I can’t really put it off any longer: my iPhone has been at Fujisawa station for three months and it is time for me go and collect it. The deadline for collection is approaching, and then it will be sent to be crushed in a landfill, or disappear in electronics purgatory somewhere irretrievable.




I lost it when I lost it: regular readers will remember the incident at the beginning of the shut down when only I had to teach  – it didn’t go down well. I have no memory of how I could have mislaid it ( I blame pure rage ), but let’s face it: this isn’t the first time.  I have lost my phone at least six times now and it always comes back :  this is Japan.




If Tuesday was the first time we went back into a restaurant, today will be the first time going back on public transport. We are both quite leery; will be masked and seeking out the most sparsely populated areas of the train, but it can’t be avoided. It is only a few minutes on each ride, if three different trains. I will be careful.



Police stations are naturally intimidating places  –  even if in this country they are usually very courteous and helpful (though god help you if you are suspected of committing a crime…, you might never see the light of day again). It is going to be strange indeed going inside a packed office full of clerical staff and pokey administrators after avoiding offices and institutions for so long. I need to narcissistically differentiate myself from the guaranteed murk and mental mould that is going to present itself.  What scent to wear?




Last time I went to a police station in Tokyo, (see this piece, here), I wore Loulou (!).  I am not in the mood for wearing Loulou today, but I was wearing a bit of it last night on the back of my hand, I must confess (I swoon when I smell the vintage). Obviously, the  uninterested officers will be masked, but I like – for me –  just to wear enough scent to osmose through such material to make my presence felt and ground me in (un)reality.



So what are today’s contenders? I briefly considered Ungaro Pour Homme I, but it might make me feel like a sleaze. Eau D’Ikar? I don’t want to waste it on them. Ermenigildo’s Haitian Vetiver? I can’t bear to appear so respectable. I flirted with the idea of Zoologist Dragonfly, which has alit on the back on the hand as I write this, a peculiarly translucent rice and cherry blossom, heliotropic lotus, ‘rain notes’ and peony-flitting little fragrance that is aquatic, pleasant, and quite realm-transporting to a higher plane for those that are frightened by life – but no : I fear I might come over to them as pathetic.




No. Something bolder. How about Almah Perfume’s Way To Wakatobi? An extrait strength Indonesian patchouli, dark, sinewy with a touch of agarwood and myrrh and just a lick of alleged chocolate that is quite grounding and very dry, this might give me the gravitas I need. Darkness I can settle into if the fluorescent lighting is too bright. Nuzzle myself into a deep and woody place. Or will the patchouliness start to irritate me? Sometimes I need to be in the really right mood for that note or it can get too insistent. Mmm……. (I am definitely going to buy some patchouli essential oil, though today, a few bottles if possible – I need it to make my homemade incense; I always like to dip Japanese incense sticks – camphor and patchouli- dominated already, in the thick essential oil; coat them, dry them, burn them –  the smell is headspinningly dense and pitch black, a smell I really love). I really want some vetiver too, some grapefruit and lemon. Some bergamot. My god ………………………shopping. ) 




Rogue’s Chypre Siam is another possibility I have mulled over this morning- a nice, leaf-filtered warm green and yellow oakmossy ode to perfumes like my beloved Chanel Pour Monsieur  – but I know prefer the latter; definitely cardamom over kaffir lime. Still, this is relaxing, sheltering and centred and I will probably come back to it. Too comfortable for a police station though.





So how about a Japanese Japanese scent?




Di Ser is a Hokkaido based all natural perfumery that creates very aromatherapeutic, air and light-filled fragrances. I have only recently become aware of the brand: D – who I am meeting in a couple of hours – is wearing Di Ser’s Mizu today: he has a bottle in his work bag – a very light, refreshing yuzu, rosemary, lemon and tonka scent that is reminiscent of Terre D’Hermès but less nailed : a delicate and refined composition that gives you room to breathe.




As does Kazehikaru, a cheerfully serene and delightful aromatic lavender, with shiso, Japanese rose (hamanasu), neroli and vetiver that takes me back to the days when I used to get through huge bottles of Roger & Gallet’s Lavande Imperiale when I was living in London: I love lavenders when they are remixed a bit into something else (in the case of the latter, a delicious addition of nutmeg, which is a note I am naturally drawn to);  Kazehikaru (‘glowing wind’) is also so uplifting and tranquillising it almost reaches spiritual territory  – as does the range as a whole, which I am thinking of reviewing at a later date.







Do I really want to smell like a purified Shinto priest at a grubby, municipal police station, though?



Filed under Flowers


  1. Just grab the first thing you see, spray, and go pick up your phone before it is lost forever. Time is of the essence in this situation.

    • True, but it HAS been there for three months, according to the document I received from them with a deadline for June.! I think I hopefully have time to pick something nice out before I go.

      Stupid of me to leave it so long but there was no way I was going out during the pandemic! It was fine when we were both at home but now I feel a little vulnerable without it.

  2. Shit – I can’t find the Kazehikaru. I had settled on that one! Will have to have another think…..

  3. Liz | wannabeliz.com
    You are too funny! I totally enjoy your writing, descriptions , etc… I love fragrance! I just don’t want to spend outrageous amounts. I love Le Labo
    Rose 31, Oyedo , and Fleur D’Oranger by Serge Lutens, among others! Daily, I wear lotions by Bath and Body Works. I work in a warehouse and they are
    Very fragrant. I started out wearing Chanel No. 5. Sadly, it doesn’t smell nice on me anymore😞.

    • Ooh now you are making me wish I had bought a bargain bottle I once saw of the Fleurs D’Orangers – that would have been a good choice to brighten up the dingy sweathole I am about to go to!

      Oyedo – wow: I think you are about the only other person apart from me who really likes it. Even if I smell like a mentholated boiled orange sweet in it.

      I might take it with me, actually.

      Thanks for the recommend and for commenting!

  4. FYI:

    Going for Roger & Gallet Vetiver Cologne, sprayed liberally over person – my go to ‘pleasant’ scent – with some Wakatobi on the back of the hand for a bit of Javan mystery. Quite pleased with this final arrangement!

  5. Liz Young

    Liz | wannabeliz.com
    The pandemic doesn’t really scare me. Ever since my Mother passed, things just aren’t the same. I’m not trying to be careless or cavalier about it. It just doesn’t freak me out.

    • That must have been tough – and would definitely transform one’ attitude towards life and death and philosophy in general. Sorry to hear it.Perhaps you ARE stronger as a result, though – and that will definitely make your mother happy.

  6. i hope you got your phone and you are smelling great!

    • I got the phone which was kind of a relief but can’t say I enjoyed the combo I had on (d smelled good though). I felt like I was asphyxiating in a saw mill under my mask. TOO MUCH WOOD AND PATCHOULI –

  7. Now, what perfume to wear while reading all the missed text messages of the last 3 months!?

    • !!

      I daren’t look.

      But liked seeing the last pictures, of which there were many. Nice to understand your Before Corona chronology.

      How different do you think life is actually going to be from now?

  8. All of your choices sounded lovely. I am glad you have your phone now, it is so important to keep in touch. I know you have a love/hate relationship with your phone, but it can be a lifeline.
    I also enjoy Oyedo and SL Fleurs d’Oranger.

  9. A different “B.C.”! Lol.
    Hard to say. Probably not drastically different, although things might take longer for limiting capacity inside elevators (lifts), public bathrooms, etc… I would think an acceleration of going cashless… lots more people working from home permanently… What are your predictions?

    • Similar. I was delighted I could just swipe my wallet over the ticket gate yesterday and not have to fumble for coins and tickets like I used to; people crowded into a lift yesterday and I just thought NO WAY.

      What I worry about is that people here in Japan will just wear masks permanently. It is fantastic that they have definitively been a reason that Japan’s toll has been much lower than other places – the death rate is actually LOWER than usual so far this year because so many people were wearing them that even regular influenza figures were down. On the other hand, before all this happened in the past I would get very irritated by the passive aggressive nature of people hiding their faces away, and I think it is going to be quite weird teaching a mass of masks, for example. I hope it is not a permanent thing.

      • Hmm, I’ve never had anything against people wearing masks regularly. Passive aggressive by intent or perception? Some people feel that beards, for example, are a kind of “psychological mask” because they partially obscure the face, which I find interesting. I think any significant alteration to how one looks (makeup, etc.) is a sort of mask in that sense.
        It may all depend on an effective vaccine becoming available.

      • Very interesting points.

        I have been growing out my beard a bit right now because I think I look better with it and feel sexier – both D and me feel the same in that regard: having to shave for work is like being a mutual eunuch ; I HATE it – facial hair is very erotic to me but hipster beards INFURIATE me (why do I have to be so neurotically complicated?). Seriously – I have said many times before they are highly passive aggressive – but then again, so are hairstyles and fashion, essentially, in my view. Makeup can definitely be viewed the same.

        You would have to be in Japan to FEEL the passive aggression of masks : people wear them to hide – and in truth I am quite relieved that I can hide behind one myself when I go back into the workplace as the pariah who ‘held out’ but the eyes stare out just the same

      • All you need is a pair of tinted glasses to complete the effect!

      • I actually did wear some out the other semi as a joke – I looked quite sinister.

  10. I am akin with your thoughts about the “Mask”. I do think it probably has helped, but on the other hand, I cannot stand them. Some people I have known very well never take them off, which I find weird. While they talk to me, the mask sort of waves back and forth or bobs up and down, and when she speaks with the mask on she sounds like she has been on a bender.

    • !!!

      We truly aren’t fans either, AT ALL. I HATE them. And don’t get me started on the smell…

      They have, however, been credited as one of the reasons that Japan has done so well. It seems obvious, really. Of COURSE they reduce the spread of an airborne respiratory illness.

      • Tara C

        I can’t bear the idea of wearing a mask and I find it disturbing to see other people wearing them. I’m sure it’s just a cultural thing, in North America it is not normalized like it is in Asia. I understand how it can be useful, but my preference is to live someplace less crowded so I don’t need a mask to avoid breathing in someone’s face. I am planning a trip to British Columbia this fall to look for a less polluted, populated place to live. The big city no longer has the appeal it once did.

      • You should definitely follow your instincts and do so.

        I don’t like masks and never have – but it is definitely true that the practice is completely normalised here, and that it has had a positive effect on containing infections.

        As I said, though – I worry we will never see anyone’s face ever again!

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