Tokyo : 8

Today we approached the 2nd to last day in our Tokyo adventure. All the finals are now complete and we had 2 sightseeing days in Kyoto. All that was left on my project to do list was Purikura or Photo Club. I’ve done some research on the machines prior to coming with the intent to use the images on trading cards that will accompany my images and figurine. So we headed to the back of a Sega arcade in Shibuya, Tokyo and chose our booth.

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Nothing could prepare me for the photo booths. They were fast paced, intense and in Japanese only.

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As soon as I it my money in I was on a timer to make my decisions, do I want to elongate my legs? Do I want anime eyes? So I want spots or stars in the background? On the first attempt I didn’t choose fast enough and the machine chose for me. It then proceeded to take the images while I was getting ready which resulted in these images.

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In the neighbouring editing booth I tried to add as much glitter as possible to rectify my mistakes but it didn’t work out too well.

Now I knew what to expect I hit the booth again. Trying to be as cheesy as possible these are the images I created of Icitha’s 3 looks.

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Magical Girl
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Product placement
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21st Century Geisha
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After this ordeal myself and my mum decided to get some of our own too as a reminder of the trip.

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I attempted to email myself the images too. But so far only 2 have come through so I may have to scan the printed stickers for my trading cards. First I have to get them back to the UK safe and flat.

Tokyo : 7

Today was the day of the last shoot. This shoot was Originally planned to be themed as Sakura but due to the premature Sakura bloom the trees weren’t as covered and bright as I had hoped. This worked out for the best though as both other shoots were heavily focused around light and the city atmosphere.

I had a rething yesterday and thought I could tie in the modern city with the kimono by changing the look to modern geisha or 21st century geisha. I had the perfect spot in mind too, just round the corner from our hotel in Shibuya is a rooftop patch of grass and trees which is well lit and has a nice balance between garden and city landscape. Unfortunate it down poured with rain but we stuck through it and utilised a modern umbrella with the outfit.

I will go back in the dry and take a photo of the location.

Tokyo : 6

Today has been one of the best days so far. I knew for the magical girl shoot I wanted a city skyline, so after a bit of research found the Mori tower. I contacted them and asked about shooting on the viewing platform on floor 52 of their building and they said it was fine. We decided to make a day trip out of it and went up early to have a look around the Rippongi Hills.

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^ the Mori tower. Top floor= viewing platform.

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We even found some Takashi Murakami art…
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Unfortunately the Mori art gallery was shut, so to pass time until night we took a trip to a Toho Cinema.

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After the film we headed up to the viewing platform and nothing could have prepared me for how stunning it was.

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I knew this was the perfect place for the shoot so I got out my camera, lined up the images so it matched yesterday’s shoot and began snapping away. Soon a small crowd gathered and began to ask what we were doing. This interaction was great and something you wouldn’t get in the UK. The workers and sightseers were so relaxed and involved it makes Japan a really nice place to shoot in, both visually and atmospherically. The pictures will go online in the future. But as for now you will have to wait and see.

Taking a step back for a moment, at the beginning of the day the pose was really important for me so I saved a variety of magical girl images to my phone which I used as reference on the shoot.

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Tokyo : 5

I’m a little behind on blogging. It’s been a hectic 2 days. Last night I did the product placement shoot. And it went really well, despite getting lost and missing twilight I am very happy with the end results. I am not going to post them on here just incase they will be my final pieces, it’s too soon to have them circling around the Internet.

The best part of the shoot was when an older Japanese man wanted to use the vending machine so we stood waiting with the camera whilst he slotted in his 10¥ at a time and got his cola.

This is what my phone made of the location at the time.

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Tokyo : 4

Last night we did some shooting at a Sakura park in Ueno, Tokyo. I took my costume and film camera along with me just in case we found the perfect spot.

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However, we had heard before that The Sakura had come out early, before we arrived in Tokyo and it only lasts a week. This is frustrating because my look is based on the Sakura plant. We still went and were shocked to see hundreds if not thousands of people there picnicking. In Japan during cherry blossom time people gather in the parks and picnic up until the late night.

After much frustration of the local of cherry blossom we stopped looking and began to enjoy some food under the lanterns.

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We then came across a beautiful temple on the water, which had a stunning Sakura path over the water over looking the city. I decided the place was too beautiful not to try, although I had gone off the Sakura idea completely and had started thinking up other ways I could use the costume.

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I haven’t got my laptop so cannot blog the originals instead I have photos of the screen of my camera, not ideal but its all I can manage without a laptop.

I am not overly happy with the images, ( I also took them on film) and I definately wouldn’t say they are good enough to be finals.

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I shot some standing still but decided they didn’t look doll-like as I intended, as I knew the images weren’t great anyway I started experimenting with movement.

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Now here are photos of the film printouts. The colours are duller than the digital and the focus is off (my fault completely) but the texture of the grain is nice. Still not final piece worthy.

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I guess a first attempt it wasn’t too bad. However I rushed to get to the park because it was closing soon and rushed to get Sakura photos even though you cannot tell the trees are Sakura because they are nearly bare. I want to have fun with these photos and not rush anything. I am going off the Sakura idea completely because full bloom happened before we arrived and am researching traditional japanese gardens to find a more suitable place for this look without the pressure of getting the leaves before they fall.

I am confident about the product placement shoot because I found the perfect spot a few days ago and have been thinking about it since, so now I must do research on Japanese gardens and either high up viewing platforms or city areas for my magical girl look.

Tokyo: 3

Today we revisited Harajuku in order to shop for my final piece outfits. We were more successful than our first attempt, resulting in a completed shopping list. The majority of the clothes came from 2 stores, one who’s name escapes me but it is one of lady gaga’s costume shops.

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Which is where we found this beauty. Perfect for the Sakura look.

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The second shop we had never been in before, in Japan you have to remember to look up as the shops are layered on top of each other. Today we remembered to look up and found the gold mine of all Cosplay/ Lolita shops.

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Here I found the majority of my magical girl look as well as some beautiful red shoes for my product placement look.

After that we ventured to a Harajuku shopping centre. What I love about Japanese shopping centres are they are tall and thin, there are no corridors, the box shaped floor has open shops on all 4 sides of the wall. In Topshop I was given a face mask whilst trying in clothes, the changing room assistant told me it was to ensure my makeup didn’t go on the clothes.

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On our way out we saw the beautiful architecture of the shopping centre.

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After a few more shops we returned home, I decided to bring all my looks together to make sure nothing was missing.

Here is 3 days worth of Tokyo shopping in 3 photos…

Magical Girl
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Product Placement
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Sakura
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I am very happy with the results and can’t wait to get shooting.

Tokyo: 2

Today was a successful day of research and shopping in Tokyo. We spent the day walking around Akihabara, the electric city and the birth place of the term Otaku.

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I had big hopes and they were beyond fulfilled. Yesterday I wrote about Shibuya and Harajuku, I compared them to Chelsea and Brighton in England. But there is no where in the world that I could compare Akihabara too, it’s a fantastical place built around the admiration of fantasy stories and characters in anime. I not only did some personal shopping but managed to get some things for my final piece too.

Yodobashi
Yodobashi was our first stop. The biggest electronics shop in Japan the shop covered 8 floors and had its own food court.
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I had been planning to buy a pentax in Japan and yodobashi was the ideal place. They also have a huge film section which meant I could buy a five pack if film, I will also be taking my images to be processed there. After this mammoth shop we stopped for a bit of lunch, ordering our food at a vending machine then receiving it in the restaurant.

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We then took a walk around the streets looking in all the fan shops. I made a few personal purchases, including my first figurine. I am going to look more into the packaging in a deprecate post for my final piece.
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We then discovered Mandarake thanks to a helpful maid wondering the streets. The self proclaimed biggest anime and manga related shop in the world. 8 floors of books, posters, and merch it was like a shopping centre exclusively for geekery… ^_^ be careful of the adult shops, when you don’t read japanese you can find yourself in some very questionable shops.

It was really helpful for the final project, I found the perfect wig (the quality of wigs is unbelievable), trading cards and window posters which are printed on transparent paper in order to let light in. Just like mine will be, i will go into more detail about the cards and posters at a later date. Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take photos in the shop, which is especially a shame because they had a whole room full of dolls and Barbies and all their interchangeable outfits. They even had a doll wig which matches my new one.

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We then started the train ride back to Shibuya after a successful day. As we did we ended up getting lost, frustrating, but perhaps a good thing as I found the perfect line of vending machines for my product placement photoshoot. A full 6 line of vending machines in a secluded area with the choice of a high up or ground level viewpoint.

We also saw some beautiful lanterns in Shibuya.

Today we are heading back to Harajuku to buy a dress I previously saw and will star shooting tonight. Starting with the Sakura look.

Tokyo : 1

Today is our first full day in Tokyo and is the first chance I’ve had to get online. The first thing that I love about Tokyo is the respect everyone has for eachother. I am so used to city-goers barging past and throwing all sorts of food on the floor but Tokyo is clean and everywhere you go you are welcomed in and bowed too, it takes a bit of getting used to but it is quite nice.

Coming into such a different culture is a shock to the system. Getting used to people’s mannerism and learning what socially acceptable and not. Here are some of the things I’ve picked up on in the first 24 hours.
– don’t put your bag on the floor in a resteraunt, put it on a chair or in some places put it in the delighted box.
– don’t hand money to a cashier, put in in the tray at the till.
– it’s considered rude to blow your nose in public.
– always use two hands to give and receive items.
– be prepared to take your shoes off at any point. I had to take my doc martens off to go into a changing room. (Doc martens are not ideal for Tokyo, a quicker slip on/ slip off shoes is more appropriate)

We are staying in Shibuya which I have renamed “made in Shibuya” because I see it as the Chelsea of Tokyo. Everything is beige and over priced. Looking for a more colourful and affordable city experience myself and my mum got the subway to Harajuku. After a bit of eating and light shopping we were shattered after having only done 1 lane, the infamous Takeshita Dori a narrow street of shops I can only compare to Brighton Lanes, but bigger and better. Each shop sold a different style of pop culture attire, from kawaii to rave and decora. Unfortunately I didn’t buy anything, the whole experience was overwhelming and I am still getting used to the currency exchange and having to hand over thousands.

Tomorrow we head to akihabra, Tokyo’s electronic/anime/manga central. Here I hope to buy my maid costume and possibly my magical girl costume as well as a new camera, some figurines and some other anime goods.

Here are some snaps I’ve been taking on my phone, I wish I could have taken more but I didn’t get access to a charger until today. (I’m blogging from my phone which doesn’t give me the option to annotate pictures but the images below are what we’ve seen, what we’ve eaten and little gadgets in our hotel room)

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