Shibuya Love

In anticipation of dear friends and family who will be visiting me this year, I have decided to compile  a series of posts that will include my favorite places to spend time in, both in and out of Tokyo.

The first one of  these places is Shibuya, known as the ultimate  shopping and entertainment district in Tokyo and in my opinion, a visit to this area is an absolute must.  An essential of this district is a walk across the famous Shibuya Crossing just outside Shibuya Station. At just about any given time of day, hordes of commuters, shoppers, tourists and students can be found here. And just as the traffic lights turn red, all at the same time in numerous directions, all traffic stops and pedestrians rush into the intersection from all sides.

It really is something I think everyone has to experience at least once while in Tokyo. The Starbucks 1st floor window opposite the crossing serves as a great viewing platform for the organised chaos.

Everywhere you look around the intersection you can also see neon lights and advertisements enticing you to come and consume the delights of the city.

Below are some of my favorite Shibuya shots.

Busy Shibuya

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taxi in nightime shibuya

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My Hair Regime

I wash my hair once a week. This is my process:

1. Pre-poo and Detangle

This  a treatment that I apply to my hair before I wash it to make sure that it does not get stripped of its natural oils during the wash process. I use my favorite oil for this: coconut oil. About an hour before I wash I divide my hair into four sections and apply the oil to each section. While I work it into the hair I start detangling. After I’ve completed each section, I’ll twist it up and out of the way until all four sections of hair have been saturated in oil. I’ll leave this on for anything from 30 minutes to an hour before I jump into the shower.

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I love using organic coconut oil on my strands.

2. Wash

Gone are the days of using any old sulphate-containing shampoo, which used to leave my strands ridiculously dry. Currently I wash my hair once a week with Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Moisturizing Shampoo. I love this stuff. I gently wash the hair section by section and twist up each section before I move on to the next. I focus on my scalp and let the shampoo run off to my ends.

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The best shampoo I’ve ever used.

3. Deep Condition

Deep conditioning has really worked wonders ever since I started doing it, which is why I now deep condition every single time I wash my hair. I haven’t been able to find a deep conditioner for natural hair here in Tokyo, so I just make my own by mixing up some ingredients in my kitchen cupboard. It always consists out of a conditioner which serves as a base, currently Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Moisturizing Conditioner, to which I add honey, coconut and/or olive oil, mashed avocado and apple cider vinegar. I continue to work section by section. Once I’ve applied the deep conditioner I pin the four sections to the top of my head, cover with a shower cap and a warm towel and leave it on for at least 30 minutes to an hour.

Once I jump back into the shower to rinse I detangle the hair under the stream of the shower. If I need more conditioner to help this process along, I’ll reach for one my regular ones. Currently it’s either Tres Emmes Naturals Nourishing Moisture or Herbal Essences Hello Hydration.

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My staple conditioners.

4. Moisturising, Sealing and Styling

Again working in sections, I’ll start by applying a leave-in conditioner. Right now I’m hooked on Cantu Shea Butter Leave-in Conditioning Repair Cream. This product is so moisturizing, I highly recommend it if you can get your hands on it. I follow that up by sealing in all the moisture with coconut oil, or my home-made whipped shea butter.

Then I twist the hair up into 2-strand twists and let it air-dry over night, wrapped up in a silk scarf, while I sleep on a silk pillowcase. I don’t use a hair dryer anymore and  have been heat-free for almost an entire year.

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Have I mentioned how amazing this leave-in is?

5. Weekly Maintenance

During the week, I keep the twists in for 3-4 days, after which I need to restyle. I usually take out the twists and wear my hair in a high bun, or another protective style. I mainly wear my hair out over the weekends,  in which case I’ll sport a braid-out, my favorite style.

I maintain the hair’s moisture levels by spritzing with water twice a day, morning and night, and sealing in the moisture with coconut oil and/or my whipped shea butter.

Lastly, I make sure that I wrap up my tresses in a silk scarf every single night.

My Natural Hair Story

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I’ve been in love with my naturally curly hair for as long as I can remember, and have been wearing it as such for most of my life, with  little bouts of relaxers every couple of years throughout high school and my twenties, as I thought my curls were too out of control. It wasn’t up until a few years ago that I decided enough is enough,  and that I just didn’t want to try and tame my mane with harmful chemicals anymore.

Even though family and most of my friends have always been supportive of my choice not to constantly straighten my hair, I definitely experienced resistance towards my natural curls. Most surprisingly, from hair dressers! With every salon visit they would always try to sell me a relaxer under the guise of, “Your hair will be so much easier to handle”, or “Your hair is so dry, a relaxer will take care of that problem for you.” Well,  I grew tired and frustrated with this notion and ended up hardly ever getting a decent cut. So I was happy looking after my tresses myself.

It wasn’t until moving to Tokyo a year ago though that I realized I actually knew nothing about caring for curly hair properly. With the dry winter I faced here, my hair started breaking off. Badly. And what made the situation worse, was that I was in a country with absolutely no resources on how to care for afro textured curly hair. This led me to start doing research via my only accessible source, the internet.

So through connecting with other  naturalistas across the world on online forums, websites and blogs, I finally started my healthy hair journey in April 2013. I am now a very keen natural hair enthusiast in support of embracing every single curl on your head, by sharing information and inspiration, in the hope that my experience can help someone else along the way.

Love your curls!

xxx

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“Why Japan?” you ask

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Source: globogirls.com

I’ve been living in Tokyo for almost an entire year. If you had to ask me a few years ago in which other country I’d see myself living, I would undoubtedly have responded with “Well, somewhere in Europe, of course Darling”. I’ve always imagined myself making  a city like Hamburg or Paris a second home.

But, life had other plans for me: Towards the end of 2011 I would meet and fall in love with  a man who lived exactly 9 551.02 km away from me, all the way in Brighton, England. After investigating the options of living together firstly in Cape Town, and then Brighton, we finally came to the conclusion that a completely fresh, new and exciting city would just be  the place for us to set off on our new life together.

So just a little over a year later, I packed my bags, said my goodbyes and hopped on a plane to the great metropolis that is Tokyo. Mind you, the move wasn’t without its trials and challenges, but I’m happy to report  that once I finally had all my affairs in order, the transition to life in the far east wasn’t too traumatic. I won’t lie, at times the culture shock really did get to me, and it sometimes still does (which I’ll write about in future posts), but it honestly does help when you have someone close to you that you can vent to. And of course, family and friends back home are just a Skype call away.

I’m fast approaching  my 1 year anniversary in Japan, and although I’ve learnt  a great deal about this place, both good and bad, I’m not quite ready to leave just yet. There are goals to be achieved, travels to be had and a language to learn. Right now I can’t see myself spending 2014 anywhere else.

xxx