Monday, April 6, 2015

The Cute Girls of Harajuku


I had to stop for directions a few times to get me pointed in the right direction. "Takeshita-Dori?" I'd ask.

"Ah!  You want to see the Cute Girls!"  was the reply I got most often.

Yes, I suppose I did.  As a lover of fashion, Tokyo's youth culture has intrigued me from the moment I became aware of the Cosplay and Gothic Lolitas.  These kids take fashion very very seriously.  I came to Tokyo to see it for myself.   Disappointed?  No.  Overwhelmed?  Totally.

The narrow street of Takeshita-Dori is so crowded, it is hard to move.  And this was on a weekday morning!  A torrent of people poured out of the Harajuku Station and crossed the street to enter this Wonderland of Conspicuous Consumption.  There weren't many people under thirty except a few of us camera-toting tourists who all looked out of place (and maybe a bit creepy).  I took a few photos and then put my camera away.  I needed to relax and just soak up the crazy scene,  Possibly do a bit of shopping myself, although what a 60 year-old woman could find among the leather, lace and French maid costumes was going to be a challenge!

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But I actually did find something!  A long straight floral-patterned skirt.  In Size Large!  The "cute girl" tried her hardest to get me to buy the matching jacket, but it was a bit too much pattern for me.  She could pull it off.  She with her Pippi Longstocking braids, tulle skirt over jeans and yellow Mary-Janes.  Ah, to be young again!  No, no,  don't go there.

The truth is--as I looked around--there were quite a few tulle skirts over jeans.  There were a lot of short skirts and heels worn with socks, too. It started to get a bit boring. There were also a lot of (dare I say it) average looking teens in shorts and tennis shoes.  But cute?  Oh, yeah.  They were all darn cute and all out having a good time.  Not sure they were actually buying.  This is a place to  hang out, like our shopping malls back home.  There were long lines in front of the coffee shops and candy counters.

I decided if I was going to get serious about shopping, I would have to leave this street behind.  I headed toward the tree-lined Omote-sando and struck gold.

It wasn't the Parisian-like boulevard itself, lined with designer stores, that sent my pulse racing, but the little boutiques tucked away on the side streets.  Here I found older, more conservatively dressed women.  No loud music.  And best of all, no crowds.  I ended up buying a linen coat in one store and an Issey Miyake knock-off at another.  The service was superb.  Even though I couldn't speak Japanese and they couldn't speak English, we shared a common language:  Fashion. 

I had found my people.  Somewhere in the middle of Gucci and Burlesque.  Not too old.  Not too young.  Not too expensive.  Not too cheap.  Not flashy.  But not dull.  I had satisfied my curiosity about Harajuku,  but I don't need to go there again.  

   

4 comments:

  1. How fun to peek into your world at this moment in time. It looks like a fascinating place to go.

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    1. Thanks for dropping by, Joni. It was a very short, but very memorable trip!!

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  2. Harajuku fashion has travelled far and wide to attract the attention of many fashion enthusiasts. This groundbreaking style of clothing represents the freedom of expression, as it has lured many teenagers across the globe.

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    1. Yes, these free spirits are truly an inspiration to all of us fashion lovers--both young and old.

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