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TOKYOTOPIA INTERVIEW: HARAJUKU SUBCULTURES, TIPS FOR LONG FLIGHTS TO JAPAN, RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TOKYO VISITORS.


Tokyo travel tips, Harajuku subcultures, shopping and crazy Japanese women's magazines, fun travel attractions in Japan, convenience stores, surviving long flights to Asia.

You meet good people through Twitter! I’ve been chatting with TokyoTopia, a fabulous resource for Tokyo travelers. Unlike most tourist sites, TokyoTopia’s advice on cheap hotels is easy to navigate, and the sightseeing recommendations are hand-picked. I happily did an interview with the webslte; I appreciated the unique and slightly off-the-wall questions, since this blog is not only about Japanese fashion. So I got to ramble on about the genius of my cat Basil Farrow, my secrets for surviving long flights to Asia, and my favorite convenience store products…

Cute Scottish Fold cat behind bars, nose poking through cat carrier cage jail cell, funny face LOLCAT, big fat round furry pet animal face, close-up kitten nose and yellow eyes, cutest cat in the world Basil Farrow kawaii neko.

Here are a few excerpts; you can read the whole interview here.

We’re also cat lovers at TokyoTopia – we love Basil Farrow! We know he used to live with Mia Farrow… hence the surname : ) Could you tell us a little more about him and his role in your life?

Basil Farrow is a round, Garfieldian fluffball with tiny folded ears and giant sideways-paws. In other words, he’s a ridiculously cute Scottish Fold kitty! Basil grew up in Bridgewater, Connecticut but lived in my apartment because Mia’s house was often empty. When I finished school, he hid in my suitcase and we ran away together. Ronan is his daddy, I’m his mommy, and he has loving grandparents that dote on his every whim.

Everyone thinks her pet awesome, but Basil Farrow is decidedly not a regular cat. He demands to be carried and cuddled, he stands up on his hind legs when he meets new people, his meow sounds like “wahhh,” and he’s never scratched or bitten a soul =^.^=

Without Basil Farrow, my life wouldn’t be nearly as kawaii. My cat and I are the main characters in my upcoming cookbook Cute Yummy Time, and I drew illustrations of him on almost every page. Basil even has his own blog and Facebook profile with over 500 friends!

Tips for surviving your first long-haul flight to Asia:
When you book your ticket, ask for an Indian or Asian vegetarian meal; there’s no extra charge, and you’re served palatable food before everyone else. The stewardesses don’t advertise the best drinks: spicy tomato juice, soda water with lime.

If I had to pick one recommendation for first-time Tokyo visitors:
Despite one’s individual interests, every tourist should visit a konbini! Tokyo’s 24-hour convenience stores are unlike any in the world. My favorite products: Zero low-calorie cans of alcohol, Softymo’s magical makeup remover (an inside joke my blog readers will recognize – it’s amazing; eyeshadow comes right off), bizarrely-flavored Kit Kat bars, and Lemon Water – 1000 mg of vitamin C per bottle!

You can read the rest of the interview on TokyoTopia and pasted after the jump. What are your favorite Tokyo sightseeing spots and convenience store products?

Song of the Day #146: Love Hina theme song

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Gothic Lolita – La Carmina The Fashionista For Every Harajuku Girl
From TOKYOTOPIA – http://www.tokyotopia.com/gothic-lolita.html

La Carmina is a fantastic resource for all Gothic Lolita and Japanese street style fans. If you like alternative fashion, if you’re a dedicated Harajuku girl, or if you just like the funky side of life, this blog is for you. In addition to her main blog, La Carmina also introduces you to her best friend, her cat Basil Farrow. At TokyoTopia we think he’s gorgeous!

Gothic Lolita – La Carmina Interview

1. You talk and write a lot about Tokyo subcultures. How and when did you first become interested in these areas?

La Carmina: Tokyo street style has been part of my consciousness from a very young age. By the time I reached puberty, I’d made a dozen trips to Hong Kong and Japan to visit relatives. American mall clothes were a yawn compared to the Gothic Lolita, punk, gyaru, and cyber fashions I saw in Asia. I started my blog as an outlet for my J-fashion obsession, and it turned into something bigger than I ever imagined.

At TokyoTopia we have to agree! Your blog is the Gothic Lolita motherload of information!

2. You seem particularly interested in the Gothic Lolita style. Is this perception correct and, if so, why?

La Carmina: For years, my email sender name was “Creature of the Night”! Since my teen years, I’ve been drawn to Goth culture and aesthetics, so most of my Lolita coverage is of a Gothic bent. La Carmina started as a personal blog and remains just that; it chronicles my OCD fixations and misadventures in the world of Japanese subcultures.

3. You studied law at Yale as a student. At that time did you have any idea what you’d be doing now? Was being a Gothic Lolita fashionista all part of your plan?

La Carmina: If you’d told me in 2005 that I’d be splattered with blood and crawling through the Tokyo underground with a gang of spooks, I would have laughed out loud! Soon after starting at Yale, I realized a law firm job was not for me. I wanted a seat at the Mad Hatter’s tea party – but couldn’t settle on just one career field. During my last year of school, I started my La Carmina blog – https://www.lacarmina.com/blog – as a much-needed creative outlet. Zero expectations. It ended up taking me on a ride through Wonderland: book-writing, film-making, graphic and clothing design… I feel very lucky to have had these opportunities.

4. At TokyoTopia we’re really excited to see you’re launching a new book in July – Crazy Wacky Theme Restaurants. How did this project get started and what would you like to achieve through writing this book?

La Carmina: Here is a sneak peek at my book’s intro: “When I visited Tokyo a few years ago, a friend told me about a Jesus-themed cafe where you could simulate the experience of “getting trashed in St. Peter’s.” I booked a table at Christon the next day and experienced something close to a spiritual revelation. From that day forth, I was a theme restaurant convert. I made pilgrimages all over Japan and played the prophet, blogging fervently about my favorites… which eventually led to the genesis of this book.”

This isn’t your typical “cool restaurants” book. The full-color photos and stories are about La Carmina and friends, causing scandal and drama at maid cafes and theme eateries all over Japan. We dressed up to match each theme: Vampire, Alice in Wonderland, Ninja, Wizard of the Opera, Monkeys… If you want to preview the book or preorder it, visit La Carmina’s Crazy Wacky Theme Restaurants page and choose your Gothic Lolita dining experience. I wanted Crazy Wacky Theme Restaurants to feel as personal as my blog and I’m thrilled that the pages convey this energy.

5. What plans do you have for the future? Will you continue to build La Carmina or are there other projects you would also like to try?

La Carmina: La Carmina has grown into something of a brand, sprouting from my love of J-pop/Gothic subcultures. Each new project I tackle falls under Mistress Carmina’s lace parasol. This October, my cookbook Cute Yummy Time will be published by Perigee/Penguin; inspired by kawaii bento decoration, it contains 72 recipes for the cutest food you’ll ever eat. And I’ve recently become obsessed with making YouTube videos; I started a Goth Cooking Show and frequently upload Gothic Lolita fashion/nightlife “how-tos”. I’ve received encouraging feedback about my presenting style, so it would be splendid to keep exploring this medium.

6. We’re also cat lovers at TokyoTopia – we love Basil Farrow! We know he used to live with Mia Farrow… hence the surname : ) Could you tell us a little more about him and his role in your life?

La Carmina: Basil Farrow is a round, Garfieldian fluffball with tiny folded ears and giant sideways-paws. In other words, he’s a ridiculously cute Scottish Fold kitty! Basil grew up in Bridgewater, Connecticut but lived in my apartment because Mia’s house was often empty. When I finished school, he hid in my suitcase and we ran away together. Ronan is his daddy, I’m his mommy, and he has loving grandparents that dote on his every whim.

Everyone thinks her pet awesome, but Basil Farrow is decidedly not a regular cat. He demands to be carried and cuddled, he stands up on his hind legs when he meets new people, his meow sounds like “wahhh,” and he’s never scratched or bitten a soul =^.^=

Without Basil Farrow, my life wouldn’t be nearly as kawaii. My cat and I are the main characters in my upcoming cookbook Cute Yummy Time, and I drew illustrations of him on almost every page. Basil even has his own blog and Facebook profile with over 500 friends!

7. We believe you travel between Tokyo and the US on a fairly regular basis. It’s a long flight! Are there any tips you would give to travelers who are taking their first long haul flight?

La Carmina: After 24 years of 24-hour flights, long plane rides are a breeze. I first flew to Hong Kong at the age of one, and while I was in school, I went from Vancouver to New York and back several times a year.

Everyone knows the basics for making it through a long haul – stretch your legs, stay hydrated – but here are some tips you might not find elsewhere. When you book your ticket, ask for an Indian or Asian vegetarian meal; there’s no extra charge, and you’re served palatable food before everyone else. The stewardesses don’t advertise the best drinks: spicy tomato juice, soda water with lime. When you disembark in Narita, head straight to the high-tech toilets. The heated seats and cover-up music will make you squeal, “I’m in Japan!”

8. If you had to pick one recommendation for a first time visitor to Tokyo, what would you suggest they see or do?

La Carmina: Tokyo is the perfect travel spot because there’s something for everyone: electronics fans, Gothic Lolita fans, nature lovers, architecture buffs, you name it. I created guides to Gothic And Lolita Punk Shopping and Cyber/Goth Club Nights for fellow admirers of Japanese youth subcultures.

Despite one’s individual interests, every tourist should visit a konbini! Tokyo’s 24-hour convenience stores are unlike any in the world. My favorite products: Zero low-calorie cans of alcohol, Softymo’s magical makeup remover (an inside joke my blog readers will recognize – it’s amazing; eyeshadow comes right off), bizarrely-flavored Kit Kat bars, and Lemon Water – 1000 mg of vitamin C per bottle!

A big thank you from TokyoTopia to our favorite Gothic Lolita fashionista. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this as much as we enjoyed working with La Carmina.

Check Out La Carmina On The Web
URL – https://www.lacarmina.com/blog
MySpace http://www.myspace.com/la_carmina
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=10225211197
Twitter http://twitter.com/lacarmina
YouTube http://www.youtube.com/lacarmina

SHARE & COMMENT

17 Comments

  1. Naka
    Posted July 5, 2009 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    i adore love hina ^^

    and i really want to go to japan ^^

  2. Naka
    Posted July 5, 2009 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    i adore love hina ^^

    and i really want to go to japan ^^

  3. Dragonswyng
    Posted July 5, 2009 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    alas I have not yet made the journey. but I'll be checking out their site for sure. lol you made the flight sound yummy at least. as well as the arrival

  4. lacarmina
    Posted July 5, 2009 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    They're a very helpful resource. Hahah a flight doesn't have to be so bad!

  5. Dragonswyng
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    alas I have not yet made the journey. but I’ll be checking out their site for sure. lol you made the flight sound yummy at least. as well as the arrival

    • lacarmina
      Posted July 6, 2009 at 5:27 am | Permalink

      They’re a very helpful resource. Hahah a flight doesn’t have to be so bad!

  6. Eva
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 1:36 am | Permalink

    gotta love the Harajuku Mental Clinic board :P lolol

  7. Melissa
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 1:37 am | Permalink

    I love this!

  8. Eva
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    gotta love the Harajuku Mental Clinic board :P lolol

  9. Melissa
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    I love this!

  10. megan
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Ah, so you found out the name of that makeup remover!

    My advice for the long flight to Japan: Fall asleep. Makes it sooo much faster.

    Nice interview! I'll have to check out Tokyo Topia a bit more today.

    Have you been to Osaka Carmina?

  11. megan
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Ah, so you found out the name of that makeup remover!

    My advice for the long flight to Japan: Fall asleep. Makes it sooo much faster.

    Nice interview! I’ll have to check out Tokyo Topia a bit more today.

    Have you been to Osaka Carmina?

  12. Siu Fung`
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    JUST AMAZING!!!

  13. Siu Fung`
    Posted July 7, 2009 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    JUST AMAZING!!!

  14. antoniobarros
    Posted July 14, 2009 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    So cute cat!!!!

  15. Anonymous
    Posted July 14, 2009 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    So cute cat!!!!

  16. antoniobarros
    Posted July 14, 2009 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    So cute cat!!!!

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