Interview with Carmina

1 Jul

If you love Japanese street fashion and especially Gothic/Lolita, you may already know La Carmina. I had a chance to interview her and write about her in TKE blog. (The interview part is after the video below.) 🙂

I was previously sharing some sample episodes from Tokyo Kawaii TV in this blog and at some point she also appeared on one of the episodes. (BTW, for a moment I don’t plan to share any new episodes from Tokyo Kawaii TV because videos are not available and it takes way too much time for me to write up a summary for the whole episode by translating from Japanese to English. I wanted to share those sample episodes so you can basically find what’s going on in the streets and etc. in Tokyo. I believe you can also watch it on NHK satellite broadcasting service provided in your country. 😉 )

Rough translation (summary) for the Japanese part:

Tokyo Kawaii TV found La Carmina and her friends in Harajuku. La Carmina shares many interesting shops in Tokyo that not many people know about. She lives in LA (U.S) but visits Tokyo once in every 3 months to check out new shops and she shares Tokyo street information in English in her blog. She also works as a reporter of fashion programs. She is considered one of the hottest fashion bloggers in the U.S.

The first shop in the episode (BabyDoll) has provided a dress for Lady Gaga. The shop sells fetish and classic Gothic themed dresses. (Even some masks for party!) La Carmina takes more than 100 pictures at each shop because she considers visual image is quite important to her blog.

Next shop (Abilletage) is in a multi-tenanted building in Shinjuku. It’s a shop for custom-made corsets. Again, a gas mask as fashion, for a party or something. La Carmina has developed networking with local people from whom she gets to know more interesting shops to blog about.

Interviewing La Carmina starts from here.
1) What made you so passionate about JP Goth fashion?

From the time I was very young, I loved all things dark and spooky (Halloween was my favorite holiday). Since my family is from Asia, we often traveled to Japan and surrounding countries. I visited Harajuku and was swept away by the street fashion and culture – Jrock, Gothic Lolita, Punk, Kawaii. As I got older and spent more time in Japan, I started attending Goth Industrial and Fetish parties. I love exploring Japanese Goth fashion and culture, and sharing my adventures on my site,

2) Are you also interested in Gyaru fashion or other specific fashion style?

I’m fascinated by all Japanese street styles. I like to mix it up, so I draw inspiration from gyaru, mori, fairy kei, dolly kei and other alternative styles. Dramatic doll eyelashes are a favorite of mine.

3) Why do you think some Japanese fashion styles, Gyaru fashion and Gothic/Lolita fashion for example, are so well-received in western countries today?

I think many young people in Western countries grew up watching anime and reading manga, which led to an increased interest in J-pop culture and fashion. Many appreciate the uniqueness of Japanese street fashion, such as the elegance and aristocratic elements of Gothloli. There are now plenty of anime conventions and events outside Japan, which give people an opportunity to dress up and share their love of these styles.

4) You are visiting Japan very frequently. What do you find interesting/fun/nice, etc. here? What do you find boring/nasty/uncomfortable, etc. here?

I am flown to Japan several times a year to host TV shows; most recently, I worked with NHK, Food Network, Discovery Channel, National Geographic, and Pro Sieben Germany. There’s so much to love about Tokyo, but at the end of the day, I’m happiest to reunite with my friends. We love to drink absinthe, do karaoke, and dance all night at Gothic clubs.

5) What kind of Japanese food/drink do you like?

I adore yuzu, the Japanese citrus fruit. I always stock up on yuzu drinks and ice cream. Izakaya food is a favorite, especially kabocha and grilled fish, such as hamachi.

6) Tell me what kind of things are kawaii to you?

My Scottish Fold cat, Basil Farrow! Big eyes, no ears and no nose. You can see photos on his blog,

7) Which area in Tokyo do you like most and why?

Harajuku is my favorite place in Tokyo to shop. Here, you’ll find the most exciting Goth Lolita Punk / Visual Kei / Cyber Rave fashion in the world. While Harajuku has gotten more commercial lately, there are still indie stores, such as the Yellow House boutique that has been run by an old lady for over 20 years, and the Takenoko drag queen paradise. The basement of Laforet Department Store has some of my favorite brands, including Alice & the Pirates, Atelier Pierrot,
Putumayo and h.NAOTO. If I could only visit one store, it would be Closet Child, which stocks Japanese alt designer clothing — everything is secondhand and very well priced. There are locations in Shinjuku, Harajuku and Ikebukuro.

8) How do you find shopping experience in Tokyo? (compared with L.A, for example)

I find it easier to shop in Tokyo, since my favorite stores are located in Shibuya, Harajuku and Shinjuku, which are only a few stops from each other on the Yamanote subway line. I am a fan of kawaii meets spooky clothing, which is plentiful in Tokyo. There’s always something new and exciting to discover while shopping here.

9) You are such a popular fashion blogger. As a humble blogger, I’d like to ask you how do you motivate yourself to keep blogging? (How many years have you been blogging till now?)

I started my blog in September 2007. It’s been a long time, and I’ve never grown tired of blogging. I love the medium, and sharing alternative fashion with the world. I never run out of ideas or material, since there’s so much I’m hungry to explore — not just in Japan, but worldwide. I recently did travel videos and coverage of Wave Gotik Treffen Leipzig, Berlin, Prague, New York Fashion Week, Italy, and Mexico’s Day of the Dead.

10) Being Japanese myself, I’d like to ask you if you have any message or comment to Japanese people.

Japan is dear to my heart — I’ve made many close friends here, and had positive, life-changing experiences in your country. I’d like to say thank you for the kindness I’ve received in Japan. Can’t wait to be back!

===end of the interview===
Thank you Carmina!

It was a few years ago that Carmina first contacted me, and before I knew, she has appeared on TV, she wrote a few books and she’s been so successful with what she has been doing!! It was nice of her that she remembered me and kindly suggested this collaboration post. However I took quite a few days to write up this post because I really had hard time to find some quality time for myself, due to work…:p Sorry, Carmina! I’m happy for your appearance on Tokyo Kawaii TV, and many others. Finally, your cat Basil Farrow is so cute. I have a cute dog, Pi-chan. ^ ^

Follow La Carmina on her blog or on Facebook if you like what she’s doing! 😀


2 Responses to “Interview with Carmina”

  1. redken hi fusion January 22, 2013 at 11:42 am #

    Wonderful blog about fashion!! I got your thoughtgs about the Interview with Carmina as well. Thanks for letting me know about this issue. keep it up!!!

    • kirin January 30, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

      Thanks for your comment. 🙂

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