Friday, August 22, 2008

My New Phone

On a whim, I have decided to get an upgrade for my phone. I was tired of my old Samsung, with a very crummy user interface and awful ringtones - and limited capabilities.

Went back to Sony-Ericsson and managed to get a W580i in Pink!

And it's a walkman too, which is more than welcome for me. I use it a lot in the gym, since I hate the songs they play there anyway. Mark even got a 8GB memory stick in Oslo for me, which makes it even better.

What I love about it is how easy it is to send and receive emails. The sound is also very, very good. I even downloaded the "One Missed Call" ringtone (Japanese version of course), and have Ai Enma (Jigoku Shoujo) waking me up every morning!

It's got some cool light effects too, as you can see on the pictures below. If the screensaver is purple, so will be the lights on the side and so on... VERY pretty!

And my current strap/netsuke is that super-kawaii Robot Kitty. Mark thinks it's a bit creepy though...

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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 5:38 PM 3 comments

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hello Kitty Japanese Hairdo (pretty!)

Etsumi Kawashima is probably the greatest hairdresser in Japan and has been proposed to make a "bald" kitty become a beautiful hairy star! Well, a star she is already, and below you can see her hairdo variations, all to die for! Kawashima-san has been nominated by Sanrio, the official Hello Kitty hairdresser! Kudos to him!

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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 8:46 PM 0 comments

Friday, July 18, 2008

They are arriving - Dior Kitties!

Yes, they have finally been released!

The Dior Kitties designed by John Galliano are already available in Paris! Please check the Colette website for more information! They are super-lovely.

And mine are already on their way to Dublin!

(Official picture by the Colette website)

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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 9:10 PM 0 comments

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Lovely Film - Kamikaze Girls!

Yesterday's film was the amazing Japanese comedy Kamikaze Girls, aka Shimotsuma Monogatari. That could be translated as "Shimotsuma's Tale", or "Shimotsuma's Story". Mark and I watched it and it was brilliant. Lately, we have been watching loads of Japanese films, since they are my favourite, and this one was such a nice surprise... I took ages to get it, and it was a real treat.

It tells the story of the very unlikely meeting of two Japanese girls from completely different backgrounds: Momoka is the goth-loli sweet and dreamy girl, who wishes she was living in the Rococo era, and thus dresses up in frilly outfits and lacy headbands. The other girl is Ichiko (in reality, Ichigo, but she hates being called by her real name). Ichigo is a "ianki", or a rebel (juvenile delinquent, I would say!) and member of the infamous Ponytail (poniteiro) girls motorbike gang from the Ibaraki region (where their hometowm, Shimotsuma, is located).

Their fashion sense is very diverse, although that is the exact thing that ends up by uniting them. Momoka commutes to Tokyo almost everyday to buy her frills in the most amazing Goth-Loli shop: Baby, The Stars Shine Bright. That is her salvation from the local Jusco (oh that so makes me think of our local Tesco here!) supermarket mega-store and their dull, suburban outfits. She lives with her Dad, an ex-Yakuza, and her Granny (who plays the senile lady when convenient). Mum and Dad are divorced, and the whole story of how they met and how and where they ended up is hilarious. At any rate, her wacky Dad is an entrepreneur: he produces counterfeit goods "by" Versace (VersaCH, ha ha!) and Universal Studios (that he understands to be Universal STADIUMS) and sell them in the streets.

Momoka, in need of some money, advertises them in the Internet and that's how she meets Ichigo - who was desperately needing an amazingly embroidered jacket for the Gang's leader wedding.

Well, the plot from then on will revolve around a mythical embroiderer, the discovery of Momoka's hidden talents, visits to Baby, The Stars Shine Bright, mopeds X motorbikes, pachinko parlours, Ichigo's first (frustrated) love and a near-death experience, none the least.

Amazing characters, beautiful colours and cool effects that make this movie seem like a "moving manga". No, not an anime in this sense, which would be too obvious, but a how a manga would look like if it was in colour, and real life and flesh. Brilliant, funny, and light.

The girls change quite a lot after meeting each other and it's great to see how they exchange their own distinct experiences and tastes, and how their friendship is reinforced by their differences and ideals.

Kamikaze Girls is based on the novel of the same name by Nobara Takemoto, published in 2004, and the author was twice nominated to the Mishima Prize of literature. He is also a clothes and accessories designer for Baby, The Starts Shine Bright that are now opening their first store in Paris. Yeah, it's a REAL store! Takemoto-san also creates some Gothic-Loli outfits for the Hello Kitty series, and I have some of his designs in my collection, as you can see below:

Very pretty, no? This is exactly how Momoko would dress herself up in the film! If you click on it, you'll be able to see a picture if Nobara Takemoto as well, quite charming (in a dark, gothic way that is!).

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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 7:16 PM 0 comments

Vogue Japan - Hello Kitty Wears Dior

I finally managed to put my hands on the massive issue of Vogue Japan Jun'08! Why, and what is that, that I was so anxiously waiting for? Well, nothing less than a special edition featuring Hello Kitty dressed by no one else than John Galliano!

Well, it also displays some celebs that have succumbed to Kitty-chan's spell, but I wouldn't care less for them, especially the bimbo sisters Paris and whatzername-Hilton. No, that doesn't matter. I'd rather forget about it, even... Oh well...

What is really great is to get the drawings for 60 outfits Galliano designed for her, as well as pictures of her visiting the Maison Dior in Paris - kawaii indeed! To die for!

(It makes me think of Alexandre Herchcovitch - a wonderful Brazilian fashion designer - who also designed some pieces featuring Kitty-chan 4 years ago...)

I also got a special freebie, which is a lovely mascot of Kitty holding a Vogue banner. Here it is, at your left - I scanned it, but it doesn't look great. Just click on it to get a better idea.

Now I just need to know if the Kitties (60, in total) will be released as mascots or straps, so I can get some (my favorites at least)!

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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 2:44 AM 0 comments

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Kitty Most Pretty!!!

Yay! They are so cute! I will be listing them on eBay tomorrow. These Kitties are part of the Pula Loli (Gothic Lolita & Punk) series. These are duplicates that I want to try selling on eBay. I really like the way the pictures turned out!

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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 8:58 PM 0 comments

Friday, June 22, 2007

Selling on EBay!

Well, this week I finally started selling stuff on EBay! Audrey came here and helped me to set the "business". Now to what exactly I am selling... As you may expect, duplicates of my Hello Kitty mascots and netsuke, and other cute stuff, such as mobile phone pouches, notebooks etc...

We have listed only 5 items so far, to see how it works. But, if it turns out to be OK, I will also sell some manga books, DVDs, stationery and other things that became "redundant" down here! Let's see how it goes, let's see...

My stuff is listed here, in case you want to have a look!

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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 5:33 PM 2 comments

Saturday, October 28, 2006

My Kitties

Last week, Mark and I were involved with my Hello Kitty mascots and netsuke organisation. I came up with different categories depending on their theme, and Mark helped me to count them.

It took some time, since I have a lot. Accounted for so far: 691, spread on 46 categories, such as:

- Kabuki;
- Food and Desserts;
- Pretty Ladies in Kimono;
- Fuji Sama;
- Tokyo Tower;
- Okinawa;
- Nagoya;
- Matsuri (Festivals);
- Summer;
- Autumn;
- Mammals;
- Flowers;
- Seafood & Fish;
- Charmmy Kitty;
- Gothic Lolita;
- Kapa, Tanuki & Kitsune etc etc...

Of course, I made a spreadsheet so I can keep control of how many I have in each category.

I also found out that, if I like a Kitty very much, I tend to buy more than one, eg, the Dumpling Kitty (dressed up as a gyoza), the Moé Kitty (carrying a bunny on her back) and so on... I already gave away lots of duplicates. My Mother loves them too, and we use it on our purses and mobile phones, of course. Even Mark once used a Samurai Kitty on the zipper of his coat! Now, I could sell them maybe on EBay? I think my friends and Mom are already tired of getting Kitties as little presents!

It may look childish, but their design is very good, they are very creative, and are fun to "play" with. I read that in Japan, women of my age tend to be the biggest collectors of Kitty memorabilia, since they are already stable and can afford this kind of stuff. I believe that.

On the left, you can see another favorite of mine, the Hydrangea Kitty...

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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 5:49 PM 2 comments

Sunday, July 03, 2005

New Kitty Item: Kawaii!!!!

Long time without posting, very lazy indeed! And it's getting really hot here in Ireland these days. A real Summer, which, by the way, I don't appreciate very much, favouring a bit of cold, breezy weather instead.

I have ordered a beautiful Kitty doll from JBox! It took some time to arrive (it was actually out of stock but I just needed to have it, thus the delay - otherwise it's all very fast!), but man! Was it worth it! Look at her here, graciously holding a "sensu" (traditional folding fan)!

She is wearing a beautiful brocade silk kimono, and comes in a neat box, like those traditional Ningyo dolls. She's a beauty, made of delicate porcelain, its texture like an egg's shell. I highly recommend JBox for all your Japanese needs, it's a cool website and I love buying aromatic oils, Kitty goods and those fantastic tatami slippers that they sell up there... Just love it! My other Kitties (the ones from the Kabuki collection) are also from them:

Apart from my Kitty, not much news here, I'm afraid. I am reading Osamu Tezuka's Buddha series at the moment, but I must write more about it in the next few days.

(Now, I need to go because my head is pounding again, it's been like that lately, don't know why... Ouch... And it just started raining here! I love Summer rains, they smell so nice! Will rest my head a bit and open the window just to feel that wonderful rainy smell...)

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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 6:34 PM 1 comments

Thursday, May 12, 2005

My Kitty-chan's Kabuki Display!

I bought this display from a lovely EBay seller in Japan, have a look at that...

It is a lovely Kabuki display, containing Kitty-chan dressed up as 9 different characters of renowned Kabuki plays: Fuji Musume, Shizuka Gozen, the Hanagasa dancer from the Dohjohji play, Shiokumi etc... I still could not identify all of them, since I don't know much about Kabuki, unfortunately. I think I should perhaps buy a book about it next!

In the pictures below you can see it with more details...

(I am intrigued by the lady at the upper left corner, top tier, holding an umbrella, wearing a kimono and with her head partially covered... If anyone knows who that is, and from which play, please let me know...)

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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 10:58 PM 5 comments

Thursday, May 05, 2005

My Hello Kitty Display!

After a long, long time, here I am. Back again. I have been very, very lazy lately (and sick too). But I will tell about this "absence" in a separate post (I am not in the mood now!).

Today, I need to show you the pictures of my new Kitty Display Board! Mark made it for me, he is indeed quite talented (lucky me!).

I am super-happy with the results. Actually, I do have almost 300 netsuke and mascots, and the board does accommodate only 56. However, the fun of it is that I can always change the Kitties - and make different "exhibitions" by theme etc...

To start with today I only put some of my favourites, from my wonderful Sellers in EBay, and the themes are: Kabuki, lucky charms, Summer, Hina Matsuri, Azumi etc...

Well, here we have Mark working on the board last Sunday, after having bought all necessary material (MDF board, frames, paint, sandpapers etc...):

The colour is a nice burgundy that we thought could make it look like lacquer (Mark's idea). And it does indeed! Below you can see the board, ready and drying:

And finally, here is the board already displaying some of my favourites!

Thank you Mark!
(Where would I be without you???)

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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 10:16 PM 1 comments

Sunday, August 22, 2004

After a Long Time...

... I have decided to post again. I've been too lazy lately, that must be said and not much keen to write much. But today, I'm back!

We have just watched 2001 A Space Odissey on DVD. That was such a remarkable film. I still remember my parents telling me about it when they firstly saw it, ages ago (to be precise when the film was released, was that the 60's? Anyway, a long long time ago). I was very impressed by their opinions about it, although I did not understand much - I was still a little girl. But those things always interested me. At that time I dreamt about being an astronomer, and all the images they described to me were just perfect: the Moon and Jupiter, the monolith, the pitch black, soundless space. I saw it at least 8 times in my adolescence. And it's a film I still love. It's perfect, and it looks "clean". Not like the new Sci-Fi films, where the locations, spacecrafts and even people look quite dodgy, and almost "dirty", dark, dusty... Well, after my parents told me about it, the perspective of a year "2001" was always in my mind: where will I be, how old will I be by then, and what will I be doing. I did not become an astronomer though. And here I am...

What else happened these days? I started a new medication 2 weeks ago, Provigil it's called. The neurologists give it to narcoleptic patients, and MS patients suffering of fatigue (my case). It seems to be working OK, but sometimes I have my doubts. I was quite tired today and spent most of the day in bed (asleep of course), but I also have a cold, so, I cannot really say those pills are not quite working. We never know, and at any rate I will keep taking it unless the docs say otherwise.

This week I received another Hello Kitty doll. These dolls (they are wonderful, so perfect, so detailed) I buy them in a very cool website: JBox (or JList). They are based in Japan (part of it is based in America though) and sell all sorts of Japanese things: from snacks to multi-region DVD players and lots of Anime DVD's and manga. And Kitty-Chan! Needless to say I do love it...

My first doll was Kitty-Chan dressed as Fuji Musume, or the Wisteria Maiden, from a famous Kabuki play of the same title. Mark has posted a picture of her in his blog, and she looks too kawaii to be true! And this one, I found her in JBox some days after I received my Fuji Musume. Now her character is called Shizuka Gozen, or Lady Shizuka.

Lady Shizuka is a character of another kabuki play, Yoshitsune Senbonzakura - that means something like "Yoshitsune and the (Yoshino) Cherry Trees". She was the lover - or concubine - of the great warrior Yoshitsune, from the XIIth Century Japan, in the Heian Era, and originally a sacred dancer in a Shinto srine. She was renowned not only for her beauty and loveliness, but also for the power of her sacred, magical dance.

Herself and her lover were being persecuted by his envious half-brother, the Shogun at the time, Yoritomo. Well, the story is long and sad. She was pregnant of Yoshitsune's child, and arrested by Yoritomo's troops in Kyoto. She's been interrogated on the whereabouts of Yoshitsune but, of course, did not say a word. Knowing that she was pregnant, Yoritomo ordered that, in case the baby was a boy, it should be immediately killed. Any male descendant of Yoshitsune would mean a threat to his rule. And so it happened. When the baby was born, it was indeed a boy, and immediately snatched from her arms and killed in a deserted beach.

Before letting Shizuka go, Yoritomo was determined to see her perform one of her famous dances. She resisted, of course, but convinced (and fooled) by the Shogun's servants, went to a nearby shrine to perform a sacred dance, a supplication dance as per their suggestion. The Shogun was observing her, hiding behind a bamboo blind in the shrine. Everyone looking at her dance at that moment was bewitched, enchanted, mesmerised. She realised then she has been fooled and changed from a dance to a love song in honour of her beloved.

That enfuriated the Shogun, of course, but at the same time, it was undeniably beautiful, and he just let her go back to Kyoto and did not harm her at all. Arriving there though and still separated from her beloved, she cut off her long hair, completely shaved her head and decided to become a nun. Yoshitsune meantime, has been tracked down by Yoritomo's warriors and killed. It seems she died of grief one year after.

Well... Too sad, but most kabuki plays are like that. It seems Shizuka was only eighteen at the time. It also seems she is not a real character, but part of the world of legends. Yoshitsune, however, was a real warrior, as was the Shogun, Yoritomo.

Well, back to Kitty-Chan dressed as Shizuka Gozen: she wears kimono, a golden obi and red silky obijime, and also a juban (under-kimono). She graciously bears a tiara, or kanzashi pin in her head, decorated with delicate silver flowers. Finally, in her left hand she holds a ko-tsuzumi, which is a small hand-held drum used in kabuki and noh plays and dances. Have a look at her:

As for the display sign, I am not sure what it means, but I know the very first kanji at the top reads her name, Shizuka. If anyone can read the other two kanji, please let me know!

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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 1:50 AM 2 comments