Sometimes I Think Things: The ‘P’ Word

Occasionally, I like to write serious things.. that are maybe a little bit challenging, funny, thought provoking etc (or maybe I THINK they are!) 

I thought I would share this article I wrote a while back as it is about being yourself, both in personality and style. It’s just a short one, it’s not fancy!

I originally wrote this piece for the zine I co-edit with my good friend Charli of Ruby Valentine. Our zine is called ‘Slimeball’ and is totally free. We explore monthly themes through creativity and regularly accept submissions from others. We love seeing how everyone else interprets the themes! 

If you would like any current/ back issues of Slimeball or if you would like to submit work please get in touch with us via our facebook page!

Here’s my article: The ‘P’ Word

The dreaded four words of my teenage years, the sentence which often solidified feelings of being misunderstood.

IT’S JUST A ‘PHASE’.

It’s the kind of comment that’s made by a parent in front of family friends at some kind of awkwardly enforced get-together, a comment which serves more to make the parent feel better than to actually explain anything. During my teens this little gem was whipped out to laugh away various risky subjects such as whichever bright colour I had chosen to dye my hair that week, why I insisted on wearing neon trousers or why I was being a complete bitch to my little brother.

I always felt like the ‘phase’ bomb was a way of making excuses for what I now know just to be teenage curiosity. Parents eager to tell the world I wouldn’t be like this forever.. it’s a temporary thing, i’m not a delinquent just yet.

Whenever ‘It’s Just A Phase’ was used, It would only serve to make me more determined to be that way forever, just to show them. Often I would verbally respond ‘We’ll see about that’ and argue that it would last. I wanted to be forever the rebel girl, with my ripped fishnets, terrible punk band, green hair and sulky face.

When I hit my twenties, I realised somewhere along the lines my aesthetic didn’t fit. I had morphed for years, moving organically from the 70’s tribute punk, to a less high maintenance punk look, to a jeans and t-shirt student, then a faux rockabilly style influenced only by a desire to be ‘cool’ before finally settling into this very eclectic mix of 1960’s vintage and ridiculous Harajuku inspired fashion, which is totally cool with me.

In that moment of realisation I also felt a swell of pride. Sure, the way I look might have changed, but my pride came from knowing that really… none of it was a ‘phase’. It was all me, It IS all me,and I still FEEL the same, I’d still describe myself as a rebellious individual, someone who challenges life, expectations and confines. I am still determined to ‘show them’, whoever ‘they’ present themselves to be.

What outwardly may be seen as others as a ‘phase’, I believe was integral to shaping me as a person. I look back and think, ‘But it was only my appearance’. I become genuinely baffled by the ‘phase’ excuse and why it even needed to be said. If a young person doesn’t experiment, or experience, or express then what kind of person will they grown into? And why are some appearances seen as ‘the norm’ while others have to be explained away with the P-word? Would it not be healthier to encourage transitions between styles, subcultures and interests instead of pigeon-holing everything into a ‘phase’ just for five minutes of a vague, self indulgent but totally imaginary, ‘grown up’ feeling?

Because finally, and this is another epiphany I have had in my twenties, let’s face it. Nobody ‘grows up’. We just get taller, sometimes fatter, and maybe a little better informed. Inside we are the same being as that teenager who was eternally jumping from one thing to another. That continuity of our personality and self is why really, there were never any ‘phases’.

© Kate Rosanne Johnson 2012

 

Kate xx

Etsy Cute 16/11/12 – Gift Ideas

Since Christmas is going to be upon us sooner than we think, I’m going to focus today’s Etsy Cute around incorporating kawaii into other peoples Christmas gifts! Because cute is meant to be shared!

(Click pictures for links to Etsy stores!)

 

For Baby:

You can’t really justify spending a fortune on kids until they are old enough to appreciate it properly/ not grow out of everything within a week! So baby gifts have to have longevity and take them through to toddlerhood or be very reasonably priced if they will only be used for a few months. Oh, and if you’re me… they have to be CUTE!

I found the solution!

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Is there ANYTHING cuter than baby dino feet?

These awesome knitted booties are perfect for any little monster at Christmas! Adorable and toasty warm! They are available from the wonderful ‘Lemonade and Magnolia‘ run by Kylie Mustapic. I have been lucky enough to see more of Kylie’s work than is available on her Etsy as she is a Leeds based children’s wear designer. She does craft fairs and maintains a sale space in Bird’s Yard in Leeds. This talented miss also creates hairclips, homewares and grown-up’s accessories! 

 

For Grandma:

It could be fairly difficult to explain the concept of Kawaii to granny.. so why not just show her by giving her an awesome handmade gift this Christmas?

Here you go..

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50’s Chic for Grandma on Christmas Day!

Now, I am well aware that not all Grandmas enjoy baking, cooking, knitting and coffee mornings, but this is MY Etsy Cute post and I am imagining MY Grandma. She very much loves all of the aforementioned things. Last Christmas I made my Grandma a half apron, as she wears one most of the time around the house. If I was short on time however, I would have bought a handmade apron instead and supported a small business. Let’s just stop to admire this one from ‘Boojiboo‘ shall we?

There are many, many, many apron sellers on Etsy.. And since my favourite (Dot’s Diner) have ceased trading, Boojiboo have quickly taken the ‘adorable apron’ space in my heart. JUST LOOK AT IT!! It brings a chic 50’s skirt vibe to Grannies look whilst still being super practical AND adorable! It’s subtle enough to be classy and still fun. A+ for Boojiboo I think!

 

For Workmates:

I bet you guys did a secret santa huh? And now you might be going ‘Aaargghhhhh, what do I get this person? They are into everything I am not! How do I please them HHHEEEELP!’ no? Just me then…

Incorporating cute and still keeping it mysterious as to who have supplied said gift to the bulging pile at the Christmas do may be pretty hard but oh well, everyone figures out who got who anyway!

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Guys, thats a cat hiding in a mug..

I obviously don’t know what your budget is… at my work, it’s ridiculously low….this makes for funny gifts from the pound shop and some great giggles. If you work in a more conservative office environment, or take your Secret Santa more seriously then these mugs by Spademan Pottery are so perfect!

They do SO MANY different ones and finding out someones favourite animal isn’t hard at all! You can order these mugs plain on the outside so the little critter is a true surprise, or have the animal paw prints on the outside, if you know your colleague wants to show off their adoration! The items from Spademan Pottery are such good value for money.. remember.. you are buying HANDMADE! for under £20!

 

For Best Friends:

Honestly, you really should know what to buy your best friend.. but okaaaaayy, i’ll do some of the work for you!

Chances are if YOU like cute things, your best friend does too.. so you can go all out on the sugar sweet factor here! 

How about this:

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Pens at the ready! Make your best friend your PENPAL! cute factor? 100!

Me and my best friend write letters to each other! She lives in a different city, talking and texting is fine, but just seeing her handwriting, drawings and little posted gifts makes me do a little cry from pure joy! You should try it with your bestie even if you live next door to each other!

People often forget there are some amazing sellers on Etsy who specialise in expertly picked vintage items, and not just handmade. I am a lover of all things vintage.. my favourite eras being the 50’s and 60’s (and some cute 70’s too!). ‘Tinsel and Trinkets‘ sell paper ephemera, plastic trinkets and retro holiday decorations. My favourite item in their store is this pack of wonderful letter writing paper! Obviously giving writing paper means you may eventually receive it yourself with a lovingly written message on it! But I would encourage my bestie to use these in her scrapbook and enjoy them every day! 

(Hint to bestie: I didn’t get you this.. that would be ruining the surprise! I got you something just as cute though!)

 

Just the four for today! I tried to pick gift idea for people who aren’t ‘mum, dad, brother, sister’ etc. Something a bit different! Hope you enjoy browsing Etsy! 

Kate xx

 

 

 

 

Harajuku Shopping Guide – 2. Beyond The Main Street

So… let’s continue our Harajuku shopping guide shall we? Last time, I told you all about Takeshita Dori and the many awesome shops that line the busy main street. Today i’ll take you across Meiji Dori and down the street signposted ‘Harajuku St’.

When you got to the bottom of Takeshita Dori last time, I forgot to mention the shop ‘Bowl O Rama’. This is pretty much right next to you on the right hand side at the bottom of the street. It sells all kinds of vintage and reproduction vintage items, the guys stuff consists of levi jeans, retro bowling shirts and work boots and the girls stuff includes cute bandana inspired print dresses, cat shaped handbags and accessories galore!

Now you need to cross the street that cuts off Takeshita Dori (it’s called Meiji Dori) and head towards the narrow street directly opposite called ‘Harajuku St’. Just before you start to go down this street you will notice that there is a kind of side street immediately to your right. There are some awesome shops down here, you could check them out now before heading down Harajuku St or later, once you retrace your steps!

As you walk down Harajuku St you will already notice that the atmosphere is different to that of Takeshita Dori.. none of your tacky tourist junk here! Instead, this street is lined with more niche shops, there’s an ethical clothing store, a couple of really good vintage shops, and loads more! Look up and just a little way down the street you will see a shop called ‘G2?’. This place is a really good vintage shop if you are looking for a mixture of specialist and everyday items.. They have awesome blouses and t-shirts snuggled up next to full 50’s ballgowns! If super rare handbags from the 40’s,50’s and 60’s are your thing, they have a whole room for them!!

I *think* down this street there should also be a shop with a carousel horse lamp in the window.. now the lamp is, unfortunately, not for sale.. but the store is pretty cool. I always forget what it’s called though. They sell those crazy platform converse, printed tights, weird almost 90’s looking clothes and kitschy jewellery.. It’s SO worth a look!

Eventually, if you keep going down Harajuku St, you will get to a poochie fashion shop. Now, i’m not a fan of dogs myself.. but I LOVE that this place exists! On a Saturday you will usually see rich housewives with their Chihuahuas in baskets buying gilt collars or velvet doggie beds. It’s definitely fascinating to someone like me.. I am always interested in the lengths people go to to feed obsession!

The dog shop is on a corner, and the road that creates the corner with Harajuku St is a pretty good one to veer off and explore too! If you imagine you are standing facing away from Meiji Dori on Harajuku St you want to go down this new street by turning left. Going right is good too, but maybe explore that later! As you head down this new street you wil see shops dedicated to selling Alice in Wonderland themed Gothic Lolita clothing, new designers opening pop-up shops, more vintage clothing stores, a shop selling nothing but hawaiian goods, super swanky menswear shops and a little boutique selling re-worked clothing (i’m talking Rainbow Brite bedsheets turned into dresses, you guys!) Heck, if you walk even further down this street you will find a huge toy store selling everything from Marvel action figures to super rare and collectible film props! Oh, and if coffee is your thing, just a tiny bit further down you will find a minuscule three story corrugated iron structure which houses a coffee shop specialising in latte art! (Top tip: buy your coffee at ground level then head up to the top floor for a super cosy break from shopping!).

The good stuff on this street kinda ends at the coffee shop, so you want to turn around and walk back to where the doggie shop is. Once you get back there, continue walking down Harajuku St, away from Meiji Dori. It will feel like you are walking into a residential area, the road sort of ramps up, towards a wall, but then curves round. If you followed the road you should see a building with steps at the side of it that lead up to the 1st floor. All the ground floor shops are accessible from the front of the building, you will be looking at the side from this angle. For all you designer toy and streetwear geeks, this is where Bounty Hunter is! At street level and closest to the road. Go in here for a glimpse of the mega successful designer toy company… they now mainly seem to do streetwear and accessories, but there should be a few cabinets with vinyl toys too!

If you come out of Bounty Hunter and head towards the building opposite (it looks like someones house!) You will find an awesome antiques shop. You usually have to squeeze yourself between the wall and the owners car (I swear it’s just his house!) and you’re in! They sell all sorts… metal printing press letters, antique bridles, clothing, lace handkerchiefs, vintage signage.. pretty much EVERYTHING!

Back over the road and up the stairs of the first building here and you will find my two all time favourite shops in Harajuku.. Erostika and Secret Base. Erostika is the Harajuku based store of the insanely talented, totally cool ‘Rockin’ Jellybean’. RJB is a mysterious lowbrow artist who creates eye popping illustrations and prints which he then puts on T-Shirts, underwear, stickers, badges, phone cases and more! He famously never shows his face and wears wrestling masks to oscure his identity! You can buy high quality hand screenprinted editions of his works to put on your wall (me and boyfriend have four now), Vinyl toy representations of the characters he created (we have one, signed!), merchandise such as lighters, ashtrays and other bits and bobs and records he has done the artwork for (including the 5,6,7,8’s).

The second time I went to Tokyo, I had the fortune of visiting when RJB would be signing stuff in Erostika. I went with boyfriend, our friend who was holidaying with us and my Japanese friend Toy (she runs BAPSjapon). RJB was such a nice guy, spoke to us in English quite well and was happy to pose and sign things for us! Just in case you were thinking this is a long and wordy post… here’s a picture Toy took of the event in question. You can see how awesome the shop is!

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All Credit for the image goes to Toy of BAPS JAPON, RJB and EROSTIKA

Boyfriend, me and RJB!

It’s worth having a chat to the guy who works at the Erostika store. His name is Wild Ox and his English is really good. He can usually point out some good gigs to go to, or events that might be on while you’re around. He is always happy to help with sizing too so if you can’t see a T-Shirt in your size he will look for you!

If you come out of Erostika (I know, it’s hard) and go to the metal door across the corridor directly opposite you will find Secret Base. Secret Base is probably my favourite designer toy company I have encountered. The inside of their store houses little works of vinyl art behind metal bars and on high shelves. It feels a little like a secret club, and can be somewhat overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re looking at. SB create new collections and editions of toys quite regularly, I bought boyfriend a fat Ronald McDonald they created in cahoots with Ron English, based on his paintings.

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Secret Base McHumberger X-Ray Version Toy

As well as all the awesome toys, Secret Base sell T-Shirts and other collectibles too, including toys from other distributors they collaborate with. If you see something in here you like, I would say buy it. Chances are it won’t be here for long as SB toys are sought after.

Well, thats about it for this entry. I know it was a lot of words and not much to look at, maybe i should find some of my Tokyo photos and give you a visual feast next time!

In Part 3 I will tell you all about LaForet and Tokyu Plaza malls!

Kate xx

If I Owned It…. Gerlan Nightwalker Slime Tee

Here is my first ‘If I Owned It’ post. In these posts I will show you an item I am lusting after, then use the magic of Polyvore collages to share with you how I would wear that item if it ever belonged to me.. It’s kind of a way for me to justify why it’s perfectly acceptable for me to spend my money on these unnecessary things, I could prove to boyfriend that I have thought seriously about at least one way I could wear said item.

My first choice is this Tee from Gerlan Jeans S/S2012 collection ‘Mall Witch’, which has a kind of 90’s ‘Goosebumps’ vibe.

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Gerlan Jeans S/S 2012

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Gerlan Jeans S/S 2012

 

I first discovered Gerlan as a brand whilst on my most recent visit to Tokyo. I was shopping in Laforet mall (which I will tell you all about in tomorrows Harajuku shopping guide!) when I headed on up to a particular store specialising in crazy brands at super high prices. I saw a skirt by Gerlan in the same ‘Slime’ print as this tee and fell in love with it, but at the equivalent of £300 it was totally out of my price range! 

I searched high and low for that same skirt to include in todays post, but stumbled upon this tee instead which, to be honest, I would wear more. Some days there’s nothing like a huge baggy tee for pure comfort! 

Gerlan are an NYC based streetwear brand using bright, eye-catching patterns and influences ranging from Disney to patchwork quilts. Wearing Gerlan wouldn’t be for the faint hearted but given the chance I would rock it EVERYDAY!!

Here’s my Polyvore collage showing how I would wear the Nightwalker tee, god I love Polyvore…

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Also in this collage: Bone Necklace by Bloody Mary Metal, All makeup by Illamasqua, Bow by Starry Eyed, plain black leggings available any old place, Socks by Monomania and trainers by Converse of course!

 

I am totally blown away by Gerlans newest collection, so I will be writing a blog post about that in a week or so, when I have had time to compile my favourites and dream about it all a bit more!

Check back tomorrow for part 2 of my Harajuku Shopping Guide!!

Sleep Tight!

Kate x

Etsy Cute 11/11/12

There’s this little heaven on the internet full of handmade, re-constructed, vintage and one-off items.. it works a little tiny bit like ebay but without the sweatshop mass produced 99p crap. It is called Etsy and I have loved it for years.

On my old blog I posted some Etsy picks like, one time. On this shiny new blog I would like to do it on a regular basis.

This is the first of those posts (including some featured sellers from my old post, in case it gets lost in Tumblr land forever!)

Click pictures to take you to the item on Etsy!

Pastel Pirate Tights!

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Yarrrrr! They be adorable!

This is a seller I have only just discovered! Yaaaaay NEW SELLER DISCOVERY!

Teja Jamilla creates hand screenprinted tights using victorian inspired imagery. She can create child size – plus size tights and all of the inks and cleaners she uses are environmentally friendly!!

I love these tights because they are just SO different from everything on the high street, with such great care and attention to detail. I am also bordering on pirate obsessed so these cry out to me.. I think I may have to buy them when I get paid next!

Bear Badges ^_^

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I know, I can’t get over how cute they are either!

I discovered seller ‘I’m Your Present’ a couple of years ago whilst searching the word ‘kitten’ in Etsy. I have since bought two kitten heart applique tops similar to those in her store currently, a fluffy kitten ring and a necklace for a friends birthday present. Everything she sends comes packaged with something cute.. I think I got a puppy sticker in my last package!

So, lets talk about these badges! This is a perfect example of my favourite type of thing from ‘I’m Your Present’.. the collage type appliques!! Cute on T-Shirts but especially cute and handy as badges.. This way I could wear the adorable little bears ALL OF THE TIME!

Anyone who knows me, knows I love dressing a bit (or a lot) like a little kid, and mostly acting that way too.. this badge would be a perfect way to show that on my outerwear too.. you guys.. my biker jacket NEEDS these!

Cupcake Coffee Friend ❤

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So sweet I could gobble it up, except it’s coffee, so i’ll drink it..

Let me just say something.. ahem… TWINKKKIEEEE CHAAANNNN!!!! There… now I have gotten my fangirl squee out of my system we can continue.

Twinkie Chan found craft fame with her food related crochet items some time ago, and has probably been all over your internets at some point before.. but in case not.. she is a crochet genius from San Francisco with an obsession with fake food, crocheting and eating yucky stuff (visit her yucky food blog here). She was taught to crochet by a friends Grandma and seems to have never stopped! You can buy her book ‘Twinkie Chan’s Crochet Goodies for Fashion Foodies’ and teach yourself how to make her creations, or you could keep your eyes peeled for her more affordable line ‘Yummy You’ which will also release clothing!

I don’t mind paying full whack though, and buying off her Etsy, knowing all her love and sparkles have gone into making my purchase… the next of which will be this amazing cupcake coffee keeper! Perfect for all the decaff lattes I drink now that the amazing new coffee shop ‘Mrs Athas‘ has opened up right next door to where I work!

Kawaii Kitty Feet! ^_^

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Too cute to wear? Maybe, but then how would anyone see them?!

I know I have mentioned ‘Em and Sprout’ in my old Tumblr post about Etsy sellers, but they deserve another mention because the shoes they create are just SO FREEKIN’ COOL!

There is something for everyone in the ‘Em and Sprout’ range.. Kitty shoes in abundance, but also vampire, skelly, eyeballs, deers, penguins… you name it.. they can put it on super cosy looking shoes! And now they do T-Shirts too!

I especially love these Kitty ones as they are a classic.. something I have been lusting after for a long while. Great for during the day at work with skinny jeans and a more casual look, and also fab to put alongside a spangly dress if, like me, your feet are afraid of heights and heels just don’t do it for you!

Kitschy Cute Bear Purse! ❤

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Cartin’ round your crap just got cuter!

So I have *just* this second found this!!! Instead of saving it for a future post I thought I would post it straight away because, well.. just look at it… I nearly died.

This seller, Cherry Dollhouse Jewellery is another NEW DISCOVERY for me. There doesn’t seem to be an ‘about’ on her Etsy.. but there are lots (and I mean lots, and lots) of cute things for sale in her store.. and that tells me she is awesome!

Once again, this is an item which appeals to the child in me. And I especially love that its an upcycled bag, which she has made super kawaii by working her magic on. It’s always great to see things get a makeover instead of polluting our lovely earth in landfills! Everything about this bag is perfect.. the applique, the yellow plastic chains, the holographic hearts and the huge bow! Those things are all separately appealing, but together? WOW! It’s like this lady climbed in my mind and created the inside of my brain.. in bag form, and that’s the best form there is.

More Etsy Cute to come next week. Sleep Tight! 

Kate xx

This Lives In My House – Tacky Plastic Pineapple (s)

Here is a picture of the thing:

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I actually own four of these tacky plastic pineapples. Unlike many I lust after, these are not ice buckets, and serve no purpose other than to piss me off by falling on my head when I try clean the cupboards (you can see where they reside in the background).

Despite their apparent suicidal jumps for freedom, I do love them. I paid nothing for them and they are four of my most favourite things I own.

I first discovered them hanging out in the window of River Island in Hartlepool, where I lived while I was studying. I’ve always loved anything tacky, trashy, kitschy and fun and was genuinely gutted they weren’t actually for sale. They were playing an important role in a tropical summer themed visual merchandisers dream, making the palm tree print trousers look even more ironically awful than they already did. I fell in love with them (the pineapples not the trousers) and dashed into the shop to ask them to save me them when they changed the window. 

Now, when you don’t give a shit about what’s in the windows of these high street hell-holes.. they seem to change them every day, constantly barraging you with ALL THE NEW THINGS YOU MUST BUY!! But let me tell you, when you lust after four plastic pineapples that play an integral part to one of these tableaus.. they will suddenly NEVER change the window! It’s agony. And all you can do is pester the poor girls that work there into promising you they will swipe them before the window dresser takes them away.

Eventually, one day, I walked past and they weren’t there. The club tropicana theme was gone, apparently now ‘so last season’ and replaced with something that looked like someone threw up neon bacardi breezers at a rave. It was finally time to take my new babies home! 

Just as promised they were saved for me, and I skipped home and merrily arranged them in my kitchen in a nice neat line. Since then they have moved to Newcastle, Huddersfield and Leeds with me, where they reside today. I don’t think I could ever get rid of them. 

I used to want the full collection of official Britvic ice buckets (especially the pineapple), but now I am content with my cheap plastic fruity friends. Their complete lack of function makes them all the more endearing.

I have just written a whole heap of paragraphs about fake plastic fruit. I’m so sorry.

Kate x

Harajuku Shopping Guide – 1. Takeshita Dori Area

I’m going to have to split these posts up.. Harajuku is surprisingly big, and it takes me three days to shop it all! There are literally hundreds and hundreds of shops, some tucked away, some quite well known.

Before I start this guide I need to make you aware that the turn around of shops in Harajuku is quite rapid. Fashion trends come and go and the stores reflect this, you may find that if you search for a shop I have raved about, it could very well be gone!

I made my last trip to Tokyo in July 2012, so all the shops I will tell you about were still trading in Harajuku at that time.

So let’s begin!

Harajuku Station and Takeshita Dori:

You probably got to Harajuku by train (since Tokyo’s rail and subway systems are some of the most reliable and easy to use in the world!). Harajuku subway station is directly opposite the main shopping street of the area, Takeshita Dori. You will know you are in the right place if you can see this..

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(by ‘this’ I mean the signage, not the slightly awkward chubby blonde girl that I used to be)

You want to cross the road towards this signage, which hangs over the ‘top’ of Takeshita Dori. It’s a fairly steep slope, and on a busy Saturday or Sunday this offers a perfect opportunity to look straight down to the end and witness the hundreds of people crammed in this narrow street. You need to take a deep breath, and head on down it!

The top of this street plays host to a number of ice-cream cafe’s, pancake houses and gimmicky shops. It does seem that this part of Harajuku has been marketed towards more of a tourist demographic, especially at the top of the street. Here you will also find the AKB48 store, a whole shop dedicated to merchandise and memorabilia of the Akihabara based all-girl super geek pop group (for more information go here.)

As you head down Takeshita Dori, try not to become too distracted by shops selling wacky, cheap stuff. It’s tempting to buy a glittery trucker cap and eight pairs of frilly knee high socks but all those odd couple hundred yen add up! Instead, drink in the atmosphere here and people watch. Look to others for style inspiration and then go find the items in the many stores that line the street. My absolute number one tip is not to buy anything on this street when you see it straight away. Takeshita Dori is the street that sells all the items that tourists would find ‘quirky’ and ‘unique’ and because of this, practically every shop sells the same things at different prices.

Nearish the top of the street you will come across ‘Daiso’, a sort of Japanese version of the pound shop. Daiso is your go-to for any little cheap gifts, emergency socks and toiletries, stationery, snacks and stuff that you want to buy purely because it has ‘Hello Kitty’ on it. Everything in here is 100yen!!! Give yourself a budget, and get shopping! If you don’t have a budget you end up taking home a lot of junk and having to miss out on buying something you REALLY NEED later on. Trust me… I speak from experience.

As you continue down, don’t forget to look up! A lot of the better shops are on the second and even third floors of the buildings around you, the vintage shops and independent traders often rent out these higher units. Don’t be afraid to climb the stairs and look around. Another tip here: you may find the sales assistants in Harajuku to be what we would call ‘pushy’ with their customer service. This is a common misunderstanding. Sales assistants here and in the rest of Tokyo take great pride in their work, and will literally do ANYTHING to make sure you leave happy. If you feel they are following you around, watching you all the time or just generally being a bit creepy, this is not their intent. Try to see it more as their desire to be your personal shopping assistant from the minute you enter their shop, don’t be afraid to ask for different sizes, colours or styles if you don’t see what you like.

Oh, and if you feel like everyone is shouting at you when you go into a shop, they probably are! It is customary in Japan for the sales assistants to shout ‘Irasshaimase!’, which is basically a short way of saying ‘welcome, please come in and look’.

Quite a bit further down from Daiso, and past many little shops you should have browsed. You will come to a building with stairs on the outside. The store at street level sells all types of awful ‘gangster’ wear, and is probably best avoided. Climb the stairs though and you will find ‘Bodyline‘. Bodyline is a store selling lolita, gothic lolita, sweet lolita and more. As someone who isn’t necessarily a hardcore full-blown ‘loli’, this place is heaven, all the items are affordable.. almost ridiculously so, and still super cute. Bodyline items are not in the same league as more exclusive ‘loli’ brands such as ‘Baby The Stars Shine Bright’, ‘Angelic Pretty’ or ‘Metamophose’ so if you are looking to buy something that will impress any gaggle of full on lolita girls you would be shopping in the wrong place, but if like me, you would like to incorporate a bit of ‘loli’ into your style, Bodyline is the perfect place to start!

Near to Bodyline is a store that doesn’t seem to have a name but to which I refer to as the ‘Sequin Drag Shop’. This store is dedicated solely to selling super glitzy costumes COVERED in sequins and gemstones. Perfect for showmen and women, performance artists, drag superstars and sparkle enthusiasts, this place ain’t cheap, but it seems to be THE place to get your bum skimming sequin American flag hotpants and feather headdress. If you don’t have any use for these things, it is definitely well worth looking. Shop assistants really don’t mind, just try not to manhandle the stuff in here too much… It’s crammed in pretty tight and you don’t want to be crushed by an avalanche of diamante bustiers.

On a side road opposite Bodyline and just off Takeshita Dori you will come across a second hand Vivienne Westwood store. I don’t *think* the store is official Westwood, but they take great care to ensure all items are genuine and come with all relevant boxes, packaging and labels. Although still pricey, some items here can be a lot less than if they were bought new as many Japanese people dislike buying second hand clothing. Saying that though, if you are after something super rare for super cheap you won’t get it here.. These shop assistants do know their stuff and rare gems could end up double or triple the original price. It is still a joy to look at, as the staff treat the stock with an almost museum like respect, you get the feeling everything here is ‘curated’. 

Further down this side street you will stumble across a strange building that looks like an apartment block. It is two storey and these levels connect with thin, rickety looking metal staircases. As with most shops in Harajuku, ignore the ground floor level (yet more gangster streetwear) and trot on up to the first floor. Here you will discover the ever evolving ‘Jack’s Vintage’ (sometimes referred to as Jumpin’ Jacks). This vintage store gem is owned by Tokyo mini-celeb Elovis ‘Jack’ Sato, a vintage and retro loving rockabilly extrovert who has appeared on Japanese MTV, popular films and on stage at various rockin’ gigs and events across Tokyo. He’s a dear friend and a joy to be around, but unfortunately doesn’t appear in the shop very often. You should still call in here though, as Jacks staff are just as friendly and interesting as he is! If you have an interest in going to burlesque gigs, rockin’ nights, rockabilly events and Japanese rock’n’roll CD releases, they will pile you up with flyers for a plethora of gigs and events you could only usually dream of discovering! The store itself sells expertly hand picked vintage items. Incredibly rare bags, original bowling shirts, american baseball jackets, college sweaters from the 1950’s, and beautiful costume jewellery nestle amongst Jack’s own merchandise, modern rockabilly inspired labels and novelty mid century style gifts. It can be pricey in here but I can tell you this is categorically THE BEST vintage store in all of Harajuku.

Head back the way you came, and onto Takeshita Dori again. Keep heading down it… towards the main road that cuts it off at the bottom. You won’t have to go far before you notice ‘Pink Latte’, and trust me, you WILL notice it! Though Pink Latte sells fairly tame teeny bopper style accessories and gifts, the store itself is impressive in design. From the outside you notice why, at least 60% of the inside of this store is made up of a full reconstruction of an aeroplane. This makes for a great photo and a surreal experience! The items however are a little bit of a disappointment, covered in branding and not amazing quality.

That’s it for my picks on the stores on Takeshita Dori and the immediate surrounding area. Next time I will take you over the road to what I call the more ‘niche’ area of Harajuku and where the real treasures are! Don’t forget… I have only told you about the stores that stuck in my memory… you should definitely look in EVERY SINGLE SHOP that takes your fancy. Now, why don’t you head back up to the station and buy all that crap you resisted on the way?!

Kate x

What I’m Going To Blog About..

Here is a non-exhaustive list of things I’d like to blog about. Please tell me if any ideas grab your attention or if some are steaming piles of pap..

 

Etsy Picks – I’ll show you my favourite things for sale on Etsy. 

Japan Facts – Stuff i’ve learnt about japan. Weird stuff, interesting stuff, everyday stuff. 

My Harajuku Shopping Guide – my guide to the best shops in the best shopping district in the world!

Stuff We Forgot – Terrible and awesome things from the past/ my childhood that most people forgot about  but are well worth writing at least a paragraph of garbage about now. 

If I Owned This.. – Examples of how I would wear something im lusting after using the glory of polyvore collages

Geek Out – Something I am geeking out on. Let me clarify… I become momentarily obsessed with things on a regular basis. These obsessions usually last a week at best. I will blog about them in the vain attempt to make them more valid.

Outfit posts – go on then, if I have to!

This Lives In My House – I will choose a thing in my house, and tell you a story of where its from, what it does, how I came to own it.

Someone Got Paid To Design That – A suggestion from an Instagram follower… Photos of truly horrific clothes, objects and more that people actually got paid to design.

Terrific Textiles – Another Instagram suggestion.. photos of beautiful textiles, modern and vintage.

 

Please, Please, PLEASE do tell me if you have an idea for anything you want to see! 

katykamikaze@gmail.com

I’m on instagram and twitter as katykamikaze

Get On With It!

I’m Kate, Some call me Katy.

I started a Tumblr blog about 2 years ago, where I posted pictures of the outfits I cobbled together, I called it ‘igetdressedinthemorning’ and whilst I loved the simplicity, I found I couldn’t post long rambling rants about other aspects of my life or the sweets I had shovelled in my face that day. Tumblr is for pictures kids, not much else.

So here I am, on WordPress, starting again. There will be more than just outfit posts on here.. In fact, there will probably be less outfit posts. Here you will find style posts, travel diaries, handpicked items from internet land, tutorials, silly videos and more snippets of my life.

But who ARE you?

I am a 25 year old woman (girl? probably a girl)

I like to dress however the hell I want. Some people have a problem with this. They are idiots.

I love tattoos.. I’m something of a tattoo geek.

I appreciate awesome handmade stuff. I also like to make things myself.

Travelling to different towns, cities and countries excites me. I am OBSESSED with Japan and Japanese culture, I have been to Japan three times and will share various anecdotes at any possible opportunity. Just a warning!

Most of my evenings are spent watching Star Trek and reading Rookiemag.com

The rest of my evenings are spent reading Haruki Murakami novels and rearranging all the junk and toys I collect.

In the next few days I will be figuring out what kind of stuff I will be posting on my all new blog. If there is anything you want to see or any questions you have you can bug me by emailing katykamikaze@gmail.com

Now SCRAM!

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