Saturday, July 10, 2010

JAPAN MOOKxBAG: HEAD PORTER PERFECT BOOK 2010 summer SPECIAL EDITION

"i love is mookxbag"
a series dedicated to Japanese magazine that come with complimentary bags.

I have previously scored mooks that c/w Fred Perry & agnès b. voyage bags,
but nothing comes close and compares to this direct from Japan score!

DIRECT FROM JAPAN

HEAD PORTER
PERFECT BOOK 2010 summer SPECIAL EDITION
c/w HEAD PORTER bag

I doubt you know HEAD PORTER or even PORTER. HEADPORTER is a spin-off label from the popular and expensive Japanese label PORTER made by YOSHIDA & CO., who has been around for many many years. YOSHIDA & CO. has been making quality baggage products under the label PORTER and adored by the Japanese of all age groups. Its popularity created many collaborations and spin-off labels. PORTER products are ranked number 1 in street fashion labels in Hong Kong. It seems like PORTER products are exclusively sold only in Japan and not distributed out. However, a spin-off label for overseas market has been created with the same name and same logo, but the quality is not the same as the "real" PORTER that is made in Japan by YOSHIDA & CO..

2010 summer SPECIAL EDITION


The front of the bag has a small label tag that bears the trademark insignia of HEAD PORTER.
The quality of this bag compared to any other complimentary MOOKxBAGs is in the waterproof canvas material, which gives the bag a sturdy and strong feel.
The inside of the main bag has a smart compartment for tissue papers or wallet.


The bag works great and is cool with hand carry, ...


arm carry, ...


shoulder sling, ...


and cross sling with the detachable long sling.


This is definitely the most worthwhile score from Japan!

Apparantly, as of the date of this post, this HEAD PORTER PERFECT BOOK 2010 summer SPECIAL EDITION collection MOOK that comes with this quality HEAD PORTER bag, is still not sold in Singapore yet!
Folks in Singapore will have to patiently wait for it to arrive to our stores.
It sure was cool to spend just S$19 for this!
When not in use, it folds neatly away.
This is by far the best complimentary MOOKxBAG that I've come across and this is the only bag that can pass off as a main bag.

Photography & Editing by William Tan
©William Tan 2010

JAPAN MOOKxBAG: agnès b. 2010 Spring/Summer Collection

"i love is mookxbag"
a series dedicated to Japanese magazine that come with complimentary bags.
It seems that it is the "in" thing for youngsters and even older ladies to go ga-ga over Japanese magazines that come with complimentary gifts. These gifts can usually range from accessories to cosmetic pouches and many times, bags! Moreover, these bags are usually coming from famous fashion labels such as LeSportSac, Anna Sui, Fred Perry etc. I have previously bought the Fred Perry Summer 2010 Collection c/w Fred Perry Tote Bag (below).

You must not expect good quality stuff that you find in boutiques, 'cos these complimentary bags are rarely used as main bags (at least not me). I prefer to use these bags as recyclable bags which can be easily folded away and slipped into my main bag.

agnès b.
2010 Spring/Summer Collection
c/w Japan exclusive ab. monogram tote bag+bag charm
If there is a need to explain what is agnès b., then this probably do not interest you. But agnès b. is fashion label that is increasingly popular in Asia, especially in Hong Kong. Though agnès b. is a french designer, most or all agnès b. voyage (bag series) comes from Japan, I refer to their Japanese website. There are also exclusive Japan-only agnès b. voyage designs such as the ab. monogram. The latest mook features their Spring/Summer collection and comes with a complimentary monogram tote bag with the Japan exclusive ab. monogram+bag charm.


The bag fits a few A4 size documents and books. Throw in a thin brolly, a make-up pouch and wallet and you are set to go.

If you get a voyage bag from agnès b., you will probably need to buy a separate bag charm. This magazine comes with a free bag charm too!
The front pocket fits a packet of tissue papers.

No internal pockets in the main segment.
The material of the bag is canvas and is tougher than the Fred Perry tote bag.




The bag is great shoulder-sling or hand carry.


You do not need to spend a fortune to fly to Japan to get yourself an agnès b. voyage bag with Japan exclusive ab. monogram.

Note: This bag is definitely not for guys!

Photography & Editing by William Tan
©William Tan 2010

Sunday, July 04, 2010

JAPAN! Blog-on-the-Spot! Day 11: Osaka Castle and Outlet Shopping

Today is the best time to visit regions around Osaka city by JR trains, since it was the last day of our JR Rail Pass. Instead of temples again, after many in Kyoto, we visited Osaka Castle. The way to the historical monument, it was indeed quite a walk. Since it was a weekend, post-public holiday, there was quite a turnout at the park. From the map, the park was part of the compound of the castle during its time. Now, it is where young and old gather for open air rock band performances, baseball games, or just a quiet walk in the inner part of the park.

Look! I spotted another friend! No, there are many of them! Kawaii! They just loved camwhoring for me!
What a magnificent structure it is, Osaka Castle! The castle has been carefully conserved and maintained since its time during the feudal era.
Many of the historical artefacts were not allowed for photography, hence I could not capture much. Nevertheless, seeing the different styles of well retained samurai armour up close, was very impressive! Though many of them did sent a chill down my spine, probably their fierce looking face masks and helmet. But I really admire the Japanese for their ingenuity even from the feudal era. Their history was also well documented and preserved through time, and we are talking about centuries!

After visiting the castle, we decided to head down to do some shopping at a mega outlet mall far out from Osaka city centre.

At one train station where we changed train, we decided to grab a quick bite. Not fast food, but fast soba! These super cheap piping hot and tasty soba/udon dishes are served fast and fresh. We had to make sure we did not stand too long at the bar to finish our meal, since our commuters are probably waiting for their turns. Who says Japanese meals have to be expensive, 280Yen solved a lunch for one, and seriously this simple soba/udon tastes so much better than fancy "Singaporeanized" Japanese restaurants.
Before reaching the outlet mall, we came across a gigantic ferris wheel. If I am not wrong, there are many ferris wheels in Japan, and a lot are in Osaka. I guess giant ferris wheels are common here, I had been living in a small world with only one flyer.
Hooray! Shopping time! Upon arriving at the mall, we were greeted by GAP outlet, but we had no interest in GAP. Adidas Factory Outlet already had been spending some time in there. I did not get the Samurai Blue jersey there, since it was not included in the storewide 20% discount. Yes, 20% discount on top of outlet prices! I was so tempted to score 2 pieces of Superstar II LTO, 2 piece of Superstar Originals, and also Star Wars Adidas exclusive Darth Vadar exclusive (there were 2 designs on outlet sale).
Every woman around the globe loves a COACH bag! Why not get them at the factory outlet? It is madness in the store, it was almost impossible to move around. It was no wonder since most of the bags were going at 40% discount. No wonder the Japanese in town are always seen carrying at least a COACH.
There were many other outlet stores from major sports labels and high-end fashion labels. I could have gotten a BALLY bag, Hugo Boss or Armani suit.
Yes, we shopped till sunset! You can easily spend a day here. The outlet mall is way much better than the Citygate outlet mall in Hong Kong. Probably, during my visit, there was additional summer sale discounts on top of regular outlet prices. I guess we were lucky! The 2-hour journey (to & fro) was worth it!

Since we returned to Osaka city centre late, most shops were closed. No cheap discounted bento sets from Hakyu Department Store basement. No cheap food court miso ramen, zaru soba and okonomiyaki at Hanshin Deparment Store basement. We did take-away discounted sushi set before we left the outlet mall.

Seriously, I was not expecting anything good from 500Yen salmon sushi sets, but I am impressed that the fish are still very fresh and they even packed ice packs for take-aways.

For supper snack with in-room TV watching, I ripped opened a pack of this corn chips from Tohato, the same brand that give us Caramel Corn. The warning on the side of the packaging illustrated a bar chart the is 10x more spicy than Jalapeno pepper, I had my doubts, but after one piece, I was drowning myself with water! They should just ban these "killer" chips! By the way, I bought this at Daiso (100Yen) shop.

Ssssshhh......... the neighbours next door are starting their rendevous in the room! How cool is that! After all, we are staying in a love hotel right smack in the middle of sleazy pubs and karaoke.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

JAPAN! Blog-on-the-Spot! Day 9-10: Kiyomizudera Temple, Fushini Inari Shrine, Nishiki Market, From Kyoto to Osaka

More temple-hopping in Kyoto. We were not prepared that the temples and shrines span over such a big area. Hence, we ended up spending more time at each temple. However, we managed to make it to the planned temple visits. But we have only visited less than 5% of the temples in Kyoto! Yes Kyoto is full of enormous temples and shrines! It is just a matter of time, they all looked the same.
One main temple to visit for both tourists and locals is the Kiyomizudera Temple which is famous for its protruding platform that sits over a hill, and also its natural spring water that has been running out from the ground for centuries! It is a common practice to drink from either of the three water fountains, as each symbolizes a certain meaning.
Fushini Inari Shrine area is probably familiar to many from the movie "Memoirs of the Geisha". The path is lined with thousands of gates and runs all the way up the mountain! A magnificent view and trek!
Nishiki Market is where you find local produces, foodstuff and souveniers.
By evening, we were in Osaka!
Here we are in a sleazy district where everywhere are girls in costume maid outfits, bars and shops that opening display images of nude ladies.
I think I am in the right place!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

JAPAN! Blog-on-the-Spot! Day 8: Arashiyama & Kinkakuji Shrine

We visited one of the most beautiful sight in Kyoto, the bamboo forest in Arashiyama area. Walking through the quiet and cooling bamboo forest is really fantastic!
Had to grab a local snack. This is like our 'satay' but not meat. It is actually sticky rice coated with a layer of sweet soy sauce.
Hope on board the Saga Romantic Train and enjoyed the scenic mountains, river and rural village of Arashiyama area.
The last temple that we visited was the beautiful Kinkakuji Temple, which is also called Golden Pavillion. It earned its named because the temple is made of gold! I loved how it glittered in the evening sun.

Sometimes, we need a little fun too! We decided to try our luck in this game where the wrong jumps means falling into the river!