How many parties + openings can you cram into 1 day? Answer: FOUR! (FIVE if you count after party ramen).
As long as you only eat 1 meal, that is.
Our first full day in Tokyo (Sunday, July 24, 2011) was CRAZY PACKED as every event EVER was happening the same day! We put on our fancy shoes (and I packed comfy ones for the unavoidable max-pain-time), fun outfits, and braved the ridiculous heat to see our friends at their events.
Caro & I started the day by attending an art show/workshop hosted by Reiko Tada, who is also known as the drummer for the kickass Japanese band Kiiiiiii!
The exhibition was in a cute little gallery above a store in Kichijoji. Reiko’s style is super cheerful, playful, and childlike, but with weird little details that you only notice if you look closely! Right up my alley, haha.
Mural done by Reiko and a crowd of people waiting for the workshop portion to start.
Reiko (left in black and purple tshirt) begins the workshop.
These mini artbooks were adorable!
"In the KIIIIIIIIII of Life" is a short newsletter Reiko does for her fans about random events she's been to, or things she's thinking about.
We only stayed for about an hour, and then jetted off to the next location, which was 1) cramming some pastries that Caro got as a present into our mouths while standing on the train platform because we forgot to eat and 2) popping by the 6%DOKIDOKI store in Harajuku to say hi to our friends! I don’t have any good photos from this visit, since it was literally 30 minutes or less that we were there, and we were all soaked in sweat by that point, haha. Oh, Japan summer! It was really nice to see Vani and Yuka, though we had JUST missed Sebastian and Mika since they were taking a much-needed lunch break. This was just one of many times we would see the 6%Dokidoki gang, so we gussied up, said goodbye and headed to Shibuya to attend FILMMAKERS!!! Vol 02 at SECO Bar in Shibuya.
We walked down the scary stairwell and paid our 1500yen to see our buddies who were attending the event. On the side of the venue, SPANK! and Shojono Tomo had tables set up to sell their products. We were super happy to see Tavuchi again, of course, and to meet Shojono Tomo, an artist who Caro recently has begun to represent in america as part of her Sweet Streets. The main part of the event was a large stage set up with people giving talks about making videos. In Japan, they call people who make independent films “VJs” so it was really confusing at first when I started to ask about the people on stage. The convos went like this:
Me: So, they SHOW VIDEOS like on MTV? Like a DJ but with videos?
Tavuchi: Uhmm.. yes! they make videos!
Me: Wait, they MAKE them or they SHOW them?
Tavuchi: They show them! And they make them!
Me: Uhhhh. So they… are filmmakers. OHHH THE EVENT IS CALLED “FILMMAKERS.”
English fail on my part, basically, ahaha! Anyway, on to pics from the event!
Spank! and Shojono Tomo were making collaborative items! You picked artwork from Tomo, and Tavuchi made it into a cute accessory! Such a good collab! Here is Tavuchi, Spank!'s owner, making a bow right at the table.
Shojono Tomo's half of the booth. She puts her artwork on clothing, bags, handkerchiefs, and tights! I ended up getting a pair ❤ Gotta support our artists!
Shojono Tomo and Tavuchi! They are awesome ladies and have been friends for a long time. Tavuchi even sells Shojono Tomo's items in her Spank! stores!
Me and Caro pose with our custom made giant heart pins! I love these! Features Shojono Tomo's art, and Tavuchi's amazing DIY skills. She made these in like 2 minutes!
More Spank! products!
A customized medical mask made by Shojono Tomo.So badass!!
Tavuchi even made me an adorable bow as a present! Here is a pic of the back of my head (which apparenly is already up on Tumblr and has a hundred notes on it, haha), and my messy hair, but the bow is SO adorable!
So excited to see Eimi again (left)! Her and her friend came to LA before for the Magical Girls' show in April this year, and it was nice to see them again!
After about an hour and a half there, we rushed off again (I think it’s about 7pm at this point?), this time with Tavuchi leading the way so that we could meet her friends at the Koenzine Launch party in Koenji. I could literally write a BOOK about the things I experienced in Koenji this night and the other few days I stayed there with Tavuchi later on in my trip. Instead, I’ll try to give you the short fun version, and save my deeper thoughts for a separate post another day, haha.
Koenji is a town just to the west of Shinjuko on the Chuo line. It’s credited as being the town where punk rock music was introduced to Japan, and is full of hundreds of little vintage stores, many of which not only sell straight up Western vintage, but also do amazing DIY remakes of clothing. There are many original clothing brands there, and the feeling is youthful, fun, and sort of vintage in itself. I felt like I wasn’t really in Tokyo anymore when I was here, it was so quaint and bustling with youth and really nice, open people, and it was really lovely.
Koenzine is a “zine” in the traditional sense, a print magazine created to show the spirit and artistic life in Koenji. With photography by Hanayo, the book showed many faces I was already familiar with (Tavuchi, Mlle. Yulia, Toko, etc). The Koenzine party was held in the Kitakore building, which is a massive building that is so old it looks like it’s falling apart, with makeshift floors built in as new brands want to open in there. Here you can find brands such as DOG, which Lady Gaga’s stylist basically pulled ALL of her clothes from and created her image from is housed there, along with Giza, ilil, and a load of other stores I know I am forgetting, plus a small exhibition space in a makeshift “floor” in the corner of the building.
The photos really tell all! So on to photos!
Amazing things such as kickass ruffled mickey mouse men's briefs can be found in the awesome store, Garter. Caro is AMAZE in this photo! hehe
The ceilings are approximately THIS high! It's like eating the pill that makes you bigger in Alice and then going shopping! SUCH a cool building! And you can see Tavuchi's face down there, too :)Just some of the amazing DIY merch on sale in the Kitakore building!
Here is part of the exhibition they created in honor of the Koenzine launch. These items are discarded pieces from the stores in the kitakore building. You can see the old "Garter" sign laying in there, too hehe.
Small snapshot versions of the photos that are in Koenzine were tacked to the walls in the exhibit area. Here is Tavuchi posing next to the photo of her that appeared in the 'zine.
Here is a beautiful pic of Mlle. Yulia that appears in Koenzine.
Yulia (right) and I!
Yulia (right) is a famous DJ, recording artist, and designer that’s blowing UP in Japan right now! I am in LOVE with her music and kickass style. And yeah, us girls with colored hair have to stick together. She was DJing a set at the party and I got to chat with her a bit. She’ll be coming to LA soon for a shoot and I hope to hang out with her a bit then, too 😉
You can listen to Mlle. Yulia’s newest single, which just dropped on August 3rd, here:
Yulia's handmade jewelry line, called Giza, is sold exclusively at Garter and features impressive metalworking, which Yulia says she picked up when she was living in London for a few years.
Yulia (right) and Koshiro (left) DJ a set together. Koshiro is the owner of Garter, and also Yulia's beau ❤ this photo of them is ADORABLE. The awesome dude on the far right is Youhei, who you will hear more about later. He's awesome and another SOUL MATE of mine haha.
I had super fallen in love with Koenji by this time, and knew I had to make my way back there before my trip was up… which I did 🙂
We really wanted to stay longer but we still had ONE more commitment to go to, and were already sort of running late. We hopped the train back to Shibuya, and rushed to The Lady Spade‘s live show at a small bar/cafe there! I missed them so much! They also came out to perform for Magical Girls in April of this year, and it was our lovely reunion! There was a slight miscommunication, and we thought that their last set STARTED at 10:30pm, but actually, it ENDED at that time ;.; We arrived and it was over, and we were sad… BUT… BUT!! SLF (the leader/DJ of Lady Spade) announced they would do a special ENCORE PERFORMANCE just for Caro and I!!! ;.; TEARS STREAMING, FACES RED OF EMBARRASSMENT WE WERE SO HAPPY AND GRATEFUL! ❤
The new hotness. From left to right, Lotta (who wasn't able to come to LA, so this was our first time meeting her, Alice, and Tiffany!
SLF (stands for "Shit Lives Forever") DJing the tunes for The Lady Spade
Group photo! the projection screen sorta killed this, sorry! Left to Right: Tiffany, myself, Caro, Alice, and Lotta.
Hey! It's Imai-san from The Aprils! He was here to support his friends The Lady Spade. Such a cute photo of Imai and Caro 🙂
My soul mate found me again! Ken was at the event too and we had a few beers, like soul sock bruthas do haha. He is really such a fun dude! And check out his badass chain! It's plush, and part of his "Broken Doll" line that he sells at his store in Shimokitazawa.
The lovely ladies pose for another photo. So artsy!
Here’s a short video I took of the performance:
No late night party time is complete without some FOOD! If you’ll recall, Caro and I only ate ONE OTHER TIME today, and those were just pastries about uhmm… 10 hours before this. So we headed over with our friends to a ramen place nearby and ATE UP! Alice was SO CUTE and I got to meet her boyfriend and friends who came along with us to eat!
SORT OF A LONG STORY, but Alice was pointing to two guys and said "That's my boyfriend!" I didn't know which one so I said, "The one who looks like Luffy from One Piece or the other one?" It was the other one. This is the other guy. He's awesome and one of Alice's friends hehe.
Oh my. There are SO SO SO many more photos than what I posted here, so please take a poke at my Flickr to see them all! I think I’ll be adding these to my Facebook, too since it seems easier for people to find themselves there 🙂
I have JUST gotten over my jetlag so I am gonna do my best to catch up on my posts from Japan! Hope you all are enjoying the read! Please as if you have any other questions such as locations, links, etc for anything you see here that I may have forgotten ❤