I’d been to Harajuku the November previous, but I’d met up with one of my guy friends there and I felt guilty dragging him around to shop, so I didn’t do nearly as much shopping as I would have liked. But this time, there were no such limitations and I can now safely cross it off my bucket list: I spent the day shopping in Tokyo’s world-famous Harajuku!
Well, let me backtrack a bit first. The night before, I returned to my hostel, and made some small talk with one of the girls bunking across from me. Her name was Michelle, and she was from Canada, but had been teaching English in Korea. She’d come to Tokyo for a bit of sight-seeing before finishing up her job in Korea and moving on (to Scotland, if I remember correctly). In all my stays in other hostels, despite striking up conversations with the other people staying there, I hadn’t really gone out to do much with them, so I hadn’t been expecting much. But when she mentioned planning to go to Harajuku the next day, the same as me, I asked if she’d like to go together. After all, it’s more fun to wander around if you’re with someone else and with my basic Japanese, it would be slightly easier for her to get around. And she accepted! So the next day we set off together for Harajuku!
The big beautiful Laforet building!! Unfortunately, it wasn’t open yet, so we went straight to Takeshita Street, and decided to come back later. Our first priority: breakfast! I regretted not trying one of Harajuku’s crepes the last time I was there, so this time I was determined to have one!
After that, it was time to shop! I had been afraid I would either bore Michelle or weird her out by wanting to visit all the more extreme shops (like the Lolita shops). But while she didn’t seem entirely familiar with Japan’s street fashions like I was, she was still interested and totally up for visiting lots of fun stores, like Closet Child and Listen Flavor. (I bought stuff from both, haha.) Unfortunately, a lot of what we looked at in the shops were too expensive for us to afford, but we joked about the day we become rich and eccentric ladies with the power to buy every and any strange but beautiful item we possibly could.
Next, we went to Design Festa Gallery and did lunch at Sakuratei Okonomiyaki, which Michelle had heard about, but I want to talk more about that in a seperate post, so you’ll just have to stay tuned to read about our delicious lunch surrounded by art.
Skip ahead to after lunch. The Laforet mall is open and we head inside to check out the latest in Harajuku style. (I guess I shouldn’t say the latest fashion, considering this post is nine months late. Oops. Blogging lesson, kids: Don’t procrastinate!) These stylish mannequins greeted us in the front entryway. We headed further in and downstairs to the stores that really interested me, the stores that are basically kawaii incarnate.
Next we browsed the lolita brands:
Despite the “no photos” signs, I snuck a few pics. Lolita fashion is one of the more well-known Harajuku styles. Not to be confused with the Nabokov novel, Lolita evolved from gothic victorian and rococo fashion, merged with the pastel kawaii style that Japan has become known for, and now the classic silhouette comes in classic, gothic, and sugary sweet styles.
I didn’t buy anything, but I enjoyed looking around. After browsing Laforet, we headed for Shibuya. I’ll hopefully have a post to tell you about Shibuya and Shinjuku up soon!