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Sunday, 6 October 2013

Harajuku Kawaii festival 2013

Over the weekend Marc arrived in Japan. I met him on Friday night a couple hours after he had flown in - I jumped onto the express train after work. A journey that lasts just over an hour straight into central Tokyo from Katsuta, my local train station - not bad at all - shame it costs 4000Yen each time (about 30 quid). Anywho, I met him at the hotel we booked in Ueno. We went for a leisurely walk around the area whilst the surreal feeling of being in Tokyo for the first time slowly sunk in for Marc - we spent the evening catching up, getting a couple of drinks and munching on some overly greasy local cuisine. It wasnt a particularly exciting night, we were both exhausted (him understandably more so than me) and it was raining heavily.

 On Saturday we woke up right as rain. Refreshed and ready to go, we proceeded to have the greatest day in Tokyo I have yet experienced. 

 After breakfast, a brisk walk in Ueno park, a stop at a toy shop and a few snapchats - we decided that a trip to Harajuku might be a good way to begin. On the metro over there, I thought I might as well check out the Time Out Tokyo website- The first thing to come up for "whats happening in Tokyo this weekend" was a Kawaii festival taking place in Harajuku. It would be starting at the exact time of our arrival. Beautiful timing. The Harajuku Kawaii festival (http://fes2013.asbs.jp/pc/) takes place on the first weekend of October every year apparently. 

Getting off the metro at Harajuku after a ride on the JR Yamanote line, we saw the typical things you see when in the world center of cuteness; a whole bunch of very kawaii people, places and things. We picked up our free festival tote bags and proceeded to move from location to location using our festival map. At each location you get a cute stamp in your cute guide book. Venues for the event were filled with young Japanese teenagers enjoying live shows from their favourite J-pop bands - performing ridiculously cutified music and over-the-top choreographed nonesense. It was awesome. Did I mention it was cute? I also bought an awesome hat that says "Burisil" on it. Who knows what that`s supposed to mean? Brazil? - I just wanted a gimicky looking beanie to help me access my inner kawaii. 

We stopped for lunch at an all you can eat dessert and candy restaurant - pictures to come - very silly but a great find. At most of the venues in this festival there were huge, slow queues to see the bands - and we really couldn`t be bothered for that - we were only succesfully getting glimpses by peering through opening doors. One venue which we got lost trying to find and almost gave up on was a godsend. It was the only venue at the festival which had an actual bar - meaning alcohol - meaning that most of the attendants of the festival were too young to get in - meaning no queue - excellent. I will fill in all the names of these places and include the very few pictures I took in another post - I dont have anything on me right now - Im at school, and am having another day stuck in the office with no lessons - snore. At this venue which was an underground bar we drank a couple cups of sake and saw two acts. The first was a band called "Neko punch" (neko means cat) This band was made up of a white lady singer, apparently from Surrey - one guy who played all of the instruments and a guy who danced like lady gaga. I`m assuming the later band member has no musical talent but was so desperate to join the band, that they sympathetically gave him the task of making a total idiot of himself on stage. The second act, whose name I`ve forgotten, included two young women wearing short skirts and cute furry bear-themed headgear, paws and other bear accessories whilst DJing and dancing to fast beat J-pop music - the crowd were very into it. Including myself might I add. One of the women onstage dictated the dance moves and as a crowd we copied. We became her minions doing anything and everything show asked of us. Marc joked that she could easily have turned us into an evil murderous posse. I believe that she has the power to become an evil dictator with a cute innocent front. I took a video of this which I will try to upload onto Youtube, because its worth watching. 

 What happened after this? more snapchats - wondering around Shibuya and finding all sorts of great things I had somehow always missed. I have been into Tokyo a few times, but its a difficult place for an outsider. Like London, you have to get to know the city somewhat before you can find anything truly worthwhile. I have previously wondered around knowing I was on the cusp of awesomeness, yet failing - on saturday it all clicked together and we just kept finding cool shit. I found an amazing vintage shop - great clothes cheap prices (marc wasnt too excited by this discovery - ill go back another time with some other friends I think) I also discovered the site of where a new Max Brenner is opening up. Only people who have experienced this in Israel will understand my excitment with that one. We also found a newly openend Pinnochio shop - we chatted to the founder, a guy from Bristol as it happens. Who knows what`s happened in this mans life that he`s ended up selling Italian made wooden pinnochio merchandise in Shibuya (mostly consisting of creepy birdcall clocks). 

 We found a nice little Yaki-niku restaurant for dinner - a halloween themed bar for a few drinks - and then 2 hours of Karaoke, which i thought might suck with two people - but when its nomihodi (all you can drink) its never going to be disappointing. After our karaoke session was done - Marc waited for me outside as I ran back up to use the toilet. I heard the sound of Karaoke coming from a private party room and crashed a couple`s karaoke session - at first they were confused by the drunk gaijin - but then they enjoyed themselves as I danced to thier J-pop karaoke with my umbrella - using some dance moves I had learnt earlier that evening from the bear DJ lady. Its great when things just come together. 

 snapchatsnapchatsnapchat.... back onto the metro - fall asleep on Marcs shoulder- back to the hotel..pass out. What a great day. The end.

All you can eat dessert buffet:









Yakiniku:



2 comments:

  1. Wowzer! Sounds unbelievable, what a strange culture! But you are kawaii!! So glad Marc arrived safe and sound, are you happy with all the bits and pieces? The converse?? I had a lovely birthday party, everyone enjoyed it, though it was hard work ! A Japanese lady I sometimes play tennis with, said I could stay in her house in Tokyo! well, we will see, carry on having a groovy time xx

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  2. Aaaaaah, glad you both had a wonderful time, I will give Marc a call later in the week, see how he is and how he enjoyed himself.
    Love you Za Za xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Oh, and glad you like the PJ's I bought you, they look cosy xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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