Japan Photo Diary

    I visited Kyoto and Tokyo in late 2016, and recently came across some of the photos that I shot while I was there. What stood out for me most about Japan was how modernity and culture coexisted in perfect harmony, one never outshining the other, but rather, complementing one another to create a richness in the society that I really admired. I suppose this was also reflected in various aspects of urban Japanese society – Tokyo was incredibly bustling and fast-paced, but underneath it all, that sense of mindfulness still came through.

    I also had tons of fun exploring Tokyo’s thriving thrift and vintage culture. My favourite find? Pressed blooms against a preserved newspaper clipping from 18th century France. I found it at a market in Shibuya, sold by a Japanese collector now based in Paris.

    Scroll down to take a look at some of my favourite moments!

    A traditional wedding procession at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan

    Nigatsu-dō at Tōdai-ji, a temple in Nara, Japan

    Nigatsu-dō at Tōdai-ji, a temple in Nara, Japan

    Nigatsu-dō at Tōdai-ji, a temple in Nara, Japan

    Friendly deer at Nara Park in Japan

    Kinkaku-ji Zen temple in Kyoto, Japan

    Kinkaku-ji Zen temple in Kyoto, Japan

    At the Kinkaku-ji Zen temple in Kyoto, Japan

    Gion district in Kyoto, Japan

    View of Mount Fuji from Kawaguchiko

    A vintage market near Shibuya in Tokyo, JapanVintage ware found at Shibuya in Tokyo, Japan Vintage ware found at Shibuya in Tokyo, Japan

    Inspiration, Personal

    The Post-Grad Looking Glass

    hijabi, hijab fashion, turban style, hijab blogger, modest fashion, style

    “How do you stay inspired?”

    It’s a question I used to get a lot but never really knew how to answer. It’s probably because I didn’t fully understand what it meant to be uninspired. (You see, I have a habit of getting involved in too many hobbies at once. Keeps the brain busy.)

    That was before I finished school and entered the real world. You know, the one that everyone around used to talk about constantly. As if everything that happens prior to that is just for play, or has-beens for us to reminisce about when the responsibilities of the real world become too much to bear.

    But when your identity is shaped so much by the experiences that you collect pre-real world, it becomes so easy for you to get lost in the routines of working life. Things also get a little more complicated when you work in the creative industry – where do you draw the line that separates your professional space from your personal one? Is there a need for these spaces to be made separate? Can they coexist as one to become an even larger space that benefits both your career and personal development? Is work finally driving you insane?

    Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy what I do for a living. I really do. Crazy hours, crazier co-workers and all. But I am unsettled about how my sense of self got a little lost in the transition from Liyana the fashion lover/sometimes blogger/music person/aspiring creative to Liyana the copywriter and fitness lover. I think this is perfectly natural and not really a quarter-life crisis type of moment. Feeling the need to step back and reevaluate my growth as a person, and taking note if I’m really moving forward as best as I can.

    It took all of two years for me to realise that inspiration needs to be chased. So that’s what I’m doing now. A little self-recovery. Reconnecting with passions that I lost, and yearn to explore again. It’s not going to be easy, but if that’s what it takes to feel the exhilaration in creating once more, then I’m on board.


    Let’s start over.

    Hi there. It’s been about a year since I last posted, and if you’re still here reading this, then a big hug to you for staying with me for this long. I’ve thought long and hard about this space, about how far I’ve come and the type of content I’ve been putting up. So much has happened in the past year – graduation, stepping into my first legit job as a graduate, discovering my love for yoga. I’ve grown so much as an individual, and while I still love fashion, style, and beauty, I just can’t seem to bring myself to post about it as I used to anymore.

    This blog has grown so much in the years that I nourished it with love and attention, and I will forever be thankful for that. I’ve made internet friends, worked with brands I admire and reached levels of readership that I never thought I’d be able to achieve. But I guess I got kinda caught up in all that. My goals shifted, and I started prioritising the numbers a bit too much. It became more about “okay I need to post this because people are waiting for the next post” and I just couldn’t commit to that hustle.

    I started Rouge & Ruche when I went overseas for my exchange programme in university, and dedicated it to my thrift finds at that point in time. That gave me meaning, and motivated me to share this part of my life with you. I guess it got lost along the way, and I tried so hard to make up for that, but it never really felt the same. I do enjoy blogging though – it’s incredibly fulfilling to be able to put the mess in my mind into words and share it with the world. That’s one of the main reasons why I didn’t just take Rouge & Ruche off the internet – I like blogging. And I don’t want to stop. I think taking a year off was just what I needed to revive this space. I had to get everything down to (almost) zero and then build it up again, in a way that feels more personal and authentic for me.

    So let’s take it back to the beginning. And let’s take it slow. No ootds. No flatlays. Just me. I’ll start by writing about the things that inspire me – be it fashion, beauty, film, travel, etc. You’re welcome to stay with me for the ride – or not, your choice – and we’ll see where we go from here.

    Since we’re starting over, I believe introductions are in order. Hi, I’m Liyana. I love fashion, beauty, music and cats. I’m a copywriter, and I practise a bit of yoga in my free time.

    How about you?