Thursday, September 16, 2010

rainy harajuku

Today after classes me and Marchelle went into Harajuku (not really for funsies, more for things we needed).  I always hear people talking about how Harajuku is the 'center of adolescent culture in Japan.'  So I figured I would explore that a little.  First a little photo introduction to Harajuku.  

The above picture of Takeshita-dori.  On this street are all kinds of boutiques that sell off brand clothing for pretty inexpensive.  The clothing in the shops is adorable as well.

原宿駅 :  It looks pretty anticlimactic here, but I like taking pictures of the railways.
{{The Swimmer store in Harajuku.  I took this because I figured no one would believe me when I said that Swimmer stores are the most crowded, cutsey things ever.  When I first came to Japan I was excited about going in a Swimmer store, but now I kind of hate it because I get sick of trying to maneuver through all the stuff and people.  That doesn't seem to prevent me from buying at least one thing every time though.}}

Lining all of Takeshita-dori are crepe shops and stands.   
{{All the different flavors.  Well, some of them.  I'm not sure how familiar everyone is with Japan, but it is typical to see plastic display samples of various menu items.  This is especially true when restaurants have specials running on certain dishes.  They are all very realistic looking, in my opinion.  }}
{{I ate one.  Banana.}}  

I think in the US the perception of 'Harajuku culture' is shaped a lot by pop media.  Most notably is Gwen Stafani's depiction of 'Harajuku Girls' and her subsequent fashion line, 'Harajuku Lovers'.  I'm not sure if that kind of style is was I personally was anticipating when I came to Japan, but I know that a lot of people back home group Japan with that kind of style.  For those of you who aren't familiar with her Harajuku Lovers line, here is a purse to the left that is very characteristic of the line's style. 

Mostly the line is characterized by bright popping colors and infantile like caricatures. It's definitely something you would call 'cute'.  

I didn't see much of this in Harajuku, however.  The clothing that I found was mostly of the lacy, feminine with subtle hints of masculinity, variety.  It was definitely a more mature look than one finds in Gwen's line of clothing and accessories.  

In other ventures throughout Japan I have seen definite signs of the kind of 'cute' Gwen channels in her Harajuku Lovers line (i.e. pink refrigerators and fluffy marshmallow characters advertising lending firms).  But I don't really think it is 'Harajuku' fashion.  More just a cultural affinity towards cute things.  

As to the assertion that Harajuku is the center for 'adolescent culture', I can definitely see that as possible.  Typically when I am in Harajuku I see more kids in uniforms than I see fashionistas.    


  1. Because I have no idea, how cold is cold? The railway picture looks like it's right out of a movie, and I actually really like the one with all the umbrellas. The Swimmer store looks freaking CRAZY! (And geeze, I can see what you mean about all the pink x.x') The plastic food displays make me wonder - how do they compare to the actual dishes? Does food there /seriously/ look that perfect? (The crepe sure seems to.)

  2. @Lauren : Well, I guess I have to put it into perspective. Up until this week the weather was always in the high 90s, and was humid as anything. So the ten minute walk from the subway to my university resulted in me literally dripping in sweat by the time I got there. Everyone carries around sweat cloths for this reason. Apparently this year was strange, and it's usually not this hot for this long, but because of the pressure being pushed up from the typhoon or whatever, the heat lingered.

    Japanese homes don't necessarily have AC, because electricity is very pricey and old homes were never built with it. The house I am in has AC in the master bedroom, the office, and the living room / kitchen area. They are just wall units, but they cool those rooms really well. The room that I sleep in has no AC, so I keep all my windows down and use a fan.

    Yesterday and the day before we got a lot of rain, and it cooled down to about 70 with a soft breeze. I guess this doesn't sound cold, but I imagine when it was actually raining it felt like the 60s. Plus, with all my windows down the cross breeze felt chilly.

    As far as my experience goes the food displays accurately represent the food choices. Presentation here is like .. eveerrryythiing. All of the food, especially desserts, looks amazing.

    You seem really interested in this kind of stuff, so I'll try and make a more concerted effort to take pictures of these kinds of things. I often feel so touristy taking pictures of things that are normal to Japanese people, so I don't. But I really should be more brave I guess :D

  3. Thank you for the kind comments on my blog :)

  4. You're not a tourist, you're a student! So any tourist pictures are actually just... cultural learning material. *nods* =D I'd really, really like to travel to Japan one day when I have the time/money/peace of mind to, but it's SO HARD to find info on what the culture is truly like from an American perspective. There's a ton of info about tourist attractions and certain basic cultural things, but I seriously had no idea it was so warm in Japan during this time of year OR that sweat cloths were acceptable OR that AC isn't as common as it is here. Japan's usually marketed as either uber traditional or uber modern, so it's nice to get some REAL info on where lines are drawn. I'm shocked by how much it seems like America - and by how much it doesn't, you know? Hope there was better weather for you guys today! (BTW, I'm finally taking Japanese this semester - totes for funsies.)

  5. What is in fact Punk Opera?
    Just normal only the subject is more violent?

    can you please remove word verification?

  6. Those train tracks are beautiful! Such anincredile picture

  7. clockwork orange opera made by the japanese!!!
    I am speechless! LOL