Louis Vuitton madness!

Tokyo Travel Blog

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Crazy fashions on Takeshitadori in Harajuku

One Louis Vuitton, two Louis Vuittons, three Louis Vuittons - oh, and there’s a Gucci bag. Tokyoites love high fashion handbags (or satchels for men) so much, I wonder if they are created with these accessories like Barbie and Ken dolls. It seems that a Western designer bag is a necessity, immaterial of one’s status. But are any of them real? Well, apparently they are. Expensive brands symbolise wealth and worldliness of such importance that some Japanese will buy a brand rather than eat. It comes as no surprise that one third of the world’s designer goods are said to be sold in Japan.

A Chanel bag with a skull and crossbones?

I arrived in the middle of summer to a pasty smog sky and hopped straight onto one of Tokyo’s many subway lines. The subway map looked like a game of snakes and ladders with lines crisscrossing in every direction. I managed to arrive at the train station where I had organised to meet my friend, Nicole. But meeting at a train station in Tokyo turned out to be a huge mistake. The larger stations all have a million exits and with my mobile phone not operating in this country, I couldn’t call to tell her where I was. It’s amazing that in a nation known for technology, foreign telephone companies aren’t connected. I was left technologically naked while everyone around me carried the latest mobile model with cameras and internet connection installed. Which brought me to wonder how we all managed before mobile phones.

A white 'parasole'

I decided to stand in one place and let Nicole find me. After half an hour, she actually did and the crowds carried us out to Harajuku. It was like being in Disneyworld - I bought a ticket, took a ride on a train that had friendly announcements for each stop and arrived at a colourful, new world. There were even people dressed in costumes, as Harajuku is known for a teenage culture that worships punk and girls dressed like Little Bo Peep. Passing endless vending machines and designer shops, we stopped at a coffee shop for green tea shakes and sweet buns.

Now buzzing with sugary goodness, we got our shopping fix in Harajuku with big names like Zara and GAP and the funky Takeshitadori lane.
Trying to fit in - me with a pink umbrella to protect me from the sun
We also managed to check out the Spiral Building (named because of its spiralling levels), which was exhibiting a doll collection that reminded me more of Chucky horror films than Barbie. Things got even stranger when we decided to check out the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art. There were three small levels with rows of old TVs, piles of rubbish and flashing lights. It was a little too 'artistic' for even my modern tastes.

The sun was beating down and I moved one step closer to conformity by purchasing an umbrella. Almost every Japanese woman carries an umbrella or dainty parasole. There are umbrella holders everywhere in Japan and many people have special umbrella holders for their bikes. It's actually a smart idea because you can shield yoursel from the sun much better with an umbrella than a hat. And if it rains, the same device is equally effective!

With my new pink umbrella, we checked out the back streets of Harajuku and found a fantastic little gyoza cafe that makes nothing but dumplings with a few different fillings.
Nicole and I having gyoza dumplings for lunch
I also wanted to find a vegetarian place noted in my Lonely Planet, but it was a pretty regular cafe with an organic shop next door. There was a slight confusion when Nicole asked for ice to put in her drink and was given chocolate ice cream - pretty close.

That night, Tokyo's haphazard city finally got the better of me. I'd been told about a crazy restaurant called Kagaya, where the owner dresses up in costumes to entertain diners. Even with the address we couldn't find the place. We called the owner and he said he was coming to pick us up. Half an hour later, we realised he wasn't coming and found a little place in a business building to enjoy sake and ramen noodles.
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Crazy fashions on Takeshitadori in…
Crazy fashions on Takeshitadori i…
A Chanel bag with a skull and cros…
A Chanel bag with a skull and cro…
A white parasole
A white 'parasole'
Trying to fit in - me with a pink …
Trying to fit in - me with a pink…
Nicole and I having gyoza dumpling…
Nicole and I having gyoza dumplin…
Me enjoing a massive sangria at Fu…
Me enjoing a massive sangria at F…
171 km (106 miles) traveled
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photo by: maka77