30 Years Around The Sun

As soon as February 18, 2019 ended, I was faced with the reality that 2019 was going to be my last year being 20+. I knew then I had to make the best of being Twenty Nine and that I did and that I did *winks* (more on this later)

New York Lounge

Last year I wanted to celebrate my birthday at The Strings Hotel Nagoya, Japan (ストリングスホテル名古屋) by having a tea party, however, that idea didn’t go according to plan for various reasons that I mentioned in my birthday blog, Seven Months to Twenty Nine. A year later, I decided to revisit the idea. I took a tour of the location once again (not that I needed to but I’m extra lol) and I was still in love with it just as much as I did the first time I laid my eyes on its beauty. As is the norm for the New York Lounge (the area where they serve afternoon tea), there was a theme for this season. The theme for this winter was Marie Antionette. You know, the “let them eat cake” lady. Anyways, I was pretty excited about this because it meant they would serve colourful pastry with some very flavourful tea.

Frame Just For Me

Now, I needed something to make my birthday afternoon tea a real standout…well more than it already would be. I’ve always wanted one of those Instagram selfie frames that you see people with in photos for different events and thought this would be perfect. I did a quick search and to my surprise, there were quite a number of places in my city that I could seek info. Lord, please let it be inexpensive. One evening, I visited the closest office to the main train station I use to commute to and from work. I was lucky enough that a staff member was able to communicate effectively with me in English. Yes, I’ve been living in Japan for too long to not know Japanese, but that’s the way life goes. After gathering the information I needed about the cost for a specialized frame, I made the choice to make the project a DIY. The end result, perfection.


Who’s Coming To Tea?

I invited two friends to join in this intimate birthday celebration. Unlike last year’s wish for getting dressed up in fancy pastel garb, I opted for a monochromatic theme. When I mentioned this to my friends they were a bit confused at first but were right on board after I explained it to them and what I was going for (I had a vision of an explosion of monochrome, knowing in the back of my mind that I’d still get just a hint of pastel. I wasn’t fully letting go of that fantasy. LOL). The only rule was that they couldn’t wear any of the colours I had in mind to wear for myself. LOL. Even if they didn’t show up in monochrome, I knew I’d be.

Did Someone Say Monochrome?

As with any birthday or event, I needed to choose the perfect outfit for me. Read that again, I needed to choose the perfect outfit for me. I had bought this coat from Zara over the Christmas holidays for about 250USD and I was just dying to wear it. The Strings Hotel Nagoya was the perfect place. The problem though was finding the right shades of the colour I chose to go with to match the theme. I spent days and weeks trying on different pieces of clothing in multiple stores, sometimes the same outfit more than once but I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted. You see, it’s still winter but it’s also almost spring so the stores are in transition between the two seasons. This meant that most of the warm stuff were being phased out. Options that weren’t going to be available when I would finally arrive at a decision. Chidi from The Good Place would be proud. Haha!

Since I wasn’t sure what the actual weather conditions would be like on the day of my party, it was much harder to make a choice. The weather forecast said it would rain but knowing my city, I didn’t know whether it would be heavy or light rain, whether it would also be windy or even what the temperature would be. See my dilemma? Should I wear a sweatshirt? Carduroy pants? Should I risk wearing white sneakers? I pondered these questions and more for several days and I made the choice of buying all that I could, put the looks together in my apartment and return (yes, return) the items I no longer needed. I’m unapologetic when returning items. I ended with a look I was really happy with. A head to toe look with everything from Zara (I won’t tell you how much this costed me. Haha!)

Talk 30 To Me: Happy F-ing Birthday

The day finally arrived. The day I’d celebrate 30 Years Around The Sun. I was beaming with the utmost gratitude for just being alive. The weather forecast said it would rain all day but I didn’t care. It’s not like we were having the event on the outside. I reached out to my guests just to reconfirm the time and place so that we were all still on the same page. I started getting ready while blasting the speakers in my apartment with Troye Sivan’s Dance To This ft. Ariana Grande. I’m really 30. Wow!

I arrived at The Strings Hotel at around 13:31 and was just taken aback by the overwhelming feeling of pure joy. It was an indication that all I was really pleased with what I chose to do. The lounge had more people than I expected and I was definitely all right with that. My first guest arrived shortly after I did and we started the drinking until my other guest showed up. Now, when I say drinking I mean orange juice. LOL. Guest number two showed up and the tea party began. We glanced at the menu to see what we’d be served as the menu was set for afternoon tea. The only choice we’d have was for the different flavoured teas, my fav was the Marco Polo.

Tea Is Served

Our waitress brought out a pair of three-tiered trays filled with the sweetest scrumdiddlyumptious desserts, two plates of scones, biscuits with a cold savoury soup an two plates of savoury nibbles. Yum!


Let Them Eat Cake

Just like last year, I ordered a special cake from the amazing Trisha Painuyl. I reached out to her at the beginning of the month and explain exactly what I wanted. My cake was a cookie n cream cheesecake with a caramel crust and mirror glazed fondant that was dyed pink. I had to make it match the theme. The only thing we couldn’t do was have our cake and eat it too. LMAO, this so funny cuz it’s true.

The conversation kept flowing. The energy was just right and I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I didn’t feel any different than I did at 29 nor 28 nor…well you get the picture. But I suppose I was different or I am now different. Whichever. The hours went by and it was time to leave the venue. Gutted. However, we brought the cake back to another friend’s apartment to cut it and for them to have a taste of what Trisha made. The cake was superb and met my every expectation. Thank you Trisha.

There’s so much more I could say but it wouldn’t be enough. I’m just thankful for this life. At times I thought (and maybe I still do from time to time) that things just don’t ever go right for me but so much has gone right and for that, I am thankful.

30 Years Around The Sun ain’t half bad.


Seven Months to Twenty Nine

7 months ago I had an idea of making my 29th birthday one for the books. I wanted something unlike my usual dinner and or trip. I wanted a tea party. Sounds a bit lame when you think about it. But, I didn’t want just any tea party, I wanted it to be very posh, with a very British afternoon tea vibe. You know, the pastels, the broad hats for me female guests and the accent. LOL. With this idea in mind, I knew 7 months in advance would be enough to find the perfect place (I live in Japan), make the guest list and inform the guests of the dress code. I tend to make my birthday a big deal. Haha! The search was on.

My city, Nagoya, is just like any other major city in Japan. It’s filled with great restaurants and event spaces, you just have to know where to find them. Since I wanted this British afternoon tea setting, I pondered over whether it would truly make sense since my birthday is in winter. I googled “afternoon tea Nagoyaand found the perfect spot. The Strings Hotel had everything I wanted; the menu, the decor, the lighting (gotta have that good natural light), the place was perfect. I was very excited and a site visit was in planned. When I visited The Strings Hotel I was even more awestruck by its beauty than I was, seeing it online. It was just right.

Retrieved from expedia.co.jp


The idea of The Strings Hotel was short-lived. I tried to ensure my guests wouldn’t be spending any large sum of money and the tea party would be too much. So I had to let the fantasy go. Luckily, I always have a backup plan. I recalled seeing an Alice in Wonderland restaurant in my city and thought this would be an amazing back up. My guests were excited about it and so the second venue was decided on.

I thought for sure everything would go smoothly but little did I know what was on the horizon. The cake shop that I had made reservations with to bake my cake closed down for renovations, so I was now cakeless. I felt like I was being punished or something. To make matters worse, I felt as though my guests weren’t giving me positive feedback, remember I’ve been planning this for 7 months, so I cancelled the whole thing. Everything seemed to be pointing to me not having a party. Full on panic mode! It was then that I saw a post from one of my friends on Facebook, about a pastry chef in Japan. I searched for the Instagram account and stumbled upon a spectacular feed.

I was sold. I messaged Trish, the owner for the account, and placed an order for some red velvet cupcakes. I informed her that I’d be dining at an Alice in Wonderland restaurant so she had full control over creativity. Trish came up with the most beautiful designs for my cupcakes and believe me when I tell you, they tasted just as good as they look.Having now secured the cupcakes, it was time to confirm my reservation with the restaurant. Now this is where I feel like God was having a good ol’ laugh with me. Such a jokester, that God.

The restaurant closed down.

I couldn’t believe that this was happening the day before my party. I started to panic and was the verge of tears. Maybe I did shed a tear or two but it was my birthday I could cry if I wanted. I gave my head a good wobble and went back to the drawing board. I had another backup for my backup. It pays to be a planner. I wasn’t going to let 7 months of planning go down the drain.

After all the cancellations and disappointments, I now had a new venue and my two guests, who would celebrate with me on the 16th (had to celebrate before my actual birthday cuz of work).

The Light Cafe turned out to be the perfect choice. It was obvious that everything which occurred happened how they were supposed to. I could now enjoy this beautiful place.

Thanks to my friends Dani and Kerisha, I had a bomb ass time. I laughed so hard by Kerisha’s antics and my girl Dani was right there to capture my silly moments as she has done for quite some time. The food at Light Cafe was other worldly. I got the Chicken Parmesan w/ potatoes, rice and the best salad you’ll ever have and a tequila sunrise cocktail. The perfect lunch combo. 美味しい!

This is my last year in my twenties and I must say it has started off well, in spite of everything that led up to the milestone. I can’t wait to see what the year has in store for me.

Check out my Instagram: @chatterboxkeirn


Liam Neeson Is Guilty And Piers Morgan Is Still No Ally

Another day, another ‘shocking‘ reveal. Why is it February, Black History Month, and we are trying to decide whether a white man, admitting he wanted to kill any Black man he came across, was a racist thought to have? Then again, would it even be a true Black History Month without some type of controversy, involving a white person?

If you’ve been following the news lately, you’d have come across a flurry of articles or broadcasts about one, Liam Neeson. Known for his role as the revenge seeking father in the Taken movies series and many others, Neeson is seen by many as a great action hero. Little do we forget that these roles are just that, roles. When the director yells that’s a wrap, Bryan Mills (Neeson’s taken character), for example, is left on set and Neeson goes home. At least that’s what we assumed had been happening. In an interview with The Independent about his new film, Cold PursuitNeeson recounted a moment in his life when a friend shared with him that she was raped. He felt angered by the situation and pushed for details about his friend’s attacker. She mentioned that the rapist was a black man and Neeson lost it.

“I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I’d be approached by somebody – I’m ashamed to say that – and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some ‘black bastard’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him.” (Neeson, 2019).

After reading the comments I was absolutely horrified. Here we have a white man admitting that some 40 years ago, the 1970s, he thought he would insert himself in his friend’s trauma and exact revenge on any black person that bothered him. Not once did he indicate that this was at the request of his friend, but more so an urge he had. Let’s, for a moment, not look at the obvious racism in his sentiment but look at how he made his friend’s trauma about him, then and now. This was something that happened to Neeson’s friend, not him. Had he carried out his act, he would have gotten away with it and felt justified because some ‘black bastard’ wronged his friend. What privilege!

As expected, the white fans came out in the thousands, sporting their #teamLiamNeeson banners across every social media platform, in his defence. To them, he had awful thoughts in the past but found a way to fix them. In short, all should be forgiven. Not so fast. It wasn’t much longer that I found ‘minorities’ also speaking out in support of Neeson. Again, not surprised. Whilst the support may be understandable, we cannot act like Neeson didn’t just confess to something abhorrent. Is he brave for doing so? OR Has this been sitting on his mind for so long that he needed to release it for some unknown reason? Whatever the case, here we are.

According to Neeson, he visited a priest and did power-walking to help with the urges he had. I suppose a good walk can cure one’s desire to kill innocent black people. I can’t. But how are we to know that he doesn’t still feel this way. What proof do we have that these urges won’t ever resurface? John Barnes, an English former professional footballer, seems to think that Neeson admitting this now is brave and he shouldn’t be bashed. Barnes goes on to say that Neeson deserves some sort off medal for this act of ‘bravery’.

Barnes. Retrieved from Sky News

As the English would say John Barnes is a complete bellend. Barnes went as far as blaming the media for its portrayal of black people as a catalyst for Neeson’s thoughts, then. I suppose the media broadcasted slavery to all of Europe and stigmatized the black skin tone. HogwashI wouldn’t really listen to  anything Barnes has to say, given he was evicted from the Celebrity Big Brother UK house in January 2018 for making homophobic statements toward a fellow houseguest, Courtney ActThe thing is, 40 years ago, Barnes would have been a teen and Neeson would have been a young adult. Had Neeson crossed path with Barnes, he could have been the a victim of this ‘mistake’. Why he chooses to stay blind to that, is something he alone can answer.

A very vocal critic of this revelation is none other than the forever parched Piers MorganPiers has made it clear he thinks that Neeson’s admission is something out of the Klu Klux Klan’s playbook. In fact the headline in Piers’ Daily Mail article refers to Neeson being a ‘murderous racist’. I’ll let his people address that. Thanks Piers, but no thanks. We got this. We do not need someone like Piers, who ,after multiple evidence has been brought forward against a dear friend of his, refuses to acknowledge the truth. Piers is no ally and although he may be anti Neeson at the moment, this is nothing more than Piers living up to his brand of biased bullsh*t, selective ‘advocacy’ and his unhealthy fetish for controversy. Though a young Neesan harboured racist intentions for a whole week 40 years ago and though Piers appears to be extremely critical of him, do not be fooled by loud mouthed tv host. The only thing he’s consistent with is speaking out at the hot topic of the moment, as long as it’s not a dear friend of his. You, Piers, are no ally.

Neeson went on GMA to give a tv interview with Robin about his comments and to offer further ‘clarification’. He claimed that had if his friend told him it was any other person, he would have still felt he same. He attributed this to being raised in The Troubles and seeing all the bigotry around him. Of course, he declared he isn’t racist, and though he could be telling the truth about the Liam Neeson of today, 40 years ago, he was on a racist mission for a whole week. The fact is, he asked specifically what this rapist’s race was. I’m not sure what the climate was like back in the UK in the 70s but there must be a reason why he thought to ask his friend that question. Then again, it would be something that the authorities would have asked as well. I don’t know what really caused him to make this admission but it has shown me that there are many white people, who think like the Liam Neeson of 40 years ago, today and this is frightening. They seem to quickly offer up their forgiveness but the gag is this has anything to do with them. They made it seem like this is white people to have these moments of racism. The f***! That’s scary to me. This may be a reach but here goes. There’s a reason why people like Bundy and Alcala got away with so many kills before they were caught. They were never perceived to be a threat to anyone but yet they claimed so many innocent women’s lives.

Neeson and Robin. All rights reserved to AP.

I wouldn’t say shun Neeson but I would be cautious going forward if I were to be in his space. We all know man is capable of doing the most vile things imaginable, but history has shown us time and time again, what true barbarianism is.


Pops for Christmas

It’s that time of year again, Christmas. I’m always excited for Christmas because there’s always something new to look forward to. As usual I did my Christmas card photoshoot a month ago with the help of a very good friend, Dani (Check out her instagram if you are a cat lover). I had a theme in mind and I was lucky to find the perfect setting to go with my plans. Last year, I did the ugly Christmas sweater and made two short videos so I wanted something more relaxed. Well, I would have done another video but my videographer moved. LOL. For this shoot, I decided to wear pyjamas or rather, loungewear. I wanted the card to give off a homely vibe. I think I achieved that.

Since I was going to be spending yet another Christmas away from my family, I was invited to a Christmas party by an ex coworker, whose home I hosted a Christmas dinner last year. I get the feeling that they planned this just for me. I was planning on having afternoon tea at The Strings Hotel, so I was really happy for the invite. Even more so that my travel plans for the holidays had to be changed at the last minute. I now had to decide what I’d take to the dinner. Then an idea popped in my head. Cake Pops. I’ve been wanting to make these for over two months now and this would be the perfect opportunity to do so, I thought. I watched as many videos as I could to find the best ingredients and method, to create the perfect Pops.

I got all the ingredients and began preparation. I used Ghana Milk Chocolate and whipping cream milk to make the ganache to bind the cake together. I didn’t make my own cake because I do not own an oven so I bought a cake from the store. Works just the same. I opted for the ganache because it’s not as sweet as the buttermilk frosting. I had the same brand of dark chocolate but it too forever to melt and when it did, it wasn’t to my liking. I literally had to pause and run to the store to get chocolate block used for coating (alternative to chocolate melts) to get the desired outcome. The process was long but after a few misses, I made the perfect sized cake pops. I’m no pastry chef but I think I did an okay job.

Merry Christmas


Guiltless: It’s Not Selfish To Choose You

How I Learnt How To Live With Distance

In March of this year, I took a trip to see my family in America. What I didn’t expect were the type discussions I’d be having with some relatives while on this trip. I usually have a detailed itinerary of what I plan to do, even when I’d take a rest. My itinerary was so detailed that it left room for any obstacle I’d come across.

While visiting one relative in Orlando, the first time we’d been alone in a while, we were “forced” to confront issues related to the family. We started off by reminiscing on the good ol’ days, growing up and how close-knit we were. We talked about how we had each other’s backs no matter how many times we fought or cut each other down with our words.  It was then that I expressed how, for the first time 28 years, I felt a sense of peace. Peace, with not being around them so much. Peace, with not hearing the arguments, the judgment, the hypocrisy, the fights, the disappointment. Just, P E A C E. My relative seemed perplexed and slightly offended by what I said. They went on to say they couldn’t believe the words coming out of my mouth and even said “it sounds like you don’t love your family”.

As a young boy, growing in a single parent household with a yard filled with relatives and friends, who are like family, I always was the odd one out. I loved going to to school. I loved learning. When my cousins would find any excuse to miss school, I would cry if I didn’t have money to go. Damn, those were rough times. I cried because at school I felt like I could have meaningful talks about pertinent issues affecting me during my teen years. At home, I had to be somewhat of a grown up because I understood my role in the family. I didn’t mind one bit because these were the people I lived with. The people I saw every morning when I was awoken from my slumber and every evening when I’d return home from school. The people I laughed and argued with over the tv. The people I knew how to love with all their flaws. However, I saw somethings happening around me that didn’t feel right. I saw decisions being made about certain things which made me realise that some of these flaws can’t be overlooked. I knew then, that I could still love but from afar.

They still couldn’t understand it. I then broached a topic we knew too well and things started to make sense for them. For years I didn’t speak to a particular relative. Didn’t care about his well-being. You know what? I was quite fine. He, from time to time, would make some measly effort to reach out through aunts, uncles and my grandmother (RIP) but I wasn’t phased by it. The physical distance made not giving a damn extremely easy. This relative taught me, without them knowing, that learning to accept one’s standing in your life is paramount to how you choose to live; distancing yourself from people (friend or family) who contribute nothing of value toward your upward mobility or keep them around and wallow in the whatever chaos they may or may not bring.

“…but I still can’t believe you would say that, after how close we all are,”  they continued. It made me look at a culture we see ever so often through the television screen, whether fact or fiction. America. American families do not live together. They sometimes gather for family functions and special events and go about their separate ways. In fact, many times siblings themselves don’t have any relationships which can be carried on for many years. I used to think how monstrous could one be to avoid their blood? However, there comes a time when you have to recognise that you have no obligation to have a relationship with siblings or relatives, especially those who knowingly bring toxicity around.

It’s not that I wish to disengage the relatives I grew up with. I’m an adult, with my own life which doesn’t include me waking up and seeing the same people I saw for years. Our upbringing was unique and worked for us when we were younger. Even then I didn’t have much dialogue beyond “the family”, so not speaking to those I never shared hopes and dreams with, really isn’t a bother. I know there’s no malice on my part (for some), so I told them, I’d have dialogue if and when the need arose.

Being pushed to be analytical of situations around me at an early age, I learnt how to adapt quickly to things I couldn’t change. In those types of scenarios, I chose my well-being over all others. I must confess, it made me apathetic to a lot of things and I developed the skillful art of masking and mirroring.

Who knows, maybe I’m doing these people a favour by taking myself out of their lives because I may easily be the toxic one.


The Other Side Of The #MeToo Movement

For months, I’ve been wrestling with whether or not I should write this blog, from fear of massive public annihilation. However, in light of the lastest controversy surrounding Henry Cavill’s statement in a recent interview with GQ Australia, I feel the timing couldn’t be more perfect or worse depending on how you take this. In short, Henry feels afraid to approach women, in hopes of igniting some type of relationship, because he doesn’t want to be dubbed a “rapist or something else”. This he attributes to the #MeToo Movement. He couldn’t be serious, right? The media chose to highlight a small portion of a very lengthy interview, typical. Henry’s choice of saying he doesn’t want to be called a rapist for flirting was indeed taking a shot at the #MeToo Movement. I believe, and as he apologised for, he didn’t mean to be offensive nor insensitive to the movement. We, however, should no act like there isn’t some merit to the point he raised. Yes, there are some truths to his fears. 

I asked my Facebook friends in December of last year about how men should go about approaching women, if all it takes is for her to feel uncomfortable for her to say #MeToo? Mind you, a woman reserves the right to choose who she wants to speak to her, however, where is the line when it comes to saying #MeToo? This was my post.






I had quite a few responses from this post, from both men and women and I’d like to share some with you. One user wrote:

“…Too many people are being accused of harassment, it’s kinda hard to believe them allThe lines between harassment and compliment are being blurred….”

I made it clear that I wouldn’t say it’s hard to believe anyone as it’s not my place to say anything, without evidence.

Another user added:

It is best to not try to pick up someone at work…keep  your compliments to yourself, unless you have a good relationship with the other person…”

I was in full agreement with this sentiment as I do believe work is for work. I them posed the question, what if the man just offers compliments when he deems the situation worthy of one but because he’s not the most attractive guy, the female cries #MeToo? Is that fair? Is the woman’s subjectivity of the situation enough to shun the man without context?

Sick individuals like Harvery Weinsten, Bill Cosby, Louis C.K., Bill O’Reilly, Michael Douglas and a host of other well known men have deserved whatever scrutiny and punishment they’ve received. However, we can’t paint all with the same brush. There are good men who are fighting right beside women, giving them the support they rightly deserve. Look at MTV’S Catfish creator, Nev Schulman for example. He was recently cleared of all sexual allegations made by a former cast on the hit show. Now, I’m not saying we shouldn’t believe the women re harassment claims but with the current climate, good men are not given the benefit of the doubt and, in some cases, understandably so. The whole, innocent until proven guilty, does little in the court of public opinion and people’s lives are forever changed because of allegations which are later proven to be false. Nev’s show had suspended production and is likely to resume since he’s been cleared. But doesn’t that leave a sour taste in your mouth? Will people still want to watch Catfish? The ratings will tell. Some might say if he didn’t put himself in a position to be lied on, none of this would have happened. Sounds familiar? This is the same sentiment many have re victims of abuse, rape and assault. That thought is wrong, no matter who the victim is.

Again, where does the line fall when it comes to how men interact with women? Should women therefore be the new pick artists? Should men learn how to read body language? Should women, verbalise their thoughts instead of holding it in, assuming cues should be read?

#MeToo is a powerful movement and should not deter anyone from having open and honest relations with each other. It should also not be weaponized by deceitful women, looking to make a quick buck. Instead, men and women, the former being the majority, should treat each other with respect. That way, no one will ever need to say #MeToo again.



In Love With Warupan

A few months ago I did an interview with Jiri Mills, the creative force behind the character, Warupan. (See interview here) While talking with Jiri, I could see the passion and enthusiasm he has for Warupan. As a lover of pandas, I was happy with what I heard. The question of when he’d have merchandise available for sale arose. As promised, Warupan sweatshirts and caps were ready for purchase February 2018.


I knew I had to own at least one item, so I reached out to Jiri the best way I knew how, via text message because he didn’t have an official website, up and running. However, if you need to contact him, check out the official Instagram page for Warupan hereWithin seconds of expressing my interest in a sweatshirt, Jiri gave me a price and the PayPal info needed to make the purchase. But…a sweatshirt wouldn’t be enough so I bought a Warupan cap to wear on days when my head isn’t as big as it normally is. LOL. Since I live in Japan and so does Jiri shipping took a day and I couldn’t be happier when I opened the package. Everything fit to perfection and I couldn’t be happier. Usually I’d hesitate when making purchases for a sweatshirt and especially a cap but supporting Jiri felt right, and his prices were fair. Did I mention the quality? LOVE.

Anyways, I had a holiday coming up and I always try to dress in comfortable clothing when traveling, so this was perfect. More on my holiday to come. A friend of mine loved the cap so much, that I bought a second one as gift. IMG_5134.JPG

I can’t wait to see what else is in store for Warupan.

Till next time.