Saturday, 27 August 2016

Wedding Photoshoot with Hiroko Tokumine

Did you know there is such a thing as a Lolita Wedding dress designer?
Neither did I until I met Hiroko Tokumine! She creates beautifully crafted Lolita dresses, and also Lolita inspired wedding dresses for an extra flamboyant touch to your wedding. I had seen images of her work online, specifically on her instagram @hirokotokumine and was amazed  veteran Lolita model Misako Aoki modeled some of her beautiful gowns, as I had seldom seen her model for indie or lesser known brands.  Looking at the products up close I could see why Misako was interested; every design is incredibly intricate and lovingly hand-made. The "Kawaii" silhouette, ruffles and lace concept which is the bones of Lolita becomes fused with the elegance of wedding dress fabric, veils and flowers. Hiroko says she is inspired by "The Rose of Versailles" and "Grimm's fairy tales" when creating her pieces.

 I think the concept of a "Lolita" wedding is a beautiful idea - a bride in a huge billowing, ruffly dress gliding down the aisle, a princely groom and hundreds of chattering girls in huge dresses at the service, packed into the church like frilly sardines.

 Her website is also pretty interesting; you pick the silhouette or base of the dress you want and from there you can custom design your idea and she will make it for you! I am assuming that if you chose to get the skirt and top separately, you could incorporate them into regular Lolita coordinates too!

Although she only speaks Japanese, her sister lived in California and speaks English fluently, so I am sure just using English, you could still order something to your specifications.

Now on to the photoshooot!

I had never modeled a wedding dress before so I was both excited and extremely anxious; what if I make it dirty? what if I fall over? What if my butt is too big and I rip it?
Luckily Hiroko and her sister were very lovely and comforting, two other models also attended the photoshoot, as well as Leo acting as my groom for the day. I thought the entire shoot would be in Japanese but actually, the photographer  and one of the models spoke English very well!

The dress I modeled was intimidatingly colossal - I needed two people to help me into the skirt and petticoat. However, to my relief, it fit very well and the material was extremely silky to the touch. The majority of the dress was a champagne-tinged white, covered in cascading lace and mammoth veil complete with Tiara, the parasol even had its own veil! There was also a giant bear, I named him Papa.

Leo made a very dashing groom! It made me realize that in a few years we could be walking down the aisle together...

The studio itself was in Ebisu - luckily in Tokyo there are many themed rooms or studios available to hire per hour for photo shoots. Some are more targeted at cosplayers or editorial shoots, however this room was all white, complete with a floral "kitchen" filled with fake pastry and a giant stuffed bear. If you are interested in modeling in Tokyo I suggested looking into themed rooms for photoshoots!

The second part of the shoot was for a new collection by Hiroko - Lolita dresses themed around fairytale characters, with a Japanese twist!

I had been given the role of the Rapunzel, so the hair and makeup artist transformed my extensions to super long flower embedded locks! The other girls took on the roles of Snow White and Cinderella. The dresses each came with fitted corsets, so we didn't have to worry about size, and the fabric itself was a mix of white cotton, lace and gorgeous printed Japanese patterns.

I could also watch Hiroko working away making last minute adjustments to the dresses. She herself is a Lolita, so there is something charming knowing that your wedding dress was lovingly handmade by someone who also enjoys the fashion!

You can check out her website here;!designer/cee5

Lastly, one of the other models, Ai Akizuki actually makes beautiful flower arrangements and bouquets, this added a very personal touch to the photo shoot, please check out her other work on her instagram at @aiakizuki.

Overall it was an incredible experience and opened my eyes to the possibility of a Lolita themed wedding! Please check out Hiroko's collections and Instagram!

Custom Latte art cafe in Tokyo.

If you want to find cool latte art, Tokyo is the place to be. Usually at theme cafes they have their own themed Latte, for example the pop-up cafe in Shibuya Parco usually has a Sanrio theme so you can expect to pick up a My Melody or Cinnamon Roll themed Latte easily. There are also Cafes in Shin Okubo which take mild requests such as "a 3D dog" or "a 3D cat" and give you frothy, lumpy works of art. However, the coolest place I have been recently is called "Reissue" in Harajuku Takeshita-dori.

This cafe allows you to request anything.

You can literally ask for anything, if you have a picture on hand for reference and they will make it for you.

I decided to test them by ordering a 3D latte art of my pet hedgehog and I was not disappointed! I imagine it is popular with people who want to turn their pets into delicious, delicious art. I felt bad about drinking my own hedgehog though.

The artist makes all the art by hand, the cafe is relitively small but comfortable in the second part of Takeshita dori on the second floor. It is a little hard to find so I suggest using google maps!

I found the artist really excelled at making manga or cartoon themed designs - my friend ordered an umbreon themed coffee and it came out flawless.

All the coffees are 600yen, but if you want art that is an extra 400yen. It seems pricey but I think it is definitely worth it to get exactly what you want, you can add flavored syrups to your coffee if you so wish. My hedgehog was vanilla!

This cafe also has English staff so please drop in for a visit if you feel yourself thirsty in Harajuku.

Pikachu Outbreak in Yokohama!

If you call yourself a Pokemon fan you must know about the "March of the Pikachu" That has been happening worldwide. Basically, a ton of all-singing-all-dancing Pikachu mascots have been deployed around the world at various shows and events to promote the newest games, namely Pokemon Sun and Moon.
The Tokyo version is held annually and known as the "Pikachu Outbreak", however this year as temperatures in Tokyo are soaring to a sizzling 37, this year is a special "splash theme". I was unsure exactly how wet you could get at an event aimed at children, so I went to investigate.

Recently the Mega Pokemon Center in Ikebukuro started selling Pikachu ear headbands and tails, so I had to get suited up in the proper attire before I attended the event. The event actually gives out huge paper Pikachu hats if you find yourself lacking a suitable outfit though!

The event is at Minato-Mirai in Yokohama, which is a little ways out from central Tokyo and on the coast. However, there is a huge harbor, lots of boats, old buildings and a variety of European foods as its one of the first places the Portuguese docked when they first came to Japan.

The event was a little smaller than I expected, but there were many attendees and small children dressed up and enjoying the show. The main attraction was a huge stage where the Pikachus came to sing and dance, there were also other performers and staff who taught you the "Pikachu dance". The twist of the show was that during the dancing, huge water cannons either side of the show fired rounds of water into the crowd! I was expecting it to be a light pray or drizzle but everyone got soaked. Although there is a warning before the show to put away any electronic devices, I witnessed people in shock horror getting their iPhones drenched and making a quick escape. It was refreshing on such a sweltering day, but I could see a lot of parents getting angry, not expecting to be pretty much washed away.

After the show some of the Pikachu came into the crowd to spend some private time with the audience and take photographs. There were various kinds of Pikachu based around the plushies that are sold at the Pokemon center, wearing different outfits and having different themes. My favorite type was the "raincoat" Pikachu complete with little boots, these Pikachus emerged after the crowd became well and truly soaked.

「pikachu splash yokohama parade」の画像検索結果

Lastly there were many Gatchapon machines dotted around the event; these machines require 300yen and then give you a plastic ball filled with a random item.The name comes from the "gatcha gatcha" sound it makes when the ball is being released. The theme of these "Gatcha" was Pikachu around Japan. Each prefecture has its own Pikachu themed pin badges that you can collect if you travel around Japan. However this event had them all in one place!
I tried the "Kyoto" machine and got a gorgeous Pikachu and Geisha pin badge!

This event runs annually every August in Yokohama, so if you see yourself in Tokyo at that time please look it up, its family friendly and even the location itself is scenic enough to deserve a visit!