I Wear My Sunscreen at Night...
...admits one curious reader. plus, $230 scented water? for babies?
Welcome readers, old and new!
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As I write this, it’s my last week in Tokyo before heading back to New York. I’d planned to use my final days catching up on visits to a few museums and parks. But last night, right before my granddaughter, M, and her dad produced a luscious (if dented) strawberry shortcake and serenaded me with a heartfelt (if off-key) birthday song, I stubbed my pinky toe—hard. So hard that I’m now hobbled in such a way that might prevent the kind of pedestrian exploring I love doing here.
I guess I’ll be using the Metro, which, as I’ve tried to explain to M, is a much finer experience than in my home city.
To use annoying beauty vernacular, the Metro stations in Tokyo seem to be cleansed, not cleaned. Subway stairs and even subway tracks gleam in the fluorescent underground light. The velvety, jewel-toned upholstery on the train seats? Immaculate.
Whenever I board a train—to the tinkly ice cream truck jingles that indicate the doors are closing—I can’t help wondering what those splendid seats would look like after five minutes in New York City. Stained, slashed, defaced in every possible way—which says so much about who we are and the profound deficits of a culture suffering from a long-standing bias against equal opportunity. It’s not that Japan doesn’t have societal issues—of course it does, misogyny being one of the most obvious—but disrespecting shared spaces is not one of them.
It suddenly occurs to me that what I write about Japan most often seems to be the Metro and the toilets, both of which I find fascinating for their refinement and the consequent pleasure they offer. When I occasionally think I should write more about the beauty culture, I arrive at the notion that I’d only be able to offer a meager slice of it, as my life in Tokyo revolves around family time. At this point, I’m not a reporter doing research; just a civilian sharing my observations with the hope you’ll find them as interesting as I do.
Babies have of course had their own skincare products for ages; I use a very popular baby lotion every day ($4.99). Now, I can also find a cleansing foam ($95), a moisturizer ($115) and, for some reason, a scented water-perfume ($230).
I’m not immune to the seduction of the scent: my favorite perfumer happens to be Francis Kurkdjian, who created Bonne Étoile for Baby Dior. Its “creative, childlike notes,” whatever those might be, pique my interest, knowing the magic Francis has evoked in the past.
And speaking of magic: A reader wonders how wearing sunscreen… at night… might affect her complexion.
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