Category Archive for Press
Oakland Cat Town Cafe, first to open in USA! ABC Nightline TV interview, Shinjuku Tokyo Robot restaurant.
So many maooos! Last December, I was honored to be interviewed on ABC Nightline, the long-running news program that is broadcast worldwide. The network flew me to San Francisco to be interviewed in a segment about cat cafes and the spread of J-pop culture to America.
If you missed this ABC Nightline episode, don’t fret — you can watch it below and on my YouTube channel. It includes footage of the psychedelic Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku, bikini-clad fembots and kawaii maid cafes!
The TV crew and I filmed at the first cat cafe to open in the USA: Cat Town Oakland (near San Francisco). Unlike Japanese kitty cafes, this one has a meaningful mission: to save at-risk abandoned felines.
Want to peek inside Cat Town and a J-pop mall in San Francisco? Then read on.
Click the items below, to build an outfit like mine!
My long, leather skirt is by the young Hong Kong-based designer, Erbert Chong. Everyone is raving about his leather, edgy yet wearable designs for women. I can’t get over the materials and finish of his pieces — they’re some of my favorite items in my wardrobe right now.
My white creeper shoes, with a pirate bear, are Peace Now. This Japanese brand has unfortunately shut down…
My coiled, silver 3D bracelet is from Angelica Brigade.
Everyone should have a cat ring, in my opinion! Here’s where you can get a cat-faced ring like mine.
Trevor joined me for the ABC Nightline TV news shoot at Cat Town (address: 2869 Broadway in downtown Oakland, California). Not a bad job, playing on-camera with a dozen kitties. (Watch the video here).
Like the Shinjuku cat cafe, the space is creatively decorated with all sorts of climbing platforms and toys.
Japanese cat cafes — cute as the concept is — tend to operate a bit like petting zoos. These cafes bring in rare purebred species, like exotic shorthairs, for the customers to enjoy.
In contrast, Cat Town is a partnership with Oakland Animal Services. The cafe provides a stimulating environment for shelter cats, especially the ones who are the least likely to be adopted. Volunteers help to run the space, and the goal is to let these abandoned cats blossom and find permanent adoptive homes.
As soon as you step into Cat Town, you feel that the operation is full of heart. The humans who work here puts the needs of the cats first (and the decor reinforces their prime position!)
The coffee shop is separate from the cat-petting area, but you can bring your latte inside and sip it while playing with cats. The cafe focuses on supporting local businesses, and sells small-batch pastries from a local baker, like cookies laced with “Cattitude.”
Like in the Tokyo cat cafes I visited, there are rules to follow, which keep the cats safe. However, unlike in Asia, guests don’t take off their shoes before entering, nor are they required to sanitize their hands.
(Do you see the Scottish Fold drawing in the top corner? It’s the only fold at the cafe, since this round-faced breed rarely ends up in animal rescues.)
I’ve been chatting with ABC Nightline’s team for some time now, and gave them travel tips when they went to Tokyo. As a follow-up for their Tokyo pop culture stories, I appeared on the show to give background and context on maid, cat and robot cafes in Japan.
Here I am with ABC News presenter Cecilia Vega, and producer / director Nick Capote. They’re so sweet, and we had a fun day together!
Cecilia and I wandered around Cat Town, and played with the cats. It’s great to see the strays thriving in this cat-tastic environment.
You can grab a cat toy, and they’ll pounce all over it. The walls are covered with colorful murals, including artwork of Grumpy Cat, Totoro, Nyan Cat and more pop culture icons.
The custom-built playgrounds are a tip of the hat to San Francisco’s landmarks, like the Tribune building.
Cecilia Vega and I chatted about the appeal of cat cafes, the spread of Japanese concept cafes to North America, and more. Watch our conversation on the ABC Nightline segment.
Peekaboo, I see you! The cats have a private room in the back where they can escape the crowds and sleep.
A few of the kitties couldn’t take their paws off our film equipment. Several took a nap in a camera bag.
Rescuing and re-homing cats continue to be a challenge in cities worldwide. Animal shelters do great work, but are over-crowded and stressful.
So far, Cat Town is succeeding at giving them space to thrive.
Already, adoption rates are up: customers will play with the cats and fall in love with one. All the adoptions go through a screening process, to make sure the pets go to secure homes.
The volunteers genuinely care about the cats, and do the best for them. As an example, I noticed that they feed the kitties Wellness — a byproduct-free, grain-free brand that I feed my own Scottish Fold baby, Basil Farrow. The staff told me that they turned down sponsorship offers from big-name cat food companies, since this mass-produced food doesn’t contain the best ingredients for their health. Go Cat Town!
Another instance of dedication: co-founder Adam has a tattoo of their coffee partner’s logo (Bicycle Coffee), with cat-ears and whiskers. On the left, Trevor strokes a black cat, which matches his look.
For these reasons, I’ve been recommending Cat Town to everyone who visits San Francisco. It’s the first cat cafe to open up in America, and hopefully sets the standard for a meaningful, adoption-oriented approach.
Entry is by donation; you can reserve a guaranteed visitation time with a minimum $10 donation. Every hour, about 20 people are allowed into the space, and you can play with about 10-15 felines.
Trevor, the ABC team and I took a quick lunch break in SF’s Japan Town. I’m still thinking about the ramen at Waraku, it was that good!
We continued filming for the episode at New People World, the Japanese fashion mall. (The address and a tour of the boutiques are in my San Francisco shopping guide.)
MaruQ, located on the first floor, remains my favorite store in the Jpop mall. So much cuteness in one room, including brands like Ayammy, Omocat and Liz Lisa.
Raise your paw if you love Rilakkuma the bear! (Sadly, this segment was cut from the ABC Nightline feature, but I still wanted to share these images with you.)
Cecilia and I walked around the store, and chatted about the growing popularity of Japanese street fashion in America. Can you spot Trevor in the background?
Gothic tattoos and a rainbow cat dress: spooky meets sweet, that’s how we roll.
The shop girls are adorable as ever. They’re modeling a variety of looks from Japanese style tribes.
Trevor couldn’t resist getting these sunglasses. “And I won’t break your heart shaped glasses.”
For more info on where to get Goth, vintage, alternative and kawaii clothing, check out my San Fran shopping guide.
A million “arigatos” for the ABC Nightline team, for having me on the program!
Please take a moment to watch my interview on ABC Nightline! The segment includes crazy footage from the Robot Restaurant in Japan (with robot-women performers), maid cafes, and cat cafes in Tokyo and California.
Have you ever been to a cat cafe? Would you want one to open in your hometown?
Shop my ABC TV outfit below…
I don’t often do editorial photoshoots, with avantgarde hair and makeup… but when the opportunity arises, I go all out. Kirameki Magazine asked me to be the cover model for their 10th anniversary issue, and I brought in my talented Vancouver team to create these images.
I’m so happy with how the images turned out. All the credit goes to my team:
Kirameki is a fashion magazine with a theme for each issue. We interpreted “Asiatique” with makeup and styles from a variety of Asian influences.
This look is inspired by kawaii Harajuku anime-eyes, and Japanese street fashion. The two hair rolls almost look like cat ears — the look is very “me,” don’t you think?
I’m wearing a Moi-meme-Moitie graveyard dress (the print is called Sleeping Garden), bought in Tokyo. This brand was created by Mana, guitarist/leader of Malice Mizer and Moi dix Mois, if you aren’t familiar with it. I also wore this EGL (Elegant Gothic Lolita) dress to the LA Oscars party.
Ankle boots: hair stylist’s own
Tights: Jonathan Aston
We collected fresh flowers and placed them all around the bed. Downtown Vancouver’s Georgian Court Hotel generously let us shoot these images in one of their suites. (I previously reviewed this luxury boutique hotel; it’s one of my hometown favorites.)
The Georgian Court even let us shoot in their whirlpool, resulting in these dramatic underwater images!
Forever grateful to makeup artist Jennifer Little, who went into the water to help me float — or else I wouldn’t have managed these poses!
Stunning, the kabuki-like mask that she painted on my face.
Kimono robe: makeup artist’s own, a vintage silk number.
For the third look, I’m wearing a traditional sequined Chinese dress called a cheoungsam. I got it in an Asian fashion boutique.
My hair got some poof thanks to a 1980s crimper. The blue color, cut and styling are by Stephanie Hoy — ask for her at Avant Garde Hair in Yaletown, Vancouver!
Love the mood captured by Shimona Henry, who runs Pin Up Perfection in Vancouver. As the name indicates, she’s a pro at pin up and alternative portraits. She’s fast and fun to shoot with, and I’m excited to do more with her soon.
A behind-the-scenes peek at Jennifer, me, and Stephanie. Wish we could have had a slumber party at the Georgian Court.
Hugs for my team — I love how the photos and concept came together, and couldn’t have done this without you!
And thank you to Kirameki Magazine for honoring me with the cover. I hope you’ll order a copy of the magazine – both digital and print copies are available. You don’t want to miss the full spread and extensive interview with me, along with other inspiring Asia fashion features.
Which of these three styles do you like best? What do you think of these more dramatic looks on me?
Shinjuku Hello Kitty store: Sanrio clothes & Tokyo cute food! Hong Kong Express Airways magazine cover.
I know you love cute Japanese characters, so I captured tons of photos during my TV shoot in Tokyo earlier this year (hence the pink hair). I’m actually in Japan right now, for yet another TV filming, so there are many more photos on the way…
For now, enjoy these images of Totoro donuts, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu contact lenses and more kawaii — as well as another magazine cover, for a Hong Kong in-flight magazine!
Last spring, I had sakura-colored hair. Before the TV crew arrived, Naomiyaki took some street snaps of me in Shinjuku. The colorful energy of this entertainment district (which holds Christon Cafe, Marui One, host clubs and more) can’t be beat.
My Hello Kitty shoes are ridiculous: red and white, with a big plump bow! They are part of the KiLaRa Hello Kitty fashion collection in Hong Kong.
I’m hugging the iconic giant Hello Kitty statue, who sits in front of Shinjuku’s Sanrio Gift Gate shop. (Address: 1st Floor, Korakuen Ad Hoc Building, 3-15-11 Shinjuku). It’s one of the many Hello Kitty shops you’ll find in Tokyo.
However, probably the largest and scariest source of Sanrio goods is Puroland, the Hello Kitty theme park…
Glam Nail Studio Vancouver decorated me with pastel nail art, ringed with glitter and topped with a Keroppy. As always, I use Bio Sculpture Gel (the polish never chips, but also doesn’t damage the nail as acrylics do).
As you might expect, there are Hello Kitty products all over Tokyo. The products in the official Sanrio shops are often pricier, but you can find little souvenirs (like these My Melody bath balls) in Don Quixote, Tokyu Hands, and even 100 yen stores.
When you walk around the city, you’ll surely encounter cute decorated food! These Totoro pastries, from a Nakano North Exit bakery, were among the most adorable. I also found Anpanman and happy face buns nearby. (Offerings change constantly, so your best bet is to pop your head into bakeries and see what’s currently available.)
Mr. Donut’s Pon de Lion mascot brightens up this snack. They recently released a Halloween Hello Kitty donut, and currently offer Snoopy and Woodstock ones.
Even convenience stores like 7-Eleven have kawaii food. In Cantonese, this cat bun would be called a “maoo baoo”!
In a ramen shop, I spotted this white cat on a bottle of sake. It’s “Nigorin Sake with Lactic Bacterium” — a light, milky sour made from fermented rice alcohol. Even though the bottle is adorable, I didn’t dare try it.
Don Quixote is a “general store” with locations all around Tokyo. (The iconic location is on Yasakuni-doori near the Shinjuku Station east exit.) Here, you can pick up cosmetics, beauty products, homewares and even electronics for excellent prices.
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is the present It Girl, and poster child for a line of circle colored contact lenses.
Even Japanese hair dyes have pretty packaging. The “Fresh Light” brand is modeled by Junie Moon dolls (remember my photos of the Junie Moon doll store in Daikanyama?)
There’s no better place to pick up a French maid or Japanese schoolgirl costume.
Turn into a living doll with the help of colored contacts (like the ones I wore here).
Rilakkuma fans, you may go a bit crazy…
This plush bear is a popular sight all over town. There must be hundreds in this crane game machine.
Who are your favorite Japanese kawaii characters? Have you tried making food in the shape of Hello Kitty and friends?
For recipes and tips on how to “cook cute,” I invite you to check out my book, Cute Yummy Time (Penguin Books USA). Perhaps it might be a good Christmas gift.
PS: In addition to Rebelicious, I’m on another cover this month: the very first issue of UO, the in-flight magazine of Hong Kong Express Airways. This is a newly-launched airline, with routes from Hong Kong to nearby destinations such as Tokyo, Osaka, Phuket, and Penang.
Thanks to this youth-focused, short-haul airline for making me their cover ambassador, and interviewing me about my favorite places in Tokyo. You can read UO Magazine online here, in both English and Chinese. (Photos by Said Karlsson, hair by Kukukachoo, more images from this shoot here.)
I’ll likely be doing more with HK Express soon, so stay tuned for that… and loads of Japan winter coverage!
Art Nouveau Disco Goth! Rebelicious Magazine cover: Angelica Brigade hair flowers, Vaute Couture dresses.
While I was in Portland, I did something special… I shot a cover and spread for Rebelicious Magazine! It’s an honor to be the face of their winter issue, which came out today.
There’s more happy news: my Budapest travel video and slideshow are published here on Business Insider, and the reaction is huge — 150,000 views and counting! I hope you’ll take a minute to watch, and that you’ll enjoy the photos below.
My team and I took these images in Portland, Oregon, mainly around Steel Bridge. I love shooting outdoors in different cities, as I feel these types of photos best convey the feeling of a place.
All of the magazine photography is by Melissa Rundle and Eric Bergemann, who are also my travel filmmakers. So far, we’ve filmed in Budapest, Maldives, Mexico, Hawaii, Belgrade and more! (You can see all videos on my YouTube channel.)
First Mate Naomi Rubin took behind-the-scenes and additional photos, which I’ll share in an upcoming post.
Aren’t these velvet dresses adorable? They were lent to me by Vaute Couture, an eco-conscious and vegan fashion label. The latest collection is inspired by Sailor Moon — the Jpop colors and cute cuts were a perfect fit for me.
You can purchase this Kristina dress, a Constellation dress and more from Vaute Couture’s website.
My silk flower hair accessories were created by hand, by Angelica Brigade.
The accessories can be pinned or clipped on, and arranged in any way — including stacking them to make a flower crown. Angelica Brigade customized the colors to match my new hair!
Speaking of — my mermaid hair color is the work of Stephanie Hoy of Avant Garde Hair in Vancouver. The ombre effect is a combination of turquoise, blue and dark purple.
My coat is a disco-pimp dream, isn’t it? It’s vintage Alan Cherry (Toronto designer brand), from Portland store Hattie’s. Once I saw the long white leather panels and faux-fur trim, I had to have it.
The cut-out black boots are Yosuke, from Marui One Shinjuku
My makeup is 100% Annabelle Cosmetics, a Canadian company. I’ve been wearing them the entire time in Portland.
As you might know, I’m a big fan of Art Nouveau, and wanted to do a shoot inspired by this aesthetic.
My take on the dreamy, floral world of the Mucha ladies. (Remember when I saw his Art Nouveau exhibit in Tokyo?)
It’s an honor to shoot for Rebelicious Magazine, a publication “for girly girls in a brutal world.” They celebrate alternative style, underground culture and individuality — all things I stand for.
The winter issue features an interview with me, so you’ll have to pick up Rebelicious Magazine here for the full scoop!
Which of the two outfits do you prefer? It’s fun to switch up my wardrobe, in order to match my ever-changing hair color.
No animals were harmed to make this faux fur scarf. I got it at Holt Renfrew.
Here is the shot that ended up being the magazine cover.
The back of my Vaute Couture dress has a cut-out star.
Portland’s autumn colors were too gorgeous not to shoot.
Lens flare is always welcome, especially when it reflects teal like my dress.
Thanks to Rebelicious Mag and my team for this wonderful project.
PS: My Budapest travel video is released! Watch as I visit hipster bars, rock out at a surreal music festival, and taste Hungarian food. I hope the Mission Impossible running scene makes you smile.
See my shenanigans above and on Business Insider. Thanks to all of you, for making my creative pursuits possible.