Hotel Okura

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Time for something normal! I’m posting out of order because I wanted to share photos of this great 1960s hotel, Hotel Okura, before it is shut down and demolished at the end of August. If you like retro stuff and feeling that uncanny time-slippy feeling and have a chance to go explore there before it closes, I highly recommend it!

Hotel Okura Tokyo is located between Kamiyacho and Roppongi-itchome stations near the US Embassy and Ark Hills/Izumi Garden business complexes. It’s a super famous hotel that everyone in Japan knows about, and has hosted every American president since Nixon. It was built in 1962 in preparation for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, as were a great deal of sites in the Tokyo area. The 1964 Olympics were a chance for Japan to shine on the international stage and show off their recent economic development, so they went all out making Hotel Okura. The designers sought to make an elegant combo of East-meets-West – combine that with mid-century architecture and decor of the time, and you have a really unique flavor of hotel. I’m really sad to see it go. Of course to some it looks dated and worn, but all I can see is its retro appeal. If you would like to read more about the hotel, click here.

There have been some movements to save the hotel, like this petition, but the main issue is that the old building isn’t up to code for earthquakes, and retrofitting it with earthquake protection just isn’t that feasible. They’re going to replace the old hotel with a huge tower by 2019, just in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. I guess we’ll have to see if they can keep the same feeling of charm.

My coworker told me about some of the aesthetic choices at the hotel. Everything was supposed to be low to the ground, like the lobby chairs and tables, to give everything that Japanese feeling. The female staff wore kimono and knelt down next to the tables, almost as if you were in a Japanese traditional ryokan. All of the art and Japanese objects were created by authentic artisans from around Japan. The inside of the hotel is all extremely gold and yellow tones – it’s a really interesting feeling!

We spent a while exploring most of the public areas of the hotel and taking pictures. Click on the pics to see large versions. Enjoy!

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Gold, gold and more gold!
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Umbrella jail.
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The famous lobby.
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World clock.
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So snazzy! I could chill here for a long time.
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The Orchid Room is their popular Western food restaurant. I ate lunch here earlier last month and it wasn’t very good to be honest, but just the whole atmosphere was very cool.
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Everything was so abandoned 😦
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Awesome wall panels!
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There is a small shopping arcade in the bottom floor aimed at rich old ladies. Old lady shoes galore!
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There was also a restaurant and bakery down there. I really want a sandwich wheel now!
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Canned soups are a thing at Okura. And curry. I wanted to try one but I was pretty sure it would be disappointing, probably because of my Campbell’s Soup conditioning.
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I look wrecked but yay
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Photo of the lobby from the 2nd floor. The table arrangement is supposed to look like flower petals.
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I really enjoyed taking photos and getting to see it but afterwards I was so sad! I felt so sad for the hotel and all its awesome decor and artwork – what will happen to it? The hotel has so much flavor that it’s easy to anthropomorphize it and really feel bad. Just waiting out its last hot month in the summer sun until it finally faces the sad indignity of being smashed by bulldozers. Poor hotel-chan! T_T

Thank you for reading! The next post should be about all the stuff I bought in summer sales this year.

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 ❤

 

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!

Double Rose Garden Fantasy~

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I haven’t posted in a long time because I’ve been trying really hard to work on job applications and staying away from other activities. Still no job luck yet, though 😦

Back in May I went to two rose gardens! I love rose everything – rose flavored food, drinks, perfume, gardens – I’ll take it all! Rose gardens are also one of those temperate climate things that don’t exist in Florida so I really enjoy them.

The first garden I went to was Kyu Furukawa Gardens near Komagome station. I really love going there because there’s a picturesque Western style house and garden with roses and then a huge Japanese garden too so you get two gardens for the price of one!

The sign reads “the roses are in peak bloom”

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The rose garden there isn’t very large but it’s really neatly manicured and each rose bush has a placard telling you the variety and other info. The location is also fairly easily accessible.

They were selling rose ice cream of course, among other rosy things, so I had to buy some! I love this stuff!

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The next rose garden outing was a lolita outing to Jindai Botanical Garden in Western Tokyo. The location was a bit inconvenient since we had to take a train then a bus to get out there, but being outside of the city meant the park was very large and not as crowded as some others. The rose garden was really massive with hundreds of rose bushes!

We were all hungry so we decided to have our picnic first. It was nice in the shade but ants found us eventually like a typical picnic! I made a lolita version of Cards Against Humanity which we played with somewhat funny results but it needs some tweaking.

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We walked around for a while but eventually we all were feeling really hot and sweaty and all the roses started to look the same so we went towards the greenhouse. It was hot in there too but at least it was shady. There was a begonia area with a cute table for posing.

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Here was the day’s outfit! I’ve always liked this Victorian Maiden OP since it reminds me of rococo pajamas so when I saw it in Closet Child one day I had to pick it up! It has roses in the print but that’s hard to see. Everything else is offbrand.

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This next one could’ve been a really nice pic if I would’ve stepped out into the sunlight, blarg!

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Thank you for reading! I’ll try to post more often. How do you like rose viewing/eating?
 

Party at Laduree

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I haven’t been able to post much because I’ve been very busy lately trying to get a job and also preparing for my friend who is visiting! I can’t wait to do fun Tokyo stuff with her!

For another friend’s birthday we went to Laduree in Ginza. Tokyo is lucky to have many Laduree shop locations, including two with restaurants. The Ginza location is in Mitsukoshi department store and is decorated in ornate, Rococo style ❤ Here is a link – the Ginza location is first on the page.

Everyone was dressed impeccably! I really loved everyone’s outfits that day. We were able to get a whole section of the restaurant to ourselves which was nice. The meal was a set and consisted of~

So elegant nuts!

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Cute rolls and butter!

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Sauteed pork! It was really salty and yummy! It kind of reminded me of ginger pork that’s really popular in Japan. The green stuff is mushy peas – I haven’t eaten that since I lived in England! It always seems weird to me to have pre-mashed peas but I guess you could say the same thing about mashed potatoes.

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Then for dessert you had a choice of tea and two macarons! They had like 30 teas so it was really hard to pick one! I eventually went with the Laduree blend since I liked the description. It was very nice! I chose a strawberry guimauve macaron – it had a different kind of crispy texture with sugar on the outside and tasted a little too strongly like American candy, but I still enjoyed it. The inside was marshmallow – I guess that’s the guimauve part. The other macaron was chocolate bergamot – the bergamot was super strong and citrusy – I loved it! None of us at the table were sure if bergamot was an herb or a fruit so we googled it. It’s a citrus fruit but it’s pretty inedible as a fruit so it’s just used as a flavoring.

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I don’t usually do selfies because I’m kind of shy about having a close up of my face, but I liked the way this came out and the wall behind. The Rococo lyf!!

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Now it’s bragging time – I was quite proud of the accessory I made for the birthday girl! She likes mermaids and has several undersea themed dresses so I made this to go with them.

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We then went outside to take some photos but Ginza isn’t all that cute, so we did outfit shots on the street. BIG MISTAKE. It was a feeding frenzy of tourists and locals snapping photos, yikes!

I really like the colors of this dress but I’m on the fence about keeping it since I don’t have much to match it. We’ll see. JSK is Victorian Maiden, bolero is Innocent World, and the accessories are from indie brand markets. The rest is from generic stores in Japan. I love the grapes so much!

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Thanks for reading! I felt so elegant having tea at Laduree that day, it was nice to relive it!

Misako’s Book Signing

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Last month I picked up a copy of Misako’s Lolita Fashion Book. I heard that she would be doing a book signing in LaForet on April 20th from 3-5pm so I decided to try to get my copy signed.

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Now I know from experience that any event that is free and remotely interesting at LaForet will be packed with people so I expected to be there for a long time. I arrived “early” at 2:50 and there were already dozens of people there in two lines that snaked up the stairs! I didn’t know which line to stand in so I just picked one. After a while I found out that one line was for people with number tickets and one line was for those without. Apparently, Misako had posted on her blog that people could come and get numbers the day before to wait in line for the book signing. I missed this memo, wop wop. So I got to the end of the “people without numbers” line and waited there.

I was at the end of the line with one more person behind me until about 3:10 when one of the staff members announced that no more people could enter the line! I thought it would be open until 5 but I guess then Misako would be signing books until 7? Note to self – always get in line to wait much earlier than you expect.

Sooo we were standing in line forever because all the people who had numbers had to go through first (maybe 100 people?) and my legs were getting tired. Eventually at 4, some staff member had a brilliant idea to give all of us losers without numbers a new set of numbers so we could leave the line. She told us to come back at 5. So yay, but shit, I did not really want to devote over 2 hours just to getting this book signed, sigh. It was nice to finally be able to walk around though, so I wasted time by going to Closet Child and then grabbing a snack.

I got back to the line about 4:50, then waited maybe another 30 minutes to finally get my book signed. At the front of the line I learned  you could get your book signed for free, but if you wanted to take a picture with Misako, you had to buy something from Maison de Julietta (that lolita dress-up place). That made me really annoyed. Fuck you I’m not going to pay money to take a goddamn photo after waiting here for 2.5 hours! I looked at the shop anyway to see if there was anything I wanted but it was mostly sweets jewelry and nothing I could use. They had some overpriced classicy stuff but it looked like it was from Claire’s – stuff like elastic fake pearl bracelets with plastic cameos for 2000 yen. They also had a notebook that looked like the kind Japanese kids use in school and you can get at the 100 yen shop but with Misako’s face on it for 640 yen. I decided that 640 was too expensive for a photo and I always look like a gross beast when I’m next to Misako anyway.

I was a terrible foreigner and took a picture anyway. Misako did look very cute that day.

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So finally yay, I got my book signed! I don’t know what genius decided that Misako should use a red pen on a pink background, herp.

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The waiting was also not as bad as it could’ve been because the person behind me in line actually talked to me which is very unusual in Japan! She liked lolita fashion but didn’t want to wear it. She said it feels weird like a costume and that she thinks she’s too old for it, which I totally understand so we talked about that for a while. I was wearing otome which she liked and said I was cute ;3;

I was going for a mature or adult Alice in Wonderland kind of theme with accessories that reminded me of the story. The dress is Jane Marple (I wear it a lot!), cardigan is Innocent World, bag is from the Q-pot mook and the accessories are indie brand and JM again. I look super tired again because I forgot to take a photo until I got home.

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In the end it was nice to get my book signed but if I had known it would have taken 2.5 hours I probably wouldn’t have done it! Thank you for reading!