Sep 262010
 



 
This Saturday I made a short trip to Harajuku to shoot some street portraits in front of the Takuya Angel store. Unfortunately, no Angelers (fans wearing the TA brand) did show up, so I just took a couple of pictures of the fashion designer Takuya Sawada and his wife Akiko Angel.

The designer Takuya Sawada founded the brand and designs most of the Takuya Angel fashions.
The designer Takuya Sawada founded the brand and designs most of the Takuya Angel fashions.
He is assisted by his wife Akiko who also works on the accessories and other products.
He is assisted by his wife Akiko who also works on the accessories and other products.
The Takuya Angel logo outside on the shop window with some clothing in the background.
The Takuya Angel logo outside on the shop window with some clothing in the background.
 Posted by at 16:21
Aug 112010
 



 
Here is a new way to torture your pets: Get this crazy kitty wig to style up your cat (or dog). No longer you need to see the same old hair on your pet every day — these colorful hairpieces come in many exciting colors and glamorous styles so you can finally give your feline companion the look that matches your outfit of the day. Seen at Donki Hote in Setagaya-ku.

 Posted by at 18:07
Jul 262010
 



 
“Cat Tea” (ねこ茶) — yet another product for the spoiled pets of Japanese housewifes. It’s not tea of cats but for cats! If you ever long to have tea time with your cat, this is the beverage to get. Suited for hot and cold water this herbal catnip tea (またたびのお茶) comes in easy-to-use tea bags. Seen in a pet shop in Shimokita.

 Posted by at 22:41
Jul 212010
 



 
It is a fact of life that many people are unhappy with the way they look. But women here in Japan are under an enormous pressure to look beautiful, cute and perfect to find a desirable partner. Thanks to a different body image many women (and men) have no problem with using what Westerners would consider extreme measures — strong whitening of the skin, cosmetic surgery, wearing special contact lenses every day to make the iris look bigger and colorful, using lots of make-up to display perfect skin, and so on. Of course most of these measures are rather expensive, so there are also tons of products for the less affluent that promise much but use rather suspicious methods. One of my favorites is the CoCo nose re-shaper (“Beautiful New Look of Nose”):

Be a Cleopatra’s nose
Indispensable for your beautiful nose
You wouldn’t miss a chance

Apparently a Cleopatra’s nose is a large and straight nose that seems to be highly desirable for Japanese females. Just put that clothes pin-like clam on your nose and watch TV and the impossible might happen — or probably not. Anyway, as this product is rather widespread and available in pretty much every drugstore, I guess that some people are really buying it and that “being a Cleopatra’s nose” is the goal of quite a few Japanese ladies…



 
Another highlight of bizarre Japanese beauty products is Noble’s “Slim Mouth Piece”. This simple little gadget is supposed to help Japanese women “For getting a tight and slim face.” (キュッとした小顔をめざす) Use this device 2-3 minutes every day and it will turn your large, lusting Asian mouth into a boring, thin Westerner’s, enabling you to smile crazily from one ear to the other. But as with the nose clip I have my doubts that this device will give you anything but sore facial muscles — the underlying aesthetic issue is caused by bone structure and not something that can be affected by simple plastic toys.

Best of all is that many of these products feature Western models — as if these stereotypical “dumb blondes” are either highly regarded role models for Japanese females, or that their look was archieved by using these products — as if Westerners look like that only because they are avid fans of DIY plastic surgery…

 Posted by at 18:31
Jul 162010
 



 
The Laforet Grand Bazar is one of the summer highlights for shoppers in Harajuku. For five days the trendsetting fashion department store/mall Laforet Harajuku has pretty much a fire sale — everything is being sold at considerably reduced prices (50-70% bargains are common). The word of the day is taimusēru (タイムサール) — bargains for a limited time. All the small shops inside Laforet are specially decorated and the young salespeople go to great lengths to advertise their merchandise.

And this is what I like best: the cacophony of all the people shouting and making noise to get the attention of crowds of shoppers is breathtaking. No problem for me to sneak through the thirteen floors of the department store, snapping pictures of people hard at work or shopping. So even if you do not plan to buy new clothes, check out this very exciting shopping experience when the Laforet building truly turns into a loud and bustling vertical bazaar with many dozens of individual stalls.

Young saleswoman holding a sign in front of her store.
Young saleswoman holding a sign in front of her store.
Another woman advertising half-price bargains.
Another woman advertising half-price bargains.
Blonde girl hawking purple shoes in Laforet.
Blonde girl hawking purple shoes in Laforet.
A female shopper busy among the crowd in a clothing store.
A female shopper busy among the crowd in a clothing store.
Like this girl, many of the salespeople used simple megaphones to advertise their stuff.
Like this girl, many of the salespeople used simple megaphones to advertise their stuff.
Girl making the v-sign despite holding a sign.
Girl making the v-sign despite holding a sign.
Another girl using a plastic megaphone to get the attention of visitors.
Another girl using a plastic megaphone to get the attention of visitors.
Another store employee trying her best to lure customers to a shop.
Another store employee trying her best to lure customers to a shop.
A young saleswoman having fun doing her job in Laforet
A young saleswoman having fun doing her job in Laforet
Bargains rule at the Laforet Grand Bazar.
Bargains rule at the Laforet Grand Bazar.
Two shopgirls shouting and making noise to attract costumers.
Two shopgirls shouting and making noise to attract costumers.
A Japanese guy with an oversized and sequined bow-tie using a megaphone to advertise bargains.
A Japanese guy with an oversized and sequined bow-tie using a megaphone to advertise bargains.
A snapshot from the Laforet Grand Bazar sale in Harajuku
A snapshot from the Laforet Grand Bazar sale in Harajuku
Real airhead mannequins at the Grand Bazar.
Real airhead mannequins at the Grand Bazar.
Girl sporting a flower chain headdress selling clothes.
Girl sporting a flower chain headdress selling clothes.
Two guys holding signs inviting shoppers to their store.
Two guys holding signs inviting shoppers to their store.
A fashionable female shopper examining some accessories.
A fashionable female shopper examining some accessories.
One last shot of a shopgirl hollering in the Laforet Harajuku summer sale.
One last shot of a shopgirl hollering in the Laforet Harajuku summer sale.
 Posted by at 23:36
Jul 092010
 



 
Another exclusive item for sale in the Tōkyū Foodshow — a watermelon grown in the shape of a heart. I have seen cubic melons, pyramid-shaped melons, even round ones, but this was the first time I saw a cordiform melon (ハート西瓜). I mean, it looks nice and probably makes a fantastic present, but the price tag is rather steep… ¥9450 (about $108/€85) for just one fruit…

 Posted by at 20:41
Jul 092010
 

The Nippori neighborhood close to the Nippori Station (serviced by the Yamanote JR line) is the place to go if you want very cheap, fashionable clothing Tokyo’s teenagers wear. Crammed stores like Pop Girl and Heiwadō (ヘイワ堂) are much cheaper than similar shops in Shibuya and Harajuku, and their outfits are just as weird and crazy as well. On top of it all these stores have a huge amount of stuff with strange Engrish that we all love so much.

Now this was easy to spot: "Beutyful" on this striped girl's t-shirt.
Now this was easy to spot: "Beutyful" on this striped girl's t-shirt.
A yellow t-shirt with the almost incomprehensible print "This heart is very very ner you - Fllowe - love should also be subtle".
A yellow t-shirt with the almost incomprehensible print "This heart is very very ner you - Fllowe - love should also be subtle".
The highlight on this cat-oriented t-shirt is "Bloeing away the cobwebs".
The highlight on this cat-oriented t-shirt is "Bloeing away the cobwebs".
Unfortunately very small: "Why do you breathe? I seem to have totally I'm breathing from the beginning".
Unfortunately very small: "Why do you breathe? I seem to have totally I'm breathing from the beginning".
This was from a collection of very strange and over-the-top punk style t-shirts. Please note the place where the "Open House" sign is pointing at.
This was from a collection of very strange and over-the-top punk style t-shirts. Please note the place where the "Open House" sign is pointing at.
No Engrish, but still a ridiculously overdone t-shirt for Japanese males in my humble opinion.
No Engrish, but still a ridiculously overdone t-shirt for Japanese males in my humble opinion.
 Posted by at 19:05
Jun 202010
 



 
Another one of those remarkable decorations of Japanese shops and restaurants. This ceramic pig was seen in a rāmen-ya on the Shinjuku-dōri in Shinjuku. It’s kinda cute, but at the same time kinda creepy, because for some people the idea of having a pig as a cook is a little bit disturbing…

 Posted by at 20:57
Jun 062010
 



 
These pea-sized “berries” are actually the latest trend in solanaceous horticulture: micro tomatoes. Called “maikuro tomato” (マイクロトマト) in Japan, this fruit is the dwarf brother of the regular tomato plant and is said to be even more delicious than the regular stuff. I haven’t seen these fruits before, but in the Tōkyū department store food court there was a huge collection of tomatoes in all sizes, colors and flavors (some produce, like this one, pretty expensive).

 Posted by at 19:20