Plus Size Store Review: LEMONEIGHT+

It’s been a while since I’ve bought clothes that aren’t basics and I’m always excited to find out about new plus size stores to shop from! LEMONEIGHT+ is a newly launched plus size online retailer that also has pop up stores so you can look at the clothes in person!

This weekend, they had a pop up at Kinex Mall (formerly ONEKM mall near Paya Lebar MRT) so I popped by to take a look! I originally found out about them while browsing Carousell and found my way to their website. I was immediately attracted by some of the floral pieces and the really affordable price. I bought four pieces, don’t feel guilty about my purchases and my wallet isn’t angry at me 🙂

Here’s what I got:

I took the pics off their website and I’ll try and update/take pix when I wear these pieces out.

lemoneightplus clothing 1

Left: ‘Ruby’ Green Ruffle Jumpsuit, $28
Right: ‘Ciel’ Black Dress, $32

The jumpsuit is really comfy and the best part is that it has pockets! It might be too short for taller ladies. I’m 1.53cm and the length is just nice for me! It has a zip at the back and the waist has elastic. They also have this in red, but I think the stripes are less bold and what I’d wear more. It comes in one size and I think it can fit up to a UK18, maaaaybe a small UK20.

This black dress caught my eye on the website! There’s elastic at the waist and it also comes with a sash/belt in the same fabric to tie the dress at the waist, which I found is essential to making it fit nicer and look more flattering. Doesn’t show off cleavage either so it’s a modest dress you can even wear to work! The sleeves are quite big, kind of loose on my arms when I tried it on but no issue. This comes in two sizes and I got the smaller size which would fit larger UK 16 – 20, and the bigger size probably a UK20 and up.

lemoneightplus clothing 2

Left: Floral Top (new arrival that isn’t on the website yet! I got this in Blue), $23
Right: ‘Serene’ Princess Boxy Top, $23

I got the floral top pictured on the left in baby blue. It’s slightly sheer (in the pic you can vaguely see the darker coloured bra underneath) but isn’t too sheer that it’s a problem. Very loose fit, comes in one size (tagged 3XL) and the sleeves have a hole so air can pass through!

Now this Princess Boxy Top (tagged size 46) is my FAVOURITE PIECE!!!! I’m usually unsure about this shade of peach/pink but it’s soooo pretty irl I decided to give it a chance! I tried it on the moment I got home and fell in love. It fits me perfectly, super flattering and the frilled sleeves are great. I would pair this with black pants or jeans and it can work for so many different situations.

The two ladies running this (unfortunately I never got their names) are really friendly and I got a pair of earrings as a free gift! I chose this design:

lemoneightplus earrings

Total: $106 (average $26.5 per piece!)

That’s really affordable and I’m happy with my purchases! They told me that their next pop up would be in Bishan and they would be bringing in more tops and some bottoms as well. So if you want to find out more, follow them on their social media accounts or check out their website:

Website: http://lemoneightplus.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lemoneight-1016746088501498/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lemoneightplus/ 

Till the next post,
xoxo
Bernie

 

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2018 so far

2017 was a challenging year – it was full of ups and downs but also full of progress and growth.

It was my first year of grad school and my first semester was just riddled with insecurity and constantly thinking I was inadequate and didn’t belong, but thanks to having a really strong support system (so grateful for having met someone who pushes me out of my comfort zone and challenges me to fight for what I want and really work at improving myself, plus I have some great friends who are always there for me) I pulled through. I also made friends and in my second semester, I got more familiar with the course content so I didn’t feel so stupid anymore and started TA-ing for subjects within my research interests which I really enjoy.

The end of 2017 also brought about a new opportunity which really helped 2018 become a much better year (well, at least get it off on the right foot haha). That came with its own set of challenges and new things to adapt to but it’s great and I’m really grateful I’m where I am now.

I’m happy. I turned 25 earlier this year and while I honestly really don’t actually feel 25, I’m still slowly getting used to all these adult-y things I need to become familiar with since I am already at this age.

So for now I’m just taking things as they come and keep working at what I’m doing and hopefully it will take me closer to the eventual goal(s) I want to achieve.

Keep holding on, and keep moving forward!

Till the next post,
xoxo
Bernie

 

 

Quick Guide to Nightbuses in Japan

In 2015, I penned a quick post about a night bus experience I had. Night buses, or yakou basu (夜行バス), are cheap ways of travelling between prefectures in Japan. I often used this means of transport for getting between Osaka and Tokyo, and sometimes Osaka and Nagoya, although the latter you can do as a day bus trip because it is a much shorter journey than the 8 or so hours it will take to get from Osaka to Tokyo.

So I thought I’d share a bit about what night buses to take, how to book them, and why you should (or should not) consider night buses as a travelling option.

I’ve been taking night buses A LOT, especially during my university days because I was travelling for concerts and also to see friends during the holidays. I also took the night bus from Osaka to Tokyo during my recent holiday in July 2018. In all my trips I’ve tried loads of different companies and so far the buses are pretty much the same (ranging from 2000yen to 5800yen one way), especially when you’re looking for the cheapest option. These buses are small, cramped, sometimes cold, usually very uncomfortable and also always full. They do stop a couple of times for you to take a quick bathroom break or grab snacks from the rest stop.

Sometimes buses will provide usb port for charging. Sometimes they provide a blanket to keep you warm at night. Sometimes there is a toilet in the bus. These details will be listed in the booking, but generally don’t expect that you will have these things because most buses tend to just be the seat.

Now, for foreigners, the main option is to take WILLER EXPRESS.

It has a wonderful English website which makes booking a breeze and they also have more luxurious options for night bus travel. I’ve taken their 8000yen (one way) bus seat (Osaka to Tokyo) which is a private single seat that is large, super comfortable, and you can recline back fully. While it’s expensive by night bus standards, it’s still 5000yen cheaper than a Shinkansen ticket. Willer Express also seems to have their own private terminals, away from the general terminal all the other bus companies seem to use. What this means is that their terminals are a bit more out of the way, but, it’s also cleaner and better organised than the other general terminal.

If you reside in Japan or you can read Japanese, you can use BushiKaku.

It’s basically a portal for you to check bus ticket prices across the various bus companies. Just put in your route and then it’ll show you the lowest priced tickets each day of the calendar month so you can plan trips. Choose the day you want to travel then the whole list of bus companies, prices, bus routes and the different services will appear. Then just click the one you want and you’ll be directed to the bus company’s website.

Now this is where it gets tricky if you don’t reside in Japan. You may need to create an account or use Japanese residential details and a mobile phone number to make the reservation. Payment can be made via credit card (which is what I did), although not all overseas cards may be accepted.

Once you make your reservation, the details will look something like this:

For this bus company, their pickup location was Plaza Motorpool (Osaka Umeda) which is near JR Osaka/Hankyu Umeda station (in the Chayamachi direction, near the Umeda Arts Theatre). That is the general bus pickup location that is…really messy. There are no signs or displays for the buses, just people shouting out bus timings and names and directing you to the general direction of where the bus is parked. There is also a seating area but it’s not much, just some benches and some toilet cubicles next to it. You’ll have to pay very close attention to the name of your bus company/bus liner, and the destination so you know where to go.

I paid only 2000yen for this bus ticket and well…it was a pretty terrible ride. Probably due to age or something but it was soooo uncomfortable. While it had usb charging port and a small blanket, I was squished against the window and my body ached all over. My neck in particular hurt, but after reclining the chair a bit…it didn’t hurt as much. Still a pretty terrible ride which almost made me swear off cheap night buses. I might splurge a bit more on something more comfy if I really have to make a night bus trip because damn, while Shinkansen is sooo comfy and convenient, it’s just too expensive (unless you’re on a JR Rail Pass trip, then it’s not too bad).

Hopefully, this short post can help share more about the night bus experience in Japan, which is great for any traveller on a budget.

Till the next post,
xoxo
Bernie

7 Day Osaka/Tokyo Trip! – Part 1: Overview

I finally headed back to Japan! Only for a holiday, though, but it’s been over two whole years since I graduated and left Japan for good and now I’ve finally got the $$ and time to head back for a trip! This isn’t really the most budget trip now that I have some leeway wallet wise to splurge here and there but I think it’s pretty realistic and won’t break the bank either.

The main plan is just to enjoy myself and catch up with friends. Touristy things and attractions aren’t a priority, and Tokyo and Osaka are regions that I’ve been to before. I was considering going to Hokkaido or Kyushu to explore somewhere new but the flights were expensive, almost twice or more the price one way than what I paid for my tickets into Osaka! So if you’re looking at a nice treat yourself trip that isn’t cramped with loads of tourist attractions, hopefully my experience will help you in your planning!

Here’s the plan: Fly off on the 17th July and fly back on the 25th, which leaves me 7 full days for exploring. The flight timings were kinda meh, probably why they were on sale, but I don’t mind and it was direct flights too.

Cost Breakdown: 

Flights: SGD$420 all in, direct return trip via Scoot. Includes 20kg check-in baggage add-on for the flight back. Successfully got a ScootBiz upgrade for the flight back ($90)!
Travel insurance: SGD$40
Wifi egg rental: SGD$40 from Changi Wifi
Accommodation:
SGD$285 (7 nights; 4N in Osaka, 3N in Tokyo; average $40.70/night)
Night bus to Tokyo: SGD$25 (2000yen, booked via bushikaku)
Shinkansen back to Osaka: SGD$167 (13,650 yen)

I had the option of also taking a Nightbus back to Osaka (also for 2000yen – 5000yen) but I decided I am too old to tahan (i.e. endure) two night bus trips so hey, I’mma splurge a bit on a Shinkansen trip.

I also gave myself an extremely generous budget of 8000yen a day for food, transport, sightseeing etc.

Accommodation:

I made reservations online via Booking.com and I only paid when I checked in! They also have secret deals/free cancellation for certain listings. I usually check business hotels first but they were all booked (probably because of the Obon holidays in Japan) and were closer to SGD$65 and up a night, ouch. Airbnb has also now been clamped down on in Japan and most listings were either to dorms/hostels or whole apartments that were too big and too expensive for me.

Honestly, my hostel/dormitory 4 to 6 pax a room staying days are kind of over. Especially when capsule hotels are the same price or cheaper, and in a better location. But, capsule hotels aren’t great for noise sensitive and light sleepers (it’s not the most soundproof) but I’m a pretty deep sleeper so it was alright for me.

Osaka Accommodation (SGD$136, SGD$34/night):
Cabin & Capsule Hotel J-SHIP Osaka Namba
Nearest station: Namba (Nankai/Midosuji/JR etc)

Tokyo Accommodation (SGD$149, SGD$50/night):
Nihonbashi Muromachi Bay Hotel
Nearest station: Mitsukoshimae (Tokyo Metro, Hanzomon/Ginza line)

Get 10% off on Booking.com!CLICK HERE

Itinerary:

I’m planning to write about notable spots I visited and explored in separate posts, so look out for those posts! I’ll link them here once they are up 🙂

17 July (Tues): Fly to Osaka (KIX) and arrived late evening!
18 July (Wed): Exploring Kyoto, visited 3 animal cafes: pug cafe, mameshiba cafe, bengal cat cafe
19 July (Thurs): Chill day in Osaka, visited the Gudetama Museum exhibit, night bus to Tokyo
20 July (Fri): teamLab Planets exhibit, meeting up with friends
21 July (Sat): Hedgehog Cafe in Harajuku, chilling with friends
22 July (Sun): Chill day in Shibuya + meeting friends
23 July (Mon): Shinkansen back to Osaka, Namba/Dotonbori
24 July (Tues): Reptile Cafe Rockstar + more shopping/chilling
25 July (Wed): Fly back to SG on an afternoon flight

All in all, I had a really great time on this trip! The heat was pretty crazy but hey if I’m gonna sweat buckets, at least I’m sweating in a country I love and doing stuff I enjoy!

Till the next post,
xoxo
Bernie

GrabFood Review: Disappointing replacement for UberEats

GrabFood recently launched it my area, following the unfortunate departure of UberEats and Uber from Singapore due to Grab’s buy over. The biggest question on everyone’s mind is: Does GrabFood compare to UberEats and the other food delivery services? I decided to give it a try, plus, they’re running a free delivery promotion for their launch.

Related: Read my review of Deliveroo, UberEats and Foodpanda

Setting up your account

It’s really easy to set up your account because the app will prompt you to link to your Grab account, so it transfers your details. Then set up your address and enter in any details (eg “Call when reach”) and you’re all set.

First impressions

The app interface…is very lacking. It’s by far my least favourite of all the delivery apps for many reasons. It’s just clunky, has barely any pictures, barely any descriptions of the food (maybe that is due to the restaurant themselves?) and selecting food is quite troublesome. Let’s just have screenshots demonstrate what I mean.

Deliveroo_AppInterface_2

Deliveroo’s app homepage and search page (right)

 

GrabFood_AppInterface_2

GrabFood’s app homepage and search page (right)

For some strange reason the search app on GrabFood doesn’t really have any interface, so you need to type a keyword into the search bar before things will appear (eg. typing “Fri” gives you results such as “Cusine: Kid-Friendly” and “Item: Kimchi Fried Rice”). I think I prefer Deliveroo’s cause the categories are already there. Also, there is usually a “Free Delivery” or “Promo” tag on the other apps to help me find merchants that have offers first, which I think would really help GrabFood once their launch promo is over.

A comparison of the same merchant’s listing on GrabFood and Deliveroo:

GrabFood_AppInterface_1

GrabFood’s App Interface

 

Deliveroo_AppInterface_1

Deliveroo’s App Interface

Also, I should point out that the selection of items on GrabFood is much smaller, even for the same merchant. Tenderfresh has loads more you can order via Deliveroo (like their Crispy Chicken Aglio Olio, and the Half Spring Aglio; which you can see I’ve ordered before).

Ordering

I decided to try Natsu, which is sells tendon/tempura sets and I’ve not tried it before! The page for Natsu does have pictures and descriptions for the food! There’s NO MINIMUM ORDER required, just like UberEats, which is great!

GrabFood_Natsu_1

GrabFood_Natsu_2
Want to point out that the mandatory choice selection for things like choice of drink, sauce etc is below all the optional add ons which doesn’t really make sense? I was very confused when I first got to the ordering page because the set description says it comes with a drink, but I couldn’t see where to choose the drink until I scrolled all the way to the bottom. Their competitors put the mandatory options at the start, before add ons, which I think is the way to go.

You can also add in your Special Requests at the bottom, to put in allergies, requests for more sauce, ketchup etc.

GrabFood_Natsu_3

Managed to apply the 5OFF promo code which gives you $5 off your first order! Then just press “Checkout” and you’re ready to pay!

Payment

GrabFood_Payment

You have to link to GrabPay, which basically just takes your stored payment details from the Grab app. Pretty simple. There is no Cash on Delivery option though. I then got a notification that my card was charged and I did earn Grab reward points.

Delivery

GrabFood_Natsu_4

The estimated arrival time on the main page is 25 minutes, but you’ll notice that at 1:11PM, it says arriving in 15 – 20minutes, which puts the estimated arrival time at 40minutes.

Then, in a surprise turn of events, my order got CANCELLED at 1.21pm. The help button on GrabFood leads you to their website’s Help Center to fill in a form with all the order details (very very cumbersome compared to the report function on UberEats and Deliveroo), but when I scrolled down I found a number to call:

grabfood_customerservice

 

So I called, went through the initial Press 1/2/3 for a category bot before I got to a person. I explained what happened and it turns out the Merchant cancelled my order because they are closing temporarily but they were unable to contact me via my phone number (!?) so they just cancelled it on the app. Strange because no one tried to call me, I didn’t receive any missed calls and it’s not as if my phone was off! They did inform me that they will be refunding my order, but that seems to be the only thing that they are going to do. Here I am, really hungry, really disappointed and really upset because I just wanted my food. Not off to a good start eh, GrabFood. 

I did forget to ask if I would be able to reuse the promo code (I was able to, you’re prompted on the app to apply promo. It’s “5OFF” if you don’t get prompted). The customer service rep who spoke to me on the phone gave me the Report Number and assured me he would tell management and get back to me in 24 hours or less. Hopefully they will, and I hope the refund will also go smoothly. Also strangely enough, for a store that is temporarily closing and not taking orders, they are still being listed on the app as open.

Second time’s the charm: Ordering Again

Anyway, I decided to GO AGANE (any xqc fans?) and order from another restaurant. Y’know, give them another shot and see if my food actually arrives.

This time I ordered from Tenderfresh Classic. I have no idea what the “Lucky Set” is except it’s 2 pieces of chicken, and the Chicken Strips in Tomato sauce is pasta.

The steps to ordering is all the same so I won’t repeat them. I placed the order at 1:46PM and arrival time is estimated at 2:32PM (46 minutes). The app’s homepage estimates delivery at 22 – 28 minutes, though (checked at various different times), how misleading.

GrabFood_Tenderfresh_3

I got a notification from GrabFood via SMS when my driver is on the way, and later when driver is reaching. That’s pretty good and similar to what the other apps do. I put in the comments section (as you can see above) to call me upon arrival as I cannot hear knocking on the door from my room. The driver did call me and I zoomed out to pick my food up!

Actual arrival time: 2:47PM, a whole ONE HOUR after I ordered! Very, very misleading delivery times indeed.

The Food

Packaging was pretty standard, nothing got damaged in transit.

GrabFood_Tenderfresh_2

Now I wish I’d know what the Lucky Set came with coleslaw and fries too, and that my pasta would come in Penne form, not Spaghetti as I had assumed. I just prefer spaghetti over penne, but it’s all good, still tasty either way and I’m going to eat it (especially since I’m pretty much ravenous at this point).

Tenderfresh’s food is quite good! The chicken was crispy, a bit salty but not overly so. The fries were dry and unsalted though. The penne was not bad, some pieces in contact with the sauce became soggy though, and there was very little chicken. Since I couldn’t order the exact same things as I’d ordered from Deliveroo before, I can’t do an exact comparison but overall it was alright and survived the long delivery time.

Final Thoughts

I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and hope they improve their services in the weeks and months to come. They have a long way to go to catch up to their competitors in terms of app interface (my favourite being Deliveroo’s) and they need to give a better delivery estimate. Don’t say 25 or so minutes and then take an entire hour. That’s just terrible. I don’t know if I would use them again if there was no free delivery or promo, but only time will tell.

Update (23 May 2018):

Today I tried ordering another time because there is the 5X3 promo ($5 off the next 3 orders), but there is now a delivery fee of $3 on all orders. The delivery estimates are now an average of 40 minutes, although after ordering, the actual estimated time is still over an HOUR.

My order this time was also late and I waited 1h 30minutes for it. No rider was dispatched to the restaurant until the estimated arrival time. And then my food arrived DAMAGED, with the sauce having spilled out onto the napkins and other items and my burger was all squished against the side of the box and the bottom bun separated from the rest of the burger (as per pictures below). This is really terrible.

GrabFood_Damaged Food

I hope this review can be of some help to you! I’ll update this if there are any developments!

Till then, see you in the next post!
xoxo
Bernie

Foodpanda, Deliveroo or UberEats: which food delivery service to use in Singapore?

I’ve been using food delivery services for a while due to convenience + promotional codes/vouchers making it worth the while to do so (plus sometimes lazy la, so food delivery is a pretty good option).

I’ve used all 3 delivery services – Foodpanda, Deliveroo and UberEats. I remember when Foodpanda was the only service in SG and I used it in 2016! I know there are other delivery services now like Honestbee as well, but I have not used Honestbee before so that’s for another post!

Of the three, I have used Deliveroo and UberEats the most. I know sadly UberEats will be leaving SG soon because of the Grab take over, but I’ll just include my experience of UberEats here anyway.

Information is accurate as of 25 April 2018.

Deliveroo 

Food variety: 4/5
Minimum order: $12
Customer Service: 4.5/5
Ease of using app: 4/5
Delivery fee: $3

What I like most about Deliveroo is that they have this Deliveroo Editions thing which brings certain restaurants exclusively to Deliveroo! There’s one in the east so there are some restaurants I can order from that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to. My favourites are Aloha Poke and VIOS by Blu Kouzina!

The app is really easy to use – many tags so I can find what type of food I want, and if they have any promos like the recent Festival of Feasts, it appears prominently at the top so I can see what places I can order from that have promos!

You can also rate restaurants and see the ratings others have given them (I can’t remember if I can rate riders, I don’t think so). I had a rider who pressed “item delivered” a few minutes before my food actually arrived and I was a bit anxious about where my food is, and if my food was even arriving. I gave some feedback via the live chat function but I don’t know if it ever got to the rider…

My only gripe about the app is that I would like to be able to “favorite” some outlets so I can find them without having to scroll down a lot. That would be great if they implemented it so I can get my fav restaurants at one click!

Of the three delivery services listed, I’ve ordered from Deliveroo the most, mainly because they have the food I like and consistent service! I’ve had missing items before but I can just report them easily, or use the in-app live chat function. May have to wait if there are others in the queue but so far it hasn’t been a very long wait and things are solved quite fast. I messaged about a missing item and got a response within a day 🙂 They also called me to tell me my order would be taking longer than usual because of the heavy rain so that was good. Thumbs up!

Psst – use the discount code from SETHLUI for $2 off your order once each month! It’s SETHLUIAPR for April, SETHLUIMAY for May etc

Foodpanda

Food variety: 3.5/5
Minimum order: $12
Customer service: 1.5/5
Ease of using app: 3/5
Delivery fee: $3
Service runs 24 hours (but not all restaurants are 24 hours, so depending on your area, there may not be any food)

Oh Foodpanda. I had fond memories when I first used the service back in 2016 – I ordered salads and got my order completely wrong. The restaurant had closed by the time my food arrived (over an hour long wait back then too) and I was so ravenous I just ate whatever they sent but dropped them a tweet about the wrong order. They replied fast and gave me a refund with processed I think maybe in a week or so? But ah, how times have changed.

Foodpanda has the worst customer service among all the 3 delivery services in this post, and so far while they fulfill the orders within the time stated, it’s usually a bit longer than Deliveroo or UberEats. And maybe I am just unlucky or something but my Foodpanda orders always seem to have a problem?? But ok, have problem nevermind, it’s how easy it is to rectify the problem that counts right? But nooooo, actually getting a hold of someone is just such a painful process.

For one, the “Customer Care” button on their website (when you track your order) does not work. Neither is there anywhere that links to the live chat on their website. Live chat is only available on their app, and it’s soooo buggy. It just doesn’t work. I’ve been stuck waiting behind 14 – 35 people for service on their live app and then today (25 April) after getting through, I could not reply to the customer service agent! Pressing the “send” button on my phone just didn’t work. I tried 3 times to explain how my food had two missing items (when you order Mala two missing items are quite significant) and I just wanted a refund, not a redelivery and I could not reply so please just check and then process the refund. Didn’t work. Had to send an email instead. Previous encounters sending them emails + messages on their social media have gotten either 0 response or a very delayed response. Plus when you have some pretty fierce competition from other delivery services, terrible customer service can be a factor which prevents customers from making repeated purchases! I would have given a 1/5 but hey, they do try la, with the live chat function, and it’s not like they don’t have an email to respond to but….it’s just so unsatisfactory when the experience is so frustrating and subpar compared to their competitors.

One good thing though, is that they have certain restaurants other services do not have, like Arnold’s, which I dare say is the best fast-food fried chicken you can get in SG. I’ll probably still use Foodpanda occasionally (when they have free delivery or for stuff like Arnold’s I can’t order elsewhere; nothing against the actual food) but very reluctantly 😦

UPDATE: So I got an email reply a couple of hours later saying they were sorry bla bla, pretty much template response and that I would not be charged for the missing 2 items and the updated price would be reflected in my order. I wish they’d also addressed my concerns about lack of live chat support.

UberEats

Food variety: 4/5
Minimum order: N/A
Customer service: 4.5/5
Ease of using app: 4/5
Delivery fee: $3 (+ additional in “busy area”)

I must admit the only reason I started using UberEats more often was because they partnered with McDonalds and it’s cheaper and much faster than McDelivery (although the latter is 24hours so if you need a late night McD pick up you have to use their delivery).

Their app is really easy to use, and I can “favorite” places I like so ordering from there is really easy as it appears right at the top. I can rate the restaurant and each individual food item if I liked it or not, and I can also rate the person who delivered my food! Sometimes you get someone who is slow or gets lost so I think thats where the rating system comes in.

Their customer service is also pretty good, I’ve had items that were missing or damaged and after reporting and sending in pictures of the damaged food, I got refunded for the missing/damaged items. They usually reply in a day, which is great 🙂

What I don’t like, though, is that they also have “surge” pricing ie, if you are in a busy area, you pay an extra $1 – $3 (usually $3) to have your food delivered. So essentially you pay $6 for delivery during peak periods. Which kinda sucks but if you reaaaally need something delivered then I guess you will pay extra? (I won’t haha).

I’m kinda sad UberEats is leaving, but I wonder how GrabFood will compare when it launches!

***

That’s all I have to say about these 3 places! I’ll update with more info such as pictures when I next order (and actually take pictures instead of just gobbling down the food, haha). If you have any food delivery services to recommend, do let me know in the comments!

Till the next post,
xoxo
Bernie

Discovering live/indie music in Japan

Hello! Recently I received an email asking me if I had any tips on how to find information on and get into the local music scene and indie bands.

The email asked specifically for Osaka, so the examples are more Kansai related, but the tips I have to share can be applied for any region of Japan 🙂

1. Search for the live/concert schedules

The simplest way to do so is to use the following search term:
[CITY/PREFECTURE NAME] + ライブスケジュール [LIVE SCHEDULE]. 

So, for example, if you want the schedule for Kansai, it would be 関西ライブスケジュール and these are some of the listings I found:

List of livehouses in Kansai: http://www.pia-kansai.ne.jp/LHC/information.php

Live schedule: http://kansai.pia.co.jp/music_calendar/
This seems to be mainly stuff that is ticketed/sold via ticket pia, so it could be both major and smaller bands

Another live schedule: http://www.kyodo-osaka.co.jp/calendar/calendar2.php
This is for February but the site will have live schedules for each month

A good site that lists the artist and the venue they will be playing at each month: http://www.diskgarage.com/artist/date
Covers all prefectures; this link is to the current month, click 来月 button at the top for the next month’s list

2. Find out about new bands and their live schedules through free music magazines

You can pick up free magazines about bands and live schedules at live houses and at HMV/Tower Records/any big music store. The magazines usually have mini write-ups and interviews of various bands (both indie and major).

Sometimes the racks that these free magazines are on may also have free CDs from bands or flyers for events. It’s a great way to read up on lesser known bands, perhaps practice some Japanese, and possibly even score some new music to listen to!

3. Follow livehouse schedules

Honestly if you want mainly indie bands you should follow livehouse schedules, perhaps start with a few and then find maybe your favorite ones. Different livehouses cater to different genres of bands, and they’re all pretty tiny (think less than 100 capacity) but often host loads of indie bands for lots of different types of lives. The most typical ones are nights where 4-6 bands play and tickets can be as cheap as 1500yen and up (generally averaging about 3000yen) excluding a drink fee of 600yen or so. This drink fee gets you one free drink at the in house bar which can be alcoholic or non-alcoholic.

In Kansai off the top of my head, here are some livehouses you can look at:
Amemura has many livehouses (20 according to their website – host stuff like visual kei, punk, pop, rock etc)
Look at my concert masterpost list, I have the venue names there and most are livehouses that host loads of smaller bands 🙂

Kobe Taiyou to Tora
Shinsaibashi Club DROP
Umeda ZEELA
Kyoto MUSE
Kyoto MOJO
Fanj twice

These are all places I’ve been to and really quite love, Tokyo has a similar scene and even “less busy” prefectures also usually have at least one livehouse where bands play at.
I hope these 3 simple tips help you find more music to listen to! To find out more about the concert experience in Japan, read these related posts!

Japanese Concert Etiquette

How to buy Japanese Concert Tickets

Why I Love Concerts in Japan

Japanese Music

Till the next post,
xoxo
Bernie