Posts Tagged ‘kawaii’

For me, New Years Eve is never really a big deal. There’s usually a house party or something going on somewhere, but I tend to avoid the clubs and bars because of the hiked up prices and unnecessary drunkenness. This year however, seeing that I was in a different country I figured I’d give something new a try, which meant going to the biggest club in Japan – AgeHa, Tokyo.

I took the night bus there which seems like a really really good idea on paper; its about half the price of the bullet trains and sure it takes a while but you can sleep on the way right? Wrong! After leaving Nagoya at 11pm I arrived 6 1/2 hours later in Shinjuku after barely more than an hours sleep! (c.f. the shinkansen takes a mere 1 hour 40 mins. Guess which way I went home!)

After a shower and quick breakfast at my friend Chiyonos house (which could be more appropriately described as a palace) we all headed off to Akihabara. Akihabara, or Akiba as it is know to the locals, is the electronics centre of Japan, the world and possibly the universe. It has everything technology can think up, all the latest video games, cameras, robots, you name it. It is the stereotypical “futuristic japan” that is bursting with flashing lights, sounds, and short acne-ridden unmarried men wearing glasses.

We got kaitenzushi for lunch (that’s conveyor belt sushi for the uninitiated) before shopping and heading off to a maid cafe for an afternoon cup of tea. Even though I had heard a fair bit about Maid Cafes, I was so unprepared for what I saw! The maids welcome you with the most ridiculous language, and call you “My most honoured master/mistress”and serve you almost like they are your slaves! But its all good natured and fun, and the key point is that it is unbelievably CUTE. There should be a word in English to describe this kind of cutesy overload that makes you feel as if you have eaten too much candyfloss. All I can say is, if you get the chance GO, simply because there is nowhere else in the world that you can have an experience like this. I got a Polaroid taken with one of the maids as a souvenir and they drew on it and made it all cute!


After that we checked out the fashions down Harajuku way, before going on to Shibuya. Disappointingly I never seem to see many “harajuku girls”, such as those seen in Shoichi Aoki’s street magazine Fruits which has been documenting trends since 1996. But I always keep my eye out for this iconic style of haphazard fashion. I have a special interest in it because it really bucks the trend against social conformity:


AgeHa for NYE was amazing. I was expecting it to be good but it totally blew us all away. The music was perfect (Osawa Shinichi/Dexpistols/Emma) , the crowd was fun and up for a good time, there were performances from a crazy MC and Diva (apparently both famous) pole dancers dressed as geisha, rope dancers and I got to fulfil one personal lifetime ambition which was to dance around in gold and silver confetti to electro music. I couldn’t have wanted anything more except perhaps a new pair of feet for the morning after – we danced non-stop from 9.30 till 4.30am!

The next day we paid a visit to the shrine as is customary on New Years Day, but we didn’t bargain for quite how busy the Meiji-jingu shrine was going to get! We had to wait over an hour and a half to get in because of the several thousand other people who went to pay their respects, make a wish and get their fortune told!

All in all it was a jam-packed 48hrs but I have just about caught up on sleep again!

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Finally scraped some time off the floor to write an update. Been very busy with end of term mischief making: end of term exams equates to  lots of parties and silliness, We had a leaving party today for all the students in my level which was interesting for several reasons. Firstly because we tried to play charades in Japanese, secondly because of the “talent show” which revealed a lot of X-factor which had previously remained a secret (including a performance by the course convener Machida-sensei and an incredible Michael Jackson impersonation amongst other things), and thirdly because 2 of the MCs were guys cross dressed as geisha! (The other day we had to an important presentation worth 10% of our grade and a fellow student chose to do his using the medium of song, to the tune of The Final Countdown. Unfortunately he refused to do a repeat performance today which was a shame. It was really very good though – I heard he got bonus points for his creativity.) Anyway, the peak of silliness was achieved when an evening of eating and drinking culminated in  my rather tipsy seminar class and professor doing the hokey-kokey outside an izakaya (restaurant/drinking venue). Good times.

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Today I feel a bit like this. Except without the crazy makeup and fake tan. Or the neon attire.

(If you are wondering why this young lady is dressed in such an atypically Japanese way then google ‘ganguro’ – its a kind of alternative trend that is seen in certain parts of Tokyo.)

Nearly there… this time tomorow Ill be on a plane, and this time monday I’ll be in Nihon. Yipppeee! 🙂

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