Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Go from Peasant to Princess at Princess House in Kashiwa






Ever feel like dressing up in extravagant Victorian clothing, patterned Kimono and pastel wigs, but don't want to suffer the expense and mess? Princess House is for you!

Princess House is open until April and is a neat little pop-up shop where, for a small fee, you can try on any of their supply of beautiful clothes, wigs and accessories and take photos. There are also various accessory brands selling there, including my friends brand "PinkHime" to help you on your way from peasant to Princess. 
Princess House is essentially a pop-up shop in a department store called 1010 VAT in Kashiwa, Chiba. About thirty or forty minutes from central Tokyo and very easy to get to.



PinkHime is an accessory brand by Princesses for Princesses - everything is decadently decorated with  pink sparkles, gems, pearls, toys, lace and roses.  You can read my post about Pink Hime here; http://capsulebunny.blogspot.jp/2015/12/pink-hime-spotlight.html.
PinkHime has been around since 2003 and I have been a big fan from the start; she ships internationally, but everything she posts on her store sells almost immediately so you have to act quickly. At Princess House you could purchase a few of her sold-out accessories and one-off pieces which was great, me and my friends bought these magical girl inspired necklaces and bracelets and received free candy too! Everything within the store smelt sweet and was sparkling, it was like stepping into a fairytale.


The brand owner of Pink Hime "Tomo-san" often frequents Princess House and even has a table within the store where you can try decorating accessories too! There were boxes upon boxes of accessories, bows and nick-nacks with a hot glue gun to attach them. There were two cute little seven year old girls in the store who were also having fun decorating!



These are some examples of the things that were decorated on that day, hot pink adorable little hand-mirrors!


As you can see Tomo-san is a great lover of pink and even has a lavish decorated buggy for her toy poodle!

The owner of the store is a beautiful model by the name of Tiara-chan, she will be on-hand to assist you in picking out your outfit, tying your corset or obi, and even helping to make your makeup more princess-like.
On that day I took two friends with me, who wanted to give "Princess" or "Hime" style a try. Firstly, I did their make-up to give them that sparkly Princess edge. At the moment face sparkles and gems are very popular in Japanese street fashion, you can pick them up from stores like WeGo in big packets for as little as 300yen and they come in a whole spectrum of colors, shapes and gradients. Then I used big "Diamond Lash" brand eyelashes, channeling early 2000 Hime Gyaru eyes, that you can buy from any drug store, to make their eyes really "pop". Finally Etude House brand pink blusher, really gave their cheeks a rosy warm glow, paired with Etude house Rose lipstick. Etude House is actually a Korean brand, but they have many stores in Tokyo and their products are all very affordable, sometimes they give you free gifts like makeup brushes and face packs too!


Here are the results, what do you think?



Then we went on to pick our outfits out; I actually own a lot of Lolita to I wanted to try wearing a Deco Kimono, I found a pastel sweets inspired one with a Lolita-style collar and hot pink sheer Obi, which was tied into a giant bow at the front, I fell in love immediately. It kept the stiff, elegant silhouette of a Kimono but with a quirky Harajuku-esque design. My friends both opted for hand-made Lolita pieces, one was in royal purple and gold with a Corset and matching masquerade mask, and the other was very fun, floral and spring-like. After that, we selected wigs that would accentuate our outfits, I chose a marshmallow yellow and pink mixed wig, while my friends went for more natural colors. Lastly we picked from their extensive collection of accessories to jazz up our outfits; you could also choose from the range of Pink-hime accessories - including a giant, pink, sparkly crown! I picked out various sparkly clips and kanzashi, Tiara-chan selected a fluffy rabbit mask to complete the look. Then we were ready to take some photos!









There is a kind of display cabinet to stand and have your photo taken, it almost felt like standing in a doll-box. There was a lot of studio lighting, but they didn't have a professional camera on-hand, however you are allowed to bring whatever camera or recording equipment you like in to the store to film. However be prepared for a lot of the other customers to take your photo, coupled with random passers-by within the department store and of course, the staff! There was a chorus of camera clicks inbetween "oooh" "ahhhh" and "kawaiiiiii", it was a very surreal and happy experience!


We took the outfits for a spin around the Department store, before dressing down again and going for some lunch. I know we will be back for sure though, I really recommend any visitors to Japan to check it out, it was a very cheap and magical experience. Tomo-san also speaks a little English to help assist you into your princess transformation!

If you want to check out the store, the page is here and can be translated into English - http://www.0101.co.jp/smp/stores/guide/limited/00024detail.html?comment_id=110085

If you would like to Check out the store of  PinkHime, her website is here -

http://www.pinktomo.com/


Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Persona 3 Cafe in Shinjuku!






If you havent played a game from the Persona series, you should. The series comes under a bracket of games called "Shin Megami Tensei" or MegaTen for short and is translated to "True Goddess Reincarnation", if that doesn't sound badass I don't know what does. The series premise revolves around juggling a high school life similar to those dodgy J-dating sims, and then fighting monsters in a separate dimension, however the two worlds intertwine. All the games from this series are super long, with lots of re-playability and killer storyline.

The most recent in the series is 4, but 3 is also considered a cult game and although th original release was on Playstation 2, a movie about the Persona 3 story is just being aired in the cinema in Japan. The movie is how you would imagine a J-RPG to transcend into a movie; a very dark storyline, major plot twists, cute girls and adorable mascot characters. If you cant wait for the movie, there is already an anime surrounding the Persona 4 game, which is similar in design, story and vibe. There is also musical for Persona 3, which just just ended here so I can only assume a DVD will be released soon, so I anticipate an English subbed version will be in the making!

The cafe itself is just a pop-up and is found in Kabukicho, a dirtier part of Shinjuku in a little underground bar/cafe/restaurant. The inside is very dark with an almost disco feel and accentuating lights, it actually reminds me of "Club Escapade" in Persona 3, whether that was intentional or not I do not know.



 
Like any other pop-up theme cafe there were plenty of posters, card-board cut outs and a television showing clips from the movie. The music from the soundtrack played on a loop, which I love because all the MegaTen games have fantastic music.


I took a photo with the main Protagonist of Persona 3, who actually is one of my all-time favorite game-characters, despite the fact he doesn't actually say much in the game...


Next, the food!
The menu itself was a lot more extensive than I was expecting. I didn't order a drink but they were all very impressive. I wanted the blue drink with a gun-shaped ice cube, but I saw someone else order it and it came in a huge pitcher! They had food and drinks related to every character, they all appeared to be well-crafted.

  I ordered a kind of pafait based around another cherished character of mine, Chidori. Chidori is a side-character in the game who actually wears Lolita, her story is very sad and charming and her design is as beautiful as the dessert! The dessert was a bed of natural yoghourt and cornflakes (why do Japanese cafes put conflakes in everything?!), topped with raspberry sorbet, a metal sword and a tiny, real, red rose. I managed not to impale myself in the face with the sword, which was actually really heavy and enjoy the dessert, which is maybe healthy? I'm not sure.


My friend ordered some kind of suspicious looking green cake covered in cream and holographic plastic. He said it was OK, he didn't say anything else, so I wont recommend this!


It was altogether a fun experience, the music and feel of the cafe was very nostalgic as I really loved the series. With your meal you got a free coaster to take home with you, the only thing I would like to improve about the cafe is that they should sell goods, usually you can buy pens, or clear files or something. Other than that I had a great time and I am looking forward to watching the movie, play and playing the upcoming Persona 5 on PS4!

Sushi cat Gachapon Charms!


If you ever head to Tokyo, it is likely you will come across one of these capsule lucky dip machines. "Gachapon" or "Gacha" for short is a charming little machine full of colorful little plastic capsules with toys inside. The selections are seasonal and there are various kinds from anime character charms, phone straps, jewellery and pin badges. The price differs from 100yen up to 400yen depending on how juicy the prize is, you insert the coins and turn the knob and you get a random capsule, there is also a delightful jiggling noise as the capsule tumbles down the tunnel.
These machines are often found outside of super markets, in restaurants and sometimes you can find shops that only contain gatcha machines!
I found one such shop in PARCO department store in Kichijoji, immediately I found a prize that I had never seen before.



 
The machine on the right actually sells little bandanas for your cat! I don't own a cat myself but I can only imagine the bloody battle that would ensue if I tried putting a bandana on one, so I settled for the prize on the left - a sushi cat phone strap. These little straps are incredibly intricate and well-made, with a little chain to attach to your bag or mobile phone, they look so whimsical, I needed one. The designs are various cats on a bed of rice, in a kind of nigiri sushi design. I wanted the fluffy white cat with the pink school bag, but usually my luck is really bad for these things....

I had one try at 400yen and ended up with the black and white, serious salary-man looking cat with a tie. As my self control is pretty much zero, I had another go and lo and behold, I got the pink school bag cat! After fighting with the capsule to actually get them out of the capsules, I attached one to my phone and another to my handbag.



Sunday, 7 February 2016

Shinjuku Econeco display in Isetan




Shinjuku is home to many luxurious department stores, none more extravagant than Isetan. Isetan has many branches, but the largest of which within Shinjuku is a great place just to go and window shop and marvel at all the luxury goods. In Isetan, while there are a lot of overseas brands selling their wares, there is also a big focus on Japanese designers. From time to time you can encounter a decadent display like this one, advertising for the cometics brand "Econeco". Econeco sells many fragrant things; from bath bombs to face powders and candles. The charm point of this brand is the gorgeous, pastel illustration that adorn the packaging. The art is really spectacular up close - pastel zoo animals, sumptuous sweets and magical make-believe circus worlds.




If you have fallen in love with the sweet, quirky designs as I have you can find them online at www.doshishisa-cosmetic.jp
The illustrator also has an instagram; econeco_cosme_tokyo

They are currently doing a collaboration with Sanrio brand "Little Twin Stars" and it is as enchanting as you would imagine. You can find pockets of Econeco being sold in other parts of department stores around Japan, so keep your eyes peeled!


Closely related, another Department store in Shinjuku that always features adorable art is Marui Annex. Sometimes one of my favorite artists, Imai Kira has in Marui, but unfortunately I was a little late. However, I did manage to pick up some star-themed post cards of her illusrations in a small postcard shop inside. Imai sometimes sells her art in the Design Festa event bi-annually, she also does collaborations with Lolita brand Angelic Pretty. Aren't they lovely?