Sunday, July 31, 2016

My experience visiting Japan as a Japanese (/Chinese) American

I'm very hesitant to go forward with this post because it's very specific to me and, based on past experience, I know that some will come to disagree with it. However, I feel like maybe putting this out there might reach to others in a similar situation know that they are not alone. It may be a very small circle of people who can relate (maybe extremely small), but it's been on my mind on-and-off for the past couple years.
My experience in Japan is very much influenced by the fact that I do not have any sort of fluency in Japanese. If you are a Japanese American or Japanese diaspora who can speak Japanese, your experience and notable points may be entirely different than mine.

Background
I'm an American citizen with mixed East Asian ethnicities. IMO, I don't think I could pass as any other race but Asian, and easily specifically identified as being East Asian. I'm really lucky to have grown up in an environment where I was able to embrace all parts of my background including the "American" part.
My family on both sides have been in America (and specifically Hawaii) for several generations now. Even my great-grandmother on my mom's side was born in Hawaii. My grandparents on both sides have only ever spoken to me in English and that is their first and primary language. (Ex. my dad's dad doesn't even understand more than very, very basic elementary-level Japanese and never uses it unless we are specifically talking about translating things.) I think it may be quite evident from this that my primary, first and only language of proficient understanding is English. Ofc I understand most phrases in HCE (Hawaiian pidgin) just by growing up here (in Hawaii) though. By choice, I took 8 years of Mandarin Chinese from middle school through college and even minored in Chinese. My limited Japanese is thanks to a few classes and a short 6-week study abroad my junior year in college that I just took "for fun" on a complete whim since I wasn't at capacity for credits those semesters. I have no proficiency in any of my heritage languages and only know a limited amount from what I was taught in a classroom and have retained very little of it since it is never used at home as my parents speak only English.

Central thesis / tl;dr
Based on my experience, most people in Japan will assume that I can speak and understand what they're saying and can read signs/menus, etc or even think that I am a Japanese national. I believe the perception is due in part to the way I dress and present myself, which does not necessarily come off to immediately read as "non-Japanese-speaking tourist", but also bolstered by my general East Asian appearance. Being perceived as someone who is Japanese and can speak Japanese but actually cannot is a huge part of shaping my experience when visiting Japan and has both advantages and disadvantages.

Blending in (behavior and appearance)
"Blending in" with Japanese nationals as best as possible in terms of behavior is purposeful most of the time. One of my active goals on a social level is to blend in while traveling to an extent that I don't get in the way of locals. As someone who lives in Hawaii, I know how disruptive, disrespectful and annoying tourists can be, and I want to contribute to that as little as possible. I try to be aware of my surroundings (ex. standing to the left on escalators in Tokyo and Kyoto but on the right in Osaka) and just watch what others are doing and do my best to follow within reason. How much I actually blend in isn't really all that easy for me to ascertain, but I think I do a pretty reasonable job compared to a number of other tourists we have observed over the years.
Due to this conscious effort and coupled with my appearance, I more easily blend into a crowd. Furthermore, and what really doesn't help, I'll nod when or acknowledge whenever anyone talks to me in Japanese regardless of how much I actually comprehend. I understand maybe 50% of it and usually get away with it if it's not a question. Luckily, we don't need to interact a lot when it's not initiated by us but it gets very hairy when I try to go shopping, especially by myself.

Communicating with shop staff
I still really haven't found a good way to deal with shop staff conversations which is just foolish considering how much I enjoy shopping in Japan. They are usually quick to approach me in an empty store (depending on the brand and how I'm dressed), but this is the situation in which I am usually the most uncomfortable because it is when the assumption that I can speak Japanese is made the most. And of course, I do not blame shop staff for not knowing I don't speak Japanese, and yes, it would be great if I learned more, but part of the issue is that I tend to just have trouble with an overabundance of keigo and a lot of fashion-related words that were never part of the curriculum in school and it's not plausible for me to know them all. Plus, sometimes I don't have trouble understanding but just don't know what to say back! I would love to hold a conversation with a number of Liz Lisa shop staff, but just don't feel like I have the confidence or language proficiency to not screw it up. Usually when I'm under pressure, my pronunciation goes incredibly wonky and its embarrassing and just makes me freak out and leave.
Shop staff, especially in the stores for the brands that I'm interested in, can be very friendly and attentive which can make me very nervous. I sometimes get unreasonably scared to talk to them because they might just start rattling off something in really quick Japanese that is essential to the conversation, and I'll act like I understand, but then I'll miss it and then can't continue. I prefer not to use the "Oh, I'm American" excuse as much as possible because I don't want it to become a crutch, especially when they're just saying something super simple and introductory which doesn't really need to have a specific response, but I wasn't prepared to translate it in my head, and then I'll just make things awkward for nothing. Plus, it's not like Americans are the best visitors/have the best reputation as tourists in Japan anyway, so it doesn't always pay off to jump in with that if it can be avoided.
To their credit, once they realize I don't understand Japanese, there have been a few shop staff who try really hard to communicate in a simple but still very polite and helpful way. There are then others who just decide to leave me the fuck alone which can also be okay until I decide to buck up and try and ask a question or try something on, then it's really hard to try to get their attention, so it's not always the best thing to "out" myself if I can help it.

Being perceived as Chinese
And then there's another aspect to all of this. I am the most hesitant to mention because I really feel like people might not understand and interpret it in a much different way than I'm intending it. Please know that I'm trying to give an accurate account of my personal experience and I'm not only Japanese American but also Chinese American as well.
There's recently been an abundance of tourists from China in Japan. In the past, we (my family)'ve noticed they were especially prevalent in Osaka. During our most recent trip in May, there was a large number of Chinese visitors when we visited places in Hokkaido, especially on tours. And for us, many groups are hard to miss whether that's intentional or not. From the number of people in their groups to the volume at which they speak, to the way they don't seem to fall into the natural flow of pedestrian traffic, we tend to notice if a fellow tourist is Chinese. For some reason, we were mistaken as Chinese tourists during this recent trip in Spring 2016 more than any other trip. Or maybe I was just oblivious and just didn't realize how much it happened until this trip, I'm not sure.
We usually define ourselves as American (and, in fact, my father and bf are not at all Chinese themselves) or "from Hawaii".  Not that American tourists are, on a whole, usually a heck of a lot better (I know several first hand who were incredibly obnoxious and refused to calm down and were so used to their privilege that they refused they could do any wrong), but I believe they can be more easily accepted than Chinese tourists at times due to some particular negative stereotypes.
I noticed that during this trip, we were more often offered the Chinese language alternative for written material or spoken to in Chinese once Japanese didn't seem to work. We (my family in particular) don't really hold the same customs and cultural norms that we've noticed that tourists from mainland China do (in Japan), and this isn't a good or a bad thing but just something that's different. I've always thought that Japanese (nationals) could easily see that I'm mixed Japanese but wouldn't immediately jump to a conclusion about it or stereotype me as a Chinese tourist. I do get treated differently in general once people realize that I don't speak Japanese, but I do think there would be a difference between being treated as a Chinese person (from China) and Asian diaspora from America just because of the difference in relations between Japan and the two countries.  Which is not to say that I resent being Chinese (in ethnicity), but just that I'm not from China and when it matters, like in this situation where I feel that it does, I would prefer to differentiate.
I'm not really blaming Chinese tourists for anything and quite obviously it isn't "all Chinese tourists" because there are clearly many that do their best and fit in such that I would never be able to identify them. It's quite obvious that there's just a different cultural norm/expectation in China and they just might not realize what they're doing is abnormal or even possibly disrespectful. Not everyone will take the time to research about the cultural practices of another country (especially if they're part of a large tour group) but I guess that's why sometimes there's a very blatant way to recognize this kind of tourist lol. And obviously there are impolite or disrespectful tourists from all around the world so I'm not just trying to put down Chinese tourists, but understand that in my situation, we're never mistaken for European or Filipino or Indian tourists and only identified as American when we vocalize it or show our passports, so that's why I feel like the stereotype or guise of Chinese tourists affects us.
This wasn't mean to be a tirade against Chinese tourists because, by all means, let them do their thing I guess, but their behavior and how it reflects on me as someone who has been repeatedly mistaken as a Chinese tourist more times this trip than ever, I just feel like it's notable that when we were discovered to not be "Japanese" (often due to language barrier), we were suddenly "Chinese".

Advantages to being Japanese American in Japan
If I don't out myself, I can usually keep to myself and no one particularly stares at me that I take note of. Due to the clothing I elect to wear, I'm not exactly invisible, but that's a different thing on its own and depends on the area + is a choice I actively make. Essentially, I don't garner any attention based on my skin tone or hair texture or "foreign-ness". Also, and I hesitate to say this is an advantage, but sometimes you can unintentionally eavesdrop on English conversations that the participants don't realize you will understand. Tbh my family/bf and I are guilty of assuming most people around us won't understand English as well, and we will also make off-the-cuff comments without being particularly careful about our choice of words.

How is the Japanese American experience in Japan different?
Based on what I've read or heard from a selection of others, my experience has been different from those visitors who are not Japanese/East Asian appearing at all. Ex. If you are white/look white, the shop staff is more likely to take the initiative to use English from the beginning (if they have those skills) and will be accommodating if your Japanese is only at a very basic level or if you cannot speak Japanese at all. You are typically also excused for not knowing the correct customs or polite language. And I'm sure something will be different if you are non-white and non-Japanese/East Asian appearing. Being accommodated this way has its own pluses and minuses, but the point is that it is markedly different than my experience as a non-Japanese speaking Japanese American who is expected to understand everything perfectly and react and respond in a certain way based on my appearance.
There are white visitors (or residents) will complain when they automatically get handed something in English because they worked so hard to get their language proficiency, so they should get treated like they are local Japanese or something. I guess I can see where that can get possibly insulting, but there are other obnoxious white tourists who insist on everyone accommodating them that you can thank for that and actually it's an advantage for you if you don't have language proficiency like most visitors. There was a white family at DisneySea during my November trip who loudly had conversations in English and made a big show of pushing around. They got an English pamphlet explaining the Tower of Terror backstory without them having to say anything directly to the crew member. However, my Japanese American friend and I got nothing because we quietly conversed to ourselves and wasn't making a big deal about our foreignness. If we wanted the pamphlet, we would have had to stop the crew member, disrupt the flow of the introduction before the ride and figure out how to ask her for it. (And we'd have to know to ask for it which the white family didn't have to do.)
I feel like having white people in the touristy areas of Japan not understanding Japanese is much more common than white people in those same areas having full fluency in reading and speaking Japanese and staff are only trying to help by providing something that they thought you could understand. If you do have language proficiency, you can easily just ask for chopsticks instead of the fork you were handed or say that the Japanese menu is fine.

Why don't I just learn Japanese if that's what's affecting my travel experience so much?
Well honestly, if it were just that simple, wouldn't we all? I would love to dedicate time, effort and personal resources to learning and perfecting my Japanese language proficiency. Believe me, nothing would make me happier (except maybe learning and perfecting Mandarin, Cantonese or Uchinaguchi), but unfortunately it's just not a priority for me right now and I'm not the best student for self-teaching.
Beyond that, it's not mandatory to learn Japanese to be able to have a good time or to function on a basic level as a tourist in Japan. We only ever visit for 7-10 days at a time and can clearly still figure things out. A number of restaurants in high tourist areas have English available and most, if not all, transportation has either furigana/hiragana or romaji for kanji.
That being said, I do try and retain and reinforce what little language proficiency I do have by following reviewing my textbooks occasionally (OK, more like sparingly) and follow Japanese social media accounts (mostly Liz Lisa stores or shop staff) and every so often will watch videos or shows in Japanese and continue to slowly learn new phrases as I go, but I just don't have the time and energy to sit down and study for hours everyday.

Conclusion
Many of the issues that negatively contribute to my experience lie in personal faults where I can get really embarrassed for not knowing something I feel I should know. Or just feeling stupid or revealed to be some sort of idiot because I can't say a simple sentence. Fumbling with a language that others may expect me to be fluent in can make me really uncomfortable. I've been trying to work on that because honestly the sooner I get over it, the better, but I'm sure many of you realize that it's not as simple as snapping your fingers and expecting the change to be made overnight. That being said, I am not upset that I'm American or that I don't know Japanese. I know there are many fortunate things about the way I grew up and there aren't regrets in that regard.

When I've tried to discuss this or voice my opinion on the topic, I've had people tell me that my own experience is wrong and that "it's not that way at all". I have visited Japan as a tourist 4 times in the last 16 months, and, let me tell you, my personal experience has been consistent with what I've written with an extremely small amount of outliers. This is partially why I've felt compelled to write about this on my own blog, in my own space - because I have felt silenced or belittled because my experience didn't match that of others and was dismissed as essentially untrue. My experience doesn't invalidate that of others, and others' experiences (especially those which, in many cases, are a completely different situation) should also not invalidate or overshadow my own. I think it's important to look at why it was different and therefore what to expect depending on who you are and your own personal situation.

This isn't meant to be a pity party or to meant to invoke any kind of specific reaction. If you don't care, can't possibly imagine empathizing with me, and you think I'm just being whiny, this post clearly wasn't for you.
I'm not saying that if you are also Japanese American or a tourist of any East Asian background that your trip and experience will be certainly be like mine. I'm just ...reflecting, especially since this part of my experience didn't immediately fade to the background as soon as I got home. Maybe I need to re-evaluate. Maybe I should work harder at some things. Japan might be the "motherland" but Hawaii will always be my home and I think I'm lucky to be able to think so highly of a place where I grew up. (Hawaii has its own share of problems, but being East Asian in Hawaii usually isn't one of them.) But at the same time, I used to feel very secure with my heritage but I never feel less Japanese than when I am in Japan. And it would probably be a very similar feeling if I were to visit China. The American in me would certainly stand out. And is that a bad thing? As long as it doesn't interfere with my trip, I would think not. And I do and have enjoyed my trips to Japan in the past, but I do think my experience is markedly different than a white American's (or other country / nationality) might be. There are certainly already a number of articles and posts written about this topic, but this is my point of view which may be slightly different due to the kind of interests I have and even potentially because of my mixed ethnic background.
I don't expect anyone reading this to agree with what I've said, especially if your experience was different! There's nothing wrong or right about either of what we've experienced, and there's no need to say that one is better or rate them against each other, especially if there were different variables at play between our two experiences. They are just simply not the same. Like I wrote before, my experience does not invalidate yours, just as yours should not invalidate mine. I would definitely be intrigued to read about someone else's experience, so feel free to share similarities or differences (and maybe why you think your experience was different)!
http://emiiichan.blogspot.com/p/contact.html

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Liz Lisa corset tutu skirt & Liz Lisa corsage actress hat [TOM purchase]

This is my second order from TOM for Liz Lisa products ✿. I wasn't intending on purchasing these items via TOM from the beginning, but once I examined my options and calculated the total, this was an easy choice! (For more information see the table at the bottom of the post.)
Timeline:
6/27 Order placed
6/29 Order shipped from Japan
7/5 Order arrived (note: 7/4 would have been delivery date if not a federal holiday)

Corset tutu sukapan in white (161-4001-0)
コルセットチュチュスカート [TKL] [TOM]
I really wanted to get white bottoms this season whether it was a skirt, sukapan or even pants or shorts. I recently realized that that was what my wardrobe was missing, especially for pairing with non-white tops. I'm typically pretty lazy and do a neutral top and allow the skirt to make the statement, but I've been recently getting a few tops that I realize would shine great on their own but I don't have something neutral enough to balance it out on bottom. It took me a while to realize it, but this skirt from this season would definitely fit the bill!
with Liz Lisa gingham top, Liz Lisa pearl cherry necklace and Liz Lisa bow t-strap wedge sandals -

with Liz Lisa collared floral blouse and Liz Lisa knot wedge sandals -

with Liz Lisa sailor collar blouse, Liz Lisa x Yui Kanno rose drop cardigan and Liz Lisa (pom pom) pumps -
The fit is really nice and the wide waistband feels very secure when worn. The skirt actually holds a bit of weight because of the multiple layers and material but in a good way. The outermost layer is made from panels of tulle and lace and creates a nice soft effect while maintaining some volume.

Corsage actress hat in white (161-9503-0)
コサージュ付女優帽 [TKL] [TOM]
I've been persuaded by the numerous shop staff photos this past season that I really need hats like this lmao. My number 1 choice for SS16 was purchased during my trip, and this hat was also available in stores, but I felt like bringing back two hats would be difficult (without smashing one or the other) and...also I wasn't willing to pay full price for this one at the time. That being said, I didn't want to miss out on getting another hat completely and took this opportunity to purchase this one.

with Liz Lisa cherry margaret OP and Flag J sandals -
I really like the design and it's different enough from the paper can can hat that I don't feel having both is repetitive. This hat really screamed summer to me and I knew would be great for Hawaii. No particular surprises - it fits on my head and looks exactly as described! The flowers and ribbon are attached securely to the hat so you don't have to worry about them flying off or getting lost.

Why did I purchase from TOM versus TKL?
I'm an official online shop girl through-and-through. But, like I've explained in my original blog post about TOM, there are certainly situations in which it is (financially) more beneficial to order from trusted alternate vendors such as Tokyo Otaku Mode.
In this particular case, even though both the sukapan and the hat were on sale on TKL (original retail prices were 6480yen and 4968yen respectively), because I was able to get free international shipping with a minimum $80 purchase and I had a 15% off coupon + point vouchers to use, I easily came out ahead overall by ordering from TOM. Additionally, the hat was already sold out on TKL even before it reached that particular sale price, so if I wanted it, I really did have no other option but to order from another source. I was saving money while receiving the exact same product and services from TOM which made it an easy choice if I wanted the items.

Considering purchasing from TOM yourself?
Quick links: [My TOM link] [Coupon code: EMI1718 for $5 off a minimum $25 order until Jan 12, 2018] [TOM's Liz Lisa page] [My recommendations page] [My referral link for more discounts]
http://emiiichan.blogspot.com/p/contact.html

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Tokyo Kawaii Life order 37 - Liz Lisa Sunflower parfait OP, sukapan, Chiffon bandana print maxi OP, Momonga cardigan, Fedora hat & Metallic combination sandals

This should be wrapping up my summer 2016 purchases for now unless a few other things restock online! The clothes are all late summer release or re-releases, and since this would seemingly be my last order, I threw in the hat and sandals that I just wanted to get for fun lol. Those two items easily made the shipping box bigger and heavier than it would have been otherwise, but I'm happy to have them and they really helped round out the order.

Sunflower parfait OP in white (161-6047-0)
ひまわり×パフェ柄ワンピース
I admit, I wasn't head over heels with this print or OP from the beginning. I thought it was interesting, but I didn't have an overwhelming need to have it. But FML I looked at too many shop staff photos and I got suckered in -__-. With the frill detail collar and shape and even the print a bit, this OP reminds me a lot of Ank Rouge's typical style (not in a bad way of course). Since I was also getting the sukapan in my priority color, I figured I should get the OP in different color, so white it was!
with Flag J sandals + Liz Lisa rose quilted purse -

with Liz Lisa glitter pumps + Liz Lisa momonga cardigan* -

with Liz Lisa paper can can hat and Liz Lisa knot wedge sandals + Liz Lisa flocked cardigan -
I was a bit nervous about the fit on the waist , but it looked so good on Rima and a few other shop staff that I just said EH I'LL RISK IT. Actually, the fit is fantastic although the length feels slightly on the shorter side. Thanks to the elastic is the back of the waist and the placement of it, this really is one of the better fitting free size OPs in this style that I own. The print is actually really quite sweet in real life which matches nicely with the cuteness of the collar, and I like it a lot better after seeing it in person. The color is bright white, especially the collar and sleeve ends and it matches nicely with pink, yellow, white and most neutrals. Note: there is a side zipper but don't let that distract you from undoing at least a couple of the buttons at the neckline to help you pull it over your head.


Sunflower parfait sukapan in pink (161-5026-0)
ひまわり×パフェ柄スカパン
https://twitter.com/lizlisaoomiyaar/status/748148454296170496
Initially, this was my only priority for the sunflower parfait series since it took me a while to be won over by the OP. I felt like I would be able to get the most use out of a sukapan for some reason. This really doesn't make a lot of sense considering that I've been trying to dial back on shorter (non-work appropriate) bottoms for over a year now, but I guess I didn't want to miss out on this print if I could help it. Pink was my first choice which surprised me because I wasn't overly fond of the pink version of the sunflower print last year, but I think it's the combination with the parfait that really makes the pink version super sweet.
with Liz Lisa plain browsing top, Liz Lisa corsage actress hat and Liz Lisa t-strap wedge sandals -

with Liz Lisa fur collar cardigan and Liz Lisa OTK boots + Samantha Thavasa 2-way handbag -

with Liz Lisa sailor collar blouse and Liz Lisa (pom pom) pumps -
The shape and design of this sukapan is very similar to those in the past like the floral chiffon sukapan from spring 2015 but the print and material bring a bit of new life to it for summer. It's exactly as expected and the pink color is very nice in person and not overly putrid. Even though I purposefully didn't purchase the matching top, I didn't have too much of a problem pairing this with a number of my existing blouses in typical himekaji-style coordinate.

Chiffon bandana print OP in pink (161-6046-0)
シフォン楊柳バンダナ柄ワンピース
This is my first maxi dress! I know the trend is so old already and wtf was I waiting for, but I was just waiting to find one that I really liked. One of my biggest issues with maxis is that I feel like if the fit, pattern and style isn't right, it can easily look like pajamas instead of casual daywear. I realize that sometimes people want that look, but it's really not for me. My other issue was length. I just don't really have any longer skirts and have a hard time figuring out what is the best length for a full maxi dress and then what shoes to pair it with so that I don't seem stumpy. Well, apprehension aside, since I was making an order anyway, I decided to bite the bullet and just give it a shot with this one! Extra bonus points because the sleeves can be worn on and off shoulder!
with Liz Lisa clear pearl sandals and Liz Lisa flower chain camisole + Liz Lisa momonga cardigan* and Liz Lisa seashell pouchette -

with Liz Lisa riders jacket and Liz Lisa ankle boots -

with Liz Lisa wide brim fedora hat* and Liz Lisa metallic combination sandals* -
This is the "pink" color option but in many photos it's appears white. When I first opened the package, I actually thought I accidentally received the blue color option. I guess that means that the color of the dress isn't entirely obvious all the time and it depends on the lighting. Tbh, I don't think that pink really accurately describes the color of this dress but I don't have the blue version to directly compare the two. Regardless of that, I really liked the multi-color flower pattern even though that I feel like it kind of looks like a rainbow pastel cheetah print from far away. I also like the tiered bustier design which is fully shirred under the ruffles and very secure feeling. I am still a bit worried about the length and where exactly the hem is "supposed to" fall on my body so that it's not incredibly unflattering, but for a free size item, I feel like this is actually the best that I can ask for and I'm happy with it.

Momonga batwing cardigan in white (161-3030-0)
モモンガカーディガン
https://twitter.com/lizlisaoomiyaar/status/745898539356676096
Ebony actually helped turn me onto this cardigan lmao. She pointed it out while we were shopping in the Shinjuku Alta Liz Lisa store. This style of cardigan isn't something I typically gravitate towards, but as I saw it over and over again, I realized that it looks so cozy. I do already own one batwing knit cardigan and I don't wear it often but that's mostly because the material is really warm. I actually got that one from a happy bag and didn't even pick it out myself, so this is the first time I am purposefully buying one! I really fell in love with the ribbon detail on the back.
with Liz Lisa ribbon OP and Liz Lisa 3D flower pumps -

with Liz Lisa lace sleeveless blouse, Liz Lisa floral chiffon sukapan, Liz Lisa wide brim fedora hat* and Liz Lisa metallic combination sandals* -
[Also shown with sunflower parfait OP and chiffon bandana print OP coordinates above.]
The ribbon detail is truly the selling point for this knit. It's really sweet and a nice little detail in the back. The color is bright white all the way around and it's very easy to throw on and wear. I feel like this could easily fit a number of different people and situations.  

Wide brim fedora hat in white (161-9501-0)
中折れハット

I had half an eye on this hat during a sale and then Mitsu's current Japanese summer fashion trends post kind of pushed me over the edge into just purchasing it. I'm trying to get back into hats lately (I may have already mentioned that three times in other posts, sorry) and this one seemed reasonable despite the "fedora stereotype". I think I just need to be careful with how I style this so that it doesn't seem douchey although the wider brim might already be a good start. There was actually a photo of Minami wearing it that really turned me around but it was an in an abundance of LL Gals snaps in the month of February.

with Liz Lisa sleeping beauty OP and Liz Lisa metallic combination sandals* -

with Liz Lisa floral jumpsuit, Liz Lisa x My Melody 6th collab blouse and Liz Lisa 3D flower pumps -
[Also shown with chiffon bandana print OP and momonga cardigan coordinates above.]
The hat is actually shallower than I expected or maybe wider than I expected or both. It sits loosely on my head (with my natural hair) but not so much that I actually worry it will fall off unprompted. The color is pretty close to what it looks like in the stock photo and is more of a really light beige rather than a bright white. It actually somehow works with more things than I realized because it's a pretty basic and slightly season neutral hat (versus a sunhat which feel very "summer") and I had a hard time just not trying it on with everything just to see how it would look.

Metallic combination sandal in pink (161-9610-0)
 メタリックコンビサンダル
http://www.tokyokawaiilife.jp/liz-lisa/160607_llgals/?utm_source=keyword&utm_medium=banner_middle&utm_campaign=160607_llgals
I had half an eye on these ever since I saw them in one of the early SS promo photos. I figured these would be good for work or even just regular/casual going out. The design isn't particularly novel (and in fact I feel like it's fairly common esp in western fashion) and can sometimes even have a matronly feel, but I didn't need them to be overly special for the price. I think that white was the most popular color for this sandal based on shop staff photos, and I considered getting white versus pink for a while, but I think that this pink seemed more neutral and the metallic wasn't such a contrasting color for which is what I was looking for. I think I will probably wear this more with my non-Liz Lisa/non branded stuff for very casual outfits, but they can certainly just as easily be paired with himekaji-style coordinates when I'm being lazy lol.

with Liz Lisa opal floral collared OP -
[Also shown with chiffon bandana print OP, momonga cardigan and wide brim fedora hat coordinates above.]
The fit of the base of the shoe is the same as most Liz Lisa shoes for me but the straps are very slightly loose. This doesn't bother me and I think that if I got M instead of L, my heel or my toes might be hanging off of one of the ends just a bit. The heel height is extremely comfortable and it almost feels flat. The color is definitely more nudey beige than pink but this is what I expected and I anticipate this being a good shoe for what I want to wear it with.

I'm so happy with how these items worked out! I'm especially pleased with how I was able to use the cardigan, hat and sandals with other items' coordinates throughout the post and even all together. As this will probably be my last major summer order while the items are still "regular stock" (versus Outlet), I feel like I'm ending on a positive note. I'm very satisfied with all the spring/summer items I got this year - it turned out to be a really great season!
http://emiiichan.blogspot.com/p/contact.html