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A weekend in Tokyo (day 1)

It had been a long time since I’d been to Tokyo (about 7 months) so I picked a random weekend to visit. I took the night bus which cost ¥8500 for a return, not the most luxurious of ways to to travel but fairly convenient and cheap.

I arrived at 7am at Tokyo Station, quickly freshened up and changed in the station toilets (classy) and went to my hostel. It was too early for check in and no one was around..I waited around a while then as I’d stayed there before I ventured to the kitchen area to find someone so I could leave my bag.

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First I went to Asakusa, to Sensoji so I could say my prayers. This weekend was the peak of cherry blossom in Tokyo so I could admire all the lovely trees by the temple.

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Then I went to Harajuku, it was still too early for the shops to be open so I walked to Laforet and joined the other people waiting for it to open.

I saw the flower headpiece the Alice and the Pirates designer was wearing at the Kera tea party so had to buy it! The Day Dream Carnival series had just been released at Angelic Pretty the day before and they had some tights, tote bags and small accessories left. I don’t actually like the series, but many people do and I hear the release was a complete nightmare!

I wandered back up Takeshita Dori, stopped at Closet Child and was a little disappointed at what was there. I was ready to buy everything but there wasn’t much to my taste. In the end just got the ETC present box jsk (I used to have the skirt) and a qpot ring. Actually I was pretty happy with the ring, I’d been eyeing up the necklace of the same series for a while and it was pretty cheap (¥2800). I browsed the other shops a little but didn’t buy much, just a small flower from Paris Kids.

Next was Shinjuku to meet the International Tokyo Lolita’s group! We went to Edinburgh a small tea room for food. I got a bagel – yum!

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Sarah’s cappuccino was crazy, you had to scoop the cream on and then stir it with the cinnamon stick. It looked impressive but actually was more hard work and washing up!

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After we refueled we went to the Doll exhibition, it was really interesting, some of the dolls looked beautifully melancholic and others were the stuff of nightmares! They cost an absolute fortune as well.

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We spent about 45mins at the exhibit and then walked to Shinjuku park around the corner. As it costs ¥200 to enter and they have a strict no alcohol policy ( your bags are searched when entering) it wasn’t over crowded so we could enjoy the sakura and take pictures!

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I fail at posing and look how I feel (like I just spent the night on the bus with only 4 hrs of interrupted sleep).

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Pretty sakura.

The park closes at 5pm and it was 4.30pm so we left and went to the shops! Marui One and Closet Child Shinjuku. I didn’t buy anything though :( a few people had to leave and the four of us left went to dinner in Harajuku.

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We went to a Jamaican place! It was my first time trying Jamaican food and I really enjoyed it even though the service was laughably slow and relaxed (“Ey Yvonne we got any of that jerk chicken?”, in a heavy Jamaican accent!).

I went back to the Toco and enjoyed my free drink, stood awkwardly at the bar and talked to a few locals in stilted Japanese and English.

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Kera Tea Party Report!

I didn’t get many pictures, as not sure they were allowed, so here is a terrible outfit mirror shot and head shot before I left. I got the hat from Emsexcite for ¥1995 but it needed more ribbon or flowers or something, so I stuck my Miho Matsuda bow on there.

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I wore the hat, Rococo Bouquet long OP in green from Victorian Maiden and pink bow heels. I also twisted my hair and put it in a bun.

The event was to showcase and promote the uUeda College of Fashion (where you can take a gothic lolita course) alongside Kera. We arrived just in time for things to start, and got quickly ushered downstairs to take a Kera snap! Wow my first! It was over so quick I’m sure I looked like a startled deer! As we were late we didn’t have time to complete our forms properly and I had to leave the ‘point of style’ bit blank – I would have just written ‘Spring!’ anyway.

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It started with introductions and the fashion show! We saw Metamorphose, Marple, Baby the Stars shine bright, Alice and the pirates and some of the students final pieces. Midori and Yu Kimura modeled for the event and at the end had an interview with the presenter and played a quiz game! Our table did terrible we only got 2 points! Apparenty Midori is going to be a teacher at the college from June (no idea what she will be teaching though!). A designer for Alice and the Pirates was also at the event, she spoke a little and presented a prize to one of the fashion contest winners.

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After that it was over.

We walked down a floor to look at the Kera shop area, but it was really lacking. As we were stood talking one of the organizers told us to go back up. We didn’t know why but thought, why not?! When we went back into the event room a small circle of chairs had been set up and the female presenter and the Alice and the Pirates designer were there….we had a private audience with her! There were only 11 of us! We listened to her talk about her work and her fashion background and then we got to ask questions. Via Lona I asked her how long it took from having an idea to it being available to buy in the shop. I was expecting it to be 6-12months, but she said it usually only took a month! They work to a very tight schedule, one day for pattern cutting, one to send to the factory and get a sample etc… I was so surprised! The designer was really sweet and spoke to me in English a little afterwards, she’s taking English lessons at the moment as when she travels to other countries for conventions with Alice and the Pirates there is hardly ever an interpreter for her. Which is interesting as I know plenty of lolitas who speak Japanese well and would love to interpret for the lolita brands!

We were all pretty hungry by then (5pm!) as the tea party had only consisted of one glass of tea and a small handful of sweets on a plate! So we went to Umeda station for dinner and purikura before heading home.

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You can still see some of the footage from the event here including the chat with Midori and Yu Kimura.

Edit: kera report here, my back made it! Lol.

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Sumo

In March Osaka holds a sumo tournament at the Prefectural Gymnasium. It lasts pretty much all day. You can learn about a typical sumo day here. We got tickets on the day for ¥3600 each (arena C).

We took our seats about 2pm, and the gymnasium was pretty empty. Most people around us were relaxing, eating bento and drinking beer, not necessarily paying attention to the sumo!

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I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the sumo. After 4pm the serious competitors came out, the seats filled up and the tension grew. Although with it the pomp and ceremony took longer, often longer than most of the matches!

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The last match was epic, we had been taking sides and the left guy (mine) was a giant, he had 7 sponsors and the other competitor 10! The crowd were getting riled up and yelling “ganbare”. The giant western man on the left looked to be winning but at the last second the other guy spun it around and threw the giant over the edge of the ring! Everyone went insane! A report of the match can be found here!.

Although it is mostly a tourist / serious sumo lovers event I really recommend it and hope to go again next year!

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Osaka Art and Handmade Fair

J saw this advertised on TV and told me I had to go! In the UK I often went to vintage or antique/craft fairs so this was very me.

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At the last minute my friend couldnt come so I wasnt sure I was still going. Once again J told me I had to!! So I ventured out alone…surprisingly I didn’t get lost!

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There were three main areas and a food court, the items were generally of a high quality and there were a lot of visitors though I didn’t have to que to get in. The last area also had the craft booths were you could make an item, these people were being taught to knit/crochet!

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I felt awkward taking pictures of people’s items incase they thought I was stealing their ideas! So didn’t take many. Most of the stalls were art, either paintings or drawings, ceramic kitchenware, necklaces, bags, felt crafts, resin jewelry or handmade wooden items like chairs or ornaments.

I bought J a Shiba Inu stamp from Orang De Utan for ¥400.

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Some resin floral earrings from Flower Market for me which were ¥2500.

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Then a resin floral ring from Chonii for ¥1000.

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I could have bought lots more but I restrained myself!

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I think there is another event in May and I would definitely go again!

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Rilakkuma: Lawson Raffle

Yesterday the new Rilakkuma lottery started in selected Lawson stores. You take a ticket to the counter, pay ¥500 and pick another ticket out a box. The letter you get correlates to the prize category and then you can choose. You are more likely to get a smaller prize like a charm than the large plushies or the cushion.

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When I got home from work last night the staff were just putting the items out, so asked J to get me one on his way home.

He won me a J prize –

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Then today I went myself and had another go!

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I got an I prize!

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The tickets!

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I love the items they are so cute! Plus the lottery added an element of excitement! Ill probably leave it at two prizes though.

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Spring!

It’s finally starting to feel like spring, I’m currently sat on my balcony enjoying the sun with an ice cream and chilled glass of rose!

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And here I am a few days ago soaking up the sun. It wasn’t just a flukey sunny day! (Although it was raining yday).

Later I’m going to Osaka Castle to check out what should be the height of plum blossom season. I went at the beginning just as the early plum blossoms were blooming so looking forward to seeing even more beautiful flowers!