Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Follow my Japan Adventure!

Tumblr ♡
I'm going to use this as a place to post photos with captions on them so people can see what I'm up to.

♡ Twitter ♡
Part of why I chose to work in Japan is so that I can get better at Japanese so I made a Twitter just for Japanese tweets since I know most people who follow my regular one don't speak any Japanese.

♡ Japanese Blog 
Another attempt at me practicing Japanese by writing some short Japanese blog posts over here too.

I have a new computer which means I have iMovie now too so I want to try and make some YouTube videos.  I'll post that if/when that happens.
Everything else will still be used and remain the same.  (︶ω︶)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tokyo Adorned with Kumamiki and Aguko

I was so excited when I found out that Kumamiki was going to be in New York.  Kumamiki is a clothing designer and Harajuku fashion icon.  She has been posting videos with tutorials and general updates about her life here on YouTube.  She traveled to New York with Aguko, another Japanese fashion icon who wears mostly resale clothing, for an event promoting Thomas C Card's new collection of photos titled Tokyo Adorned.

Thomas was inspired by an article he read in the New York Times years ago that was loosely related to Harajuku fashion.  At the event at Kinokuniya on Tuesday, he explained that his perception of Harajuku fashion changed.  When he began the project he was under the impression that there were very specific subcultures but after he traveled to Japan and began taking photos, he realized that it was much more loosely defined than he initially thought.  He found it difficult to contact people involved in the Harajuku fashion scene from overseas so he and his assistant went to Japan and met Kumamiki on the street who then helped them find others to participate in the photo project.  He explained that the photo sessions were a maximum of 30 minutes.  He explained that most people who aren't models get uncomfortable after working in front of the camera for longer than that.

After explaining his process in creating the book, he allowed the audience to ask questions.  The people who attended this event were really interesting.  I had anticipated many young people like myself but there were only a handful of them, many dressed in lolita and some who had walked into the store without knowing about the event beforehand.  I met so many nice people at this event too.  However, most of the people seemed to be friends of the photographer who were otherwise unfamiliar with Japanese fashion.  They had a lot of interesting questions and I appreciated their curiosity.  

There was a translator to assist Aguko and Kumamiki when they responded to questions.  Aguko's English was so good!  After years of studying Japanese, my language skills are very sub par.  I know how difficult English is to learn so I'm always beyond impressed when someone learns it as a second language.  Kumamiki is also good at English as far as I can tell from her videos but she was much more hesitant to use it.  No judgments here though because it's not like I even attempted to speak Japanese to her or Aguko and if I had to sit on a panel in Japan, I would much rather go through a translator.

My favorite question someone asked is how long they intend to dress the way they do.  Aguko said that she is going to dress how she wants until someone stops her so basically she will be this way forever.  Thomas explained that he found many of the people he photographed said that they don't feel like they are their true selves unless they are dressed in their preferred style.  I really felt inspired and empowered after I visited Harajuku 2 years ago.  I felt like anyone could express themselves through their clothing however they wanted and it's encouraged.  No matter how outrageous it is, it's appreciated and respected.

I got my copy of the book signed by Thomas, Aguko and Kumamiki!  It's a lot bigger than I imagined which is awesome because the photos have much more of an impact at this size.  I  feel like the event and book didn't have much press but now after the event is over, I have seen tons of articles like this one publishing Thomas' photos!  If you're curious about what's in the book definitely check that link out.  Thomas also includes photos from some of the people's rooms that they were kind enough to allow him to photograph.

Me and Kumamiki!

It was so cool to meet these two girls.  There's a really great Tokyo Fashion video about Kumamiki that I loved so much.  It actually inspired me to name my senior art show "Korona" which is a word she created to mean "adult with a kid's heart".  I found my work identified with the word because it appeared to be childlike but had darker meanings.  You can, and definitely should, watch the video here.  It makes me want to get infinitely better at sewing or just save my money and buy her creations.

You can buy the book online for a lot less than I ended up buying it for (eek) and it's an amazing thing to have around your house or apartment or whatever it is that you live in.  Definitely a must have for any fashion fan.

This entry was rather long because I get so enthusiastic about this topic.  I know I said my last entry would be the last one for a while, but I think this one is it before I go to Japan!  I want to make some videos but I'm not sure I have the equipment for it.  We shall see.  I will definitely be off the radar for a bit, but if you have any Japan related questions and things, leave them in my comments or ask box and I am more than happy to answer them.  Thank you for reading my blog.  Things will definitely get more interesting from here on out.

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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Weekend Update: Junko Mizuno/David Cook and Kyary

This weekend was so busy and now I'm happy I don't have to work for the next 2 weeks so I have time to recover.  Although I'm sure the time before I leave for Japan is going to be nothing short of relaxing, not having to go to work will make it a little more tolerable.  Also, there are some little videos included in this post, so make sure you click them to enable the sound so you can enjoy the full experience. n_~

✿ Friday ✿

Friday was my last day of work at the office and even though I had been at work since 9 am, I was ready for the extra, more fun 4 hours of my work day at Cotton Candy Machine for Junko Mizuno and David Cook's opening.  There was an amazing turnout and it was a really busy night.  I didn't even get a good look at the work until after everyone had started to leave.   I was so happy to have the chance to meet Junko Mizuno.  I wanted her to sign a copy of one of my books of hers, but I couldn't find Cinderella or Hansel and Gretel in my house and all the copies in the store sold out before I could reserve one for myself so I just had her sign my sketchbook.  I'll consider it a reminder to make more art.

I also met this artist/musician named Voltaire who just did a Google search on and realized I knew his work without knowing who he was.  Whoops.  After most people left, Junko shared some desserts that someone brought for her.  That was really exciting to me both as a hungry person and a fan.  Photos won't be up for probably a week or something so I only have the few from my phone.  I can edit this with a link to some of the photos once they're online. The show is up until April 1st so check it out!

I helped frame these limited edition prints.

I'm sad that I can't go to any of these shows for the next year.  I'm working on coming to terms with the fact that I can't be in two places at once.

✿ Saturday 

I was so tired on Saturday because I was dragged out to a bar the night before for what seemed like forever.   It was 48 degrees out which is almost 50 degrees which is almost warm but not quite.  So that was a pleasant surprise.  I decided not to wear a jacket which wasn't the worst idea because then I didn't have to carry it all day although I would have been happy to have it while waiting in line for the show later.  At around 11, I met up with my friend Kaley.  We grabbed some onigiri from the cafe at Kinokuniya bookstore and we went to see Sebastian Masuda's exhibition.  I already had gone to the opening but 6% Dokidoki model Yuka was doing performances this weekend so I had to go back.

They played old Disney music and as a woman at the gallery explained, Yuka acted similarly to Sebastian's experience when creating the installation. Yuka demonstrated this by existing within the space as if it was her bedroom and alternating between actions like brushing her hair and reading a book, to climbing under the bed sheets. By the end of the performance, she had changed from a white nightgown to a green one.

I look like a goof sry
Yuka is too cute. I saw her later that night at Kyary's show too.

Afterward we went to Vivi Bubble Tea which was a short walk from the gallery.  We wanted to rest our feet and relax a while before sitting in line for the show for hours.  I love this bubble tea place and they have a few locations in New York.  I tried a caramel macchiato flavor and it was amazing.  Here we are:

Eventually we did make it to the infamous Best Buy Theatre line which was already way around the block by the time we arrived after 3:00.  But I was meeting up with Saxon so we just met her in line.  She makes all these super cute tights and gifted me a pair of Creamy Mami themed ones.  I'm so excited to wear them and I'll definitely post photos when I do.

These Japanese TV people came and interviewed me and Kaley and then asked for my email address so they could maybe talk to me more.  Last year they went into people's rooms to talk about their interest in Japanese culture.  My room is currently a mess so I would have appreciated an email from them to motivate me to clean it.  My mom's complaining clearly isn't doing it for me.  Still no email though. ~sad~  Similar to last year, everyone in line became friends.  We saw Elleanor, the Tokyo Fashion blogger, and called her over and she took a photo with me, Kaley and our new friend Cory.

Left to right: Me, Kaley, Cory, Elleanor
Saxon, Kaley and I got our photo taken with Pamyurin!
Kyary's performance was way better than last time and I think a lot of that had to do with the set.  Last time the stage was entirely bare except for these colored banners on the sides and a screen for projections.  After the last tour, Kyary said in an interview that she wanted to bring a whole set.  I'm so happy she was able to do it because it made the performance more exciting.

This bunny danced during costume changes.

My only real complaint was some of the people around me.  Most everyone there was super fun, but there was this one guy who was front and center in the first row of people and at least a head taller than everyone else.  I couldn't even read some of the subtitles on the video's during costume changes or see Kyary sometimes.  There was also another guy who tried to push his way in front of me and the girls next to me mid-set and the one girl asked him not to do that and he was really rude back to her, demanding her to ask him again nicer.  Then he just stood next to us with this smug look on his face for the rest of the show.  Good riddance.  It was a lot of fun without him in front of us.

I love Kyary performances because they are so high energy and she's just way too cute.  I hope that I can see her when I'm in Japan.  There was a really cute little girl with her mother who took some photos of me and my friends.  Her mom told us that her daughter is one of Kyary's dancers in Japan! I wish I knew her name so I could see the pictures she took.

I found Elleanor again after the show

That was my super exciting weekend.  Now my life is back to being boring for a little while so you probably won't hear from me for a little bit.  I hope everyone who got to see Kyary on this tour had the best time ever!

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