March 06, 2007

Harajuku

Harajuku: you've probably heard of the style. I have to confess, before I went, I hadn't quite heard about it. I knew you could find some crazy styles in Japan. But I guess I wasn't thinking about high school kids dressed in kawaii-goth mutoe fashionista.

Outside Yoyogi park (a very nice park in the western side of Tokyo, easily accessed from Harajuku station on Yamonote line) at the southern entrance (just next to the station) on Sunday you can find literally hordes of girls, and boys, and some in the fine gap between (nothing like two mid 20s giant japanese guys in pink petticoats to hit you back at feeling conspicuous) dressed in all manner of outfits, whose numbers are probably only matched by the numbers of onlookers from far and near.

The park itself attracts quite a big crowd of amatuer sporting enthusiasts, drama and music performers, cheer squads, couples, families, elvis impersonaters, tourists (it houses a few important temples and art galleries), especially on a mid summers day like the day we chose. Plus lots of avid shoppers to the surrounding mall areas.

The white things across some of the girls faces are those masks you often see worn by people during SARS epidemics and the like. Tough kids ヤンキ (Yanki, said like Youngki, but from Yankee), especially young girls, wear these (but as sort of chin strap things, not necesserally over the mouth. I don't know why, but it's meant to be scary. Ooh, you might cough on me.

The girl with blue hair is showing quite a lot of leg, but seriously I loved the respirator outfit. It's totally hardcore. On closer observation (yeah, I'm an objectifying voyeur) I noticed the girl wearing it was quite likely a white european-decent girl, maybe she was hiding this fact by wearing an obscuring costume.

The last photo gives you a little peak at the extreme just zany attention whoring that can go out at an event like this. Some of the girls don't like to get their photo taken. I always asked first, or took one like the top one where the girls (or boys) were quite clearly posing for another happy snapper. Some of the girls are a bit rude, and are quite clearly culture alt snobs just out there to compare with what their friends (and the competition) are wearing.

There were some people in bunny suits, giant swords, insanely big hair (this is Japan, insanely big hair means insanely big hair).
And there was this old guy. Seriously. Clashing colours for a start. That's a dress. Flowers. Pinwheels. How do those dolls stay on that hat. And... dude... what is that orange thing inside your hat? A goldfish! And yes, it was alive.

So if you are in Tokyo for a weekend. Have a busting hangover from Saturday night. Head on down to Harajuku. Okay, it might be a bit noisy, but you might find some nice たこ焼き or other random fried mollusc store around the place as well.

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