Category Archive for Tokyo Gothic Lolita
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!
The cat’s out of the bag… or box. The Pirates were in Tokyo last December to work on a travel-comedy TV show for Pro Sieben Europe, starring comedian Olli Schulz.
As the show’s production coordinators, we put together a Jpop potpourri. Our shoot locations included a cat cafe, cuddle cafe, host club… and we even rented a fake Japanese family. As Super Mario would say, “Let’s-ah Goooo!”
My team’s arranged and appeared in dozens of TV shows in the past years, mostly about travel and underground culture. Remember when we gave Klaas a bagelhead, and then sewed Joko’s lips together? These shows were hits when they aired on German network Pro 7, so the crew hired us again to work with Olli.
This new program is called “Schulz in a Box,” and the concept is pretty amazing. Olli is sick of feeling lonely in Berlin, so he gets in a giant box, and mails himself around the world in search of friends. First Mate Naomi (above) and I jumped at chance to do this show, if only to pose in a giant crate in the middle of Kabukicho…
… and hang out with poof-haired Japanese host boys! When Olli breaks out of the box, he meets one and trains to be one of them.
As you can see from club decor, women go to host clubs to be treated like princesses, since men (especially in traditional Japan) can be lacking in the romantic department.
Once you’ve paid your “prince,” he’ll act like you’re the light of his life. But behind-the-scenes, these guys seem bored and play with their smartphones as they wait for a meeting to start.
Mostly found in the Kabukicho “red light district” in east Shinjuku, the clubs try to stand out by having themes or over-the-top decor. This club group is called “Smappa”, and we mainly shot at the strangely named “Hans Axel Ven Fersen”. (Google tells me Axel was a close companion and possible secret lover of Marie Antoinette, which taps into what these clubs offer.)
This space is decorated with plastic chandelier strands, lights that change colors, and long-nosed fish swimming in tanks. (It’s still not as gaudy as Club Ai, where we filmed with Norwegian TV.)
Hair-ready, the hosts gather for the weekly meeting. For about an hour, they stand and listen to announcements, such as the current ranking. All hosts are ranked according to popularity and pull, and the best ones have their faces on the giant posters.
Olli was a great sport, and had his hair spiked and sprayed in a host salon. He practiced his hosting skills with female clients, making dark jokes along the way.
On another day, we filmed with our friend Kanae at a cat cafe! (Remember her from NYC adventures and the Corporate Goth party?)
Cat cafes are another way for lonely hearts to find company. Nothing cures loneliness like a squish faced kitty.
We set up this scene in Shinjuku’s Calico Cat Cafe (where we also shot with Food Network). At the entrance, you can pick up a face mask in case you’re allergic to fur.
Kanae did a great job chatting with Olli about Japanese culture, and the quirky ways that people combat loneliness here.
In Japan, Scottish Folds are hugely popular. Every cat cafe has to have at least one foldy, and this one had several. (But they’re objectively not as cute as my Basil Farrow, right?)
When we arrived, a woman was carrying out about five meowing cats in bags. This fold-eared one looked rather squashed!
If you’re visiting Tokyo, try visiting one of these unique cafes. It’s quite the experience to play with dozens of gentle kitties, and you’re allowed to take no-flash pictures.
Guests can also order tea and snacks, or read manga.
Tip: buy a packet of bonito flakes, and you’re instantly popular! Kanae is wearing a Jack Skellington Trick or Treat sweater from the Rollick collection in Lumine.
I’m wearing an Algonquins teal top from the latest collection, and Angelica Brigade hair flowers.
The German TV crew was enamored with Kanae’s doll-like contact lenses and eye makeup.
Kanae poses like a “nyan nyan” cat, outside Don Quixote Shinjuku. She’s a street snap in the latest issue of Kera Magazine!
The Pirates also arranged a segment in a cuddle cafe. Yes, men pay women dressed in pajamas to hold them in their arms. No hanky-panky goes on, just hugging and cooing.
I’m in one of the “cuddle stalls,” which contain a mattress, ball and stuffed toys. Olli found this place a tad uncomfortable, for obvious reasons.
However, we loved renting a fake family! In Japan, you can pay people to pretend to be your mother, father, siblings or other relatives.
This Japanese “mother” dressed and played her part spot on. She gave Olli quiet encouragement and sang him to sleep, in one of the show’s funniest segments.
In another example of “alone together”, we did a scene at Green Plaza capsule hotel. At night, all of these coffin-sized spaces will be filled with businessmen — women aren’t generally allowed. There’s just enough room to lie down, and watch the tiny TV above (naturally, there are naughty channels).
Finally, we made special arrangements to shoot inside Akihabara’s Taito video game arcade. An anime girl with cat-ears welcomes us.
Olli enjoyed playing Dance Dance Revolution, and a table flipping game that lets you vent your anger.
The game center had several floors of video games, including retro fighting ones. Later in the day, these rows will be entirely filled with otaku (geeks).
Naomi and I had a terrific time working with Olli Schulz and his team. You can learn more about this travel-humor show and see the episode on Pro 7 (note, this may not be viewable in all countries).
My “The Bitter End” sweater is by the defunct brand Banana Fish. Found it at Closet Child Shinjuku, and paired it with old diamond print tights.
If you’re intrigued by host boy culture, take a look at the award-winning show I hosted on Norway TV. (This video is watchable everywhere.)
What do you think about host clubs, rent-a-family, cuddle cafes, and the other strange ways the Japanese deal with loneliness?
If you’re a television production company looking to film in Japan, then we hope you’ll reach out to us! In addition to on-camera hosting, the Pirates take care of all filming logistics, permits, translation and any other arrangements necessary. Click to find out more about our TV fixing firm (and see examples of our past work, including bagelheads). Arr.
Shh. Even though I live for exploring new countries (Israel and Jordan right now!), it’s no secret that I miss Tokyo whenever I’m away.
I was in Japan around Christmas-time, which gave me an opportunity to take photos with light displays. Enjoy these street shots of Shinjuku after dark.
In Tokyo, I’m one of the tallest people around…
Hello Kitty and friends sweater: from last year’s Forever 21 x Sanrio collaboration
Short plaid purple skirt: Peace Now, from Closet Child
Blue fuzzy animal purse: Mercibeaucoup, bought at Shinjuku Marui Annex
Art Nouveau print tights: Innocent World x Alphonse Mucha
First Mate fixer Naomi took these cool purple effect photos by shooting between the escalator rail. Using a prime lens on a DSLR, you can achieve nifty effects like this.
The background blurs out, and the little Xmas bulbs turn into “bokeh”, or glowing balls of light.
This little hallway of lights is located by the West Exit of Shinjuku Station (near My Lord department store). There’s an Anna Sui store and a Ne-Net boutique in this area.
I rode the escalator at least three times for the sake of taking outfit photos!
In the center, there were three trees covered in lights. Naomi shot through glass for this reflected image.
Lost in a Japanese winter wonderland.
Since I know you enjoy seeing Tokyo city life, I went on a long stroll through Shinjuku with my camera, and captured the night-time action. Here, a traffic guard in a helmet whistles and waves his… light saber?
A man in a cap is silhouetted in front of a drink vending machine. In busy areas like Shinjuku, there are literally vending machines every few meters.
My favorite drink is not usually found in machines, but at convenience stores like 7-Eleven. It’s yuzu, of course (the Japanese tangy citrus). This little “pet” bottle is hot, sold near the check-out counter.
Near the entrance of Shinjuku Station East Exit, a ska band gave a free performance. The lead saxophonist twirled and jumped around. This concert was actually part of a vitamin brand promotion, perhaps explaining their manic energy.
An anime-cyborg girl overlooks the business commuters.
Shinjuku is filled with little narrow streets, lit up with neon signs. Many of these advertise restaurants and bars.
Flashing billboards with anime characters are a common sight.
The eye-catching designs are so varied. A Japanese-style tiger leaps at a butterfly.
Shinjuku Doori is one of the main streets, and leads to the various 0101 department stores. (For a peek at the street style boutiques found inside, see my post about Marui Annex.)
How have you be dressing up this winter? Would you wear a Sanrio sweater like this?
Close-up on my Chococat sleeve. He’s one of my favorite characters.
Naomi holds up a Jrock / Visual Kei flyer, to demonstrate how we “pull focus” with the camera lens. By focusing on something in the foreground, the background blurs out with this cool dotted effect.
I leave you with a Japanese girl buying a drink from a vending machine.
Are you enjoying these mood photos? Do you take late-night city walks like I do?