Harajuku, Shibuya and a Visual Kei Live

I’m sorry this is 5 days late – we have been so busy with day AND night events ever since we got here that finding time to blog has been difficult. I will add each day as quickly as possible to update you all!

Our first real day in Japan was destined to be awesomness personified. We were meeting up with Leela (yay *happy dance*) and heading into Harajuku, followed by a quick stop over in Shibuya and to cap it off a Visual Kei Live where we would get to see Heidi. perform (que squeal of excitement!).

There are a number of crazy things you’ll run into in Japan. One of the most fabled are the vending machines. Unlike in Australia I haven’t seen Potato Chips and Chocolate Bars in these ‘exist on every street of Tokyo’ machines however you will find crazy varieties of soft drink, coffee, tea, cigarettes, beer and the often hot-topic Fact or Fiction debate item of used panties (I have yet to locate one of these to confirm its existence – however you can read up about this crazy phenomenon HERE). We walked past about 2 dozen vending machines in the 500meters between our hotel and the train station.

Japanese Vending Machine

Japanese Vending Machine - the coffee cans actually come out hot!

For those of you who are not clothing obsessed / lolita crazy then Harajuku probably doesn’t mean much, but for anyone who is, it is one of THE places to visit in Japan. We arrived shortly before 10 to see a wicked entrance sign to the district as we got off the train.

Harajuku Entrance Sign

Harajuku - Lolita Shopping Dream

After glomp tackling Leela hello (so sue me we don’t see her often) we headed in to check out the merch. My excitement had to be put on hold however – one key thing you need to know about Harajuku, and well, Japan in general is that while the business men/women are crazy early rises the rest of the country is NOT (well not when it comes to wanting people to open shops so that spend happy tourists can spend Dosh). We wondered the streets looking at the not-yet-open shops and in the end headed to a coffee place while we waited for 11am to tick around (no joke, very little open before 11).

Leela and I

Meeting up with an old friend on the streets of Harajuku

Streets of Harajuku

Streets of Harajuku

Most countries have their holidays around a special time – christmas, easter etc. Japan has Golden Week. Golden Week is in Spring, so you would think it would correspond somewhat with Cherry Blossoms, nope, in fact it’s a couple of weeks late, so we arrived in Japan too late to sit drinking Sake in the parks (sad face!). When we were in Harajuku the others (meaning everyone expect for Leela and I) decided to ditch our Lolita window shopping (seriously, at around $400AUD per dress doing more than window shopping on day one would be insanity). They found a Cherry Blossom tree (Leela and I didn’t see any). Apparently they look far more amazing before they get any leaves (flowers only) but this late in the season you wont find that.

Cheery Blossoms in Tokyo

Cheery Blossoms in Tokyo - I missed out on seeing this, Trent found it and took a pic.

Leela and I did however find me some amazing Lolita shoes ๐Ÿ˜€ which cost around 5,000yen (bit over $50AUD). You can’t see it in the earlier photo of me but I’m wearing SNEAKERS with a lolita skirt and corset. I think I got just as many stares for my fashion failure as I did for being a gaijin. New shoes were a must purchase for the Live that night.

We managed to finish our shopping and meet up at the designated time to move onto Shibuya. Shibuya is that place where you find that giant pedestrian scramble (stops traffic in all directions to allow people to cross in all directions simultaneously) that is apparently famous. I didn’t understand WHY a street crossing would be famous – our resident Japan expert (aka Leela) explained it was due to the number of people who cross there every day. *shrugs* because of the giant TV’s on the surrounding buildings AND the big Starbucks it just reminded me of Times Square in America.

The Streets Of Shibuya

The Streets Of Shibuya

We arrived in Shibuya in time for a llaaattttee lunch. I was in serious need of food (wackly blood sugar levels ><). Due to the large group of people who had a wide variety of food preferences there was much contention about where to eat. The first place Leela wanted to take us to (shabu shabu) induced a 15 minute umming and arring session before we all agreed to try it out – only to find out that were fulling booked! We ended up eating at a Japanese Family restaurant called Saizeriya. Jessie and I were boring and had pizza (I know really traditional Japanese right?). Trent and Leela had Doria, which from the picture looked like some strange mix between pizza and curry but was apparently rice, Bolognese and cheese. (Still sounds strange right?).

Despite having about half a day in Shibuya we didn’t really do a whole lot more. We went and bought tickets for a live and looked at shops. Leela says Shibuya is far more entertaining at night time so there is something to consider if you are planning a trip to Japan.

Visual Kei - Stylish Wave Live Ticket

Visual Kei - Stylish Wave Live Ticket

We had left picking up tickets for the Live that night until the day of the concert (bad idea, don’t do that). Apparently tickets are sent back to the live house the day before a show, so you can only buy them at the door. This affects the price. If bought at a normal music store tickets for Stylish Wave were supposed to be 3,500yen (around $35AUD), HOWEVER, at the door the price was jacked up to 5,000yen (around $50AUD). Most of the group baulked at that. They had shopping to do and other uses for their money. I surged ahead and bought tickets for Trent and I headless of his dismay at being the only bloke from the group attending (really, I didn’t hear him! Honest!) Shaun was amazing and took pity on Trent and came along despite having little to no interest in Visual Kei.

Performers included:

  • DaizyStripper
  • Administrator
  • Fest Vainqueur
  • Dasein
  • Heidi.
  • Vistlip

I believe there was more, but for the life of me I can’t remember. I don’t have any photos of the live – Visual Kei bands make a bunch of money off selling Polaroids of themselves, so naturally taking photos inside lives is a big no-no (below is a poster of Heidi. to tide you over ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), Heidi and Fest Vainqueur were standout performances. DaizyStripper made my ears burn. I had NEVER heard their music before but it sounded like it was off key 80% of the time, PLUS they did this thing getting the crowd to run from side to side across the club. If they had been the first group I wouldn’t have a problem with that, but there set was late enough that it felt like my feet were bleeding and I would have prefered to not risk bodily harm – especially since I was like 2 feet taller than the other girls there (I’m 5’10” with flats, these shoes added another 4 inches) – I kept thinking I was going to hurt someone ><.

When we finally got out of there (I say finally, but I had an AMAZING time), we headed off in search of dinner. Food was consumed and we headed back to the train station after an unsucessful (though albeit half-hearted) hunt for purikura. An amazing 1st day I’ll have to say. Looking forward to the next two weeks ๐Ÿ˜€

Heidi. Poster

Heidi. Poster

MCL – Signing Off

EDIT: Name of dish Trent and Leela ate corrected from Dori to Doria.


2 Responses to “Harajuku, Shibuya and a Visual Kei Live”

  1. 1 Leela
    April 29, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    lol I think you’re only missing Irokui. (Remember the crazy girly dude I thought was drunk? :p)

    Hahahaha You really really hated Daizy, huh. Poor Yu-giri. :p.

    Oh! And Trent and I had DoriA. (Dori is a type of fish. Heheh.)

    Looking forward to subsequent posts including my failure as a tour guide. Heheheh. Butler cafe-less butler cafe day…

  2. 2 Steph
    May 2, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    I don’t know if your still in Japan let alone tokyo but if you want some lolita stuff I would suggest shopping -carefully- at bodyline or buying some second hand brand from closet child. Most second hand brand is well taken care off and dry cleaned before being sold and is half the price but nearly all of the original pretty. Half of the time girl’s only wear dresses twice and resell them. You could also try other second hand places as well that sell gothic and lolita brand but I can’t really think of any others…maybe tokyo alice, alice fururun or looking at cheaper brands at laforet like putumayo. Or just looking at laforet because their pretty much the shopping centre to go to if you want to look at japanese gothic and lolita and visual kei fashion.

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