Steam Garden: Tokyo, Japan steampunk party at Christon Cafe Shinjuku. Japanese cosplay fashion event.
The concept of Steampunk is only beginning to gain recognition in Japan, even though there have been many works that incorporate the aesthetic, such as Katsuhiro Otomo’s anime film Steamboy. My Tokyo-based friends Kenny Creation and Luke Chaos have been passionate about Steampunk for some time, and last year, they founded the event Steam Garden. (Photo above by Aki Saito)
On March 10th, I went to their fourth event, themed “Celtic Fantasy.” Luke and Kenny rented out the entire Christon Café Shinjuku (a theme restaurant filled with European relics), and filled it with tribal fire dancers, cosplay performances, Medieval food, and live music on period instruments. (Photo by Jab)
Each event has a different theme, revolving around a past era. Previously, Steam Garden did a Meiji-themed party — a fascinating time when Japan was opening its doors to the West, and fusing Victorian fashion with traditional kimonos and obis.
This time, the code word was Celtic Fantasy. Luke describes it as “a blend of industry, fantasy, and epic adventure set to a soundtrack of exciting tribal and Celtic music.”
Kenny Creation DJ-ed possibly the most original set I’ve ever heard… it was exclusively bagpipe music! The crowd wasn’t sure how to dance to it, but Sarah and I gave it a go.
In between sets, there were mesmerizing performances by motion capture and stunt performer Kaori Kawabuchi (Final Fantasy 13), live music on a variety of period instruments from medieval group Homonculus…
… steamcore music and tribal fire dance from Chaos Royale VS Lyon.
Kana is the beautiful green Absinthe fairy, serving French “grande absente”.
With the dapper “philosopher” of Steam Garden, Luke. La Carmina wears:
Plaid purple dress: Miho Matsuda, from Closet Child. I wore it quite differently in this grunge outfit post.
Clockwork purse: Amavel, from Lumine Shinjuku (pics from this store soon)
Tako corset: gifted by Dracula Clothing (I wore it on the cover of Ladies of Steampunk magazine)
Braveheart roamed the room, challenging partygoers to duels in a Scottish accent.
One section of Christon Cafe contained tables, which sold pocket-watches, Steampunk accessories and other brass and clockwork instruments.
You could also order food — a plate of meat on skewers, to fit the Medieval vibe.
Yukiro Dravarious is an evil witch from the woods.
Steam Garden attracts an extremely fashionable, well-dressed crowd. It’s inspiring to see how Japanese alternative fashionistas have adopted the style, making it into something distinctively Japanese.
Love the cute twist on Steampunk’s signature brown clothing and brass goggles.
I enjoyed the company of a Victorian pageboy, a Braveheart lass…
… Captain Nemo, and a Victorian inventor gentleman.
A striking Mori-kei wood maiden look here, with flowers and antlers in the hair.
Every style tribe is welcome here, like Shiro-Nuri (white face paint, ghostly fashion).
And Japanese Lolitas. Do you like their coordinates?
Many of the outfits involved DIY gear, like this impressive glove with moving parts.
If you’re having a hard time deciding between square and circular glasses, why not choose both!
Except for the first two, all photos are by Said Karlsson, who photographed me for two magazine covers and spreads.
Steam Garden occurs every few months, and I can’t wait for the next one in July. People from all over Japan travel here to attend, as it’s the only regular, organized Steampunk event in the country.
For updates, and to keep track of this scene, join the Tokyo Steampunk Society on Facebook. As Luke puts it, “Here’s hoping the airship will keep on soaring higher!”
Did you know this Steampunk culture existed in Japan? What do you think of the performances and fashion at this event?
PS: Off to Montreal to cover Kinetik festival, and the local alt art/culture! Let me know your travel tips.