It’s a running joke amongst my friends how I literally live out of my bag. I’m proud to say I honestly think I could survive at least three days comfortably barricaded in a janitor’s closet somewhere if the zombie apocalypse triggered a Tokyo quarantine. It would be like the movie This Is The End, only I would be living out of a Michael Kors bag because that’s how a fucking lady does it. Not that I would complain if James Franco were barricaded in there with me. I just hope he wouldn’t have to cut off his arm for our survival and inevitable romance afterward, but if he did, I just hope it would take him less than 127 hours because that’s how much I care.
Now that I’ve gotten my wild imagination reigned in, back to what to pack. I’ve been living in Asia off and on now for approximately four years, and I have got this down when it comes to city traveling. Now, I am the first one to admit I’m not the best at traveling when it comes to certain aspects. I am incredibly directionally challenged--even with Google Maps on my phone--but I’ve been blessed with a sharp gut intuition, and I know how to travel with my life in just a handbag and pretty much nothing else. I actually just got back home from work, and I took everything I needed with me, including what I could need in case of the aforementioned undead zombie uprising. I spend about four hours a day on the train or in transit, so I need what I take to be in a compact space.
Which is why I LOVE my Michael Kors bag. Here’s why--it’s fashionable, lots of styles to fit your taste including an array of colors and sizes, durable, and, in the long run, affordable, especially if you use it everyday (which I do). It’s perfect for business and also for personal use during the day or on a night out. Before you gaff at me for saying it’s affordable, this is how I break it down. I bought this bag six months ago, and it cost me approximately $215.00 USD. I weighed myself before putting the bag over my shoulder and after. It averages about 10.3 lbs with my belongings in it, not including the protective Michael Kors bag you get to put your actual bag in, which I use to carry other small items in and add the actual bag to it when I sit down.
At approximately four hours a day on my shoulder on the train (not including the walking, which has also been extensive but not accurate enough for me to calculate), Mikey (I like to call him that) has endured one round-trip international flight and one round-trip domestic flight in the United States. That means rounding way down on hours being carried, it comes out to about 720 hours of travel time so far. He’s in almost perfect condition and he lives in Asia--so he’s seen some crazy shit. The only thing I could say is the shape of my bag is changing due to the intensity of his existence. (Yes, I give my inanimate objects personalities.) He could easily last another 6 months at least at the same rate. So if I break it down that way, in a year, I am paying about .59 cents USD a day for a bag that will easily deliver about 1,440 hours of travel time at about ten pounds each outing. (How does one go about finding a job writing math word problems? Never mind, I don’t want the future generation to hate me when I’m in a retirement home.) Not to mention, he’s so damn adorable. (Pink is his favorite color.) Now cover your ears, Mikey...I’m not saying he’s the most durable bag in existence, but I’ve been very happy with Michael Kors products. I am, however, completely open to sample bags if any company would like to send them my way!
Here’s a picture of my bag, the protective bag it comes with, and what I carry with me everyday. The only thing that isn’t pictured is my Japanese cell phone that I was taking the picture with. (I have a Galaxy Notebook Edge which I’ve been very happy with also.)
This is what I carry on a day-to-day basis.
So everything I have out I keep in the MK protective bag. My book (I lived in China and was a history major so this is actually a fun read for me) for the train ride or if there are delays, a rag in case of spills or you need a little wipe-off on the train in this record-breaking hot summer, my old iPhone from the States that is now a glorified iPod (again for the train ride or delays), my Japanese cell phone that isn’t pictured, my planner, and my wallet that includes my PASMO card, cash, credit/debit cards, etc. I always carry a light jacket and umbrella with me because, well, you never know in Asia sometimes. This is why I always bring an extra set of rolled-up clothes just in case. I’ve had times where I had jobs that stayed late (show biz, eesh!), and I missed the last train so I would stay at a hotel instead of heading home. I always bring something with stretchy fabric that won’t wrinkle. That way I won’t have to worry the next morning because chances are I’m too tired to iron if I head straight to work. I use my old iPhone as my device for music when I’m out because the battery drains on my actual cell phone so fast. I don’t think it’s because of the cell phone, which has been great, but because of its usage on my part. I have a portable charger and an extra battery for my phone, but it usually can’t keep up with the rate my phone is going--especially using the train as my main transportation and constantly using Google Maps due to my lack of directional common sense.
Now, for the big question...what’s in the actual bag? Don’t worry Brad, it’s not your wife’s head. Although Kevin Spacey did play a great serial killer in that movie.
What I have in Mikey here helps me prepare for both my English Language Consulting business as well as last minute auditions/jobs for modeling/acting, but could actually come in handy during a World War Z event, which you would not want to have happen to you in Asia. There is definitely power in numbers. Speaking of World War Z and Se7en, do you think I could wrangle both James Franco and Brad Pitt in the same barricaded janitor’s closet? Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she? If I ever get cancer, I’m going to make it my wish to the Make a Wish Foundation. I foresee that going over well.
Okay, so looking at all of this displayed on my bed, I look like a doomsday prepper. However, I can say, to my defense, that I have used all of this multiple times living in Asia or traveling.
* 1 Pair of Scissors - Most of my clothes end up needing extra threads trimmed at some point. Also, one time I had to use them to cut duct tape. Different story.
* 3 Brushes and 1 Comb - Seems excessive, right? Wrong! Do you know how many models forget brushes at auditions? Give them one of the new ones that you get and stash at hotels for free and tell them to keep it. They won’t talk shit about you for at least a day. It’s my goal everyday to keep that from happening. Not worth anyone’s time.
* 1 Portable Mirror - I got mine at the 100 yen store. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve either gotten lost on the way to an audition/interview or there was a train delay. Then I wasn’t able to make it to the bathroom to clean up first, which in this heat on the train during the summer is a must to look somewhat professional.
* Q-Tips - They will save your life in so many ways. Get creative.
* Lint Roller - I have cats. Ginger ones. They take after their Mom, so their hair clings to their prey. That's the way I roll.
* Lysol Wipes - You live in Asia. You need them. Wipe off your phone/iPod and headphones each day with one. Ladies, I recommend using them even on your purse and make up containers. Mikey enjoys his bath time.
* Deodorant - Don’t be that asshole on the train. I also carry my perfume. I use Victoria’s Secret Angel and get compliments on it all the time. It also lasts quite a while depending on usage, but I only have to buy it twice a year, and I use it everyday multiple times.
* Vaseline - Before your mind goes there, which I know it already is, I use Vaseline for almost everything. It’s a built-in chapstick, lotion (yeah, yeah, I know), and it does help when you get hurt and need a skin protectant like it was actually designed to be used for. I’ve even used it to help with fly away
hairs before a shoot. It’s also a great make up remover and helps remove fake tanning solutions. It’s inexpensive and amazing in my opinion.
* Gorilla Glue - I use this shit all the time. I do my own nails, which I buy from the 100 yen store and glue on. So if one falls off, it’s there to glue right back on. Is it good for your nails? Absolutely not. But it works. I used it at a commercial shoot not too long ago to help repair a microphone, and it lasted the entire shoot. Pretty impressive product if you ask me.
* Tissues, Tissues, Tissues - You know those packets people hand out around the major train station stops to advertise their companies? Grab them. Keep them. You. Will. Need. Them. And they’re free! You never know when a bathroom will be out of toilet paper, especially around the holiday seasons. This is the last one I just grabbed advertising a pachinko/slot machine casino.
* Make Up - Ladies, unfortunately with how Tokyo is still working today, it’s a necessity to make progress in this business world. It’s frustrating, infuriating, and completely ridiculous. We can change this. I know we can. Until then, we have to maintain a certain persona to infiltrate the system in order to change it. I’m living proof that this can be done, but it’s still a work in progress. I bring my make up kit with me at all times. I actually really like wearing make up, just not when I’m expected to. When I do it for myself, it feels different. I think it’s a beautiful and expressive way of art, but should not be expected. I love
wearing my lipstick, but not when it’s required. I don’t always wear lipstick, but when I do, it’s bright red and fabulous.
* Sunscreen - Don’t ever forget that shit. You never know what the weather is going to be like so my advice is to always take sunscreen and an umbrella. Welcome to Tokyo!
* Cell Phone Chargers/Back Up Headphones - It’s not fun being on a train here without a distraction.
* Business Cards - Did you read my last article? You should. Market, Market, Market - How to Be a Freelance English Teacher in Japan
* Hand Sanitizer - Cuz you ain't gonna find decent hand soap in a Tokyo train station.
Now for the survival part. In case of a zombie apocalypse, explosions, typhoons, earthquakes, etc., this is what I pack in Mikey.
* 5 Protein Bars
* Small Flashlight with Extra Batteries
* Small Pocket Knife (Including small wrench)
* Taser (See video podcast - 29 - Experiences in Japanese Show Biz)
* At least $20.00 USD and 2000 Yen in cash
* A credit/debit card
* 3 forms of identification or copies if you have them (Passport, passport, passport)
* Emergency Phone Numbers
* Framed Picture of Your Family
I have certain items that give me comfort. My picture of my family is one of them. I also have random things I keep in Mikey from my framily (friends I consider family). If there is one thing I have learned in life, it’s that you never know what is going to happen. It’s the people, memories, and places in your life that matter. Here is a picture of what they all look like together that I carry with me at all times.
So, there it is. My survival advice. I just want you to remember one thing--you might be able to survive a zombie apocalypse, but no one will survive the Ginger Apocalypse. We are way too sneaky for that shit. Now, if you don’t mind, I have Asia to conquer. In the morning, after my nightly glass of wine, of course. A woman has to get her beauty sleep.
When Cait isn’t busy “going rogue” with her English Language Consulting business, she works as a model and actress in Tokyo. Being a natural Ginger, people tend to shy away from her for fear of their soul being devoured, so her ideal night is a horror movie marathon on the couch with her cats and a framed picture of John Cusack.