Thursday, 31 March 2016

Sailor Moon x Isetan collaboration

Recently the Sailor Moon collaborations have been out in full force serving up delicious prism power parfaits at Qpot cafe and adorning stationary sets in Itsdemo, also among the hundreds of Gatchapon machines dishing out Sailor Moon toys in Tokyo. However in March the collaborations took a very classy turn into the upmarket department store in central Shinjuku called Isetan . Isetan sells only the fanciest and most expensive brands, so it was nice seeing it infused with some otaku culture.

Bandai collaborated with brands such as Samantha Vega and Baby-G to make magical girl inspired clothes, handbags and jewelery, making a stylish series far from Otaku fashion. The only problem being the price tag - some of the bags were selling for up to 40,000yen! The jewelery was as expensive and the watches were even more so. However Sailor Moon is a recurring trend that never seems to fall out of fashion, old Sailor Moon goods (such as the ones found in Nakano Broadway) can go for up to four times the price now! Maybe it would be a good investment to snap up one of these limited edition pieces now.
The Samantha Vega handbags come in an assortment of designs and colors, ranging from normal-shaped understated bags with gold Moon clasps and bag charms, to more flamboyant cat-ear shaped Luna inspired bags with huge gold emblems. I did note however that the bag charms are separate items and also cost about 3-4,000yen! So be careful when picking up one item...There were also smaller purses that you can clip to the handbag with the Sailor Scout seifuku emblem and they were also adorable!

The hot item in-store was the seifuku-style hoodie with gold moon charm zipper, this retailed at 19,000yen and sold out pretty quickly! I was surprised at how quickly everything has been selling, however Sailor Moon is popular now with the younger generation because of the new Sailor Moon: Crystal anime revamp, and of course women who are nostalgic having watched the old series when they were younger.

There was even a small confectionery counter with Sailor Moon cookies, cakes and even adorable boxed macarons representing each of the Sailor Scouts! These were only 2,500yen, so that was definitely an affordable piece of merchandise to share with your friends (or eat all to yourself).

The pop-up store was market style with rails of (mostly galaxy printed) clothes and twinking fairy lights hanging over head, it was a really nice atmosphere, apart from the shoppers rushing to snag their favorite item. Samantha Vega actually release Sailor Moon themed Handbags now and then, so be on the look out. You can probably pick up something from this collection on Yahoo auctions, however Isetan are not the only store making Sailor Moon collaborated clothing; sister store of Liz Lisa "Tralala" are also selling a Sailor Moon line!
Even after the collaboration ends, please visit Isetan department store if you are ever in Shinjuku, they always feature foreign and Japanese artists and have interesting collaborations. Isetan is about a 5 minute walk from Shinjuku station!
Happy shopping!~

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Pretty in Puroland for the 25th anniversary!

Puroland is one of the places that many people miss when they come to Tokyo, which is such a shame because its every kawaii enthusiasts dream. The entire building is built like a rainbow fairytale castle and twinkles beautifully at night time, enough to rival even the Cinderella castle at Disneyland.
The whole park is inside and based around the world of the Sanrio characters, which is both extremely cute and very, very surreal. Although it doesn't look so big from the outside, the park stretches underground and features many rooms, rides and restaurants, enough to warrant an entire daytrip there. We visited for the 25th anniversary of Puroland, which is an incredibly long time and was reflected in the elaborate decor and attention to detail.

Of course the star of the show is Hello Kitty, there are various rides, attractions and even a stage show inside the park dedicated to her. As you can see the decor is very medieval and European inspired, which makes sense as Kitty-chan is supposedly British. Oh and she isnt a cat either, shes a...Human who happens to look like a cat? As confirmed by the Sanrio higher-ups. If you are lucky enough you can even spot her feline-looking boyfriend Daniel walking around the park among other mascots. I feel like Kitty inspired the furry trend I see so often on Tumblr these days hehe.

When you arrive you'll instantly notice that everything is sugary and adorable, no expense was spared to give you the fuzzies. Of course there are a lot of small children at the park, as these mascots are so popular (and probably aimed at children, lets be honest), but actually there were a lot of cute couples on dates there, so guys shouldn't feel ashamed to go have a look. There were a lot of Japanese girls wearing Lolita and also popular Jfashion brands such as LizLisa, it was great even to just people watch.

The main heart of the park is called the "Happiness Tree" from which everything else grows around, you can actually go inside the happiness tree and ring the "Happiness Bell" at the top. I am not sure what kind of kawaii sorcery it was infused with, but I did feel a little happier afterwards...
There was also a very cute machine with two mirrors and a screen; two people have to stand in front of the mirrors and put one hand on each mirror, and then hold hands with the other, then the screen will light up and tell you what your "Love Love Match %" is from 1 to 100. The cute thing is that the screen only turns on when you are holding hands, like real magic!

Eventhough the theme and feel is very European, they did add splashes of Japanese culture here and there, with an adorable Japanese tea room and a huge decorated "Kumade" covered in the various Sanrio mascots, can you name them all? There are literally hundreds of Sanrio characters right now, it was fun wandering around the park and spotting them, whilst learning new ones. At the moment Gudetama is the reigning king for popularity, if you are lucky enough you can spot his kind-of-cute-kind-of-creepy mascot slinking around, yawning.

Since I visited last year they have added a new Cafe, the "My Melody Dream Cafe" which served the most ridiculously cute desserts and drinks, as well as the main restaurant, so there was plenty of choice for food and drink. The restaurant even served beer!

 I ordered something called the "Bekkuri Burger" meaning "shock burger", it was pretty shocking as inside there seemed to be some kind of florescent blue substance, which I think was mash potato, but I was too afraid to ask. It came with curly fries, which was a nice touch as I haven't had those since Primary school.

Then I had a "Pink Bear Plate" which I dubbed "Teddy Bear's Crime Scene", the whole thing looked very gruesome, but tasted delicious. I am always amazed at how airy Japanese cakes and sweets are, they aren't as sweet as British or American ones too, which is good for me, as I can eat more.

My friend had an adorable My Melody woodland themed dessert; a chocolate roll slice was used to make the log and chocolate dusting was used for soil, and little "Kinokonoyama" chocolates were used for mushrooms! Again, it was little attention to details like this that makes Puroland so charming.

The theme for our trip was "Swankiss" as we all wore outfits from that brand in Shibuya 109 for a sparkly fairy kind of look, everyone looked so cute and fresh! Puroland is the perfect place to dress up if you are ever shy to wear fancy fashion in the city.

There are also about five different rides, albeit very small ones, are very whimsical and enjoyable. They are clearly aimed at very small children, but that doesn't stop them from being fun. My favorite of which is a boat ride around the happiness tree, that lets you look down on the people below and travels through the world of Pom Pom Purin (the yellow dog with the pudding head) during that section, a really delicious pudding smell is wafted down onto the ride too!
The finally, the reason that most people go to Puroland is to buy lots and lots of Sanrio goods. They had uncountable amounts of souvenir shops selling everything from stickers and clothes to perfume and beauty products. Remember giving Omiyage "souveniers" is very important in Japan when you go somewhere nice, so if you go to Puroland remember to bring me back something!

Puroland is about 45 minutes from the city center of Shinjuku by train, so it is a little ways out, but worth the wait! It is situated in Tama-center aptly named "Sanrio Town"so there are plenty of cute attractions laying aroung town too. The entry to Puroland is about 3000yen depending on season, but the goods and food were relatively cheap!
Also fun fact - Tama Center was the setting for the popular Anime "To Aru  Kagaku no Railgun", so you can see many of the locations of that anime there! Have fun travelling!