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About Bun Bun

Hello! My name is Juli and Bun Bun is my alter-ego. I blog to share my love for makeup, how to apply it, and what works or what doesn’t work, all from an Asian perspective.

My first makeup product was a shimmery light blue lipstick which I proudly wore all over my eyelids and lips. It cost $2.50, felt like $250, and made me feel like a million bucks.

My 10 First Experiences In Japan

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My first trip to Japan was in 2012 with Mr Mode to Okinawa, which is actually quite different from the rest of Japan. In terms of culture, Taiwan, China and other East Asian cultures close to Okinawa had a much bigger influence on Okinawa than the rest of Japan did. Even the local Okinawan food and music are clearly different from traditional Japanese food and music. Here’s more from our 2012 Okinawa trip!

So I’ve been to Japan, but not the mainstream part of Japan, you know what I mean? Someone once told me it’s like how Americans think of Hawaii, it’s part of America, but more exotic. Anyway, I’m glad to have been to Okinawa and finally to Yokohama and Tokyo! Experienced so many first-times during this trip and I wanted to share them with you so you might have ideas for your next trip to Japan. 😀

Watermelon That Doesn’t Drip

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One of my favorite fruits is watermelon, and what a memorable way to start the trip with the best watermelon I’ve ever had! It was crunchy, very sweet and juicy, and yet the juice did not get all over my hands and mouth as normal watermelons do. How intriguing! I love the garden behind Mr Watermelon and me, it’s a shared space for people in the neighborhood who do not have their own gardens but wish to grow their own plants and vegetables.

Making My First Futomaki Sushi

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Most people start by making simple sushi, but we jumped ranked and went straight into making Futomaki sushi rolls which required a lot more ingredients, steps, and skill. Luckily we had the friendly obasans to help us at every step of the way. Futomaski sushi rolls are thick Japanese sushi rolls primarily filled with vegetables and sometimes seafood. They’re known for their beautiful presentation and well-balanced flavors. The designs implementable are limited only by one’s imagination and we saw a variety of designs presented to us like flowers, panda, crab, and cherry blossoms! The outer tamago layer was my favorite, it was thick and perfectly sweet and salty. 😀

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Is Heat The Secret to Perfect Skin? maNara Hot Cleansing Gel Review

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There, a rare picture of me sans foundation/concealer/powder a.k.a war paint. I have spots and acne scars and discoloration and new pimples and comedones; I feel somewhat uncomfortable showing you my naked skin, but you know what? I always remind myself that ‘Hey, it could be a lot worse’. Sometimes when my skin acts up due to change in climate, dirty air, lack of water, lack of sleep, hormonal dysfunction, I look at pictures of worse skin days and tell myself ‘See, it’s not that bad today’. =)

With absolutely nothing on my skin, I thought it the best time to show you how it looks like right after cleansing my face with maNara Hot Cleansing Gel. I’ve never tried any cleanser, heck, ANY PRODUCT like it before. The first time I tried it, I’d thought there would be just a little warmth from rubbing the cleansing gel between my fingers, but no, there was obvious heat on my skin! :O

I was surprised (but not alarmed) coz the more I massaged, the warmer it got. But it wasn’t uncomfortable at all, it was more like an inviting embrace one would encounter when one enters a sauna and gets hit by the wave of warm air. That kind of feeling that makes one go “ahhhh…”. That reminds me of my first time at an onsen in Japan, that moment of relief when the warm waters enveloped my tired body and soothed my soul.

I’ve actually never heard of maNara before because, you know, the Japanese have wayyyy too many great products that are kept for their own community. But now that the brand wishes to share this secret with us, it’s easy to see why maNara Hot Cleansing Gel is the Number 1 cleansing gel in Japan! Welcome to Singapore! 😀

Come, allow me to show you how to enjoy the luxury of a spa facial in your own home.

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I kept the explanation short in the above diagram, so here are extra notes for you :)

  • Ensure your hands and face are dry, the hot cleansing gel will not work on damp/wet skin. An oily face is fine though, I’ve tried it at the end of an oily day and my face is always oily in the morning haha
  • Slowly work the cleansing gel in upward circular motions using your fingertips. In my pictures I use my palms, but that’s because I had to keep my fingertips clean to press the camera shutter LOL
  • Your skin will warm up and the heat retained for about 1 minute, after which you should rinse it off with water. 20 splashes should be sufficient.
  • Oil-based cleansers should never be allowed near eyelash extensions as the oil can dislodge the extensions from the root. So far none of my lash extensions have been harmed from the use of maNara Hot Cleansing Gel. It is perfectly safe for eyelash extensions!

Besides The Heat

What makes maNara Hot Cleansing Gel different from other cleansers is that it basically combines the functions of 7 products into 1 – makeup remover (okie, for me 6 then), cleanser, booster, serum, pore care, exfoliator, and thermal care.

It contains three main plant ingredients – golden root extract, multi flora and fruit extract, and artichoke leaf extract that work to tighten pores. The gel formula eliminates oil without stripping your skin, and what keeps the skin moist after cleansing is a myriad of beauty ingredients such as Vitman C derivative, Hyaluronic acid, Hydroquinone derivative, Astaxanthin, Squalene, collagen-supporting ingredients and more.

It is free of harmful additives like coloring, synthetic perfumes, mineral oil, ethanol (yes, thank you!!), paraben. I wonder how they incorporated the yummy citrus scent though, I absolutely adore it.

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A good cleanse really is the best thing you can do for your skin, and the citrus scent and warmth of maNara Hot Cleansing Gel makes waking up in the morning a little less painful. I would highly recommended this product, both for its efficacy and fun thermal experience 😀

You can make your order on the maNara Asia page, click here for English and click here for Mandarin, free shipping provided.

 

This post was written in collaboration with maNara Singapore. 

The Ultimate Blow: Dyson Supersonic

Dyson-Supersonic-Best-Hair-Dryer-Review_5.1 Dyson-Supersonic-Best-Hair-Dryer-Review_10.2 If there is ONE thing that’s preventing me from traveling light, or going backpacking, that would be the need to use a hairdryer every night. Hahaha! That probably sounds silly, but if you had my hair, you would understand. For my hair to be completely air-dried, 3 hours is just about how long it takes.

For years, my arms, especially my right, have ached under the weight of heavy, conventional hairdryers. There were no alternatives, and I couldn’t complain. It’s a necessary evil! Twenty minutes each time, every night.

That would be my bathroom routine for the next many decades, not a surprise since the hair dryer hasn’t been re-invented for the past 60 years, until Dyson decided to join the beauty market and change the monotony of bathroom routines forever.

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Coming from Dyson, you’d expect a hair dryer nothing less than unconventional. After all, it was the company that revolutionized simple domestic items and made them more efficient and actually look aesthetically desirable in homes – like its bladeless fan and cinetic vacuum cleaner. Owning a Dyson has kinda become a symbol of status, hasn’t it? When I opened the well-constructed packaging and held the Supersonic in my hand, I thought, my, my, what a beauty. 😀 The Dyson Supersonic reflects the brand’s usual sleek design and minimalism.

Two weeks after I started using the Dyson Supersonic, I wondered how much of a difference my new hairdryer could be from my previous one. Couldn’t be THAT different, right? So I took out the old guard and suddenly realized my 7 years of weight-lifting had done nothing to help me cope with having it in my hand again. I had forgotten just how cumbersome, heavy and NOISY it was!

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First Naked Onsen Experience At Ryuguji Spa Hotel Mikazuki

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My first onsen experience was in Taiwan. My friends and I went on condition that swim wear was allowed. My second time was a year later with Mr Mode, also in Taiwan, and swim wear was definitely encouraged since it was a mix gender public onsen.

When I heard that we had to go completely naked for an authentic Japanese onsen at Ryugujo Spa in hotel Mikazuki, I firmly said ‘no, no, no’. I mean, if you grew up in a completely naked onsen culture, you’d be open about exposing your bits to strangers and friends alike. But most Singaporeans didn’t grow up that way and my previous onsen experiences didn’t prepare me enough for it!

But an hour later I found myself walking down the hall clothed in a thin, floral, pink Yukata, my heart thumping in anxiety, threatening to shoot out of my birthday suit. We reached our lockers, shed the Yukata, and agreed to look at one another ‘neck up’ hahaha. 😆 Then we commenced the walk of shame, also known as the short distance from lockers to shower area to pool, but which felt like eternity.

The main reason why swimwear is not allowed in a pure onsen is because the goal is to keep the water as clean as possible. Another reason I heard is that the temperatures can be so high they can melt certain kinds of fabric.

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Making Toothpicks The Ninja Way

Under the scorching sun we trailed behind our guide who fervently led the way, crossing this street and that. Despite the harshness of blaring sunlight, we stopped for a brief moment to admire the blooms that lined the roads. Into a inconspicuous dark alley we stepped, and it felt like we were transported back in time, in some ancient period.

Upon reaching a brightly lit room, each of us sat before a tree stump, readied with 1.5 inch long wooden sticks and a small knife with a slant tip. Not knowing what to do we studied the master’s swift wood-cutting actions, his words in Japanese which probably contained plenty of important tips wasted on us. Haha. But as always, actions speak louder than words, and after realizing that no amount of staring would get us out of the situation, we cautiously picked up our own knives and attempted to make our own toothpicks.

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It was one of the hottest days in one of the hottest months in Yokohama. The sun outside was merciless, and we were trapped in a room with no ventilation save for a small fan, trying to make toothpicks out of wood. Actually we weren’t told what kind of wood was that, but research pointed me in the direction of spicebush. They are speckled greenish-black and are flexible yet sturdy, and even imparts a pleasant aroma to the toothpicks.

I was hot, sticky, and wanted to get it over and done with. Why are we doing this, I questioned silently. I raised my head to look at the master who came to help me, his forehead and temples glistening with sweat, and yet he continued to demonstrate and encourage me. I understood not a single word he spoke, but I could hear the enthusiasm in his voice while making those natural wooden skewers.

In his tone, I heard his passion for making these wooden skewers, and to keep this tradition alive. His spirit spurred me on and I wanted to let him know his efforts were not wasted on me, so I decided to do my best. My first few toothpicks were roughly carved and my lack of patience and skill were apparent in the results. I tell you, it’s really no joke. Each strike of the knife greatly determined how the skewer would look like, – if you cut too deeply, the stick would not budge and using brute force is the wrong way; if you cut too shallow, you’ll be making ribbons out of wood. The masters made it look easy, but it was by far one of the hardest manual tasks I’d ever endeavored.

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Harvesting Organic Blueberries In Yokohama

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You know what they say about your food preference determined by your first experience of it? If your first ever taste of something wasn’t fantastic, that will most likely be the impression for the rest of your life. Well, that is until you get a taste of how GOOD it can be.

I’ve never liked blueberries. Perhaps those I’ve tried are always sour and small, and worse are those inside and atop blueberry cakes glazed over with some gooey blueberry gel-like liquid. Oh my, I shudder at the thought of it. :(

The experience at Yokohama Asahi Blueberry Forest changed my idea of blueberries forever. It was the first time I saw blueberries not in boxes or cakes, but in their most natural state – on trees! And they were large and super sweet!

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