Classical Mermaid

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Sometimes being a classic lolita can get a little repetitive. Most classic brands haven’t really changed their designs much over the years, and it can be a little sad seeing fun trends pop up and go by without getting to participate. Mermaid and underwater motifs are really trendy this year, both in regular Japanese fashion and in lolita, but it always seems like you need to buy a print dress to be able to wear them.

Recently Victorian Maiden actually tried to make a classic mermaid dress but uhh it’s pretty hideous T_T

I do supplement my classic wardrobe with some quirkier items like patterned tights and old school lolita, just so I can have a little more fun when I get bored with standard classic.

I decided to do a classic + mermaid outfit actually because I was thinking of selling the dress – it’s Victorian Maiden’s Fairy Check Doll JSK in Peacock.

I also had an off-white bolero from VM that reminded me of frilly undersea creatures so I thought I might be able to wear them together.

Summer ILD was coming up so I thought it would be fun to go all out and hand make some items. Also June seemed like a pretty good month for mermaids!

I really wanted to find some undersea or mermaidy tights I could wear with it, but I just couldn’t find the right combination of colors and motifs so I went with plain-ish striped white tights.

I was able to get a relatively cheap seashell pochette in Harajuku so I picked that up. My phone barely even fits in it but it is kawaii.

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I went to the craft store to pick out some kelp-like ribbon to make a headdress with, and I also got some shells from the 100 yen store. Unfortunately I didn’t have the dress with me at the time, only the stock photo, so the ribbon I chose is not quite the right color, but I think it blended in ok in the end.

I took the main kelp-ribbon and wrapped it around my hand, then tied it, and fanned it out. I think it looks like an undersea creature carapace type thing! Or the weird creatures from Nausicaa? I added different types of kelpy ribbons dangling down, then I sewed on the shell and an alligator clip thing in the back so I could clip it on my hair.

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The next thing I worked on was my necklace. I like making my own jewelry sometimes but I’m really slow at it and by the time I buy all the parts I want it ends up being really expensive. But this time I was able to do it really cheaply! I went to Paris Kids first – its a 300 yen accessories shop in Harajuku – and found a starfish necklace and shell earrings that I could use as pieces for the necklace. I got the gold jump rings and wire rods from Daiso, and I was super excited to stumble upon a huge and cheap jewelry making store in LaForet where I bought the chain, pearls, little white shells and everything else for just around 1000 yen. I’m so going back there, it was amazing!

For me, this is a rather simple necklace because I really like them crazy and ornate, but I was working on it the night before the meet and had to wrap up. I also wore some vintage earrings (from a friend), a seashell clip (from Spinns on sale) and a vintage pearl bracelet.

Before

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After! (click for better quality)

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Mermaids always make me think of the 80s, so I went with a side ponytail! It’s a little stark looking for lolita so maybe next time I should incorporate bangs or more hair in general.

I don’t usually take or post selfies since I can’t seem to make them look nice and my makeup skills aren’t very good, but this one actually came out ok~

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And here is the final outfit! I wore some aqua Emily Temple Cute heels I recently got at Closet Child hopefully to tie in the headdress and make it look more mermaidy than the tan shoes I was considering. I realize the shades of blue are different, but I think it’s ok in like a ~fanciful mermaid~ kind of way.

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The meetup itself was very fun! I had a really nice ILD with everyone ❤

Thank you for reading!

I’M WHALE

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I don’t buy very much these days, always trying to save cash for my bills. Plus the weak yen is making it more and more expensive to pay off my student loans in dollars back home ;_; What I mostly buy are work clothes which are really boring and usually gotten from Uniqlo.

But recently I bought a small amount of fun stuff I’d like to share!

First up are the lolita/otome related buys!

I bought this Jane Marple necklace because I have the matching dress. I think. More details below.

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I like the jewelry in this series because they remind me of “bottle keeps“, Japanglish for a bottle tag for a bottle kept in your name in a local bar. I just learned now this is not a real phrase in English…

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And I also have to matching bracelet… or is it??

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When I put them together on the dress, the necklace seems to match but it’s a darker navy blue, but the color of the bracelet is much lighter. So what series goes with what? I don’t mind the color difference but it’s just puzzling.

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Next up was a very cheap (1800 yen) no brand bonnet from Closet Child. It seemed like a good base that I could spruce up with more roses or something so I bought it.

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It’s totally black inside but my camera likes working hard and making fake colors appear.

Next are the normal clothes! I bought everything here in Harajuku on or near Takeshita Street.

Shitty shirt for 1000 yen. It fits a bit weird but it’s ok.

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Summery set from Ehka Sopo. They’re kind of a morigirl brand that evolved a bit to stay relevant. I really love this outfit and want to wear it all summer! It was on sale but still a little pricey for the two pieces. I’m not really a gingham person but it was just the right type I like.

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Next up is a sweater! It’s so dumb to buy a sweater in June but I admired this silly thing in winter and now it was reduced to 1900 yen so I had to get it. That whale is the best.

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Love that grumpy whale face!

Until next time!

Marie Antoinette Sweets Buffet!

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I was very busy this past Saturday! Here’s what I did!

In the morning I met Sapphira and Saoirse from Saoirse Clohessy Photography to do a little photoshoot in Jiyugaoka!

Sapphira and I both wore similar outfits, kind of summery historical/natural-kei with lolita pieces and straw hats. Jiyugaoka has a lot of picturesque little shops so I hope it’ll turn out nice. It was very warm though, about 30C, so I was getting really sweaty by the end ^_^;;

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Outfit rundown

Blouse & gloves: Axes Femme
Hat: decorated by me
Vest: Excentrique
JSK: Metamorphose
Bag: Wonder Rocket
Parasol: vintage

When we were done, I kind of herded everyone over to the Lupicia tea cafe ❤ Lupicia is a brand of tea that's popular in Japan and they only have one cafe location which is in Jiyugaoka. They take their tea a little seriously and so do I so I like going there. It also has air conditioning 😀

I got one of their seasonal specials, Nilgiri lemonade!

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It was so refreshing and gooood!! I didn’t order any food since I was about to head to a buffet, but I did get to sit down and chat with Sapphira and Saoirse for a bit which was very nice.

But then I had to run off to Shinjuku for the second part of my day – Love Marie Antoinette Sweets Buffet at the Hilton Tokyo!! I believe it’s all reserved out on weekends now until it ends at the end of July but weekdays may still be available.

A friend organized a big outing of lolitas to go so I luckily got to tag along! The buffet runs from 2:30-5:30 and you can stay the whole time. The drinks were pretty limited – just hot/cold tea or coffee or oolong tea. I’m just going to post pics now.

Double choco fountains!

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Waffle bar!

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Fruit-y salad?

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Ice cream bar where you could get stuff mixed in a la Coldstone. Didn’t even make it this far ;_;

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They had a little real food too, thank god. Finger sandwiches, soup, and pretty good pasta too.

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First round. I don’t have any pics of further rounds since I was too busy pigging out. I made sure to get one of every goopy thing in glasses because I love that stuff.

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I usually like to accompany my foodie experiences with a critical review so here goes.

The good:
The presentation was awesome. They also kept the crowds managed very well. They made everyone wait about 5 minutes at the start of the buffet just for photo taking time, which was a great idea so we could all get nice clear photos before the feeding frenzy began. There was plenty of food at all times. None of the “good stuff” got taken before you could get to it, etc. The logistics were pretty flawless. I appreciated the savory food and it was tasty. We also saw some other lolitas/otome(s) there too! Marie Antoinette is a lolita magnet!

The bad:
The drinks were kind of lame. But that’s ok, it’s about the desserts anyway. Also they tried experimenting with weird herbs and flavors of the desserts, which I normally really love, but it wasn’t really executed well and made a lot of things taste like cleaning fluid and/or toothpaste. Also there was a sad lack of chocolate besides the chocolate fountain but hey, it is Marie Antoinette’s party and her image is more pink and macaron-y. They also say technically that the buffet is open until 5:30 but they started putting stuff away much earlier.

The price:
4200 yen per person, everything included, which is just about right, I thought. I’m used to paying about that for afternoon tea so I couldn’t help comparing it to that. The overall quality of the food was much lower than typical hotel afternoon tea but you can eat a fuckton of it so I can’t complain at all.

I have a problem at dessert buffets – there is pretty much nothing with sugar in it that I won’t eat. I will eat them all. But this means I can never try everything because I love everything and I have finite stomach space. So much angst. I avoided a lot of the cakes since they were cut in too-big pieces and I didn’t really want to commit. I mostly ate a TON of fruit dipped in chocolate because all-you-can-eat fruit in Japan is my dream! I also ate my fair share of mysterious goops and macarons. The macarons were pretty good.

All in all I had a very good time – I liked the OTT ridiculousness and atmosphere and sharing it with other lolita buds. Purely evaluating the food, I would say I liked about 60% of the desserts, was ok with 20% and found the last 20% offensive with those skunky herbs. It wasn’t exactly to my taste but I still enjoyed it and thought it was worth the money.

Afterwards we went to Closet Child of course, and then to take purikura. And then a crazy earthquake happened and the trains stopped but let’s not go into that part 😛 Enjoy the pics!

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Toodles! Until next time I gorge myself ❤

 

Queen of Hearts Crown Tutorial

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Hi! It’s been a long time! I was asked how I made some items from a recent outfit so I thought I’d post some simple after-the-fact tutorials here.

The first one is the crown I made for my Valentine’s Queen of Hearts coordinate.

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Here is what I used (click on the photos to enlarge):

1. Some Valentine’s Day craft hearts on wire that I found in the craft store. You could make your own with some kind of plastic hearts and floral wire.

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2. A thickish gold colored wire. This one is made especially for craft projects so it’s kind of a plastic and wire mix.

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3. A thin (0.3mm) gold wire to tie things together. Mine went crazy once it was freed from its package 😦

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4. Pliers. A set of two is nice but you really just need the kind on the left, I think they are called long nose pliers. They also need to have the wire cutter portion.

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To begin:

Use the thick gold wire to create a circular frame for the crown. I did just one loop around but you could do two for more stability. You will need to attach the crown to your head with pins so size isn’t very important.

You’ll use the thin gold wire to connect the ends of the thick gold wire. I used my pliers and squeezed the thick gold wire where I wanted to connect the ends to make a groove for the thin gold wire to fall into when I wrapped it.

Use a hearty amount of thin gold wire for wrapping and try to do it tightly. I then got the loose ends of wire and twisted them together and tried to tuck them around to hide them. As a final step, I squeezed everything with my pliers.

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I’m sure there’s a prettier way of doing it!

So now you have a circlet of gold wire to build on. My valentines hearts had 3 different sizes but I decided to just alternate the bigger and smaller hearts. Since they already had wire attached it was very easy to do. Keep in mind the distance between everything and make sure you have picked a center point.

I cut the valentines hearts from their “stems” with the wire cutter portion of the pliers, leaving on some of the wire tail for wrapping.

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Final step, just give everything a good smush with the pliers.

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And that’s it! Repeat until you feel like you have enough stuff on your crown.

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This would work with anything – stuff already mounted on wires would be best to save your fingers though.

I also had the idea that it might have been cool to add ivy or another dark green leaf to the base of the crown since red and green look so nice together. Maybe next time!

Thank you for reading!!

Busy!

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I haven’t written any entries here in a long time! I got a new full time job in August, and I’ve been editing a PhD thesis on the side so my free time is all gone! Also I didn’t really do anything lolita related all summer since it gets so hot in Japan, so I didn’t really have much to post about anyway. I did go have afternoon tea twice, plus went to the Juliette et Justine tea party so I’d like to write about those when I get a chance.

I think things will get a little easier soon and I can make some time to blog again.

bai bai~

Balthus and the Castle

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A while back I went to check out the Balthus exhibit at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum in Ueno. This exhibit was a little different from what I usually like to go see (the ornate girly stuff). I didn’t really know much about the guy before so I thought I’d go see something new.

So Balthus was like an old school 20th century perv who pined for the days when dudes could creep on young girls in peace. He often painted girls chilling on a sofa, sleeping or staring off into space, with their skirts innocently displaying their underwear and would title them “the good old days” and stuff like that. Skill-wise, it didn’t seem like he was super masterful, more like edgy and controversial so of course a hit with other pervs around the world. Of course Japan loves him and he loved Japan since they share common interests *cough* He also liked cats and would insert really awkward looking ones into his paintings so that scored extra points with me.

Look at this crazy cat wuttt

 Creepy awkward cat

I’m not going to post pics of his more not safe for work paintings – feel free to google them!

After the exhibit we looked for a nearby cafe. I have a deep love for Showa era crusty Tokyo cafes, so I always try to look for one when I’m in older areas of the city like Ueno. After a little googling, we found out about Kojou (古城), which means castle. It’s like a European castle inside (from the Japanese perspective of course), and a great example of what is called “Showa gorgeous” decor. The Showa era was Japan’s big boom period, and although technically longer, refers to the golden years of the 1950s-80s. Japan had tons of money to burn in those days and it shows in the OTT decor of the period. Some might call it tacky, but I think it’s awesome and charming!

After a bit of searching we found it~

Classy neon signage

The entrance – the cafe is in the basement.

The one thing I really hate about these places is that most of the time smoking is allowed inside. Sometimes they have non-smoking sections or air filters to help a little with the smell, but usually it’s a really baked-in, 40 years of smoke type of situation.

You can almost smell the smoke in these pics. Look at these crusty chairs, haha!

There’s a stage on one side with some crazy stained glass behind it!

They had an old Electone there on the stage. I was hoping someone would play it while we were there but it didn’t happen 😦 It might not even work anymore since I believe this model is from 1972!

They had a typical kissaten/coffee shop menu. I ordered hot cocoa~

Izzy ordered a ミルクセーキ (technically “milkshake” but these tend to be more like eggy pudding flavored milk without the thickness).

We also shared a ham sandwich

My cocoa was really good! Nothing else was super remarkable, but you don’t go to this place for the food, it’s more about the interesting atmosphere and taking a break from the Tokyo crowds.

Thank you for reading!

Foodie Strike Outs

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When you’re this deep in the wacky food game, you’re bound to run into some misses. Here are three of my not-so-tasty Japan food adventures. All of these are from earlier in the summer so they probably aren’t being offered anymore (sorry!).

First is a collaboration between Morinaga Caramel and Pizza Hut. Morinaga put together a really comprehensive campaign with a bunch of companies, including Kurakura Sushi – they did caramel banana sushi (yum, would try) and caramel corn mayo sushi (EW GROSS STILL WOULD TRY)

One of the collaboration items I really wanted to try was with Hanamaru Udon – they had fried udon sticks with caramel sauce – but alas, I never did.

So back to the Pizza Hut thing, they did a dessert pizza with marshmallows, caramel, and almonds. It looked amazing.

It even looked good when I ordered it.

But taste-wise, I hated it. The pizza base was cold and hard, and the colored marshmallows were all fruity and tasted weird with the caramel. I had another friend who ordered it and loved it, so maybe I just got a poor example of its kind.

The next food challenge was a collaboration between Mister Donut and MOS Burger, when combined become MOSDO! MOS Burger is a Japanese burger chain and they really play up the ~Japaneezu~ aspect with rice burgers and a fake healthy image (and expensive tiny burgers). Mister Donut is the most prevalent doughnut chain in Japan for those of you who may not know. Anyway, when their powers combine you get… this!

That’s a spicy choriso sandwich on a French cruller. Why not a hamburger? The world may never know. There’s also that berry chocolate one in the back but that’s not very weird.

So I was expecting a proper “Mister Donut” style French cruller, but they decided a non-glazed cruller would be more fitting. The effect was more of a super squishy bun than a doughnut so that was rather sad. Also the spicy sausage and sauce weren’t very good anyway so it was kind of a pointless sandwich.

Sad.

The last one was at Lotteria – French fries with Ghana chocolate sauce. Lotteria is a hamburger chain owned by the Korean company Lotte, who also make Ghana chocolate (among a ton of other stuff), so they can easily offer something wacky like this. I don’t usually see this kind of flavor mixing in Japan but dunking my fries in my milkshake or ice cream is something I regularly enjoy in America, so I was eager to try it. Here’s a site with some better photos than what I could get.

I had high hopes for this one since Ghana chocolate in bar form is really good. However, this sauce wasn’t very chocolatey at all, it tasted more like thin caramel-chocolate goo. There’s nothing sadder when one is promised chocolate to receive something so undeserving of the title.

Thank you for reading! I always fall for these silly limited time only food gimmicks! I’m sure I’ll be posting more food fails in the future.