Harajuku, Ikebukuro and birthday party

This Friday, I took a short trip to Harajuku to buy some presents.

IMG_4788

Later, me and Jessica headed to Ikebukuro to celebrate her birthday together with Hiraoki (I -アイ- ) and Rysuke (Doukoku) with friends.

We had a really good time and missed the last subway home. We had to take taxi. ^^

Happy birthday Jessica!

IMG_4789

About these ads

VelBet’s last live (Shibuya)

I’ve seen two band during this Japan visit that I used to think I never would see live. The first one was GRIEVA. And the other one was VelBet.

I saw VelBet this evening. And it was their last live ever, since they will disband. A very emotional night. I will come back to this…

Velbet

But first, me and Jessica made a short visit to Harajuku this morning for some shopping. I found following:

Bracelet, hide-necklace, hide pin and black mouth masks.

IMG_4647

I also bought this beautiful hide-figure. HIDE YOUR FACE

Jessiva found this cool glasses.

IMG_4633

It was sunny and warm and very crowded. We strolled down Takeshita Street and ended up at Laforet. We had to take a look at the visual kei store “Like an Edison”.

Um… a lot of teddy bears that holds up their own loose heads seems popular right now….

IMG_4643

DIAURA singer shows what happens when he puts on some makeup…

IMG_4651

Reasons why you can not smoke on the street in Japan…

Anyway, later I headed to Shibuya for VelBet concert. It took place at Shibuya O-west. I saw that Alcatraz was located next to it – a restaurant with theme mental hospital. I would like to go there… Hope Jessica will join me.

Outside O-West

IMG_4652

IMG_4653

IMG_4654

I bought some photo-cards and chekis with VelBet.

The band has been active for five years (2009 – 2014). Now it’s gonna end. It’s so sad.

 

The arena was quite small. I think we were about 400 people there. I got a good spot with a good view and even though the hall was pretty crowded, there was some space between the rows. That makes it easier to dance to the music.

IMG_4655

I found it pretty cool to see them live. I feel truly blessed and I’m so happy that I have the opportunity to experience things like this. I realised that this would be a passionate night.

And that’s the true word of this evening – passion – ’cause the band rocked so so hard and gave absolutely everything. The whole atmosphere screamed “last time”.

I truly love Riuki’s voice and I think he is so cute. He wore a black and white shirt and a colorful jacket. His hair was sprayed up in the back so it looked like a gloria, he looked like a lion. The same kind of hairdo that Ruki (The GazettE) used to have. Kaie looked very much like Uruha and Yuuna looked very much like Aoi. If you squinted with your eyes, it actually looked like you were watching the GazettE.

In Europe, you do whatever you want at a concert, but at a Japanese gig, you’re part of a bigger system and the entire audience makes the same moves at the same time. The dance moves is called furi. It’s almost like aggressive and loving aerobics (ha ha), or watching an audience street dance. I think it’s very fashinating. I tried to copy the furi as good as I could but sometimes it was very complicated. But it was fun and I enjoyed it all, even though you get very tired fast. Jump, headbang, run back and forth… I will truly have an aching neck tomorrow, we headbanged so much.

I’m in love with this band. Riuki forgot a little bit of the lyric once and after that he got the cutest big smile. Watching the entire band headbang together was wonderful. Ryohei reminds me a little bit of a young Pata (X-Japan) by some reason.

Suddenly it started to rain “cherry blossom petals” over us. It was very beautiful.

VelBet's last live

I the middle of the show, all band members left the stage except Natsuka. He gave us a wonderful drumsolo, made us clap our hands in certain rythms and shout.

Then all members came back again and continued playing. I’m so glad that they played favorite songs of mine like: Tokyo (東京), Yuusetsu Monochrome, Youthful days and Toshin Dai no Bokura (等身大の僕ら).

Then it was time for encore. We shouted and shouted.

Suddenly they lowered a giant screen over the stage and the entire audience sat down on the floor. We watched photos and movieclips from 2009 to 2014 where VelBet was performing live or kidding around backstage.

Then we saw an audience and it took a while before I realised that it was us. We stood up and waved. It was crazy to see myself there on the wall. Then the camera filmed the band backstage and followed them out on stage. Now they wore band-t-shirts.

The played more songs. Riuki sprouted water on us and I got some very appreciated drops on my face. It was so warm in there! This time it rained plastic silver ribbons on us. They played a song with the most exhausting furi. I thought I was going to die. Riuki did stagedived twice. Ryohei once. ^^

Then another encore. It took a while before they came back and performed Toshin Dai no Bokura as the last song. It was very emotional. I wondered why Riuki’s voice suddenly became so weak. Then I saw that tears fell down from his face. He was crying! He made the audience sing the refrain for him and I saw how everybody in the audience cried intensively. It was a quite painful moment.

When the song was over, the drummer sat on the floor and cried. The bassist stood there, like paralyzed, not wanting to take off his bass. He cried the most of them all. Shit, I felt so sorry for them. They all held a speach for us and I really wished that I could understand what they said. When it was time for Ryohei to speak, he couldn’t say a word, ’cause he was crying so much. Riuki gave him a hug and that was sweet.

Then they threw picks , waterbottles and drumsticks to us. They also threw a way a bunch of… I don’t know the word for it, you know, the upper part of a drum, the lid, that the drummer hits. They were signed and they threw them away like freesbees. I wish I could have caught one but I didn’t.

This have been a wonderful night, very emotional. I’m so, so happy that I got the opportunity to see them…

I will never forget this night.

Info

Band: VelBet (ベルベット)
Formed: 2008

Members

Vocal: Riuki (リウキ) (VelBet) Guitar: Kaie (VelBet) Guitar: Yuuna (ュゥナ) (VelBet) Bass: Ryohei (猟平) (VelBet) Drums: Natsuka (VelBet)
Vocal: Riuki
(リウキ)
Guitar: Kaie Guitar: Yuuna
(ュゥナ)
Bass: Ryohei
(猟平)
Drums: Natsuka

Web
VelBet Official Webpage

Other posts about VelBet (ベルベット) on my blog
VelBet (ベルベット)

Blog Twitter Fan-mail Bloodtype Birthday
Riuki Riuki Riuki Riuk: O Riuki: Sep 5th
Kaie Kaie Kaie Kaie: A Kaie: Sep 27th
Yuuna Yuuna Yuuna Yuuna: A Yuuna: Feb 8th
Ryohei Ryohei Ryohei Ryohei: B Ryohei: Aug 5th
Natsuka Natsuka Natsuka Natsuka: AB Natsuka: Aug 19th

Landed in Tokyo

It’s been a long day and a long flight, but everything went smooth.

Me and Jess landed in Narita outside Tokyo today and it has been warm and sunny. Cold Sweden felt very far away.

We headed to our hotel close to Aoyama Itchome station and while she went out to do some Nyanko business, I went to Harajuku for a stroll.

I was very tired from the flight, but it was so nice to see familiar neighborhoods. I think Tokyo has a certain smell, and it awakes memories in me. I like it.

I just strolled around the Meiji shrine entrance, the yoyogi park and Takeshita street. Most things looked the same.

This is the entrance to the park that leads to the Meji Shrine.

Meji shrine

There was a lot of people at Takeshita Street.

Takeshita street, Harajuku

Takeshita street, Harajuku

Takeshita street, Harajuku

Takeshita street, Harajuku

Takeshita street, Harajuku

When it was time to meet up with Jess, we celebrated over a sweet and tasty harajuku crep (Oh, so I’ve been longing for this).

Harajuku crepes

Harajuku crepes

Harajuku crepes

Harajuku crepes

Harajuku crepes

Made a short visit in a jrock store before we headed home to eat Nikuman and drink Japanese beer.

Nikuman is some kind of bread filled with meat and cabbage, and it was Jessica who introudes me to this very tasty meal for only 100 yen. Mmmmm… oishii!

Nikuman

Nikuman

This is our messy hotel room. It was much bigger than I expected. So far I’ve only lived in reeeeaally small hotelrooms in Japan.

Hotel room

So far so good. :-) But soooooo tired.

IMG_4224

YOHIO in Harajuku

The following video is a message from YOHIO to the readers of “FRIDA” – a Swedish magazine for teenage girls. (I will tell you a secret – I’ve been in that magazine too approximately 10 years ago… And I still got it saved in a box somewhere. But I won’t tell you why… *ha ha* )

Well, not because I was an upcoming superstar as YOHIO – that’s for sure. Wow, life must be crazy for him right now – so much happening and so much work to do.

Yohio

Yohio

In this movie he walks around in Harajuku and it’s painful to see Takeshita Doru and the lovely stores in the Laforet building. I want to go back so badly. When I visited that music-store in Laforet there was no YOHIO-singles…. but now there apparently is. And it’s quite funny to see him walking around in the fashion stores. I looked down on myself right now and realized that I’m wearing a jacket that I bought in the very same store as he stood in.

Japan is so close and still so far away.

Anyway, less  whining from me and more focus on YOHIO. I hope you all will vote on him at Mars 9th… I think that’s when the final is. ^^

Day 7: Takeshita Street Shopping Spree

After visiting the Meiji Jingu Shrine, I decided to take another round on Takeshita Street.


 
I don’t seem to get enough of that place either… It’s located only ~200 meters from the Shrine entrance.

The Japanese telephone wires is not buried in the ground. They often look very tangled, much more than on this photo.

Tangled telephone wires

Tangled telephone wires

It started to rain. Again! But it’s OK, ’cause I spent most time indoors in shops… ;-p


 

Rainy Takeshita street

Rainy Takeshita street

I bought these tamagochi stickers for my niece. I hope she will like them.

Tamagochi stickers

Tamagochi stickers

Soooo, yes, I had another shopping spree… :-S

I fell in love with this shirt. (to the left) You can buy stuff like this in Europe too, but to the double price. I also fell in love with this lovely and cozy “jacket” in black velvet.

Bargains

Bargains

And when I saw this “The GazettE” shirt it just had to follow me home…

Anata wa GazettE ga suki desu!! ♥

Anata wa GazettE ga suki desu!! ♥

Back to parent

Day 2: Takeshita Street

This day I decided to go to my absolute favourite area in Tokyo (except Akihabara). That’s HARAJUKU and TAKESHITA STREET! <3

Tokyo subway is a bit more complex than Stockholm's... Still it's so well organized I almost never get lost.

Tokyo subway is a bit more complex than Stockholm’s… Still it’s so well organized I almost never get lost.

In Harajuku I couldn’t help but smiling like a moron when I got welcomed by “NoGod” at the entrance of Takeshita Street.

NoGod

NoGod

This is my favorite song with NoGod: “Ano hi no sora ha gokusai de”


 
It’s really soft and passionate. Give it a try, ne.

Takeshita is a street almost entirely filled with stores related to alternative Japanese fashion. A perfect place for me to be.

The entrance of Takeshita street.

The entrance of Takeshita street.

Among a lot of things, I found some hide-goods. Like this lovely figure.

I found it in the store "Pop land". Of course he followed me home...

I found it in the store “Pop land”. Of course he followed me home…

And I found some stuffed hide-dolls as well. I’m gonna hug them tonight.

And here's some stuffed hide-dolls. Aren't they adorable??? Soooo kawaii ne?

And here’s some stuffed hide-dolls. Aren’t they adorable??? Soooo kawaii ne?

There’s several idol-stores on Takeshita Street which is a dangerous place for me to be… Unfortunately it’s mostly jpop and kpop idols nowadays, but I found some corners with jrock and visual kei. ^^

I almost get nose bleed when I see GazettE pictures like this.

I almost get nose bleed when I see GazettE pictures like this.

I got these key-rings from a gaming machine. Wohooo! How did it know that Ruki (the GazettE) is my number one favorite?

Keyrings with the GazettE and my number one God Ruki.

Key-rings with the GazettE and my number one God Ruki.

I couldn’t help myself from buying some posters in the fan-stores… hide and Ruki. My favorites. Look at Ruki’s eyes. Spellbinding!

R.I.P. hide. <3 See you on thursday, Ruki! <3

R.I.P. hide. <3
See you on Thursday, Ruki! <3

I just love the crepes in Harajuku and Akihabara!!! My favorite is banana and chocolate. The cream is so heavenly creamy… I’m gonna eat loads of them before I return to Sweden. ^_-

Crepes at Angel's Heart in Takeshita Street.

Crepes at Angel’s Heart in Takeshita Street.

As you might know, in Japan there’s usually always plastic food outside as a menu! It’s so brilliant and it always looks so real. Then you always know what you get when you order something.

Plastic crepes menu.

Plastic crepes menu.

I enjoyed my first Japanese crepe today…

Banana, chocolate and icecream crepe. Oishii!

Banana, chocolate and ice-cream crepe. Oishii!

And here I’m drinking “pearl tea”. As you can see, you get a really wide straw and while drinking, you suck in these “jelly-balls”.

Sucking up the jellyballs feels really strange.

Sucking up the jelly-balls feels really strange.

Jelly balls in the bottom of my pearl tea.

Jelly balls in the bottom of my pearl tea.

And of course I had to try out the purikura booths on Takeshita street as well. Here I’m posing in a new jacket that I bought at Pop Land earlier today. ^^

Say cheese!!!

Trying to look cool.

Say cheese!!!

Say cheese!!!

For those who doesn’t know, in a purikura booth, a program tells you how to pose and then you take some closeup shots and some whole-body shots. You can all the time watch yourself on a screen.

When the photos is taken, you enter another booth and decorate your pictures in different ways. It’s time limited and quite stressful. It’s fun but quite hard when you can’t read the alternatives… ^_-

I'm working hard in a purikura booth...

I’m working hard in a purikura booth…

This was truly a joyful shopping day and except my idol toys, I found some clothing and accessories.

Like this shirt. It’s warm and cozy now when it’s winter in Sweden.

Warm and cozy

Warm and cozy

I also bought a cute choker with a glistening skull and a mouthcover with "attitude". *ha ha*

I also bought a cute choker with a glistening skull and a mouth-cover with “attitude”. *ha ha*

It’s been a cloudy day and the rain fell heavier and heavier. I decided to return to my hotel to drop off some shopping bags before I continued my adventures in this weather…

Back to parent

Harajuku – the center of Japanese fashion

Harajuku

This day, Josefin and I decided to visit Harajuku, an area in Tokyo that awaken my curiosity since the well-known street Takeshita is located there… and not to mention: LEMONed shop!

LEMONed Shop

LEMONed Shop is kind of a fashion sub-store for hide fans. (hide – with lower-case “h” – was the former guitarist in X-Japan). As a crazy hide-fan I wanted to visit it, of course.

hide,  X JapanWe started our journey with a coffee and a beer at Omotesando, a big shopping street in Harajuku. Since I had forgot the address to LEMONed Shop (stupid! stupid!), I asked the waiters about it and a young man was kind enough to draw me a map. It didn’t seem to be so far away, so we started to walk but got pretty lost. We realized after a while that the map couldn’t be correct. I asked several people about the store, but no one seemed to know where it was.

An observation I did that day is that a lot of Japaneses are so eager to help, so they try to do so even though they are very uncertain. After a while, we understood that we couldn’t rely on all those confused way descriptions. I was about to give up when we finally found a map over Harajuku at an art gallery and LEMONed Shop was marked on that map.

LEMONed shopThe store was pretty small and insignificant. Not to question that people didn’t know about it. Another bit bothering observation was that Japanese youths weren’t very fond of either X-Japan or Visual kei. Visual kei bands are probably much more successful overseas.

In Japan, Visual kei is quite uncool.

Anyway, I stormed into the building and ran up for the stairs. Hearing hide’s song “Beauty and stupid” from above made me so excited and I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve when I stepped into the store and saw all hide-posters on the walls.

LEMONed shop

The store was very small and they didn’t sell much. That was actually a bit of a downer. The goods were extremely expensive, so even though I wanted to buy certain things – I just couldn’t afford it. Mostly they sold clothes and knick knack. I had to settle down with some smaller souvenirs, like a calendar and some post cards. Irrespective, it felt great just to have been there.

Tip: Don’t wanna get lost as we did? Here’s a map over Harajuku. LEMONed Shop is located at number 10.

Takeshita street

Lolita outfitI loved Harajuku. It was cozy! And best of all was Takeshita Street. If you’re interested in subcultures like cosplay, lolita, goth, punk, visual kei etc. then this is the place for you. The street is quite narrow, lined with a great amount of cool stores with clothes, accessories, idol gadget and other knick knack.

Here and there you spot young girls and boys in eccentric outfits, bright colored hair, piercings and weird-looking contacts. So cute.

Harajuku crepes

I’ve heard about the famous Harajuku crepes before, so when we passed one of the crepe stands we couldn’t resist to try them out. You could order a crepe with a lot of different stuffing, both sweet and more healthy choices like salad and ham.

Harajuku crepes

I bought a crepe with whipped cream, chocolate and banana – and it tasted heavenly! I truly regret that I didn’t bought another crepe before I went home to Sweden. I still dream about the Harajuku crepes and sigh with a smile.

If you’re going to Harajuku, you really must taste the Harajuku crepes. *Oishii*


 

Purikura photo booths

Purikura boothsWhen we stumbled upon halls with Purikura photo booths on Takeshita street, I more or less dragged Josefin with me and forced her to become a silly and bouncy teen with me in front of the cameras.

I’ve seen these kind of photo booths before on TV, but never tried one. They are a popular trend in Asia, but I’m sure Swedish kids would love the idea as well.

There are several booths in the hall and you pick one that seems suitable. This is truly a hall designed for girls, very stereotypical cute, glittering and pink. The booths are quite big. I think you can put 10 people in there, but the programs seems to be designed for two people.

Purikura boothYou don’t have to follow the programs to the latter if you don’t want to though, it’s just for funny inspiration.

In front of you is a big screen that tells you to choose a program. There are a lot of different choices and since neither me or Josefin understood Japanese, we just threw 400¥ coins (~320 crowns ~$4) into the machine and pressed random buttons on the touch screen.

When the program starts, you can see yourself on the screen. The wall behind you becomes transparent and switch to different backgrounds during the course of the programs. You get told to pose in different ways and you can see exactly how the photo will be the whole time. As newbies, Josefin and I messed up quite a lot and forgot to look into the lens when the photo was taken. But it was very fun!

Purikura boothWhen the program’s over, you continue to an adjacent booth with some kind of computer.

There’s a big screen on which your photos get displayed, and then you get some minutes to decorated them by pressing a pencil-like device against a cute motive (there are several galleries to pick from) and then dot them on the pictures, or draw them in some cases (like waves of stars and such).

It took some time for us to understand how it all worked, so the first photos became quite ugly. But who cares, really. ^_-

When time’s up, your pictures get printed and spit out in a holder outside the booth. The pictures can be used as stickers.

We might be “old ladies close to our depressing thirties”, but this was really amusing. We decided to go back to a Purikura photo booth later that week. Here’s a sample of our first mistakes. ^_-

Purikura photos

12012 in Harajuku

After we left the Purikura photo booth, I realized that some things that day felt very familiar. I recalled a movie with the Japanese group 12012 in which Wataru runs around among people, eats crepes and gets photographed in a Purikura photo booth. When I watched the video later, I saw that we actually been to the same places in Harajuku. Too bad Wataru wasn’t there this time… -_-

Take a look at the movie: Hide and seek

Blog posts from this journey:


Shopping in Harajuku

2 July 2009

Today we visited Harajuku in Tokyo. It was awesome!

I took a little while, but we did find “LEMONed Shop” after a lot of searching. The store was quite small and they didn’t sell so much stuff and it was extremely expensive… but I found some cute souvenirs for me and the cat. ^^ It felt so strange to walk into a shop with a lot of hide-pics on the wall and hearing “Beauty and stupid” in the speakers. Lovely!

Then we went to Takeshita street where all the alternative subculture stores is located. So many cute and cool outfits and weir-looking people! ^^ I loved it! We tasted the “famous” harajuku-crepes (so good) and tried out Japanese photo machines (First you take a serie of photos and the wall behind you get transparent. Then you sit in front of some kind of computer and decorate your photos with cute stars, hearts, text and such… So fun!)

 Then we got lost in Tokyo, but as you might understand.. we found our way back to the hotel after a while and enjoyed a meal at a restaurant. ^^

 Hide has just taken his nightbus in Osaka and will arrive in Tokyo tomorrow morning. Then we will maybe go to Akihabara “Akiba” – electric town. The place for all manga-, anime- and electronic nerds… ^^

In this movie with 12012 you can see what kind of crepes we ate and what kind of photo machines we used. ^^ Maybe they are in Harajuku? Hard to see, but it looks very familiar.

Mata ne!

Back to parent

Go hide and seek!

Minitokyo.12012.279661

Oh my Gosh, can’t she talk about anything else?!
Of’course I can… I just don’t WANT to right now.
I love this one. It makes me happy! Period!
This one is for all 12012 fans out there: