Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Let's Go to KIDDY LAND!!

 Kiddy Land is a famous toy store on Omotesando Dori, Harajuku.  However, at the time of my visit (September 2011) the store was being rebuilt, so a temporary store was set up, just around the corner in Cat Street. Although not quite as big as the original, there was still certainly enough toys to keep the kids and us adults happy.  Our Japanese friends had never even taken their kids there before. How funny is that!
 Out the front of the store is a large number of Gashapon machines. Quite unbelievably, it was a bit difficult to find Gashapon machines this trip. On our last visit, there was a big Sega near our hotel that had multitudes of them, but that has been closed down now.  Other gaming centres we visited, only had a handful of Gashapons. I find Gashapon toys a good choice to get little gifts for children back home. My son likes to keep inserting the coins until he gets the exact toy he wants. I try to reserve all my 100 yen coins for this purpose.
 Well the big kid that I am, had to have a few turns at the Rilakkuma machines.
 From memory, there was maybe 3 levels in the temporary store.
This was a range of toys I had never seen before, called "Sentimental Circus" Quite cute, I thought.

I would say that Rilakkuma is even more popular in Japan than Hello Kitty now days. Rilakkuma is probably my favourite character.


 Japan always sells so many different versions of characters that are unique- none of these Disney toys are available in Australia.
 I really like these Minnies made from floral fabric.

Anything from Studio Ghibli is always going to be popular. All their animations are truly masterpieces in my opinion.
More pics of Kiddy Land next post. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I enjoyed shopping there.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Let's go to Harajuku

 Today we met up with our Japanese friends in Harajuku. Harajuku is famous for it's whacky clothing shops nestled amongst some high end fashion houses. There are also many quirky cafes and stores along the little side streets. And best of all, Kiddy Land is there!

The main street is called Omotesando Dori which is a lovely wide avenue lined with beautiful trees. It's another great walking destination.

 In the past, many people would congregate at Harajuku dressed in bizzare outfits with make-up to match. But it seems only a small number still participate in this ritual nowdays.

 This is La Foret, which is a shopping centre devoted to famous Japanese clothing labels, with the odd international name thrown in, such as Kitson.  It also is home to one of my favourite stores, Kiwa Beads. Kiwa is basically a fantasy land of beads and jewellery making supplies, with an enormous range of Swarovski crystals.

 Why buy Swarovski jewellery, when you can just go accros the road to Kiwa Beads and make exactly the same thing for only a few dollars? I once saw a Swarovski pendant costing over $200.00, however the components only cost about $15.00 at Kiwa. Obviously, not all Swarovski jewellery can be replicated, but most of the simple jewellery can be - and it's alot of fun to create your own accessories.

 This is Cat Street. I really love all the little side streets in Tokyo. You never know what little gems you will find. As I was with another family this day, I couldn't go off and explore.  How I would love to have a few days by myself in Tokyo. I could accomplish alot without husband and kids sulking because I found yet another craft/zakka/fashion/cosmetics store! I really do love my family, but sometimes it's just nice to have yourself as company for a while.
So sweet!
Next post - Kiddy Land!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Shibuya - an assortment of images.

The famous Shibuya crossing, or scramble, as it is sometimes called.
This is the view from our hotel elevator, and the best spot to watch the scramble. I could watch it for ages. I describe it as a sea of humanity, just trying to cross the road.

 This is the view from our hotel room - rather spectacular, don't you think?

 I love everything about Shibuya; the sights, the smells, the sounds, the food, the people and of course, the shopping. Mmmm, the aroma of yakitori cooking is the first thing you notice. The sounds are just a cacophony of sales pitches being yelled through  megaphones, music from the huge video screens and traffic. It really is a sound quite unique to Tokyo. Also, the smells wafting from the many cosmetic stores is wonderful - I love Japanese make up and beauty care products- they smell divine.
If you have ever been to Shibuya, you will know what a fabulous town it is for just strolling and people watching. You can feel the excitement of the city as soon as you step onto the street. If you are a foreigner, the fashions of the locals will astound you. Tokyoites, especially in Shibuya, have a certain sense of style. They have a unique flair for off beat dressing. The clothing co-ordinations would look ridiculous on anyone else, but on these people it just looks amazing. Many foreigners try to emulate their dress code, but it never seems to fit in quite the same way. They really know how to put an outfit together!
I love all the winding little laneways. It's such fun to just ramble along, taking different turns, never knowing what is around the corner. I could walk for hours admiring the gorgeous window displays - so artistic and unique. Presentation is everything in Japan.

You will see these lanterns all over Tokyo. I love the ambience they produce.

 Look what I found! Beaded cakes!  They were displayed in the window of a chocolate shop in Mark City.

 I recognise them from the Beads Mania range.
I must try and display my beaded cakes as beautifully as these.
Have I enticed you to visit Shibuya for yourself yet??