Visiting Tokyo feels a lot like visiting New York City; it’s scary, exciting, and feels a little unreal. After all there’s not to many places where you can visit an indoor video game theme park and then have lunch with your favorite idol at a cafe. Tokyo as most people know is the capital of Japan, and pretty much the only city anyone outside of Japan knows about. It’s the main source of inspiration for amines, manga, and all those wacky Japan articles on the internet. Tokyo is amazing, there’s so much to do here it would take you at least twelve years to do everything without repeating any event.
Diver City Tokyo Plaza
Diver City Plaza is a shopping mall in Tokyo which is home to the worlds only life size Gundam statue. There are about four floors throughout the whole mall and offers a wide variety of food and high end brands (Armani, Stussy, Addidas, etc.).
The food court offered a wide variety of traditional Japanese foods such as ramen, soba noodles, curry as well as some western foods. I was amazed to see an Auntie Anne’s and a Subway here, those aren’t even good restaurants back in America.
Our second stop was Tokyo Big Sight, the building in which Comiket Tokyo was held. From the the mall it was about a twenty minute walk, with an excellent view of the ocean and Tokyo harbor. Comiket is always held in the Tokyo Big Sight building. It’s a pretty impressive building, and for the life of me I can’t understand how they managed to build it.
Ever since I first started cosplaying about eleven years ago, it has always been my dream to go to an anime convention in Japan. I always pictured it to be this amazing thing, where everyone would be in amazing costumes, para para dancing to whatever new Euro-beat trash was out. To my disappointment, conventions in Japan however are very different compared to conventions back home. In Japan it feels more like an informal business meeting rather than a giant hangout. The focus is less about making the fans happy and more about getting you to buy all the newest things. Which isn’t terrible but that just means there’s a lot of rules that we’re expected to follow such as cosplay only sections outside of the convention.
Japanese cosplayers are on some next level type of skill though. I’m not sure if it’s because there are actual shops dedicated to cosplay so they just have more resources or if it’s just that these people are naturally talented with make up and sewing but these pictures can’t even begin to capture how dedicated some of them were. Plenty of people looked like they came straight out of a cartoon. The next convention is in December so I’ll have to pull out all the stops if I want to even be noticed in my costume.
Harajuku district in Shibuya is known as Japan’s center of youth culture and fashion. It’s a great place to visit and it is a perfect place to shop to find just about anything to please your niche aesthetic. Although I love coming here, I am sad to physically see it’s decline. Even from two years ago, I noticed that many of the shops have disappeared and it has become much more a tourist spectacle than it was before. Many of the previous shops that have catered to Gothic Lolita fashion or Fairy Kei have closed and been replaced with international branded stores such as H&M, forever21,etc. I’m sad to see it go but I can understand why, there are plenty of reasons for it’s decline but I think the main reason is that many of the stores were just to expensive. A lot of products are handmade so it’s very easy to spend over $1000 USD for one outfit.
Despite it’s high prices and constant crowds Tokyo is a great place to go; there’s always something going on from idol dance performances to great places to sight see. There’s a small piece of me that wishes I had been placed in the capital but I know I would always be broke.
Disclamer: The Harajuku pictures above aren’t mine. The crowd made it very hard to take decent pictures, but I thought these images helped capture a little bit of the look and feel for Harajuku.