Wagamama Whispers

Wagamama Whispers With Teni Wada

As March winds down, not only do I find myself reflecting on another year around the sun, but 2024 also marks the 5th anniversary of The Wagamama Diaries. It’s a momentous occasion that feels both deeply personal and wonderfully communal. Celebrating my birthday in March and then launching the very first Wagamama Whisper on April 1st feels serendipitous, like the universe’s way of saying, “Yes, this is your moment. 2024 is your year to accomplish great things.”

Over these five years, The Wagamama Diaries has grown from a humble online journal into a chronicle of all things beauty, lifestyle, and motherhood in Japan. This journey has been one of discovery, connection, and, above all, sharing the multifaceted beauty of Japan with an amazing community of readers from across the globe. 

My Japan journey has always been about exploring and sharing beauty in the broadest sense – from my gyaru origins working in Shibuya 109, the neatly arranged skincare and makeup shelves of Tokyo department stores, to the quiet moments of ikigai that light up our daily lives. 

So, in a celebration of beginnings, both new and renewed, let’s turn the spotlight inward for our inaugural Wagamama Whisper with Teni Wada, where I take a moment to share with you not just as the creator behind The Wagamama Diaries but as a fellow journeyer on this path of beauty and self-discovery.

Thank you, from the depths of my wagamama heart, for being a part of this journey, for it is every read, every share, and every like that has turned this blog into what it is today.

Wagamama Whispers With Teni Wada


The first thing I do when I wake up is:

Hit the snooze button on my alarm. I love my daughter and my dog, but can I please just have 5 more minutes?

My Top 3 J-beauty must-haves:

Nivea UV Deep Protect & Care Sunscreen, Softymo Cleansing Oil, and Melano CC All-In-One Gel. Because I’m a busy mama on a tight skincare budget

My tip to navigating etiquette in Japan:

A genuine, “Oh my God/I’m sorry!” (in English) helps diffuse tensions. Another one is to simply reply in English with a smile when staff speak to you in English. Maybe it’s the southerner in me, but you can certainly catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

We don’t talk about:

Going full gyaru and shaving off eyebrows only to pencil them in.

My latest mom win:

Just finished my first year as a PTA member at my daughter’s elementary school. All of the events and networking with other parents helped tremendously as I struggled to find a sense of normalcy for me in my new life as a single mom. I kinda want to be ambitious and apply for a board member position this year!

If you need me, you can probably find me:

eating ice cream in front of the koi pond at my favorite sento (public bath) after a long soak in the carbonated bath. Communal bathing is dreadfully underrated – please don’t be afraid to give it a try! You’ll be met with curious faces at first, no doubt, but there is a genuine sense of community as it seems like everyone will want to recommend their favorite baths or post-bathing drinks!

You should know:

City Hall is a treasure trove of resources! But, you will need at least half a day to visit different sections and fill out paperwork. It’s easy to get overwhelmed so it’s best to take it one step at a time. Start at the Information Desk with one inquiry, head to the correct department, and once you’re finished there, then ask, “Chinami (by the way)…”.

I can’t live without:

Nivea sunscreen. Any of them. Girl, I’m so sorry Anessa, because you were my holy grail for years, but Nivea Super Sun Gel is something that both my daughter and I can use, and it’s under 1000 yen.

How I fell in love with Japan:

Exploring Honshu with limited Japanese ability and a Seishun 18 Ticket at 20 years old. When Japanese cell phones had 1seg TV, but before GPS and smartphones were a thing! It’s all those tiny “only in Japan” moments that seem to only exist online, like random acts of kindness performed by elderly ladies, schoolgirls asking to take a photo with you, gaudily-dressed yakuza members treating you to ice cream, but then it hits you, “So, this is Japan.”

2024 is my year because:

One particular project I plan to launch this summer is “Tokyo Beauty Weekend,” a hands-on, intensive beauty and skincare workshop hosted at a boutique hotel.

Share Your Story — Wagamama Whispers

Wagamama Whispers is a platform for voices resonating with the spirit of Japan. We welcome submissions from anyone passionate about sharing their insights, stories, and love for Japan, its beauty, and its culture.

Are you an expat navigating the vibrant life in Japan? A mom blending cultures for your little ones? A beauty enthusiast with secrets to spill? If you’ve got a story that whispers the essence of Japan, we want to hear from you! Apply now to be heard!

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