Archive | June, 2009

Harajuku and Urahara shopping

29 Jun

urahara-map1
Disclaimer: The map is originally from Tokyo Kanko Ryoko and red letters are marked by me for your better understandings.

Many of you have heard of “Harajuku” and can imagine what kind of place it is. Then how about “Urahara”? That means just ura (=back) + hara (=Harajuku). Compared with main streets such as Takeshita dori or Omotesando streets, Urahara is backstreets, as represented by Cat street.

If you have a chance to shop or browse in Harajuku area, I think most of you do not even step inside backstreets, because main streets are already full of shops, restaurants and cafes. But backstreets can be more unique, more interesting, and anyway they are sometimes something more than main streets.

Here are some related links for you to check out to imagine how the Urahara world would be.

Harajuku Cat street website
Tokyo Kanko Ryoko
Harajuku Urahara Mitegoran Guide
Urahara jp
Urahara org

These sites are in Japanese, but I believe you can at least enjoy pictures there. πŸ˜‰

Have you been to Harajuku before? If yes, how did you like that? Which shop did you go and find what? When I was a teenager, my mom didn’t allow me to hang around Harajuku, because she said it’s a dangerous place for kids. Time has passed, and I’ve never had any dangerous happenings out there since my first Harajuku shopping in high school age. Now it’s a place too young for me to hang out but I still like to see people out there. πŸ˜›

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Blogs in Japan (Japanese blogspot)

25 Jun

I’ve set up another blog in Japan last weekend. At a moment I run 4 blogs.

No.1- Japanese Cuisine Daily Recipes and Something Kawaii From Harajuku
(Free Blogger blog that I started Feb.2008 in English and I still keep it while I update a new post only once in a while.)

No.2- Tokyo Kawaii, etc.
(This blog that I work hardest, and love most! I pay for domain and hosting server, from which you’ll see how special this blog is to me.)

No.3- Pi-chan (my dog) blog
(Free FC2 blog that I run in Japan in Japanese.)

No.4- My daily stock exchange market trading blog
(Free Seesaa blog that I run in Japan in Japanese.)

*I no longer run other 3 blogs, because I decided to focus more on this blog, “Tokyo Kawaii, etc.”.

Wow! No wonder I’m busy! But I’m spending most of the time for Tokyo Kawaii, etc. (this blog). I know I should stick to 1 blog, meaning Tokyo Kawaii, etc. only, but the first blog is still good to be kept. The third dog blog is important in order to record how my dog spends her life with us. The fourth one also is important to record what I am learning and how I’m acting in my daily trading habits.

Some of the readers from my first blog (Japanese cuisine…) might be confused to hear that I’m trading at stock exchange market because I used to work as an importer, house renovation planner, and writer. But now I’m working from home. Online stock exchange market trader from home, writer and blogger. Why such a big career change? It’s a long story so let me avoid explaining that here. :p

Instead, today I’ll introduce blogspot in Japan, as some of you are already good at Japanese and may want to browse Japanese blogs to read or to write a blog in Japanese by yourselves.

Blogsphere in Japan is totally different from the U.S or most of English spoken countries. First of all, WordPress is minor, which I think is because there are many attractive free blogs available in Japan and how to manage dashboard or how to write a post is far easier and more convenient compared with WordPress or blogger.

seesaa-blog-dashboard

This is a dashboard from Seesaa blog and I was surprised to find this difference. In English blogsphere, we basically add things we want. We may join Google Analytics to track stats, and paste the code or do something to activate it if we want it, for example. To the contrary, Seesaa had everything there including stats. (not from Google, but original one) We are then deleting things we don’t need. That’s it!

Japanese people are used to this style; say everything being given in a package, and so, customizing blogs with plugins by themselves like what we do with WordPress is not accepted.

Here are major Japanese free blogs for your reference.
FC2 (Do you know FC2 ranks in No.2 in Alexa in Japan!?)
Seesaa
Ameba
Livedoor
and there are actually hundreds of more but above 4 blogs are I guess most popular ones. There are many blogs that do not allow affiliate promotion. (Above 4 blogs are OK)

If you prefer Ezine, rather than blog, there is a free Ezine stand called “Magu Magu” and this is the most popular and the largest scale in Japan. Of course you can start yourself both blog and Ezine (in Japanese it’s called “melumaga” meaning mail magazine) for free, if you want to. But I know how hard it’d be to write constantly in foreign language, so you can at least browse Japanese blogs and Ezines of your interests just as you like to improve your Japanese with fun!

April Skullpop

23 Jun
aprilskullpop-optivion1 Alexander Optivions is multi-disciplined, multi-faceted artist. He is a writer, illustrator, musician and photographer. He has published a chilren book named “April Skullpop“. Here’s some introduction of the story.

April Skullpop is the last sorceress in the kingdom of Doom-a-nia. On her birthday, she wakes up to find that her mother has disappeared. Meanwhile, the sorcery queen of Doom-a-nia has vanished the entire kingdom.

April, with wand in hand, quests to follow her mother’s clues and protect herself against the Queen’s vindictive spell, while she is helped by her best friend. On the way to the Queen’s Doom Tower, she encounters obstacles, but she soon discovers that she alone can defeat the Queen and save her mother. She is a sorceress that possesses the spell of unwavering love and reflects the hidden magic in all of us.

To learn more about April Skullpop, please visit http://aprilskullpop.com

aprilskullpop-optivion8
aprilskullpop-optivion9

My experience of making decoden, or decoration over cell phone!

21 Jun

Basically I’m not good at crafting but since my first experience of making DECOTTI, I kinda find it fun to craft something by myself. Yet, I cannot make something from scratch. I have to rely on kits or easy tool to make something cute by myself. πŸ˜›

So what’s new this time? It’s my first experience of decoden! As I filmed myself making decoden, you’ll see this is not mori style as well-known as what decoden is like. I use my cell phone as a camera, too, and so too much overloaded decorations just unable it to be used as a camera. That’s why I chose this water-proof sticker type of decoration with Japanese Makie art pattern, combination of rhinestones so that my decoden won’t look too simple.

Please watch the video, see how I made it, and let me know what you think. πŸ™‚

I’m quite satisfied with the outcome, nevertheless I’m kinda clumsy at things like this requring skills to pick up small pieces… Also, as a result, simple deco was OK to me. I really liked it. πŸ™‚

simple-decoden7
simple-decoden6
I have more photos available at my flikr page.

Have you ever tried decoden yet? If yes, tell me your experience and share it with others who like kawaii, cute stuff here!

6% DokiDoki

18 Jun

β˜…sensational kawaii shopβ˜…
6% DokiDoki
address: 4-28-16 2F Jungumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001
phone: 03-3479-6116
open: 12:00pm – 8:00 pm

6dokidoki-entrance 6% dokidoki is a kawaii store aiming for extraordinarily and shokingly cute. It’s in Harajuku, centre of Japanese pop culture and street fashion. There are many reasons that make the store stand out from others but most impressive one would be shop girls. They dress so unique and so Harajuku! They are the people who really enjoy fashion.

The store is somewhere around Urahara area, a little bit away from main streets. When I look up the store, I can see a pony (doll) at the window. Once I get inside of it, the store is so small but there is a world of pink, pink, pink after pink… Pink is the best color to connect with cuteness, sweetness, being pretty and being a girl, I guess. It’d be fun to dress whatever she wants in the way she likes. I wouldn’t dress like them but if I were much younger, I don’t know, I may like that. :p

They have an English page at myspace where you can see exactly what the shop girls are like and how the inside store looks like.

They have good news for American people!
They are to open 6% dokidoki store 15 Aug. 2009 – 15 Sept. 2009 (1 month) in New People building in San Francisco! Here’s details in English. Isn’t it exciting that they are representing cute kawaii Japanese culture in the U.S? They are planning Harajuku kawaii experience events there. So if you live in San Francisco or bay area or somewhere close to the store, why don’t you check it out?

6dokidoki

Hello Kitty boxer underwear for men and women??

16 Jun

Kawaii Underwear
18/MAR/2009 on air

Underwear is part of fashion. Showing them off from low-rise waist is cool. In Japanese, we would call it “mise pan”. (underpants to show off) The underwear Cameron Diaz was wearing in the movie “Charlie’s Angels Full Throttle” was from a Japanese brand named MIKERA (It used to be available from this link) and this spreaded “mise pan” trend for girls in the world.

In Shibuya 109-2 fashion department store, there’s a store exclusively deals with “mise pan” for men. It opened 2006 and is a very small store, but its sales is top class in the building. Tatsuya Arai, 26-year-old guy is the designer of these cool men’s boxer briefs.
The top selling one was however, Hello Kitty’s boxer pants.
Why Hello Kitty for men? Japanese young guys like to wear cute underwear for girlfriends to be pleased! How cute they are these days! These underpants are for men but as they are just so cute, women also like to shop them for themselves to wear at home.

“Mise pan” actually is nothing new. As you know, it was originally started from the U.S in the 1990’s. Calvin Klein was the first starter. The difference of “Mise pan” boom from those days and nowadays is that trunks are replaced by boxer shorts.

Do you remember mori fashion? Mori bra, meaning a stuffed bra to make big-looking breasts, has become popular among girls. Rienda is the brand name introduced in the episode. Reiko Nakane, the designer and CEO to this brand used to be a popular shop girl. At the age of 23, she
established her lingerie brand especially targeting Gyaru as she realized there was no such brand ever existed in Japan. Her mori bra has 2cm depth of pad, which is twice as
much as ordinary one, and thin (7mm) shoulder straps that make us look slender in spite of the volume in the breasts. I think this contrast is good!

If you are interested in cool Japan sort of underwear, this is it!
Rogin‘s designer was inspired from historical Japanese warriors’ armor styles. The first 3200 pieces were sold out very quickly. Why? This captivated men’s heart! Ms. Otomo is originally a classical Japanese dance teacher, but she is also a fashion stylist who has experience of working with Patricia Field, a famous fashion stylist for Sex And The City!

Mr. Nogi, the president of the company says he wanted to make underpants for men, for occasions as to try a luck or to make critical presentations, for example. Ms. Otomo faithfully duplicated Nobunaga‘s
armor style. What’s more, they are made of cotton gauze to let air through and as a result, they are 7 times more air permeability than ordinary underwear. You can imagine how comfortable it will be to wear them.

Mr. Ikki and Beni-chan tried to design their original pants. Mr. Ikki got imagination from Ninja and Beni-chan imaged Cleopatra.

At a luxurious boutique in Ginza, they make haute couture dress from as many as 40 process of works all by hands, one by one. The dress is originally luxury lingerie but is designed appropriate as a party dress and it’s priced about 60,000 yen (US$600) each.

Finally the episode introduces a 21-year-old student who won Triumph inspiration award from an underwear fashion show. She expressed how women would feel inside in her work. Rhinestones mean tears from eyes. This unique underwear of hers is going to be sold at 31 countries in the world.

Kirin’s opinion:

I can understand that underwear is part of fashion.
If I were a man, I’d like to try the armor-style boxer briefs on, as they look cool and so comfortable! Men wearing Kitty-chan (Hello Kitty is called Kitty-chan in Japan) is nothing weird in Japan. I see young guys like cute stuff, too. But does this sound strange in your country?

If you are interested in shopping cool boxers in the episode, check out here! (No.1 online shopping mall in Japan. They ship outside Japan. For detailed info. please read here first!)

Rilakkuma store in Tokyo

13 Jun

rilakkuma-note

rilakkuma-store-entrance It’s been over 3 months or so since Rilakkuma store opened in Tokyo. To be exact, I should say “the one opened in Tokyo station”, because there is Kiddy Land in Harajuku already that sells many of Rilakkuma goods. I knew there was a Rilakkuma store in Osaka, which I tried to drop by when I went to Osaka in January 2009, as I was blogging about it but I failed to.

Rilakkuma store opened at underground of Tokyo station around the end of February 2009, if I was correct. But I do not go to Tokyo station or Marunouchi district so often as I do to Shibuya, Harajuku or Shinjuku. I really had no chance to visit the store until recently.

Maybe it was because of the time I stayed in the store, but there were so many people shopping at the store, as you can see from the photos. Some were from other parts of Japan, some were men after work, and some were from other Asian countries. There were old ladies in their 60’s or even more than that, too. Actually I was quite surprised to see there were middle-aged men seriously shopping Rilakkuma! That’s so cute! They may choose souvenirs for their kids or wife, but they may be buying the goods for themselves. Who knows? I like that. πŸ™‚

I heard some chatting like “I wish I were living in Tokyo…” who might be from somewhere far from Tokyo. Then I knew I found one of the reasons Rilakkuma store should be located in Tokyo station. That’s a terminal station of bullet train (Shinkansen) and also is connected with a lot of other lines. Literally, Tokyo station is the center station. I was almost forgetting about that, since that part of Tokyo is not my place to shop. I’d shop at south-west part of Tokyo (Shibuya, Harajuku, Aoyama, Meguro, Roppongi, Ebisu, Shinjuku…for example) than others, because that’s closer to my house. :p

rilakkuma-store-inside
cute-rilakkuma-goods

I’ll be sharing other photos at my flickr page so you might wanna check them out later, too. People may have thought I was a girl from some countryside who were so keen to taking photos of the store. hehehe…who cares? Look at the goods I bought from the store! They are so cute, although I wonder in what occasion I would use a letter set now that I end up with writing emails instead of letters like this. πŸ˜† The little stickers are deco parts, for mobile phone or Nintendo DS, for example. I was not sure if I really go for decoden, but I couldn’t resist its cuteness. :p