A Blast from My Past: Japanese Gyaru Fashion & Life in Japan

A few weeks ago I went back to my parent’s house for a few days. Whilst I was there I decided to raid the attic, and see if I could find my old textbooks. I found myself knee-deep in university papers and old cuddly toys from my childhood. Amongst these were a few boxes of items from my time living (and studying) in Tokyo, Japan. Suddenly my objective was out the window and all I wanted to do was reminisce.
Japanese fashion has been a part of my life for over 10 years now. One fashion sub-culture in particular took up a decent amount of that time – gyaru. With hair high enough to reach the gods, and enough make-up to make an MUA weep, gyaru was an enigma wrapped in a mini skirt and fuzzy leg warmers. I was automatically drawn in, and spent most of my time reading magazines and blogs dedicated to the style. Gyaru is the reason behind me starting this blog in the first place! So you can imagine that finding these magazines and books was something quite special. Memories flooded back: Buying the Ranzuki Hair & Make-up Book in a small conbini in Kyoto. Adding points to my WC loyalty card as I bought everything and anything from the brand. Getting a ‘hair set’ (that has since created perpetual hair envy) with a friend for our joint birthday party. 
I met some amazing people because of gyaru, people who I can now call good friends.  So naturally it will always be a big part of my life and although I’m sure there were bad times, I can only remember the good. Recently I’ve missed my time living in Tokyo, but I do wonder if going back might tarnish those memories. It’s safe to say that things wouldn’t be the same now, but maybe that’s a good thing? Gyaru has faded from it’s origins and seems to be evolving into something all together different. So for now, I’m happy to keep my memories as just that. 
Interested in reading more about Japanese fashion and how my blog started?
Check out my Style Evolution post or browse my Japanese Fashion tag.

Photo Diary: Tokyo, Old & New

Central Shibuya and Ichigaya Fishing Centre – Tokyo, Japan

I wanted to do another photo diary post from Japan as it seems like I haven’t done one for a while.
As I was looking through my photos from my time living in Tokyo, I was reminded of one of the reasons I love the capital city so much – the mixture of old and new. It might seem a bit cliche or it may not even make sense, but to me Tokyo manages to perfectly mix traditional (or ‘old’) and modern culture. Of course there are times when the two don’t match, but it’s surprising how harmoniously they get on in such a bustling city.
The new
Shibuya is arguably one of the most modern districts in Tokyo, known as a mecca for young people.
In the photos I included you can see Shibuya station, which is constantly packed full of commuters.
I also included photos of popular shopping malls Shibuya 109 (aimed at young women), and Shibuya 109-2 (the male equivalent of 109, which also has a few women’s stores). The adverts on the sides of the buildings change constantly, keeping you up-to-date with the music, food and tv you should be partaking in.
The Old
Ichigaya Fishing Centre may not seem that ‘old’ but the past-time of fishing goes back a long way in Japan.
As you exit the highly modern commuter train (Chuo/Sobu line) and look out across from the platform you will spot the fishing centre hidden amongst skyscrapers, and high-rise office buildings/apartments – the set-up definitely stands out against its backdrop. The customers who frequent the centre use traditonal methods to catch the fish.
Don’t worry though, all the fish are put back in the pond after being caught and weighed.

Winter Warmer

My fiancé bought me this dress almost 2 years ago, on our first holiday to Japan together. It’s from a small, but wonderful store in Shibuya 109’s basement.
I only get to bring it out in Winter as it’s made from a very thick, almost fleece-like material. It’s simple, but the material & studs dotted around the collar make it different enough for people to compliment me on it. This has to be one of my staple Winter pieces, and I hope it will be for a while.

Picture post; Life in Japan

Thank you to all who replied to the ‘Picture Post; Request‘ post!
It will stay open for all of you who wish to make more requests. 

In other news, the Japan picture posts shall now be known as ‘Life in Japan‘. I may continue to make specific picture posts like the ‘Sweets‘ and ‘Kamakura‘ ones, but all the requests and random pictures shall fall into this new category.

This picture post includes:
– 109
– EGGnam Arcade
– School Girls
– UFO Catchers
– Alpacas
– Host Club & Hosts
– Festival Sweets
Location: Tokyo
Click on pictures to enlarge.

 Kumickey promoting the new 109 branded cellphones on the front of…109
EGG Namco Arcade 

Some schoolgirls going to take purikura.
As so many of you requested it, I shall pluck up the courage to take proper photos soon!
UFO Catcher goodies 
Kaomoji plushies 

 You can even win cheesecake in UFO catchers.
Maybe you fancy another brand?
Or some giant packets of chewy sweets?! 
Some of the goodies I/my boyf won in UFO catchers recently.
Giant Alpaca ♥ ♥ ♥
The giant Alpacas can no longer taunt me! 
Champagne call~ 

Sake, water, apple juice, ginger ale…and carmex.
The glamour of Host Clubs haha 
My Host Riku #2 (right), Toni’s (left) and クリーミーちゃん the Alpaca 
I should have stolen his bow tie/shirt…and the D&G leopard print belt!!
Finally, some sweet treats to tempt you~
Hina Matsuri themed @ Daiso
Don’t forget that the picture request post is always open for your comments and requests~

Shokotan in 109…

All the following images are from MMTS clothing line.

Whilst browsing109 today I noticed something that I found quite interesting.

Popular Japanese Idol and blogger Shokotan (Shoko Nakagawa) has opened a pop-up store on 109’s B2F in collaboration with her clothing brand MMTS, which will be open from the 22 Oct 2010 – 31 Jan 2011 – from what I could figure out from the Japanese blog.
When I walked past there were some beautiful ‘congratulations’ bouquets placed outside (this is common for a new store), one of which caught my eye as it was from Tsubasa Masuwaka.
The clothing line itself is very cutesy and has a Valentines High vibe about it. Lots of pinks and pastels, which isn’t particularly my style but I saw maybe a few pieces I could easily work into my everyday look.
The online store says that the majority of the pieces are either sold out, or low in stock so it’s obviously popular right now.
By the way, if you’re not familiar with Shokotan, she is a Japanese idol who has grown popularity over the last few years with her blog, which she updates several times a day about her cats and the other loves in her life. She has even confessed herself to be an Otaku – as she cosplays often and enjoys writing and drawing Manga.

She is also known as a singer, actress and often makes appearances on Japanese TV.

I like the idea that an Otaku who loves Cosplay and Manga now has a pop-up store in 109. Even geeks have to look good too ;D
So please go check out her store if you are in Tokyo and get the time, whether you’re a fan or just curious.

Fianlly, does this surprise you at all?
What do you think of Shokotan opening a store in 109?
Source; 1, 2, and thanks to Kirin who noticed it in the first place.

From Tokyo with Love [1]

I thought I would give my new mini-series (that I talked about here) a name. So welcome to….
‘From Tokyo with Love’– original, right? ;D
As often as I can, I plan to make filler posts during the week and between my larger posts. These will feature pictures from Tokyo, mainly Gal related but sometimes not – I can’t go a year in Tokyo without showing you guys something other than Gals, clothes and shops XD
For the first post in the series, I took a few shots when I made a quick stop to Shibuya 109 this week.
An advertisement for Vivi’s 109 book.
A couple of girls being interviewed.
It’s not out of the ordinary to see camera crews in Shibuya.
AYU x JELLY are featured on 109’s store-front right now.

Some interesting English outside TWISTY in 109.
In terms of Engrish, I think this is a pretty decent attempt – they just need spell check ;D
Chinatsu Wakatsuki promoting Diamond Lash (eyelashes) on 109’s top floor.
You’re encouraged to take your photo here!
W♥C need to get their new stock in!!
My friend was converted by this ad…well she wanted the jumper.
Stopped by the SBY cafe for a crepe.
The side window is decorated with photos of EGG models and…
…random Gal’s purikura.
– I don’t mind posting this (in terms of privacy) as you can’t see anyone’s face properly –
Last months issue of HAPPIE NUTS dispels the ‘red lipstick’ myth.
Finally a ‘happy’ note from the SBY Gals ;D

Shibuya and 109….

Perky promotional Gal invites you in.
The last week I have been so busy meeting with friends, that I ended up going to Shibuya on Tue, Wed and Friday. I don’t know how I made it through the days this week – we’ve had highs of 37 degrees. That’s crazy!!
So this post is just going to be about coordinates, make-up and purchases (of course I ended up in 109 a few times) from those past few days. I also included some fun photos that I took on those days, all Gal related of course ;D
I actually haven’t added a few things in this picture as I purchased them later but that can be for another post ;D
I picked up the WC Tiger t-shirt before the sale ended and managed to get it half price, which I’m quite pleased with. I bought the SBY scrunchie and S.12.C (109-2) skirt as inspiration from the t-shirt haha. It’s terrible how I fashion an outfit around one item, and I won’t give up until I find what I want.
As you can see I picked up quite a few of the A/W catalogues from the stores too. I choose MA*RS, Gilfy, Lip Service and Heaven & Earth (for Maya Mori). I received the W♥C one when I made a purchase.
I also bought the Cecil McBee A/W Mook as it came with a free fur tote bag, which is reversible to leopard print – very cute – and picked up the new issue of JELLY. I did have pics of them, but I took them on my camera…the one with the missing cable D:
Coordinates & Make-up
Crop top: H&M
Bandage skirt: H&M
Usamimi: H&M
Bag: Gilfy

T-Shirt: W♥C
Skirt: S.12.C (109-2)
Nude lips are growing on me, so I’m currently hunting for a good lipstick.
I’m considering one by KATE at the moment.
Close-up of my eye make;
Orange & blue shadow, liner and criss-cross lashes.
Finally bought some under-lashes the other day so review soon.
Nothing special, just something to chill in.
Vest: tutuHA
Shorts: Gilfy
And a few bonus pics I took around Shibuya…
These Gals were so cute, just lounging in the heat and enjoying an ice cream.
The 2nd girl from the left was so energetic when I asked for a photo that she replied in English with a big “YES!”
The girl on the far left was really sweet too. She thought I was only asking the others for a photo, and she quietly asked if she could be in it too.
One of them turned away from the camera, until the 2nd girl moaned at her and gave her a push. I didn’t hear but she was probably telling her to stop being so moody ;D
Can you tell which one didn’t want to be in the photo?
Introducing the gorgeous Gaby in all her Co&Lu lovelyness. I’ve known Gaby for about 5 years now and she’s from my hometown. How ridiculous is it that we’re both living in Tokyo for a year (for diff reasons), at the same time XD
And finally, I shall leave you with a picture of yours truly ;D
I look like such a mess next to this lovely W♥C staff-chan – props to anyone who can link me to her blog. She was so cute and liked that we had the same t-shirt on. I also love that we both felt the leopard print vibe with our coordinates.