Archive | May, 2009

KiddyLand, cute & fun character toys!

30 May

β˜…for those in love with character toysβ˜…
KiddyLand Harajuku
address: Jingumae 6-1-9 Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001
phone: 03-3409-3431
open: mon.-fri. 10:30am-9:00pm/sat. sun. holiday 10:00am-9:00pm

gachapin-mook-at-kiddyland KiddyLand is a famous spot for tourists in Tokyo. Let alone, it’s popular among young Japanese boys, girls, and even young adults and some character manias. As you might be familiar to this fact that in Japan, even grown up adults tend to like cute characters. It’s not regarded strange or childish even if a man at the age of 20 something carries a little Rilakkuma (small bear soft toy) strap with his mobile phone.

So, KiddyLand is such a lovely place to shop or even just to browse. It’s so famous that you may be able to find it in your guidebook. It’s fun if you or your kids like character toys. The entire building is the KiddyLand store in Harajuku, and you can skip some floors that sell characters you don’t like, and go straight to the aimed objects if you don’t have much time to look around.

Here are some samples of character toys. Domokun is an original character that Japanese TV network “NHK” produced to promote themselves. This is the good example to illustrate that even corporations use cute characters very often to promote themselves with familiar images in Japan. Let’s say you try to open an account at a bank, you will get a passbook with some famous characters printed, which is quite normal in Japan. (Japanese banks do not send statement each month and instead, you have to go to your bank to get the passbook printed with transactions details.) In other words, it’s true there are people who decide which bank to open an account just based on which character is used for the bank. Same things can be said to credit card, or anything. So it’s not too much to say that Japanese people are living with characters everywhere.

You may still feel absurd with these character toys, but once you find something in your taste, you’ll see how fun it is. :p

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The first photo is Gachapin & Mukku. I found a funny video. Although image is low quality, you can laugh. πŸ™‚

This is my DECOTTI experience!

25 May

Finally I filmed myself making DECOTTI. It’s been a long long time until finally I reached this point since I wrote the article about DECOTTI last time. But I’m so glad I can finally share my experience of making DECOTTI like this! The video runs long so I cut & edited it at several points. :p

To be honest, I’m not dexterous and so I cannot knit, sew, craft small things very well. So I was a little anxious if I might end up with ugly macaroons when I started this. The filler smelled weird and the tweezers were not easy to use to me, but I am quite satisfied with what I’ve made. πŸ™‚

I received from some people who are interested in purchasing DECOTTI, so I actually tried to deal with DECOTTI at my ebay account. (I had no experience at ebay, so I had to start from opening my account.) But the thing is, I found out ebay was not my thing. I don’t want to get myself involved in price competition under several regulations set by ebay. But in case anyone who reads this post might want one for oneself, please contact me from the contact form so that I will personally arrange the chance for you to deal with me, just like among friends. I don’t have intention to run my online shop or auction, so if you look for cheaper one, I think you should try somewhere else. But I could enclose English translated cautions along with the item from my courtesy because there were some written in Japanese on the package, and on the manual. πŸ˜‰

Decotti Macaroon kit with my English translation of cautions is available from here!
Decotti Tart kit with my English translation of cautions is available from here!

Over a couple of days’ drying, my DECOTTI macaroons are completed with a keychain and a strap! They look so cute! Kawaii!!

decotti macaroon1
Hope you enjoyed the post, and feel free to contact me if you want DECOTTI of your own. Also, I’d be happy to hear what you think about this products. πŸ™‚

Kawaii is getting popular in Russia!

22 May

Paris Collection: part2
25/FEB/2009 on air

At a 5-star hotel in Paris, Mr. Ikki is preparing for the stage of MASATOMO.

MASATOMO’s concept this time was Neo Japonism, which delivers fresh Western x Japanese mix style and strong impact.

Back to the streets in Paris, Beni-chan found the famous street snap photographer, Scott Schuman.
She also enjoys taking photos of fashionable boys, asking if they know the word “kawaii”. It was pretty easy to join the show when she introduced herself being from Japanese TV.

It was last year that a letter from Moscow, Russia was posted to Tokyo Kawaii TV, asking if they can broadcast Tokyo Kawaii TV in Russia. The TV station of Moscow is named Kawaii TV Russia, and was founded Dec. 2008.

It’s a cable TV station, mainly targeting teenagers. Their core contents are Japanese anime & culture. Thus it used to be 90% anime but from now on they think fashion will be the next to anime. Broadcasting Tokyo Kawaii TV throughout Russia is the first step to them. They want to change dark gray sky in Moscow into fresh pink color! (Sounds cute, huh?)

Lately kawaii is getting popular among girls in Moscow. At a skate rink, there were Russian Lolita girls! They are the member of Russian Lolita Hime association. Their cute Lolita dress attracts kids, too.

One of them had a Japanese Onii-kei (attractive & fashionable cool looking men’s fashion) magazine and says she likes Japanese men rather than Russian men, just like other Russian Lolita girls.

In fact nowadays in Russia, Japanese kawaii culture is getting accepted little by little.
Decoden is a good example.
Decoden for the rich is made of gold & diamonds and costs US$150,000.00. So far 6 of them have been sold in Russia!
It’s originally from Switzerland company named GOLDVISH.

Young Moscow people like Harajuku street fashion, too. That ranges from Gothloli (gothic & lolita) to decora-kei Harajuku style. Some people sell sweets handmade decorations.

“I make kawaii clothing by myself, trying to make it looks like the one Harajuku girls are wearing. I’m referring photos of Harajuku girls.” says a Russian girl. Anime made her into Japanese culture. She makes clothing all by herself. She paints like kimono pattern on clothes and she can also make visual-kei style clothing just like this. “I found a photo of schoolgirl’s wearing school uniform on the net. So right now I’m making school uniform by myself. My dream is walking around Shibuya – Harajuku in this uniform. This year I’m going to Japan to study Japanese. I want to do a job connecting Russia and Japan in the future.”

Miyavi is a Japanese visual-kei singer who is popular among France, Germany, and Scandinavian countries. He’s got no idea why he’s become so popular, but one thing for sure is that visual-kei is accepted in Europe!

3 men are selected from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan in order to investigate kawaii culture. They think that kawaii culture can be a new diplomatic step to the world.
They visited 3 spots of the followings.

1)Deco shop in Harajuku (neu*neu)
Deco mori meaning decoration with little fake sweets and rhinestones, is the latest trend. “Isn’t that hard to use?” “Yes, but we prefer cuteness rather than function or being practical.”

2)Charismatic Fashion Magazine Model (being a model from a subscriber)”Dokumo
They found Aoki Misako-chan on the set of famous Lolita magazine.
(She is a model for fashion magazines such as KERA, KERA maniax, and Gothic & Lolita Bible.

She is so popular among Lolita girls that when she visited Paris, her fan gathered to see her from all around Europe. Her makeup is unique with doll-looking eyes with fake long eyelashes.

3)Goldengai Shinjuku
Kokusyoku Sumire, a unit from 2 girls in Lolita classic taste was there.
They work for the cafe, “sumire no tenmado

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan picked out 3 girls as kawaii ambassadors.
Misako Aoki, as a representative of Lolita idol.
Yu Kimura, as a representative of remake fashion idol.
Shizuka Hujioka, as a school uniform idol.

Back to Mr. Ikki, he was not on the paper. Beni-chan made a collage for him and pitched him to Japan Life Style Magazine in Paris.
Then they liked Mr.Ikki and he was on March edition.

Mr.Ikki’s paris collection was successful since he was on MENSTYLE.FR, one of the most big scaled fashion sites in the world and also on GHUBAR!!

Kirin’s opinion:

It was interesting that Russian people also like Harajuku kawaii fashion and Japanese kawaii clothing. Well, I don’t know what to say about kawaii ambassadors….Is it such a project for Ministry of Foreign Affairs to intervene? But it was cute that 3 middle aged men being far from kawaii are trying to learn what kawaii means. πŸ˜› What did you think?

Some changes and etc.

20 May

New links added.

I’ve updated with new links in my links page, from which I’d like to introcuce good resources that you might wanna refer to.

-Free emoticons in variety
=> Emoticones Avenue

-Free desktop wallpapers of Japanese culture themes
=> Hanami Web

I’ve changed comment form.
I changed to thread style so that commenting between readers is possible. But somehow I lost smily icons there. The comments including smily such as ” πŸ˜€ ” in comment section used to show icons but now they turned to be letters only. 😦
Anyway, I hope you still enjoy commenting.

About page is renewed.
I started to take my films. I had to get out of my comfort zone, overcome with embarrassment and spend another hour to edit them, but I still wanted to do that. At a moment I have only one in About page but gradually I’ll be adding more videos at my articles. (I look terrible (>_<) with still image, but I cannot spend too many hours to fix it. Oh I'm talking about the one in About page. )

Header image is changed.
It’s been a while since I changed my blog’s header image from famous Rilakkuma (bear) & Kiiroitori (bird) of San-X to the original handdrawing characters of my own. I like Rilakkuma but I’ve been thinking for a long time that I should use images under my copyright not others. So I finally changed it, thanks to my friend’s help.

That’s all for today.
Hope you enjoy my blog. πŸ™‚
If you have any opinion, suggestion, or question, please feel free to leave your comment or contact me from the contact page, using the contact form. Thanks!!

Design Festa vol.29

19 May
tokyo-big-site-entrance The other day, I went out for the Design Festa as a friend of mine was to participate in the event as a specialist on calligraphy at the second day. The event was held Saturday and Sunday last week and I bought the ticket for both. That’s because it was my first time to browse the event, and I was not sure if I can walk around in a day. Not even a day, it’s only 3 hours or so per day that was allocated to me, after all other duties subtracted. As a result, I could not find extra time off on the second day, and so I failed to see how my friend’s doing there, and spoiled half value of the admission ticket. (T_T)

In fact, it was rather surprising to me to have been charged for 2 days because the place for the event is the Tokyo Big Sight, where I used to visit for interior & architect fair or building materials fair quite so often and once I paid for entree, I received a card that showed I could come back anytime, during the fair was open. (Tokyo Big Sight is a place for international trade fair.) So I never thought of being requested to pay for 2 days this time.

The site was composed of A, B, and C area and was so large that I could cover only C on Saturday. At that time I thought I was gonna check out A & B next day, but there was no next day to me. 😦 It was just like browsing fleamarket or something. There were so many booths with so many kinds of art and craft. The place was with many people, hence was so humid without air ventilation.

I went there alone, but I enjoyed talking with artists and learned how they made their works. Most of the artworks and crafts were OK to be taken pictures, unlike shops. I took some but there were only a few that I really liked. Akkomon‘s half three demensional illustrations were my best of all! Their works are elaborated as you can see, and so the price for each was also high, meaning 80,000yen or so. But I think it’d be cool to hang one of their works on the concrete wall or painted wall. In this post, their works are the last 2 photos. The last one is a close-up photo for your better understandings. I wonder how other artworks that I missed to check out at A & B area. Let alone, I feel so sorry for not being able to check out my friend’s works and introduce that in this post. (>_<) I'll try to make it next time or next year.

For your reference, just as a tip, there is a Design Festa Gallery available in Harajuku and this one seems free of charge for entree. I may wanna check that out if I have time. Well, I wish I had time…

tokyo-big-site-inside
design-festa1
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Protection against evils in Japanese way

13 May
samukawa-shrine1 It’s very common in Japan to get ourselves protected from evils once in several years. The act of protection is called “Yakuyoke” in Japanese and in fact, there are several “Yakuyoke” menus available.

Basically at the age of 25, 42, 61 for men, and 19, 33, 37 for wemen (both counting how many new years one has passed, and usually it’s just your age + 1) are regarded as high possibilities of evil things happening in one’s life, according to our wisdom in history. Besides that, at 1 year before and 1 year after Yakuyoke age, we are recommened to get something like pre-Yakuyoke and post-Yakuyoke. I wonder if this could be a good way to make shrines profitable, though… :p Yakuyoke is not a cheap event. It’s about at least 5000 yen (about US$50) per person. Anyway that was the Yakuyoke for specific ages. People also do Yakuyoke when they move to a new house, and I think this is similar to Feng Shui thoughts. (Our culture is influenced by China and Korea so much in its history.)

So the other day my hubby and I decided to go to Samukawa shrine (<= caution! It makes sounds!!) to wade off evil. This was not always because of the age but because I was highly recommended by my fortune-teller who I see once in 3 years or so. You may say it’s ridiculous to pay for such, as fortune-telling is just a sort of superstition, but I do because what she predicted 3.5 years ago are now happening to me! Do you know what’s that? It was TO WRITE IN A WEB AND IN ENGLISH!!

At that time I was engaged in house renovation job by myself (free launce) and I enjoyed it. At the same time, I was also a spot writer (in Japanese) to some interior or real estate periodicals and websites. I was quite satisfied with my job but I was told I would write, not on the paper or the book, but on the web, and not in Japanese but in English! You might think I acted as she said. But no. I was rather shocked to hear that and had a strong question WHY I SHOULD WRITE IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE AND TO THE WEB!? as I am totally so bad at technical things. (still now, so I owe much to my friend for this site…hehe ^^;) I was kind of person who want to keep away from computer as much as possible. House renovation job needed CAD work by VectorWorks software, but I could also spend much time at construction sites, showroom, client’s house, and somewhere being away from computer. :p So I never thought I would do what I’m doing now at that time. I didn’t care about what she said to me since then, but as it turned out, I am in fact doing what she predicted! πŸ™„ Well it’s getting out of the topic itself, so please refer to my old blog for what I got from Samukawa shrine.

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Is FOREVER21 successful this time?

10 May

The very 1st FOREVER21 shop in Japan opened 29th April in Harajuku, Tokyo. I’ve never been there yet, but I can hear good news about it.

According to this video, FOREVER21 arrived in Japan 9 years ago but they failed in Japanese market. So this time they stress advertisement unlike their marketing policy in other countries.

In fact, there are many famous global companies that are doing well overseas somehow failed in Japanese market. I remember IKEA was also like FOREVER21. They once failed and were withdrawn from our market but several years ago they came back and I know they are doing pretty well since then. πŸ™‚

Coincidently they (FOREVER21 and IKEA) are both dealing with products for budget prices. But I don’t mean that. I think Japanese market is a little bit unique compared to others. πŸ˜› FOREVER21, H&M, Uniqlo…they are called fast fashion just like fast food. Fast food is not always good for health, but fast fashion is OK as long as they are kawaii (cute) to me! What do you think? How the things are in your country?