Category Archive for Tokyo Gothic Lolita
Ohohoho! You’ve landed in Tokyo Decadance Bar — one of the favorite hangouts of Tokyo’s alternative, Goth and Cyber club kids. If you’re visiting the city, you must stop here for the absinthe and strange performances.
Enjoy photos from my previous two trips to “Decabar,” featuring the infamous Preta Porco in his signature yellow face paint.
Address of Tokyo Decabar: 東京都新宿区新宿5-17-13 or 5-17-13 Shinjuku, Oriental Wave Building 8F/9F
Directions: From Shinjuku East Exit, walk towards Studio Alta and Don Quixote. Take a right on this main street (Yasakuni Dori) and keep walking. Christon Cafe is on the left side of the street, right above the Lawson and before the parking lot buildings. Ride the elevator up to the 8th floor (Christon Cafe theme restaurant) and walk up the stairs to Decadance Bar.
The club space is small but laid back, and decorated in neon paint. The fashion is consistently fabulous, as Yukiro Dravarious, in one of his many guises, demonstrates. (He’s performing April 27 at Tokyo Pride; keep reading for details!)
On “Porco Night,” the spotlight shines on yellow-faced bartender Preta Porco. Mistress Maya also holds a regular “Snack Mayaya” event, where she helms a snack bar and does rope-tyling demonstrations.
On any given night, I’ll run into friends here. On the left, you may recognize Sophia, an impressive vocalist who recently debuted her solo project, “Season of Ghosts.”
Owner Adrien Le Danois (in the blue hair) welcomes guests to his lair. You’ll see lots of cosplay girls and colorful street style on the dance floor. Many of the people who come here speak English and French, so you’ll be able to strike up conversations even if you don’t know Japanese.
Porco’s scintillating smile will immediately put you in the mood to party. (My hair is pink because these photos are from last spring.)
The drinks flow… and the shenanigans begin. I always order the absinthe at Decadance Bar.
The space is decorated like a Day Glo carnival, and the staff dresses the part in wigs and glitter.
Between DJ sets, underground performers strut their stuff. Everyone smiled at this 1980s dance routine, peppered with pole-dancing.
Porco squealed and twirled on a pole. I have no words.
On any given evening, you’ll encounter a theme event or bizarre performance. (Photography by Naomi – check out her latest illustrations!)
If it’s your birthday, beware: the drag queens sit on you and chant the “nonde nonde” drinking song.
The special DJs played a bouncing, techno-electric mix. You can tell that everyone was having fun.
I returned to Tokyo Decadance Bar last December. It was “Sex Pot Night,” meaning there were events both in the upstairs bar and downstairs restaurant (Christon Cafe).
Similar to Alamode Market, there were handmade Gothic Lolita accessories for sale at tables.
A striking back tattoo with hearts and wings, on this barely clad Japanese lady.
As you know from my Theme Restaurants book, Christon is bizarrely decorated with church relics, like chandeliers and altars.
This makes it a haunting (and slightly kitschy) atmosphere for a Goth alternative party. The big Tokyo Decadance parties, which take place every 1-2 months, are usually held at Christon Shinjuku.
That night, the area near the lower staircase was filled with tables. Vendors sold oddities like scorpions preserved in jars.
It’s a great place to pick up one of a kind Gothic accessories like these hand-studded chokers.
Or get a glitter tattoo, from a not-so-Barbie girl.
If you get tired of shopping, then there’s plenty of singing, dancing, performances and other entertainment in the room.
I saw a slightly incongruous performance by a group of women dressed as mistresses, in tight leather corsets and riding sticks.
Yet they sang Jpop and anime songs, with giddy choreography. The men in the back seemed to be having a good time.
“Kampai” or cheers!
Much like the club night Department H, this is a place for you to be whoever or whatever you wish, without judgement.
The grotesque doll on the wall is indication that anything goes.
Makeup on men is the norm rather than the exception.
Goth fashion looks especially bloody under red lights.
My current blue hair matches these girls on the wall.
For once, Yukiro isn’t the tallest person in the room… thanks to little help from stilts!
Mistress Maya (who is also DJ Maya at her event Midnight Mess) tied up an innocent victim.
The girl got a spanking and hot candle wax on her back, among other things that we can’t post on this blog… You’ll have to use your imagination, or come to Decabar to see for yourself.
For more photos from Tokyo Decadence and other Goth / Cyber / LGBT nightlife, take a look at my Japan clubbing guide.
PS: Yukiro is performing his spooky drag queen act, Die Schwarze Frau, on April 27th at Tokyo Pride Parade! For info on how to see him in action, check out his Facebook page. You’ll be entertained and frightened for sure.
Have you ever tried pole dancing? Would you visit a club like this?
A surprisingly large number of people ask me about my friend Rose. Why hasn’t she appeared on the blog recently? I’ve been reluctant to say because the news isn’t good. Basically, Rose has been battling an extremely serious medical condition.
However, there’s a light (over at the Frankenstein place)! A test has nailed down Rose’s mysterious condition — and with some help, she can regain her health. Please read on for the personal story, followed by the latest in Tokyo makeup and wigs (since Rose loves J-fashion, and we want this post to end on an upbeat note!)
Long-time readers will remember Rose from our adventures in Seattle and Vancouver — absinthe burlesque clubs, Jrock concerts, dance videos and more. She’s got such positive energy, and a flair for alt-Japanese style.
Some have commented on her thinness. Rose has been struggling with a serious medical issue for years, which left her unable to eat or gain weight. It’s a long story (which her mom outlines in full here). Basically, about 11 years ago, Rose started having digestive troubles that lead to full gastroparesis or stomach paralysis. Despite going to the best doctors and trying all options, nobody has been able to determine a cause or cure. A series of painful operations, including inserting a pacemaker and removing her entire stomach, did nothing to help.
Sadly, in recent months, Rose has been getting worse. Her weight dropped to 73 pounds even though she takes in enough calories by tube-feeding, and she developed other complications.
However, there’s been a breakthrough: Rose tested 100% positive for Lyme disease. She took a test years ago, but the results came back negative since there is a high error margin. With this new and reliable method, the diagnosis is undeniable, and the symptoms fit.
It’s terrible that the undiagnosed Lyme disease caused her to worsen for a decade. On the plus side, Rose now knows the cause, and can undergo a complicated treatment to hopefully beat it. However, this will be a long, expensive road. I know her family, and they put everything into her medical costs, but it is a struggle. We’re having an online fundraiser, and hope you can help Rose with a contribution, no matter how small. So grateful for your support, and will share updates all along the way. Let’s get her healthy again!
♥ You can donate safely here by PayPal or credit card (choose to pay with PayPal and then at the bottom you will see “buy as guest.” Click that and you can then use your credit card.)
♥ Or if you can just help us get the word out — maybe with a Facebook post, Tweet, blog post or email — it will make a difference. Thank you.
On a brighter note, since this post is dedicated to Rose, I wanted to put up something that makes her smile. Rose dreams of visiting Tokyo, and I know she’ll go nuts inside Okadaya — one of the best places to pick up wigs, makeup, and craft supplies. I love coming here to scout out the latest beauty trends, like bunny-eared pastel wigs.
The main floor of Okadaya (address: Shinjuku 3-23-17, near the station’s east exit) has a wall of false eyelashes, especially in the glam gyaru style. Above are some special collaboration lashes, which come in different colors. There are also over-the-top ones in rainbow colors, feathers and glitter.
Don Quixote and 100 yen “dollar” stores sell cheaper false lashes, but you can’t beat the variety and uniqueness of the ones here.
There are always displays of new, chic beauty products. Disney just released a glittery nail polish line, in a variety of colors. Cinderella, Minnie Mouse and Snow White seem to love it.
Hello Kitty’s cute face is omnipresent in Japan. This is the new Sanrio perfume, packaged in “small gift” pouches. Different colors represent different scents.
Circle or novelty contact lenses remain big sellers in Japan. These “Funky Whip” contacts are a relatively new offering, which you wear only once and dispose.
On the second floor, it’s wigs galore! The sample hairdos are always done up in creative styles, like this braided and flower-topped mannequin.
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s influence is obvious in these quirky, experimental pastel hairstyles.
Would you rather have a snake dangling by your face, or a snowman on your scalp?
This green and red Christmas wreath hairstyle gets props for creativity, if nothing else.
What a lovely romantic couple. The one on the left is a man… I think? (Okadaya has a fun selection of Jrock or host boy wigs too).
Every possible type of synthetic wig is sold here, in all colors and lengths. These shaggy bobs are more natural-looking.
If that’s not your bag, then there’s a shelf of Sweet Lolita, pastel goth and cosplay wigs! Most are by the brand Prisila. Perfect for anime convention costumes, Halloween, or a club night out.
For more photos of fabrics and craft supplies at Okadaya (including feather boas), see this blog post…
I leave you with a few kitty snaps. Here’s a fat-faced illustration in a Shinjuku store window. Looks like a British Shorthair to me.
Can you see the resemblance to my Scottish Fold kitten?
Basil sends a hug to everyone who helps out our friend Rose, if it’s by giving to the fund, or simply sharing this post. You can see all of our adventures together right here — she’s a very special person, and I hope to have better news for you soon!
Thanks for your fabulous feedback of my Israel posts! Glad you are enjoying the expanded food and culture content. But today, let’s dive back into Japan fashion.
I took photos of the latest designs in Studio Alta department store, which I previously wrote about in 2012. (To get here, walk gaily forward from Shinjuku Station east exit, and look for the multicolored logo above you.)
I always stop by Fernopaa because of the cheerful shopgirls, dressed in cute meets punk or hard rock styles. Case in point: this Japanese girl, in a cat eared zip jacket with a surgical stitch print, spiked choker, big cross necklace, and purple lacy dress with a jagged hem.
The styles at Fernopaa are a bit too 80s metal for my taste, but I do enjoy looking at their DIY accessories and shredded garments.
Here’s what the other shop girl wore. Japanese alternative style at its finest: love the layering of necklaces, bracelets and goggles. Her hair has several rainbow tones, and she even drew a cross on her cheek.
This coordinate is a tad “emo” but the devil horns hoodie gets props for creativity. On the right, my Mercibeaucoup bag hovers over a decorated manhole.
Their pieces are over-the-top when combined, but I’d wear them individually. The skull sweater, big cross, pink heart purse and white lace dress could be great in Fairy Kei, Gyaru or Goth outfits.
Studio Alta has several floors, and the boutiques range from romantic girly fashion (Liz Lisa) to craft supply stores. I spotted this spool of hand-dyed gradient silk ribbons.
Also in the fabric shop: lace cat and bear pillows, or pin cushions. I’d feel bad sticking pins in their cute faces!
This butterfly logo signals Algonquins, the Tokyo punk, Goth and Lolita label.
The undead plushies in the middle can be used as purses or general accessories. In the back, you can glimpse a Visual Kei and J-rock music store.
A vegan leather bag, covered in studs and chains, for a hard-edged schoolgirl look.
Another store sold antique styles, like this faded feather and lace Victorian bonnet.
Elsewhere in Shinjuku, I spotted some new stores. The famous Harajuku Avantgarde store, known for its crazy print tights and stockings, has opened up on the ground floor of Lumine.
Avant Garde had a rack of legwear, printed with Disney characters. These tights and leggings tend to be more expensive, but the designs are handmade or limited edition.
Goth and Kawaii are everywhere. In the window, I saw cross tights and a Hello Kitty print.
I leave you with the “worried face” mascot from Ne-net. This clothing boutique has several locations in Shinjuku; Ne-Net is also in Laforet Harajuku and Ikebukuro Sunshine City.
My Scottish Fold kitten sometimes gives me the same look!
For more photos of Tokyo girls and gyaru clothing, check out my previous Studio Alta report.
What do you think of the current youth fashion in Japan?
I’ve got two photoshoots to share with you today!
First, perhaps you have seen Basil Farrow’s father, Ronan Farrow, in the news recently. We’re excited to watch his daily talk show, premiering Feb 24th on MSNBC.
Our Scottish Fold baby rolled upside-down to get the word out on Ronan Farrow Daily. The program highlights youth activism and international issues, and encourages viewers to engage.
More photos of Basil Farrow below, but for now, we’ll hope you tune in to his dad’s daily TV show starting Feb 24, 1pm ET, on MSNBC.
Now, it’s my turn. While in Tokyo, I did a street style photoshoot with Tokyo photographer, Ray Kuchinawa (蛇-kuchinawa). He also organizes the alternative club night, Heavy Pop, where Yukiro has performed his drag queen act.
Ray’s fashion photography is seen in many leading magazines. He’s a lot of fun to work with, and has a knack for finding the light.
I had my makeup and hair done by a professional Japanese artist who works with Visual Kei bands. He gave me the “droopy eyes” look currently popular among gyaru — the sleepy effect is supposed to be youthful and cute.
My turquoise-blue-purple ombre hair is the work of Stephanie Hoy at Avant Garde Hair Vancouver.
Black draped cape jacket: Lupin, Korea Goth brand, from Closet Child Shinjuku
Kawaii Halloween tshirt: Le Petid Print, from Chatuchak Market Bangkok
Faux fur blue bag: Mercibeaucoup, from Marui Annex
Gyaru ankle boots: Liz Lisa, Shibuya 109
It only took us about 15 minutes to shoot these street snaps around a Tokyo neighborhood.
What do you think of this different look on me? For more Japanese fashion inspiration, you can check out Ray’s photo site, Heavy Snap (it features Harajuku snaps, alternative event reports and more.)
Now, back to Basil Farrow’s dad. I made this sign for him to pose with, and he rolled right on his back to be extra cute!
The info’s right beneath the paw. There are also updates on the Ronan Farrow Daily show’s Facebook.
To see more of our rotund earless cat, you can visit Basil’s blog.
He grew up with Ronan as a kitten, and now lives with me.
Basil loves to blend into the blanket.
Whenever it’s sunny out, Basil has a big smile on his face.
His grandpa recently got him a scarf from Edinburgh, to celebrate his Scottish ancestry. I think it suits him well.
Basil is so confident and sweet that he’ll roll onto his back, and let you rub his belly.
Wishing you a cat-tacular day!