Thursday, August 17, 2017

How to Clean a Japanese Air Conditioner

Want to hear something gross? I just learned last week that air conditioning units are supposed to be cleaned once or twice a year. Yes, that means that in 4.5 years our air conditioner never once got cleaned. Oops. Can I blame this on growing up with central air? Last week when John and I both noticed a musty smell I googled it, and found this blogpost from Okinawa Hai incredibly helpful.

Basically, the front of the unit lifts up so that you can remove and clean the filters. Then while the filters are out you spray in some cleaner that kills mold, bacteria, etc. Following Okinawa Hai's recommendation we hung up a sheet to protect from drips. Honestly, none of the cleaner dripped out, so it seemed pretty unnecessary. It did catch a little dust the fell when we removed the filters, but I think that's probably due to how long our filters had gone uncleaned. After ten minutes you can return the filters and restart the air conditioner.

The whole process was very easy. We bought the cleaner on amazon for less than 400 yen, though it should be easy to find in hardware stores and probably drugstores. Immediately afterwards we noticed that the air in our apartment smelled fresher. So, if you didn't know this was necessary, or you haven't been sure how to do it, don't hesitate - it's very simple.

Air Conditioner Cleaner

Filters out - getting ready to spray
Super Gross Filters!

This is what they look like clean

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Crazy Foot Peels: Baby Foot v. Shiny Foot by Tony Moly

Have you heard about the new trendy foot peel products that promise insanely smooth feet? Baby Foot is a Japanese product that costs about $20, and Shiny Foot by Tony Moly is a similar Korean product that costs about $10. Both promise to use fruit acids to make all the rough dead skin peel off your feet, leaving fresh beautiful skin behind.

Two friends and I were very curious about these products so, we gave them a try at the beginning of summer. I've been meaning to write a review for ages, but honestly I'm glad it's taken so long because our opinions have shifted as time went on.

Overview and Product Differences

Both Baby Foot and Shiny Foot have plastic booties that you wear for 60-90 minutes while the peeling liquid soaks into your feet. Baby Foot booties have a squishy lining inside that already contains the peeling liquid. Shiny Foot is more like a plastic bag that you pour a small pouch of liquid into. Because of this difference in design Baby Foot exposes the top and bottom of your feet as well as ankles to the liquid, while Shiny Foot only submerges the bottoms of your feet and in between your toes.

This means that with Baby Foot you'll have more exfoliation, but you'll also have fewer shoes that will hide the peeling. For example, Tom's shoes hid all peeling from Shiny Feet, but not Baby Foot. You should consider where you want to exfoliate, and how important hiding the peeling is to you, when you select a product.

After the 60-90 minutes, you wash your feet thoroughly and then wait several days for the peeling to begin. Both products took about the same amount of time to begin peeling, and while the peeling patterns on our feet were somewhat different, the end results were similar.

With both products your feet will peel for about a week, and eventually you will be left with smoother, softer, pinker skin. 


Underwhelming, sums up our experiences. While our feet did look nicer, the results were very brief, and two of the three of us didn't think the change was very significant. One of us has dry feet in general, and she was very pleased with her results. The other two of us have more calluses but not dryness, and we were the two unimpressed. If you have dry feet with white flakiness, you will probably be more likely to enjoy your results.

But the medium and longer term results are less impressive no matter what. All three of us soon realized that we have calluses for a reason (I can hear my mother's voice inside my head saying that now) and we all started developing blisters and rubbing from our shoes after using this product  - Baby Foot was worse than Shiny Foot in this respect.

Within two or three weeks I felt like all evidence of the peel was gone, and as the summer has progressed I feel like my feet have become rougher and more callused than normal. I should point out that all three of us live in a city and walk A LOT everyday, so it's possible that had some impact. 

All three of us admitted that the actual peeling process was really fun and satisfying, but none of us thought we would use the products again. If we did, it would be for the fun/social aspect of doing it with a group of friend, rather than actually wanting the results.

Tips for Use

If you decide to use one of these products here are some tips we learned along the way:

1. Soak your feet in warm water for at least 15 minutes before using the products to make them more effective.

2. The instructions will say that the liquid should absorb, but this is a mistranslation. It won't, but that's nothing to worry about.

3. Remove all toenail polish before using! The liquid will eat the polish off leaving a faded, dusty matte color, but it will also cause the pigment to soak into and stain your toenails. Nail polish remover will not be able to remove the staining - you'll have to wait for them to grow out.

4. Once your feet begin peeling, wear socks at all times or else you will have to do a lot of vacuuming/sweeping. (I wore flip flops after showering to give my feet a chance to dry first)

5. I preferred to gently massage the peeling skin off under running water at the end of my showers rather than flaking it off when it was dry. That said, never use a lot of pressure to peel or scrape skin off - be gentle.

Pictures below. Warning - if peeling feet gross you out, don't scroll further.

Baby Foot

Shiny Foot

Early peeling

Middle stage peeling

Late stage peeling