The Fushimi Inari-Taisha was everything I wanted it to be and more. It was absolutely beautiful, and as soon as I crossed over into its territory I wanted to run up the mountain and through the thousands of torii gates. I stopped in my tracks when my eyes slapped onto a sign for kimono rentals and within the hour I was wearing a light blue set with cranes flying across it and a flower in my done-up hair. It took a while to get used to wearing the wooden sandals but soon I was walking like a pro and followed the crowd through the food stalls and to the entrance of the grand shrine.
I remember the excitement building as I stood grasping onto the train handles, counting down the stops on the Yamanote line to Shibuya. I have been waiting for this moment ever since I found out about gyaru – it is the birthplace of gyaru after all, and I couldn’t wait to be walking along Shibuya crossing in front of my beloved Shibuya 109. After we stepped off at Shibuya station I whizzed straight to see Hachiko, the world’s most loyal dog! The story about how he waited for his master years after his death at Shibuya station is one of my favourites, and struck several heartstrings when I finally saw the statue in person.
And then it was time to join the crowd of people at Shibuya crossing to walk towards the beacon of all things gyaru – Shibuya 109. And I was extremely disappointed.
Cherry blossoms are my favourite flower; there’s just something so beautiful about their ephemeral state and it was the thing I was looking forward to the most during our stay in Japan. You could imagine my dismay when we arrived and it was too cold for them to bloom… It wasn’t until our very last few days here that they started to blossom, and so we went to the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace and it seemed like we weren’t the only ones, however, and soon all of the spots surrounding the trees were taken.
I’ve been to Japan and haven’t bought a thing… Said no one ever! And trust me, I am still on the road to financial recovery despite it being over a month since I’ve been in the magical land of Hello Kitty and matcha KitKat. It was so worth it, though, but when I look back at my Japan haul I wish I had bought more, but it was physically impossible to fit any more into my suitcase. My suitcase weighed 17kg before and then 23kg after. Oops. I’ve made the decision, however, to buy more things over from Japan. It might not be good economically but their clothes are just so much nicer and I want to keep supporting my gyaru brands from afar!
In the meantime, though, let’s delve into my Japan haul a.k.a the part where I sold my soul.
The very first part of my Japan haul was when I splurged on was some Hello Kitty and Sanrio goodies from Don Quiote (also known as Donki). I was just so happy to be surrounded by so many kawaii goodies so I didn’t hold back! I also bought some amazing 2-in-1 curlers and straighteners, and I’m pretty upset that I couldn’t fit it into my suitcase. Oh well, maybe next time.
I first fell in love with Hello Kitty when I was around 8 years old, sporting a little red and white t-shirt with her face emblazoned against it. But like all things do, I grew out of love with it, until it reappeared in my late teens and has stuck around ever since. So you can only imagine my excitement when I found myself walking down the pathway to Sanrio Puroland, the home of all of the Sanrio characters that you could ever think of. We followed all of the incredibly obvious signs on where to go (e.g. the Hello Kitty banners, Sanrio town map, Pompompurin signs at the train station… You couldn’t really miss it) and after taking the typical snap of me looking like an excitable puppy in front of Puroland, we went in. Cinnamoroll was the star of the show as it was his 15th anniversary and everything was so on point – from the staff to the benches to the decor in general.