HERRO THAR HARAJUKU

Here’s the much anticipated article about Harajuku. Now, during my stay in Tokyo, I went to Harajuku twice – once because it was nice, and twice because, well I can’t think of anything else that rhymes with “nice” at the moment, so you’ll have to deal with “it’s awesome”. Our first visit to Harajuku on the 20th of June was filled with my sister and I following the hid-quarters of my parents – and once we had decided to split off from them, I promptly lost my sister. Loosing my sister is not unusual, just that when this usually happens, I have some form of communications device to be able to locate her. NOT SO, IN JAPAN.


Due to the Japanesean paranoia – that prepaid mobile phones are directly linked to terrorism – to obtain a mobile phone in the great land of the Rising Sun, you must loan one from various locations around Narita Airport. Now, as my father, as lovable and balding as he is, is a little on the stingy side, he did not permit us to loan any. Nice.

So, I was lost in Harajuku and my sister was long gone.
What’s one to do?

Leech internet off the local Softbank store of course.

Now while I was performing this task of leeching (I managed to get ONE tweet in before I was cut off), I was approached by a filming crew. YES! THAT’S RIGHT! I LOOK SUFFICIENTLY JAPANESE TO BE APPROACHED BY A FILMING CREW. Utter. Madness. However, once I had explained to them that I was not a local and only here on holiday, their interest abated, and they went on to ask me entertaining questions about life in Australia, just for kicks. Friendly.

Eventually, I managed to catch up with my wandering sibling, only to find her swanning about on the other side of the road, about to enter Zara. I swear, I turn around for one moment and I spend the next hour searching the streets for her. SIGH.


Fashionable young things are everywhere in Japan. And yes, that is a shot of a Toyota Hybrid in there. It pulled up to the curb right when I was taking my shot. Boo!

In any case, Harajuku was insanulous – we first visited on a Sunday. NEVER, EVER, EVER DO THIS. Especially if you value such qualities like personal space. And breathing. We made the mistake of taking a trip around Harajuku on a weekend and paid dearly for it – by the middle of the day, we were worn out and exhausted from the sheer effort of trying to make it through the crowds without loosing an integral appendage or two.

HARAJUKU FASHION:
Of course, if you’re there to view the crowds, there’s a lot to see in Harajuku – the people are so luridly dressed that the first view of the area will get you spouting OOH’s and AAH’s spontaneously. However, after the novelty wears off, the crazily clothed with only start to blend gregariously into the fabric that is Harajuku and you will become strangely immune to the craziest clad Japanese Youth that could be thrown in your direction.

Eventually, you become so disillusioned by it all, everything begins to turn into a blur and no one seems to be wearing anything relatively fashionable, in fact, they appear to be trying so hard to be different from each other, that they end up look exactly the same. A flock of girls will conglomerate together – and even though, in reality, they’re wearing different clothes, they all appear to be wearing the same thing. As in chemistry, like attracts like – and so a group of friends WILL ALMOST ALWAYS be wearing the same style of clothing. The fact that they stick to a fashion genre, in effect, makes them clones. This is what saddened me about all the “Fashionable Young Things” in Japan – this scary attachment to appearing perfect, the seething vanity, materialism, and the need to keep up appearances at all times. The whole effect is scarily surreal.

Yes, the fashion scene is indeed amazing in Japan – but the lesson learnt here is to not become so absorbed in what is “In” but to wear what you feel most comfortable in and what makes you feel good.


Signs and such all through Harajuku. Gingko Biloba leaf insignias can be found on everything – from electrical port caps to drain covers.

A noteworthy place to pop by was definitely, HARAJUKU, DASIO: Possibly the best 100 YEN store I visited during my stay in Japan – this shop is filled to overflowing with knick knacks that you never knew you might need. In saying this, I went to buy some souvenir headbands (Hachimaki; 鉢巻) for my friends only to watch a bloke in a suit pick up the whole entire rack of “闘魂” (Fighting Spirit, Tohkon) ones. Shamed, I was left with the “日本” (Japan, Nihon) ones to bring home. Sad. I also managed to pick up a great selection of miniaturised bling and bento things for giveaways and souvenirs. I’m a little bit of a hoarder.

Of course there were big brand places like FOREVER 21, TOPSHOP and ZARA– but, in all honesty, the quality of the attire in Forever 21 and Topshop was equivalent to much found in our local Valleygirl – the fabrics were cheap and the styles, even though better presented than in Australia, were over-priced and not of much interest. The quality at Zara was much better, but even then, the retail prices were flamboyant and preyed on the “European” and “Americana” love-hate relationship of the Japanese. Truly, if you’re like me, and are looking for a some-what-a-bargain mixed with some true mori-girl/edgy styling, your place to be would be in the back streets of Harajuku. Full outfits can be found for a handful of yen and don’t turn your nose up at the little shoe stores back here, I found a ridiculously comfortable pair of heeled, studded gladiator sandals for a steal at only 990 yen (about $12AUD)!

Second-hand yukata in a crazy array of colours and prints; A great sign that can be found all along the back alleys of Harajuku – Whatever you attempt, do not, under any circumstances, smork.

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HERRO THAR HARAJUKU

16 thoughts on “HERRO THAR HARAJUKU

  1. you didnt get roaming?? :O i had the same problem when i lost phil and his phone has no roaming and mine does 😄 fail!

    anywaaaayyy i get what you mean with everyone looking the same.. i guess thats what happens with following trends.. you turn homogeneous :\ when i was there everyone was wearing brown leather jackets.. like EVERYONE! (except meeee) 😄

    i never got to go to topshop/f21/zara and got kinda saddss~ glad to know you said its like valleygirl 😄 so im not missing out on anything right? :p

    1. Hehe – we have roaming, but for some strange reason, my dad deemed that far too pricey too (also, my sister’s phone is still locked to Optus, she was far too lazy to unlock it before we left for Japan!).

      Haha – I guess it really just depends what was “IN” at the time – every one was wearing those little straw boater hats or those usagi headbands when we went – it looked a little odd at times to see a little sea of bobbing hats!

      Topshop and Forever 21’s quality wasn’t the best – things literally feel apart when you picked them up D; I bought two shirts from Forever 21 and I’ve already had to fix them after washing (I hadn’t even worn them yet!) MADNESS! Zara was much nicer, but still very $$$!

  2. Zoraida says:

    I LOVE DAISO. It really is the best 100yen store but I’m only saying that because it’s the only 100yen store I’ve been to hahaha.

    Cool pictures!

    1. DAISO in Harajuku was the best one I managed to go to when I was in Tokyo! I went to a handful or other store, but they weren’t as big – and didn’t have as much range!

      Thanks 😀

  3. bloomworthy says:

    haha no smorking!!

    I love Daiso so much! Made the mistake of not going there while I was back in Singapore last month!

    1. Those signs were everywhere and they were ALL SPELT WRONG! You would think for a sign that was placed every few metres, they would get someone who could actually spell to double check them! BUT NOOOOOOO! 😄

      DAISO FTW!

  4. Good Grief! You make me think twice about Harajuku, but it is ironic seeing everyone trying to change that they all look the same. Reminds me of the “punk” kids in my high school days who all wore that tee shirt that said “you laugh at me because I’m different I laugh at you because youre all the same” but to be honest I snickered once or twice because they were all wearing the same tshirt and irony struck too hard 😀

    glad everyone found everyone 😀

    1. In all honesty – the packed-ness isn’t too bad during a week-day! Just try your best to stay wayy-yy out on the weekends! You’ll get crushed!

      Oh, the irony!
      The sweet, sweet irony!

  5. Wow great “review” of Harajuku! I’ve never been, but yes I think I would have a heart attack in that crowd. Maybe I’ll go on a Tuesday morning, LOL

    Yeah look at all those strawhats bouncing around!

    1. Haha, thanks – and that’s a good idea! We went back on Monday (my next post!) and the crowds had dissipated! It was fantastic! But stay there too long and you’ll still get a little crammed – on weekday morning’s it’s very very very quiet!

      They we’re everywhere – it actually made me a little queasy – they looked like little boats bouncing up and down on water when viewed from above!

  6. Oh dear it must have been awful to get lost in a place where you barely understand their language. I had the exact thing happen to me while I visited Hong Kong a couple of years back. My sister and I went wandering a street while my parents and my youngest sister went to get some food. When we went to the cafe to find them they were gone! And we freaked out because 1) We can’t read a bit of Chinese to save our lives 2) None of us were carrying phones on us. So we started to panic and began tracing back up the street to find them. Thank god they had the same idea and we met half way otherwise I’d probably be crying because I can’t take the subway back to the hotel without them. But I’m smarter now. Haha!

    As usual great pictures and review of Harajuku. It really looks mad packed with people. I think I’d be claustrophobic in there… I’m not much for crowded places. Haha but look at those stylish people. I do agree though. When many people wear the same styles or clothing it does get boring. I guess it can be said anywhere. Like here in Canada, everyone shops from the same brands, and those brands produce clothes that look exactly the same. I don’t wanna mention the brands so I don’t offend people who shop there. But literally all those brands produce the same style of clothing with minimal differences. Yet everyone shops there.

    But then I did follow the Japanese trends so I might have looked different here but in Japan I’d probably be drowning in a pool of boater hats also 😛 But then I’d probably feel more at home because that would be the ‘norm’ right?

    I love knick knacks! But we don’t have a Daiso here in Toronto! We have somewhat similar store that sells Asian bits that are rather expensive. It’s just one of those places where you look at their things and you think: “It’s probably cheaper on the internet”.

    1. I was so relieved that I didn’t get completely lost when our family was in HK – fortunately, I do understand some Mandarin and a little Cantonese, so it wouldn’t of been so bad! But that must of been terrifying! My dad has this bad habit of wandering off without telling people where he is going, which leads us to all just stand around waiting for him to pop up again 😄

      Haha, yeah, it was a little odd to see this undulating sea of similarly clothed people – but if you wore the same clothes back here in Australia (or in your case, Canada), you would be seen as wearing something different! 😄 It all depends on the environment, I guess!

      I think the exact same thing with buying knick knacks – so whenever I get the chance to go on holiday to a random Asian county, I stock up on random bits and pieces – my mum always complains that I bring home bucket loads of crap (But, it’s totally awesome crap :P).

  7. My mom does the same thing. I hate it. Just once glance away from a search and rescu-lecture. Oh Asian Parents! Why art thou so stingy??! Glad you found her before she disappeared into a shop.

    Why is Takeshita-dori so insaneeee?! Oh Harajuku! I totally know what you mean by an inundation of the “trendy”. It all looks the same after a while. Still looks like fun to hang out at. Though I’ll take your advice and go on a quiet-er weekday. Breathing is a favorite hobby of mine…I do it all the time 😄

    Daiso!! Ironically, we have a few of them here in the US. Of course, all of them in California, melting pot of the Asian & Mexicans. I can’t wait to rob one of them for all their bento goodies 😄 How can the stuff be so CHEAP??!!! [dies in anticipation]

    1. Augh! Parents and siblings that can -ninja- sneak off without a moments notice can get me really nervy, especially if we’re in an unfamiliar country!

      There was just so much trendy! It was insanulous! If the same things happened here in Oz, the news would of reported it as some sort of cult phenomenon! 😄 And Daiso! ZOMG – awesomes! One of my next give-aways will be a bento-themed one – so keep an eye out for it!

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