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Welcome to my blog!

If you are in for an adventure paired with lengthy, quirky, brutal honest thoughts then you are in the right place.

My name is Arisa and was a cosplayer for 12 years in Malaysia before settling down in Kyoto, Japan. Exploring Japan full time has been a long time dream of mine, so let's explore it together!
For sponsorship, collaborations and engagements: arisa1443@gmail.com

Life in Kyoto | 4th Month

Super nervous with this entry because it’s another milestone for me, 4 months in Japan and before we know it's going to be a year here liao. It's also the beginning of my life here as an official resident since i got my VISA approved end of July! No longer on tourist VISA (90 days) but an actual resident, also it was the day i lost my privilege for tax free shopping in Japan haha!😂
Pros and cons i guess, can't have it all.

My life is honestly really mediocre, not sure why would anyone want to read about it but in a way it's just for me to announce that "hey, i'm still alive peeps". If you have noticed that i've recently changed my blog layout and still tweaking here and there so please bear with me for the time being. It isn't easy doing everything on your own because i have no budget to hire a web designer and graphic designer full time haha, so i gotta do it on my own. But this template i bought was worth it because everything looks so neat right now!

Started my August with a roadtrip down to Koyasan, Wakayama!
Another prefecture ticked off the bucketlist wohoo~

No edit, gorgeous sunset on the way back

Koyasan, a calm and spiritual area.
Will make a separate entry for this place.

Here are some of my August highlights in case you missed it on my insta-stores (follow @arisa_chow yo!)

Malaysia Visit 

Went back to visit my family, stock up on Malaysian ingredients that we can’t find in Japan gotta thank my mom for helping us partially shop in advance so we can save time.

Actually the main reason why i decided to come back was because my travel VISA was due mid August, and without my approved spouse's VISA i would need to leave the country and re-enter again to get another 90 days on my passport. But luckily my VISA got approved end of July but we already bought the flight tickets so might as well take a short trip down lol.

Pregnant mothers flying from Japan to Malaysia especially after 6 months you’ll need a permission letter from your gynea to board the plane and in 2 languages (Japanese & English), we previously only got the Japanese version and it was deemed as “incomplete” but luckily they still let us fly after filling in the declaration form. Just that we had to email our gynea in Japan for an English translated copy, signed by him. To get the letter alone costs us additional 2000yen pretty expensive because from my experience in Malaysia permission letters are usually given free during the prenatal visit, we only pay for consultation services.

Guess that’s one of the advantages of Malaysian gynaes.

Grand Hyatt KL

Stayed in the heart of KL for the first time as the danna wanted to try out Grand Hyatt KL (we tried the one in Fukuoka last month and liked it), as a Malaysian staying in a hotel in the middle of the city hasn’t exactly crossed my mind because we have a house here and a car to commute, why a hotel lol but since this time I neither have both it only made sense to stay somewhere convenient for us to commute around at the same time play tourist for the danna. Hotels in Malaysia majority of them comes with a pool which he is often fascinated about swimming in one, in Japan there’s hardly hotels with pools unless it’s indoors because the country has 4 seasons (that’s my theory on why they don’t have it la). 

Our first dinner in KL, very disappointed with the ikan pari bakar from KLCC food court, so expensive and the portion really pathetic :(
It's spicy no doubt but not that tasty, the kind of spicy that burns your tongue leaving no taste.

Malaysian style breakfast, Chinese porridge & roti canai!
How i miss century eggs and salted eggs, sadly in Kyoto i couldn't find any of them :(

Our shopping in Malaysia almost went overboard but I’m lucky I bought extra luggage space this round which costed me an extra RM1k (so painful), brought home a baby stroller that’s lightweight (7kg max including box) from Beblum, read quite decent reviews about it online and asked a friend who’s also using it, for the affordable price of only RM599, it’s a pretty good deal! Also there are tons of other baby/ mom items to help me out which I’ll share more about on my future updates. 

Total luggage weight was 67.9kg haha! Luckily bought extra 10kg so we could carry on 70kg in total.
I'm impressed with my own estimation skills lol, i use it for sewing, cooking, drawing and everything in life *so proud of myself, syiok sendiri* lol 

Yes my entire luggage is filled with food only haha, no clothes as we hand carried them onto the plane

We brought back tons of Malaysian food, one thing I feel truly blessed is having a husband who doesn’t complain about food, in fact he’ll have Chinese/ Malay dishes any day similar to how Malaysians like to dine in Japanese restaurants because we eat Malaysian food almost every day until sien liao. Hope #lilpenguin will pick up this trait from her father, be cincai with food please lol, your mom here ain’t no chef so all dishes she makes are #cheatone versions thanks to ready packaged sauces.

And I finally got my long overdue hair session done at Daisuke salon, even in Japan I’m still sceptical of who handles my hair (I have trust issues over my precious locks ok!). Though I would very much like to get a colour change and a perm but unfortunately that has gotta wait till next year once lil penguin is out, previously I did my hair before the pregnancy and allowed it to fade over the course of 9 months (amazing transition really) so the chemicals didn’t affect my pregnancy (bleaching touch up doesn’t touch the roots). So a tip to those planning to get preggers, get your hair done before and after the baby is out, in between the only thing you can do is either hair treatments or a cut. If you are new to Daisuke salon, just mention my name during booking and you’ll get 20% off your bill! 

It's been 2 years already and I always go back to @daisukesalon because i can trust them with my hair without worrying the hair colour or style won't suit me. Who else is as paranoid as me when it comes to picking the right hair salon? Purposely came back to Malaysia to get my hair done with my stylist Rene before meeting #lilpenguin soon and A MUST to do BKT Treatment to keep it smooth & frizz free. Just abit more till my hair is entirely back to its original colour, yes I have super jet black hair instead of the usual black brown hair 😂 super stubborn to change colour as well, just like me. Also if you are new to #DaisukeSalon make sure to mention my name (ARISA) to get 20% off your bill, no deadline, make sure to PM them on FB to make an appointment/ or call. Hair cut by Rene #hairstyles #bkt #hairgram #naturalista #daisukesalonworks #hairgoals #haircut #japanesehairsalon
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It was also a coincidence that KLFW was ongoing while I was in town, gotta thank Infinence team for the invitation to their show, it was an eye opening experience for the danna as it’s his first overseas fashion show while to us locals, KLFW is already a norm which we look forward to every year. Note to self always carry foldable flats because high heels ALWAYS give me blisters without fail, even such a short walking distance from Pavilion back to KLCC my feet were already filled with blisters (ouch).

Thankful that i managed to meet up with some friends this round, though everyone's schedule was tight and i'm a sitting duck in KL without my car. Sorry to the rest that i didn't managed to meet, next visit okay!

Favorite skincare brand

As you guys know I’ve been using Momohime for quite some time, got great news that they are finally releasing travel size kits in Malaysia, but of course I first got my hands on them in Japan, just in time for my trip down to Malaysia too. So I don’t need to manually pack my skincare in those empty travel casings (troublesome). Those looking to try out Momohime for the first time, you can get their travel kits at selected AEON WELLNESS pharmacies all around Malaysia.

You can check out my previous entry for more details: Momohime Travel Kits

Maternity Shoot

Technically my 2nd time doing a photoshoot in Japan, the first was last year in a Maiko costume, this year a maternity shoot and I can’t wait to share more details about it with you guys because you’ll be surprised at how affordable their packages are, not to mention so pro to the point their photos require almost no post processing! Amazed to get the photos on the spot, luckily I brought my 32GB memory card along so I could store the photos!

The danna’s first time in a photoshoot so it was kinda like a headless chicken moment of not knowing what to do haha, well everyone has their first time and I’m glad that he was sporting enough to go with this shoot idea instead of telling me to do it alone.

Obon Week- Tōrō nagashi (灯籠流し)

Taking this photo with the danna's camera was torture lol, low shutter speed have to hold our breath to make sure stable. Don't bring tripods to events like these because you would be bothering other people as well. 

Summer in Japan comes with celebrations like “Obon” which is similar to what we have back in Malaysia except we call it “Hungry Ghost Festival” and it’s a time most people fear to walk around at night in case an unrested spirit follows them home lol. Don’t laugh okay, though I don’t celebrate HGF since my family is Christian but I respect the culture and tradition, also dogs tend to go wild barking nonstop. You know what they say about animals having 6th sense lol, don’t doubt them.

We took turns using each other's head as human tripods lol😝

Over in Japan Obon week is like a time for deceased family and friends to visit the living world, have a little freedom before returning back, the ending ceremony known to many is as “Daimonji”is actually Gozan no Okuribi on 16th August, a total of 5 mountains surrounding Kyoto will be lighted up with characters/ initials as a guide for the spirits to return home.

It’s nice to know that little Mariko was around even for a short while, so we had a small sending off ceremony for her in the form of a lantern- Tōrō nagashi.

This scene from all the Instagram pictures may seem like Tangled from Disney movie but it’s actually a sending off ceremony for the deceased lol, not so romantic eh.

 Finally visited Nijo castle since they were having a special light display for Obon week
Took this photo with my Huawei P10 Mate, amazing detailed outcome under low light.

Super colorful short clip featuring Japan folklore demons

Work stress

Of late I’ve been getting troublesome clients who first of all lowball (haggle for lower payment) on quality content with tight deadlines (like 24 hrs) and then only to later come back request for everything to be redone again when you have put everything out on the table from the very beginning which they initially agreed on that due to time constraints such request may incur additional charges unless it’s minimal edits. Guess what? Was told to just decline the project after I’ve submitted my part, so means I’ve done my work without pay. Wouldn’t that make you pissed off as well? Even after trying to negotiate reasonably with liable solutions on how to fix the problem without additional cost on both ends I was told the same thing, just decline the job. Just wow.

I know very well where I stand when it comes to work, I follow briefs very carefully and if the brief is wrong then that’s not my fault already as I’m doing my work based on the guide given. When people think my job is easy, makes me want to stab them in the face. Do you know how many times we have to reshoot, edit and brainstorm our creative contents that may take up to days or weeks to produce and doing things within 24 hours is seriously ridiculous. Usually such last minute jobs logically we’ll charge extra because they expect magic to be done but I’m the type that closes one eye because “what could go wrong” right? Everything can go wrong especially with unreasonable “big” clients.

Seriously you picked the wrong person to nitpick on especially when the problem is so small & easily fixable but they just had to blow things out of proportion. You want drama, I kasi you drama baru you tau sial.

Not many like me for my directness but I feel it has come to a stage where I’m given no choice but to do so or else it would be an endless cycle of companies exploiting me just because I’m afraid to voice out. I’ve worked with many brands along my blogging journey, some are one offs while there are also clients who stay with me long term as we have mutual respect and proper work ethics. They know that my blog is a business too, and I only produce quality contents which they can also use for their marketing purposes. I work in this field (marketing) for quite some time back in Malaysia, everyone should be treated properly not taken advantage of because at the end of the day fools will eventually realise as well and when that happens things often gets ugly. Know your worth, even as a new blogger take time to grow your readership numbers and use that to market your services wisely. Though not every gig is paid, but at least make sure the collaboration is beneficial on your end as well, not only the brand’s. What’s the point on getting free items (that doesn’t pay your bills) when they are constantly chasing you to promote their stuff till you get pissed, that’s why it’s always important to also state out when you are able to deliver the postings, etc.

Sometimes I rather buy the products with my own money so I can be more unbiased (freedom) with my reviews lol, anyway most of my reviews are unbiased to begin with so it’s more like getting to post it whenever my schedule permits which can take weeks or months. No commitments lol.

Till this day a lot of us are struggling to make ends meet as brands no longer want quality content, instead they want pointless misleading viral stuff and platforms like Instagram & YouTube are more preferable over blogs.

I might sigh at these changes but I still run this blog as my own personal space to pen down my thoughts and share about my life with you guys, not just to advertise stuff.

All I can conclude is working in a creative field when everything is SUBJECTIVE, it’s difficult and things won’t get any easier. Creativity isn’t like Maths where there are fixed formulations for every single calculation, nothing can go wrong and no one is going to argue with you about it because that’s how things are. Where else creative stuff, one might agree with you but another will disagree and it all can be for the silliest reasons like “I feel ah”. Yep, anddddddd let your gut ruin everyone’s schedule.

Pregnancy Update- Final Lap

Free diaper sample from the session

Reaching almost the end of this journey and to be super-duper honest despite not having to drive to work, get stuck in jams and sit on uncomfortable office chairs for 8 hours a day (these are the good parts), I’m dreading my journey because I’m constantly in pain all over. Not sure why, getting up is a chore, appetite is rather “meh” and I feel more nauseated easily before/ after meals. I sleep more than I ever did from my first pregnancy, in fact I do feel physically crippled. Need to constantly rely on the danna to help me get around the house, the scariest part is having pins & needles while walking halfway causing my leg muscles to painfully tense up to the point of me crying. Seriously can’t wait for all of this to be over soon.

I can’t remember how birthing pain felt like but I remember wanting to kill someone with every pressing contraction so probably more anger than pain there lol. This round after speaking to the midwife, we opt for no episiotomy UNLESS an intervention is needed as an emergency because apparently having one doesn’t really help at all to “quicken” delivery process. It might help for those with big and overweight babies but for normal delivery our body can naturally stretch big enough for a baby’s head and shoulders to pass through. No one likes getting their vagina stitched back and having problems trying to poop for almost a month in fear of tearing the stitches while straining.

Yes I’m permanently traumatized from that experience. Will make a video on “Things I wish someone told me about pregnancy” soon.

It was also my first time attending a prenatal class at the hospital where I usually do my check-ups, and what’s frightening is the amount of people delivering within the month of Sept-Oct 2018 for Kyoto (the district I’m living in). The amount of attendees for the class was only like less than 15 couples including ourselves and everyone is so punctual! Technically I already know how things works but it’s a good session for first time fathers so they know what to expect when their wife goes into labor, also we get a tour of the clinic and in Japan there are 3 kinds of hospital you can choose to give birth in. One is a general hospital, a specialty clinic or midwife center, we took the specialty clinic as they had proper gynae doing check-ups while trained midwifes are also an option during delivery, also it’s the nearest according to our landlady (thank you!).

Sharing rooms

It’s seriously different from my experience in PPUM, shared wards are the most economical option for me 2 years ago but what was agonizing was other babies screaming their lungs out 24/7, Mariko was an angel for the first week maybe it was because of Jaundice that’s why she slept more but in general she’s a sweet natured girl that doesn’t cry without a reason (not much of an attention seeker/ clingy baby). In this particular clinic they have a few types of rooms both sharing and individual, the toilet space is shared and located outside the rooms.

Tatami room style lol

I’m actually surprised to see a tatami style labour room, to some people this position lying on the floor to deliver is more comfortable than then modern method which has posts to hold your leg upwards as the doctor receives your baby lol. So one’s free style while the other is fixed position, I’ve yet to decide on one but can’t help being curious about the tatami style omg lol, curiosity please contain yourself before you make me regret big time lol.

And i finally went to the dentist because i was having a bad toothache, luckily that i have an insurance card here because basic cleaning and filling alone costs almost x3 from what we pay in Malaysia. For my procedure after the insurance cover, we only paid about 5000yen *phew*, original was 15,000 yen😱

They were super gentle with the procedure, taking the time to explain the problem and my options since i'm currently pregnant there are tons of procedures i can't do. Last pregnancy i didn't have any tooth problems, but this round my teeth practically degraded quite badly, and i often ignore (or didn't know) the signs till its too late. Last round i checked to get a chipped tooth filled in in KL, my dentist didn't mention anything else wrong with my teeth meanwhile my dentist in Japan found tons of problems here and there 😤 guess that's what you get for Malaysian quality dentist vs Japan's.

So this finally marks the end of a brutal summer, and now to welcome the long awaited Autumn and hopefully it won’t be so cold to the point I’ll just lock myself at home for another couple of months lol. Seriously that’s what I technically did for the whole of summer.

Yours Truly,


  1. I love your straight hair! You should leave it straight more :)

    1. Haha, my hair is only straight after ironing and doing treatment. I'm born with natural wavy hair :P


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