My name is Samantha Mariko, currently residing in Tokyo, Japan. I started this blog in late 2011, where I can share my style, modeling work, beauty, travels, music and anything that interests & inspires me.
Isn’t it crazy that we’re already in the second half of 2019 as of today?? The first six months flew by so quickly that before you know it, it’ll already be winter (but wait, summer has barely even started!). June was a very eventful month, which lots of product launches, exhibitions and anniversary celebrations. I hope you enjoy the June Tokyo Party Report!
If you live in LA, you might already know about Alfred Tea Room. This cafe and tea brand launched in LA’s Melrose Place and has opened several locations in Tokyo. This time, they opened their newest store in Harajuku and had a beautiful launch party to celebrate the occasion. As you can tell in the photos, there are a variety of photo opp corners all around the cafe, thanks to the interior decor and cute neon light displays. Even the teas and desserts are Instagram-worthy and sure to become a favorite hang-out spot for Harajuku frequenters. Congratulations to my new friend who is the store manager for the Harajuku location. Can’t wait to visit and cool down this summer with a mint chocolate-flavored milk tea!
EAU de SABON POP-UP STORE “MY SALON” Reception Party
6月6日(木) SABONで人気の香りのフレグランス“EAU de SABON”が新しく発売することになり、それにちなんで“なりたい自分”の香りが見つかるポップアップストアが期間限定オープンしました。そして、ポップアップストアオープンに先駆け、前日に中目黒にあるSABONのコンセプトショップ『Atelier SABON』にてレセプションパーティーが開催されました。個人的にSABONのほんわりと甘い香りのフレグランスやスクラブなど大好きなので、こういう場で新しい香りを試せるのは本当に嬉しいです。今回は自分の性格などに合った香りを選ぶことができたので、使うのが楽しみです！
SABON released a new version of it’s popular fragrance “EAU de SABON” on June 6th, and opened its pop-up store for a limited time with the concept of “being who you want to be.” I went to the reception party the evening before the release at their concept shop “Atelier SABON” in Nakameguro. I personally love all their fragrances and skin care items (the body scrub is amazing!) so it was a treat to test out the “EAU de SABON” before it’s release. I loved how you could choose the scent that matches your personality through a series of questions. I can’t wait to use mine!
MAYBELLINE Superstay Matte Ink Launch Party @ Maybelline House
Maybelline released a new set of colors for its iconic SuperStay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick, and they held a reception party at Maybelline House in Harajuku. They completely redid the interior of the House, giving off a more New York vibe that fits the concept of the brand. I’m actually a huge fan of liquid lipsticks, and the SuperStay Matte Ink is amazing because it really stays put no matter what. The new shades are very nude-y and perfect for everyday wear. Maybelline always knows how to throw a good party – thank you so much for having me!
Using your own canteen or tumbler daily to reduce waste is becoming a thing these days. I remember when I was in school, I’d always carry around a canteen (or suito in Japanese) so I wouldn’t have to spend money buying water at the vending machine, and in turn, increasing waste. Recently, I realized I hadn’t been using something reusable like that in a while. So when Swanz Brand reached out to me to try one of their stylish tumblers, I was excited to get back in the routine of using an environment-friendly item on the daily.
Incorporated in 2010, Swanz Brand is a household brand from Singapore which designs and manufactures porcelain household wares. If you take a look at their website, they carry a variety of items such as tumblers, thermal mugs, food warmers, and accessories for daily use. The great part about this brand is that while all of their items are made with high-quality porcelain, they have so many different designs to choose from. I chose Macaw Thermal Tumbler for its colorful and stylish design that resonates with the upcoming summer months.
Why it’s important to start ditching plastic for reusable ware
I highly believe that choosing reusable tumblers/canteens/water bottles whenever possible for a conscious effort in reducing waste. Using high-quality items from brands like Swanz Brand allows you to do this in style – you can use them as a fashion accessory and match them with your outfit of the day. You can check out more cute styles from their new arrivals here to live a more environment-friendly lifestyle.
This Tokyo Party Report will be slightly different as I will only be reporting on one party this time. Of course, I attended some parties and worked at others during the month of May, but this particular one was special in that I produced with my LA FONDUE TOKYO team.
今回の東京パーティーレポートは、いつもと違ってひとつのイベントについて書かせていただきます。もちろん、5月は様々なパーティーに出席しPRとしても参加したものも多かったですが、LA FONDUE TOKYOチームとプロデュースした「A Dip in Switzerland」について特別に写真と共にお届けしたいです。
What is LA FONDUE TOKYO?
LA FONDUE TOKYO is a new kind of party representing the diverse Tokyo underground scene. A melting pot of music, fashion, art and other kinds of media, we spread the artistic scene in Tokyo to the rest of the world. Since its beginnings in 2018, LA FONDUE has produced 5 successful events at WALL & WALL featuring many talented musicians, DJs, brands, and artists locally and internationally (you can check our past event here).
Recently, LA FONDUE TOKYO has expanded into event production, where we work with clients looking to host events and promotional launches with a fresh, edgy and modern twist. With music, art, experiences, and decoration, we create events that promote organic social media coverage and a unique experience for the client as well as for the guests.
そんなLA FONDUE TOKYOから生まれたプロダクション部門は、テーラーメイドのイベント製作チーム、「LA FONDUE TOKYO Productions」。クライアントのニーズに合わせて新鮮で斬新なアプローチでイベントやプロモーションパーティーの企画のお手伝いを致します。音楽、アート、体験スペース、デザインを駆使し、無料SNS・メディア情報配信ユニーク経験を推進するイベントをクライアントと参加者のためにご提供致します。
“A Dip in Switzerland”
For our most recent event in May, we collaborated with the Swiss Embassy in Japan (Switzerland Tourism Japan) and Swiss Deluxe Hotels for “A Dip in Switzerland.” The evening included Swiss dining, music by DJ performances, live art, experiences, and photo opportunities in appreciation of Swiss culture and tourism. Over 80 people were in attendance including some of Tokyo’s top celebrities and influencers, creating a unique and diverse crowd of guests.
I was especially happy to have been able to work with my dear friends Amy and Fabien on this special project. Amy, who is half Japanese and half Swiss, has been a dear friend of mine since I first moved to Tokyo. Two summers ago, I was fortunate enough to attend her beautiful wedding in Switzerland to Fabien, who is also Swiss. During this trip to Switzerland, I was able to see firsthand how amazing the country is and it was an honor to be a part of spreading the beauty of Switzerland through this event.
一番最近のイベントは5月に開催され、今回はスイス大使館とスイスデラックスホテルズとコラボレーションし、「A Dip in Switzerland」をお届けしました。スイスのお料理を提供、DJパフォーマンス、ライブアート、体験ブース、写真スポットなど、スイスの文化と観光に少しでも興味を持っていただくようなコンテンツをご用意しました。８０名以上のゲストにご来場いただき、インターナショナルなでユニークな集まりでした。
Many, many thanks to the Swiss Embassy in Japan, Swiss Deluxe Hotels, and to all of the performers, participants, and guests who made this event possible. And the biggest thank you to my LA FONDUE TOKYO fam, Robin and Kalin. I could not have done this without your creative minds and passion for entertaining. I love you both!
“Why is this blog post titled ‘A New Start’?” you may ask. Well, for one thing, I completely changed my look into one of the edgiest looks I’ve ever done in my life. And second of all, as of last week, I am completely freelance. The reality of this new change in my life hasn’t really quite struck me yet. But I know that I’m ready for the freedom as well as to be 100% responsible for my income.
I’m realizing that the older I become, the more I want to try new things. This includes evolving my look and continuously experimenting. Even though I got my pixie cut only a year ago, I felt like all my haircuts until now have been “safe.” I was itching to do a drastic change with my color and styling but I was also worried it wouldn’t suit me. After consulting with my hairstylist and some of my close friends, I decided that I needed to break out of my shell and to just go for it. After three rounds of bleaching between two hair salon visits, I achieved the bleached look of my dreams (thank you Botao Hair!) To say I love my new look would be an understatement – I am completely obsessed. Coco Chanel once said, “A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.” I couldn’t agree more with this statement. I hope to continue evolving as a person with this fresh, new look.
I’ve always dreamed of being a freelancer and have seen many bloggers, models, and DJs around me take on their gigs through freelancing. I’ve been in two modeling agencies during the last 7 years, and while I am extremely grateful to have been in those agencies and for the many amazing opportunities they’ve given me, I felt like it was also time to move on as a way to challenge myself further with my career. Also, during those 7 years, I was always working a part-time job to make ends meet. I went back and forth between customer service and office work. While I learned so much from these jobs and were rewarding in their own ways, they weren’t really for me.
At first, I was worried if this would be a smart career move, but I also had to do this for reasons I won’t disclose at this time. It was a necessity for the situation I was put in, as well as a necessity for my own self. I needed the freedom to take on the jobs I want to do and the freedom to set up my own schedule. As of now, I’m very happy with this new arrangement but we’ll see how it will play out in the long run. Because as life has taught me in recent years, anything can happen.
I want to end this post by stressing that because so much can happen in a lifetime, it’s important to embrace change and for you yourself to grow with these changes (check out my blog post about why change can be good for you here). I admit, sometimes it’s hard. But once you accept what life throws at you, you’ll be so much stronger. I’m excited for these changes that have happened recently and am ready to take on the challenges that will inevitably come my way. Embrace change, embrace new beginnings<3
In Japan, today marks the last day of Golden Week, an extended spring holiday of sorts. With the imperial transition taking place this year, Golden Week was 10 days long instead of the usual one week period. Which also gave me some extra time to write up part 2 of my April Tokyo Party Report. It’s a struggle to get back into the swing of things after such a nice, long break, but I think I’m ready to get back into the grind of things. Hope you enjoy this post!
Mont Blanc Black & White Night – New Collection Launch Party + Runway Show
Mont Blanc held a “Black & White Night” to celebrate the launch of their 2019 Spring/Summer collection. This collection included their signature fountain pens and other quality writing materials, timepieces, and leather goods. They went all out with the event – CROSS DOCK HARUMI HALL boasted a vast space to beautiful display their entire collection, as well as a proper runway for their fashion show. I unfortunately was not able to make it to the show so the Mont Blanc PR team was kind enough to send me photos of the show. What a fabulous way to celebrate the launch of their new collection!
Mont Blancは、筆記具、タイムピース、レザーグッズなどを含む2019年新作の一堂をお披露目するカクテルパーティーをCROSS DOCK HARUMI HALLで開催しました。普段のパーティーとは巨大なスペースで、Mont Blancの新作が綺麗に展示されていました。私は残念ながら間に合わなかったのですが、ファッションショーも行われ、PRチームからショーの画像をいただきました。Mont Blancはメンズの商品で知られているので、にウィメンズの物もあるのを初めて知りました！Mont Blancの良さがより良く伝わる、とても素敵なイベントでした。
PRADA INVITES Cocktail Party @ Prada Aoyama Store
PRADA held a cocktail party at the Aoyama store to celebrate the “PRADA INVITES” collection launch. “PRADA INVITES” is a collaboration project with various creators that began with the 2018 Autumn/Winter collection, and explores PRADA’s signature nylon items. The upcoming 2019 Spring/Summer season collection will be the 2nd, and this time, Kazuyo Sejima, a Japanese female architect, will be amongst the three female creators involved with the creation of the women’s items. I’ve loved PRADA’s nylon bags because of how simple and sophisticated they are. It was lovely to view this new collection featuring female creators.
Hoegaarden x Prime Chef Experience Party – “Urban Picnic” @ Aoyama Terrace
The Hoegaarden White is the original Belgian wheat beer dating back 600 years. And just in time for spring, Hoegaarden produced an urban picnic experience at Aoyama terrace to try the Hoegaarden White with delicacies prepared by Prime Chef, a chef service that cooks at your home. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a picnic as elaborate as this one with so much greenery, flowers and amazing food. And we were blessed with perfectly sunny weather to enjoy the delicious Belgian beer. My friend Maya and I had the best girl’s time under the sun. Thank you Hoegaarden!
Lalique Ginza Flagship Store Renewal Opening Party
LALIQUE presented a brand new concept called “My First LALIQUE.” At the same time, LALIQUE Ginza had a store renewal, making it the flagship store in Japan on April 26th. Along with the renewed brand concept, the Ginza Flagship store displayed its signature jewelry, fragrances, decorative and also special wine to celebrated the store renewal. I visited the store a few days before opening for their reception party. Truthfully, I didn’t know much about LALIQUE before this, but I now have a newfound sense of appreciation for their unique glasswork. I especially adored the perfume bottles and candles that are perfect for gifting. Congratulations on the grand opening!
In Japan, April 30th marked the end of the Heisei Era. Today, on May 1st, the country welcomed the new Reiwa Era along with the new Emperor and Empress of Japan. Looking back on the previous month, it was jam-packed with different kinds of events, which in my opinion was a great way to end the Heisei Era. Because there were so many, I will be dividing the April Tokyo party report into two parts. I hope you enjoy part 1, which starts off with a bang with the DIOR ADDICT CITY launch party!
DIOR ADDICT CITY Launch Night with Cara Delevingne & Peter Philips @ Hotel Koe Tokyo
Dior recently released its new lip collection, “Dior Addict Stellar Shine.” To celebrate this launch, they transformed Hotel Koe Tokyo into a pink wonderland titled “DIOR ADDICT CITY” and held a special launch party with special guests makeup artist Peter Phillips and Dior’s muse, Cara Delevingne. The new lip collection was beautifully displayed, with an abundance of photo spots within the party. I love that there are so many different shades and finishes from the Dior Addict Stellar Shine collection. With performances by Yuka Mizuhara and Awich, the party was one for the books. I was also happy to catch a glimpse of Cara herself – just as beautiful as I imagined her to be!
Diorより新たなリップ「Dior Addict Stellar Shine」の発売を記念して、ディレクターでメイクアップ・アーティストのピーター・フィリップスとDiorの新たなミューズ モデルのカーラ・デルヴィーニュを迎え、一夜限りのスペシャルイベントが開催されました。期間限定でHotel Koe Tokyoは “BE DIOR, BE PINK” と題し ”DIOR ADDICT CITY” に生まれ変わりました。ここまでグラマラスなピンクに纏った空間を体験するのは初めて！Dior Addict Stellar Shineのリップも綺麗にディスプレイしてあり、豊富な色の種類と仕上がりの展開なので、使うのが楽しみです。水原佑果のDJプレイやAwichによるライブパフォーマンスで会場は盛り上がっていました！カーラもちらっと見れたので嬉しかった！
Tory Burch Ginza Store Opening Reception Party
Tory Burch opened their Ginza location in April and held a launch party to celebrate. The interior was clean and elegant, and spring-like with floral decorations despite the chilly pre-spring weather outside. I was so happy to see Mademoiselle Yulia as one of the DJs for the event. Also, Ms. Tory Burch herself was in attendance for the occasion. It was lovely running into familiar faces at this gorgeous party.
Reebok Classic presents Reebok 90s House Launch Party
In the 90s, Reebok developed sneakers with the latest technologies and fresh designs that were revered in the fashion world and sports scene. For a limited time, Reebok CLASSIC opened “Reebok 90s House” at Harajuku’s B-SIDE to exhibit those classic designs from the 90s. The launch party was a huge success, with a full house during performances by Awich and BIM. They also served special pizza toast by PIZZA SLICE, which was the perfect snack for the 90s-inspired party. And of course, the shoes on display were so cute! Reebok knows how to throw a good party.
Michael Kors held a reception party at their Ginza location to celebrate the launch of their new “Manhattan” bag. This bag, which is of course named after New York’s Manhattan, was released early in Japan. Also, MK created a special edition bag in collaboration with Japan’s brand ambassador Tsubasa Honda, who was also present at the party. I was very impressed by the Manhattan collection – the design and colors look perfect for daily use. I was able to catch up with the Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan Japan, which was lovely.
I think this is the first time I’ve ever done an album review, but there is no way I’m going to miss the opportunity to do one for one of my favorite artists Saucy Lady. Ever since a friend of mine showed me her “City Lights” video back in 2012, I’ve been a huge fan of her music and more recently, her DJ-ing. On April 16th, Saucy Lady released her second studio album “Supanova” under the Star Creature Universal label. And I am already obsessed. I mean, can we say “Yes, please!” to this album jacket??
The much anticipated sophomore album “Supanova” (LP) blasts into orbit with Saucy Lady as a force to be reckoned with, gracing the cover as a space goddess of funk.
Sharing production efforts with her go-to multi-instrumentalist/producer Yuki “U-KEY” Kanesaka aka monolog, their tracks are layered with highly intricate vocal stacks over jazz funk, b-boy breaks, and cosmic synths. “Supanova” features some of the top Boston-based horn players including Pharoah Sander’s son Tomoki Sanders on tenor sax, along with guitarist Jeffrey Lockhart from Prelude Record’s Hi Gloss, and drum grooves by funk duo Du Rite’s J-Zone.
This album is a full-sensory experience. Animator Steven E. Gordon, a contributor to X-Men Avengers comics and the 80s cult favorite Jem and the Holograms cartoons, creates the album artwork making the visuals as impressive as the musical content. The LP gatefold includes comics, the inner sleeve features colorful Saucy Lady paper doll cut-outs, and the cover is topped with cherry-scented scratch ’n sniff sticker, bringing back 80s nostalgia.
If you dig Gene Harris, George Duke, Adriana Evans, or space alien invasions, you will surely be in bliss with this out-of-the-planet album. Guaranteed to be in heavy rotation.
For those of you who’ve been to Tokyo – have you ever visited teamLab Planets or Borderless? If you haven’t yet, maybe you’ve seen images on Instagram or blogs of the gorgeous digital art in many different forms. I visited DMM.PLANETS in Odaiba a couple of years ago (check my blog post here), but I decided to go again (now in Toyosu) since my friend works as design director for teamLab and agreed to show me around.
teamLab combines science, technology, design, and art to produce brand new ideas and products to the world. Through creativity in technology, teamLab has become a game-changer for how we perceive ever-evolving technology. Planets in Toyosu is a digital art experience where guests can interact with the art. In each room, guests are meant to experience different textures, colors, details, sounds, and smells. I didn’t include photos from all of the rooms because some of them are more suited for experiencing rather than photographing. One of the rooms even has water that is knee-deep, where guests can wade through the beautiful digital art projected on the surface!
My experience & why you should visit teamLab Planets
While there is an abundance of art museums and galleries anywhere in the world, there is nothing quite like teamLab Planets. There is so much more to do than just looking at the various kinds of digital art because it is meant to be experienced with your other senses. As you can see through my photos, it’s a fantastic location for otherworldly photos. Celebrities like Ashley Benson and Halsey have also stopped by for amazing photos and videos. Also, Planets is the perfect place for a date, to hang out with friends or visit with family as it is very interactive and of course a unique way to spend an afternoon. Next time you’re looking for something to do or somewhere to go, maybe you should consider teamLab Planets as your next destination.
March was a flurry of events, with Tokyo Fashion Week right in the middle of it all. I didn’t blog about it this time since I wasn’t so active this season, but there were plenty of other events to blog about. Lots of product & collection launches, anniversaries and store renewals will be featured in this Tokyo party report. I hope you enjoy!
GAIAX is a Japanese company that deals with social media and apps. My friend Natalia who works for GAIAX, asked me to DJ for their 20th anniversary event at GRiD, a modern creative space located in Nagatacho. The event took place between 3 floors, and I DJed for about 6 hours on the basement floor. I was very impressed by the events space as well as the turnout for the event. It’s not often I get to DJ at corporate events, so I’m glad Natalia contacted me for the job. Congratulations on the 20th anniversary!
YSL BEAUTY VOLUPTE LAND Pop-up Store Opening Reception Party @ Omotesando Hills
YSL Beauty released a new version of their iconic lipstick “Rouge Volupte Shine,” and they had a reception party in Omotesando Hills for the occasion. A big chunk of the mall was dedicated to the event, donned in pink to recreate a mini amusement park. Guests were first led to the YSL store to enjoy drinks and hors d’oeuvres, as well as DJ performances. The amusement park in the middle of the mall was dedicated for photo opportunities, especially the cute mini merry-go-round. The event decorations were full of hearts since the lipsticks have little hearts in the middle that allow for a plump finish. I think these sheer lipsticks with a hint of color are easy to use, and can be used as a skincare item as well given that they are made with 6 different types of oils and keep the lips moisturized.
This year, Dior hosted an event for International Women’s Day at their stores in Omotesando and Ginza. I went to the Omotesando location with some of my friends for drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Guests were also able to view and shop the latest collection, which was beautiful! I think it’s great that Dior hosts such a fantastic event to celebrate women and all their achievements. Thank you for having us, Dior!
I wanted to write this post today with some words of wisdom because we all go through days where we don’t feel our best; where we feel like absolute shit; where we feel worthless or “not enough” because society can really affect the way we perceive ourselves; where we feel lonely even though in reality, your best friend is only a phone call away.
I go through cycles of feeling down in the dumps to the point where I don’t’ want to get out of bed, to days where I feel so elated and proud of myself I could do a happy dance everywhere I go. But you know what? I don’t think it’s a shameful thing to experience this. Because it’s the hardest of times, the saddest of times and the most frustrating of times that toughen your shell to get you through even harder obstacles in life. And it makes the better moments worthwhile.