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Friday, January 20, 2012

Tokyo: Harajuku Girls

Harajuku is like an alternate universe, a fantasy world existing within Tokyo. I don’t even know what to compare it to. It’s a melting pot of fashion. It used to be home to those in the fashion industry, and after the1964 Summer Olympics, Tokyo’s youth took over to make it there own with styles inspired by various cultures. Anyway, that’s what I’ve been told....

I’ve never seen so many spikey Japanese mullets before. These mullet-prone cool kids seem typically to be the ones hanging out listening to the latest J-Pop albums on the street. The girls wear frilly pink tulle mini skirts that just barely cover their butt cleavage, and they often wear knee-high socks. I came to the conclusion that showing off their legs is a necessity, even in the winter. Brave soldiers! I decided I liked the girls with tutus mixed with plaid, mixed with neon, mixed with pompoms and pink hair.  Where else can you find such a universal faux pas not only accepted, but encouraged? It seems like all the clothing stores in Harajuku sell this kind of attire, along with kitschy gadgets and accessories. Personally, I walked away from Harajuku with a new pair of Hello Kitty socks, a Coca-Cola t-shirt in Japanese, and a Tamagotchi. Don’t mock me!

Post-Tokyo, I found myself puzzled by Harajuku. I began to research a Snooki-esque creature I had seen around quite often, particularly in Harajuku. It was a strange craze among some of the girls in Harajuku to have a deep tan, big eyelashes, and big guidette-inspired hair.  Apparently the style Ganguro, translated as “black face”, is a westernized style that began inexplicably in the 1990’s. Some can be so extreme where it looks like they set the tanning bed to 'rotisserie and repeat', and others just look beachy. Nonetheless, I love it all. If you really want to giggle at the extreme ganguro, google it and check out the images. I did not have an appropriate moment to capture a ganuro in the wild, however here is an example, compliments of the internet…

The less extreme....

....and the extreme.

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