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 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.
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…
Even the mannequins of Western fashion stores look different in Japan! This dummy with ridiculously large, anime-style eyes was seen at Zara on Omote-sandō. It looks like this was just a regular doll until someone stuck the huge, hand-drawn eyes on its face to make it more Nippon-compatible. Apparently this is the way to lure in the customers…
Another example of the usage of stuffed animals that stores display to attract customers. This one was seen on the Sun Road in Kichijōji in front of a drugstore for traditional Asian medicince (I think). The panda holds a sign for some kind of bamboo extract with various health benefits. As many sick people in Japan do, it is also wearing a face mask lest it infects other people/pandas.
Many stores on the first floor are closed by rolling down a shutter. On these shutter are often the name and other details of the shop printed, as well as elaborate paintings sometimes. Here a new shop shutter is being painted by two young people. As you can see, they use large printouts to draw the lines and get the letters and numbers as accurate as possible. Nothing is left to chance in Japan!
The Aroma Garden massage parlor in Shibuya seems to have some problems with its foreign customers. While the Japanese know what to expect and how to behave, their English-speaking clients are apparently hoping for something… different. So they put up a second sign stating: “Welcome! Aroma Massage. Not adult entertainment. Only beautiful girls.” I hope it helps…
Another one of the strange applications of German words. “Zoff” means “row, argument” with a hint of “riot”. Not that suited at all for this Shimo-Kitazawa store that sells fragile things like glasses, I reckon.
The 2010 FIFA football world cup is approaching and although the Japanese team is not actually a serious contender, this doesn’t stop the people here from expressing their excitement. A local Izakaya restaurant has placed this interesting arrangement on the sidewalk next to their entrance, wishing the Japanese players the best of luck (がんばれ！ニッポン).
Shops in Tokyo try many things to stand out from their competition. Adding some kind of creative costume or headdress to their outdoor mannequins is not uncommon for stores catering to the younger crowd. This deerhead-mask wearing figure was photographed in Shimo-Kitazawa. It is still one of the more tamer results trying to get the attention of passers-by.