Working in the travel industry, I have an opportunity and obligation to see the world. Though most of my travels last only a day or two at a time, I manage to swig an espresso (or three) and get on with the party. Follow me as I shamelessly devour the foods of the land, (over)indulge in the local beer and wine, and discover new cities with old friends.
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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…