Dolls! Dolls! Dolls! My Dolly Story So Far!



My toy collection has recently expanded to dolls!

Of course, I have had my one and only Blythe doll for over a year now--but my doll collection did not start growing until recently.

I opted to get Barbie dolls, because the price point of Blythes are a tad expensive... But I ended up buying equally expensive fashion dolls in the form of Integrity Toys... XD

I started small, looked for the Barbie I liked the very best.

She was Style So Sweet of the Barbie Fashionista Line.

Thinking I wanted to pose her, I bought a Made to Move Barbie Skateboarder as well, originally wanting to swap their heads.


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I did swap. And I was so excited about all the poses my new doll can do!




It was not long before I felt bad for Skateboarder Barbie though. She is also a very beautiful doll... So I swapped their heads back... and went to Amazon for another round of orders. XDD

This time I bought a Made to Move Soccer Player (for the head swap) and the Barbie Look City Chic doll. She is also so very beautiful!



I swapped the head of the Soccer Player Doll to So Sweet. And I ended up with two beautiful dolls! Haha.



City Chic is a beaut. But to be honest, I am finding it hard to photograph her. :(



I also ended up deciding I need a closet for my dolly clothes! ALTHOUGH I DIDN'T HAVE MUCH CLOTHES AT THIS TIME! HAHA! The Barbie Playline closets are so pink and childish... So I opted for the Black Label Closet. It's a beautiful closet but it isn't cheap.

Now I have a beautiful closet but no clothes. I wanted to buy some Barbie Fashion Packs and went to several stores here in Japan. Barbie isn't really big in Japan so that was a bit difficult... I tried Akihabara. This is when trouble started!

I saw Fashion Royalty Nippon Misaki at a doll store and I was obsessed with her... It was not long before I bought her. I went from $30 Black Label Barbie (my most expensive at that time) to $200. Hahaha.

No regrets though, as she is gorgeous!
Look at her! Her clothing is also so well made. The amount of detail and craftsmanship put into this doll is amazing. I was (and still am) so in love!

Anyway, there was not much luck in Akihabara for doll clothing. There were a couple of lose Barbie clothes at Yodobashi Camera (a huge store for everything) but nothing else.

I bought instead from Amazon Japan. They're way more expensive than they should be, plus the quality isn't not that great because they're mainly meant for kids. That's when I dabbled into the more expensive, OOAK and custom clothes.

I ordered my first set of custom clothes from a seamstress in Ukraine. The outfits are with me now but I haven't had the chance to properly photograph them so I'll leave that for next time! ^^ I also got some knitwear from the USA and so on and so forth. I also got a bunch of Barbie Fashion Packs from Amazon USA and some other clothes in various places!

So now, I have a doll closet full of clothes!

I bought one more Integrity Toy doll from then, she is gorgeous as well. :)

She is a Dynamite Girls Rufus! Gorgeous, gorgeous.

I am looking at a Poppy Parker doll right now. Maybe, maybe I will buy more of the fiercer faces in Integrity Toys in the future, but yet! I do enjoy the cute faces my current dolls have. Hahaha.

Please look at this short clip of my current doll squad. ^^


 
 
Please follow my toy collecting on my Instagram account right here.

Here's my feed at the moment (please note it doesn't work with HTTPS because I'm using the lite version of the app):
 

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Calico Critters Main Street Toy Shop

We are finally taking a look at the Calico Critters Main Street Toy Shop today!

It is one of the three cottage-type toy shops in the Sylvanian Families and Calico Critters line. I have reviewed Betty's Toy Box and Hazelwood Toy Shop in previous posts before. Be sure to check those out as well. ^^

This toy shop came from a dear friend of mine--Terra of the Sylvanian blog, Greenbearshire. Thanks again! <3

I am so very excited about this set! Let's take a look.


From the front, you can immediately see that the shopkeeper from the other two versions, Betty Hazelwood, is not present. In fact, in the promo picture, you can see Spence Maces as the toy store keeper instead! On the other hand, we still get Oliver Bearbury (known as Raymond in the Calico Critters version) and Lilly (I am unsure if she has a Sylvanian name, please let me know in the comments if you do).  


From the back, we see a short description of the shop in English and French and a shot of the kids alone in the shop. Where is Spencer? He's getting a new supply of toys somewhere, I guess... Not sure it is smart to leave the kids all by themselves though.. XD


On one side, we can read a short story about the toy shop.


The bottom lists the contents of the set.


I'm sorry for this terrible, unclear picture. I forgot to take more because I was too excited to open it up. ; 3 ; Basically, the contents are the same as the other two shops. The shelf is the same blue color as the one in Hazelwood Toy Shop, whereas the one in Betty's Toy Box is red.

The body of the building itself is also very similar to Hazelwood's. The only real difference is the color of the roof and awning.


I tried to set it up as similar as the promo as possible... but I have no photography lights, so here's a very dark version.XD


Here are Oliver and Lilly! I think they're more interested in getting toys than posing for photos for me so we'll make it quick. 

Who loves Oliver's cute, puffy tail? Me.

Notice how his coveralls is slightly different from Hazelwood Toy shop's Oliver!

Here is a quick picture of the other bear (with Betty Hazelwood) for comparison:


The change is quite subtle, but I thought it would help collectors figure out which Oliver version they got.

In my village, the three cottages are stacked on top of another to form a mega-toy store! I decided to keep the Hazelwood roof and signage as it's the original release.

Well, I guess that ends this three-part review. I hope that it was informative enough and you enjoyed!

See you again next time.

xoxo,
Jona

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Your Life in Japan - Budgeting and Whatnot

Last Update: June 2017

Coming to Japan, the first thing I wanted to do was to be able to connect to the internet when I wasn't at home or in the office. It just helps a lot with commuting and keeping in touch with friends and family. But sadly, getting a mobile phone subscription for a foreigner can be quite difficult and it was difficult to research or even make my way around...

The first month I was here, I had bought a secondhanded iPod from Akihabara for about 20,000 yen. That is already almost all the money I had brought back from my country. XD But at that point, nothing was more important to me than being connected. A few months later, I don’t even use it and it’s somewhere stored in the depths of my closet… That was not money well spent!

So, in this post, I will talk about the basic expenses if you were to live independently in Japan. It might help you put your money where it's supposed to go. It is not cheap to live here.

Please note that the rates I will be talking about are in Sagamihara City, Kanagawa. It’s bound to be more expensive if you choose to stay in big cities like Tokyo or Yokohama and cheaper if you live somewhere more rural. 😊

Me at the Shibuya Crossing!
 
1.      Apartment
A forewarning: It is so difficult for a foreigner to rent an apartment without a guarantor. Many flats will also turn you down because you are a foreigner even if you do have a guarantor… So, you are lucky if you company will provide you with lodging!
If that is not the case, I recommend share houses for your first few weeks. The lowest I’ve found is around 30,000 a month. Usually though they would more be upwards 40,000 yen. But there would sometimes be share houses that would offer the first month free. So, if you stay a couple of months, that means you only pay half!
The good thing about share houses is that the utilities are usually free. There’s internet, water, gas, and light in the price.
If you choose to live in an apartment, in my area the cheapest I found was 18,000-20,000 yen for a studio type room. But then the fees come in and it wouldn’t really seem so cheap…
(Do not ask me where, do your own research).

2.      Utilities
Just rough estimates here.
Internet – 3,500
Water – 4,000
Gas – 6,000
Electricity – 6,000

How much was that already? But then eventually you would want a mobile phone. 

3.      Mobile Phone
If you’re getting a smartphone this will cost you an upwards of 6000 yen a month. Not easy to get! Welcome to being a foreigner in Japan.
(Please don’t ask me how I got my phone, do your own research).

Quick tip: Many AU shops have Filipino-speaking staff. How about you start there?

4.      Food
Are you good at saving? I hope you are! Eating out on what people consider fastfood here will cost you 350yen quickly. We’re talking Yoshinoya here. Wanna eat sushi? One plate is 108 yen. It would take me around 5 plates to be full… So that’s 540 yen!

Convenience store food is also very expensive. A yummy spaghetti from 7/11 would be nearly 500 yen.

One piece of bread is easily 108 yen as well. One piece of carrot is about the same price.

If you’re doing groceries, 5kg of rice is about 1,300 yen. 

Are you converting that to pesos, guys?!

Quick tip: Go curry! Many JP grocery stores will offer a curry set for 300 yen-ish. The curry rue will be about 200 yen. So that’s 500 yen, but it will last you a good three days. 😝

5.      Clothes
Change of season equals change of clothes. A plain t-shirt would cost you 1,000 yen easily. Anything non-basic and you're looking more at 3,000 yen or much more... Secondhand shops are your friend.

In the photo above, my bag and top are second-handed from Book Off! They have many branches in Japan. :)

Well I think this should get you started. You know what to expect, so plan your budget accordingly. OH! Also, you will not be paid until the next month or two. Some companies wait a full month to credit the last month’s salary. So yeah, welcome to Japan!!!

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Sylvanian Families Interior Shop

Today, we are taking a look at the Sylvanian Families Interior Shop (γ‚·γƒ«γƒγƒ‹γ‚’γƒ•γ‚‘γƒŸγƒͺγƒΌ むンテγƒͺをショップ). Originally released in 2001, the shop is pretty difficult to get in Japan, and would sell for about 5 times its original price(as of June 2017)--and even for more abroad. Last time I checked on eBay it was a whooping $239.99...

Anyway, this item isn't really a recent addition to my collection, but it is the first time I will ever be opening it-- and I want to share it with you!


Shops like this are always difficult to find complete because of the many small parts. Luckily, I found myself one brand new in box! Well, it will not be brand new for long, as I always unbox all my toys. XD

Here are the contents of the set! You can see there are many. many things that could easily go missing!

The contents.



My absolute favorite are the tea cup saucers. In the photo above it's the tiny blue plate. It looks so very delicate in person. I love tiny detailing and the gold trimming around the saucer is quite beautiful! 

I unwrapped all of the items! Time to attach the stickers! Let's also hope I don't lose anything! XD

With the help of tweezers, I'm able to satisfactorily attach all of the stickers! Wow! Everything looks really pretty.

I decided to put my interior shop in a spare cottage I bought some time ago. Originally, the cottage was a Flower Shop. I think in the near future, I will wallpaper the place to bring it to life!

The entire contents fit in snugly. You'd almost think it was meant to be here! :O

My interior shop will be run by interior designer, Roxy Renard. She is still currently on her way to my village, so she hasn't had the pleasure to check out her new shop. 

Details, details, details! It was one of the things that attracted me to the Sylvnian Families line and the Interior Shop does not disappoint. It is one very unique set and I do recommend collectors to find one for themselves.

Do you have the interior shop in your collection? Do you want to have it in your collection?

See you again next time!

Xoxo,
Jona

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Sylvanian Families Betty's Toy Box

Hi! We will be looking at the second of the three cottage-type toy shops in the Sylvanian Families/Calico Critters line; Betty's Toy Box.

It was first released in the U.K. in January 2011. And unlike Hazelwood's Toy Shop, it only came with one figure; Betty Hazelwood.

Betty's Toy Box commercial packaging.
It was supposedly only available for sale at Tesco.

Sylvanian Families Betty's Toy Box contents
I did get this building brand new so I had all the correct bits and pieces. The display shelf is red instead of blue!

Sylvanian Families Betty's Toy Box contents
I forgot to take a reference picture of the contents--but these are all that's in there. The contents are very similar to the original release.

Sylvanian Families Betty Hazelwood front
Betty Hazelwood dons the same dress she does in Hazelwood's Toy Shop.

Sylvanian Families Betty Hazelwood front
I love the detail of the ribbon above her tail.

Sylvanian Families Betty's Toy Box front
The building's color scheme is different form the first one. Instead of blue on white, this building dons cream-colored walls and green windows.

Sylvanian Families Betty's Toy Box side
On one side of the building, there's a window that can be opened or closed.

Sylvanian Families Betty's Toy Box back
The back.

Sylvanian Families Betty's Toy Box
I tried to arrange all  the contents to reflect the promo image exactly.
I can't really choose which one is my favorite between the two releases. It's a bid sad that Oliver Bearbury isn't included in the box, but the two releases are generally similar except for a few minor changes.

I guess that's it for now. The last version of this toy shop I'll be opening is from the Calico Critter's line. Very exciting! See you again soon!(*^^*)

xoxo,
Jona

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Sylvanian Families Brick Oven Bakery

The Brick Oven Bakery was the first shop I bought after I got my very first Sylvanian Families house, the City House with Lights. Convincing myself in my first few days into the hobby that I will only really need one house and one shop, I chose this bakery.

The bakery became first available in Japan on April 2, 2015. The Toys R Us Japan gift set version later became available about 4 months later on August 8, 2015.

I bought the Toys R Us version myself.

Official promotional picture.

The giftset version includes two dolls except for Eleanor Bramble: Freya and Saffron. They wear  matching dresses. Also included are an outdoor table and chairs set with a couple of magazines, a lamp-post, and a variation of the cobblestone slab available for sale at the Japanese Premium Club Shop.

I thought these were really great additions! It was also a point in time when I only had the Buckleys residing in my village and a few more residents were badly needed. ; 3 ;

There is also another Toys R Us Version of this building released elsewhere.
Instead of Saffron, we get sister Abigail in a very cute dress. Freya is also included in a different dress. The table and chairs included are the re-color of the ornate garden table and chairs. The lamp post is also maroon red instead of the green one we receive in the JP release.

I'm so glad Eleanor decided to open up her business in my town!

Now let's take a close look at the bakery.

Cream walls and an orange roof to match the red brick oven. 

On one side is a large display window.

The shelves on the sides of the building can not be rearranged.

On the other side are pictures of some of the bread available for sale in-store.

I added a few extra bread and accessories in my shop.

But the amount of baked goodies included in the  set is enough to fill the shelves.


Uhhh. YUM!

Saffron is having a hard time deciding which is better--the turtle bread or the fish bread??

Freya, on the other hand is ready to check out!

Eleanor's lovely smile, aside from the wonderful baked goods she makes, will surely keep customers coming back.


It's a lovely building! I love the use of warm colors and the detail in every bread in the set. Plus I really enjoy setting this one up every time since the amount of items included isn't too overwhelming! XD

Do you have this building in your village?

xoxo,
Jona

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Sylvanian Families Hazelwood Toy Shop

Hello! Today we will be taking a look at the Hazelwood Toy Shop. I believe this is the first toy shop in the UK, released in 2004.

It has recently been quite difficult to find but I managed to score one!



The Hazelwood Toy Shop is one of three cottage-type toy shops in the Sylvanian Families/Calico Critters line. A couple of months back, a dear friend of mine helped me all three by sending me the Calico Critters version called the Main Street Toy Shop (Thank you, Terra!). So I will be posting about the three buildings in separate blog posts. ^^

Don't they look lovely together?



The set I got was missing but one piece--the toy box. The seller compensated by adding a first-aid kit box (not sure if this is Sylvanian) and a mini-blackboard.

Contents reference.

Everything is in lovely condition.

The building itself is white with blue windows. I do love these tiny cottage shops!

I tried to arrange the items as similarly as in the photograph as possible. You will notice an extra book is in the sample photograph. It is not in the items list, though. :O

Oliver Bearbury and Betty Hazelwood. They look glad to be out of the box!

Cottage-type shops are one of my favorites as they are smaller and ideal for collectors who don't have much space to spare. They don't come with a lot of items, however. But that just gives you a chance to get creative!

In my next blog posts, we'll be looking at the two other toy shops! See you then! ^^

xoxo,
Jona

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