (up to the end of part 3, the rest wasn’t really interesting to me afterwards) for the super cute side of the couple in question and the cozy feel of the place (a chalet in the mountains). If I go back to Japan at some point, I’ll be making a stop in Karuizawa for sure!

I also liked the end of the Tokyo 2019-2020 season, with the apparition of a very charismatic, talented and funny italian candidate : Peppe! The one I liked the least was Hawaii Aloha State because the japanese culture really took a backseat, but it was fun to watch anyway.

 

MIDNIGHT DINER : TOKYO STORIES

I watched the 1st episode and wasn’t really convinced by the rythm and the story, even though theoretically, all the ingredients were there (japanese food, intimate restaurant …) and it’s an adaptation of the “Midnight Diner” japanese manga (which is apparently very good). Maybe I should give it another go, but the mixed reviews aren’t really helping in motivating me…

 

KINGDOM

I was pretty intrigued by the 1st episode, that took place in an old Korean kingdom, with a terrifying zombie invasion, but I watched the following episodes with a distracted eye, and followed the series more through the eyes of my S.O, who was much more assiduous than I and who didn’t want to wait for me to watch the rest (=I had an illustration order to finish : I did sit through the episodes, but wasn’t really focused).

My S.O loved it, and I did very much enjoy the beautiful images (didn’t quite follow the scenario though, haha). Anyway, sorry for this poor quality review! But I did have to mentione it because it is worth it if you give it your whole focus.

 

STREET FOOD ASIA

A documentary that gets your mouth watering, and that explores different street food specialties in Asia. From Bangkok to Seoul, passing through Osaka, strong and often very touching personalities share their stories with us around plates of staple street food.

 

The series

The Sex Education bus scene <3

 

I didn’t start everything that is on my Netflix list, because I find a series does require some attention and committment to finish, but here is what I’ve watched so far :

 

SEX EDUCATION

Huge favorite even though at the beginning I thought that with a title like that it would be a bit stupid, with American Pie level humour. Of course, sex is at the heart of the series, but it’s talked about in a smart way, openly and with a sincerity and sensibility in the characters that makes you love it and be impatient about season 3 coming out. The story takes place in a small english town, so extra points for the british touch!

 

STRANGER THINGS

I had heard so much about this series, it may have been one of the main reasons I subscribed! And I wasn’t disappointed … (except maybe for season 2, that I found less interesting) ; the young actors are absolutely brilliant, Winona Ryder is awesome, and the 80s atmosphere is perfect for those of us who might be a bit nostalgic. I am a bit curious about what season 4 will bring, I’m afraid they may not be able to reinvent themselves.

 

HOLLYWOOD

Mini-series of 7 episodes, that you can easily watch over a weekend. Realized by Ryan Murphy (who is also behind Glee : that I haven’t watched yet = I’m telling you, I’m behind on a lot of series, but I’m working hard on catching up!), it takes place in the 40s in the USA and the scenario paints the hollywood movie world in a more or less glamorous way, that could probably be compared to our actual world. An interesting and pleasant watch that brings up a lot of questions on homophobia, accepting one another, bullying and the power given to women.

 

FARGO

I bought the DVD set last year because Ewan Mc Gregor is in the 3rd season (fan attitude!). I had seen seasons 1 and 2 (and liked season 1 better, with a Martin Freeman that I found absolutely disconcerting!) and I’m currently watching season 3 with a double dose of Ewan, who is brilliant (I may not be totally objective). Each season can be watched independently because the intrigue is different, but it is often a question of murders and police affairs in the heart of Minnesota.

 

The Movies

Train to Busan

 

I really have a lot to catch up on movie-wise (for example, I still haven’t seen Matrix! Yikes!) but here is what I watched lately.

 

GET OUT

I hadn’t managed to see it when it got out in the theaters, and I’m happy I could see it here : I loved the plot and was totally taken by the stressful/uncomfortable atmosphere of this white american family that meets their black son-in-law for the first time. The message is even more clear with this chilling scenario.

 

TRAIN TO BUSAN

Korean movie about (once more) a zombie invasion : the scenario could be transposed to what we are currently living with the covid-19 pandemic … Apart from the stressful side of the story, it’s interesting to analyse the different behaviors of the characters, and watch some moving scenes. This movie really stuck with me.

 

ROM COMS

I really like this genre : I’m pretty romantic, but even if I am a great audience for the “Christmas TV movie” type, I still have a threshold to what I can tolerate in terms of silly and inane!

 

TO ALL THE BOYS 1 & 2

Following all the good reviews I read about these 2 teen movies, I watched both, but was very much disappointed! Even if the visual approach is rather dynamic, neither the Lara Jean and Peter couple nor the epistolary intrigue resonated with me. I found the characters rather dull and uncharismatic, and even if I am aware that this genre isn’t really about realism, everything seemed fake and overdone. Anyway, I just don’t get it.

 

THE KISSING BOOTH

On the contrary, this was a great surprise! This is what I call a good romcom! Even if the characters are teens and that I found the story to be unbelievable on a number of issues (Noah’s violence or Lee’s possessiveness are quite disturbing), I was taken by this refreshing and funny californian story, that I thoroughly enjoyed!

There’s rythm, and a certain playfulness brought by the main character Elle, a sweet complicity with her best friend Lee and a physical chemistry with Noah (the actors Joey King and Jacob Elordi were an item in real life, proof that it really works, hehe!). The end was unexpected, and had a nice message. A Kissing Booth 2 is apparently in the works : not sure it will be as good as the 1st, but I’m still eager to watch it! Butterflies in the stomach guaranteed here.

 

LOVE WEDDING REPEAT

Another disappointment. I don’t often really advise against a movie, but nothing works in this remake of the french movie “Plan de Table” (that I didn’t see, but it seems it is much better than this one). I was expecting more of Sam Claflin (who played in Love, Rosie with Lily Collins, or was known for his more charismatic role as Finnick in Hunger Games) but I found it boring and really fought to make it to the end of this wedding day. There must be people who love this movie, but which planet do they come from?

 

SHOWS AND DOCUMENTARIES

The world’s most extraordinary homes

Netflix shows and documentaries are generally of a great aesthetic, which I really appreciate.

 

SALT FAT ACID HEAT

We follow Samrin Nosrat (Chef and culinary author) that details the 4 aspects of taste in food in exploring different parts of the world (amongst which Japan!) : you can feel her passion overflowing when she talks about food or when she is cooking : it’s inspiring and appetizing!

 

THE WORLD’S MOST EXTRAORDINARY HOMES

Here we explore the world’s most beautiful homes with actress Caroline Quentin and architect Piers Taylor. Their british duo works perfectly during the visit of these clearly extraordinary homes, in osmosis with nature and the environning constraints. The decoration is often to my taste and it’s all very dreamy.

 

TINY HOUSE NATION

Tiny mobile homes are very in at the moment, and they, along with minimalism are the theme of this series. I am a great fan of the cabin/lodge state of mind, and I love it! All the realisations are not to my taste, but they do put things in perspective in terms of how much we actually need to be happy (ah yes! maybe one of those things are a good architect and good workers!!)

 

MISS AMERICANA

I’m not a huge Taylor Swift fan (I do like her songs though) and I wanted to know more about her personnality, that I find a bit too smooth and victimizing. The documentary does show her in a very favorable light, but it allows (even if it does feel very controlled) to see what is going on behind the scenes for this american popstar.

My opinion of Taylor Swift didn’t change much after having seen this show : still a bit victimizing (sometimes rightly so), very control freak, but what you can’t put in doubt is her work ethic and her qualities as a musician. The true fans will appreciate. (English translation by Marine)

 

Photo credits : Netflix
Illustration credits : Tokyobanhbao

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