Gothic Military outfit of the day; Takuya Angel; Kabukicho parties; leopard lenses

I had a packed Wednesday the week before last: first I met Hana of Finding Tokyo in Harajuku (post and pics of purikura coming up), then I visited Ryo at the Sexpot Revenge store (post and pics coming up), then I bought some gorgeous coats at Closet Child (post and pics…you get the message), visited Takuya Angel at his newly redesigned store, and then later met up with Takuya at a gig/party in Kabukicho.

To backtrack a little…the Takuya Angel store is now about half the size it was. You can enter it directly from the side stairs (and through a short corridor, knocking on the door to check it’s open), or through the rockabilly store in front. I didn’t take photos when I went as it really is quite small and there were 5 or 6 people in there, one of whom was trying on clothes and getting the others’ opinions.

Takuya said he was DJing at a friend’s party/gig in Kabukicho…just around the corner from my hotel, as it happened! He said he was playing til 10pm and we should go for drinks after. Cool!

I went home and chilled a bit, then threw on my Gallery Serpentine corset, my years-old Lip Service Jacket in the fabulous Napoleonic military style (one of my all time faves), along with some gothy make-up and my piercing blue leopard print contact lenses.

The jacket you can see best in the photo to the left, but below shows the lenses better. I got them from Colourvue.  I’ve also recently started wearing orange blush, as seen on some gyaru models - I like that it’s slightly unnatural, but still gives a healthy glow. The blusher is a very intense orange one I picked up at Okadaya – brand is Nyx – and I’ll write more on this and the dazzling range of coloured glitter shadows they offer.  The pinky-purple lipstick is Airborne Unicorn from Lime Crime (also one my my all time faves!)

There was such a cosy feel in my hotel room at Hotel Vintage, and you get that in this photo, I think. (BTW, I recommend this as a great place to stay in Shinjuku. The rooms aren’t big, but they are spotless, there’s a non-smoking floor, 24 hr reception, in-room LAN internet access, and it’s in the heart of Love Hotels and Host Clubs, Kabukicho).

After a short time of waiting outside Wizard 7 – a host club – and watching one of the boys practicing his ballroom dancing moves, I plucked up the courage to ask if they knew where the party with the DJ was. Next building – ah.

The event had had a number of bands playing, and I saw quite a few pretty alternative looking boys packing up drum kits and taking out guitar cases to their vans. Maybe I should have got there for the gig itself. Never mind :/

The event was a birthday party for an art director who was turning 29 – “you are YOUNG!” I told him, to his smiles. After all, I’m more than a decade past that date, and my life’s pretty good, so I knew not to be scared of hitting 30. He’s on my left, below.

To my delight, Mee was also there. She’s a friend of Takuya Angel’s who always wears his clothing (and who you saw in my post on celebrating Hanabi with Takuya Angel, although she had pink hair then). She’s a walking advertisement, you might say. She’s a lovely girl, although she has little English and I little Japanese. Seeing that her red Takuya bear claws matched my hair, she threw them around me for this pic:

And then a group shot by the bar was in order:

So if you drop by to say hi to a friend, you never know where you’ll end up that night! I dragged myself away around 1ish, as I was meeting Valerie of Tokyo Arts factory the next day, and visiting a heap of stores in Shibuya. But it was another colourful and unplanned night, as often happens in the great city that is Tokyo :)

Tonchin Ramen Restaurant & Kabukicho by night

On my last visit to Tokyo, I became addicted to ramen. And it was due to this place:

Tonchin

Situated on the main drag of Kabukicho (where all the lovely host boys hang out), behind KOMA theatre and right near the Honky Tonk building with the ape on it, lies the wonder that is Tonchin:

Heck, it’s so much fun walking the streets of Kabukicho, here’s a little video compilation from my last trip, as I seek out the (not so elusive) host boys…


Now, back to Tonchin itself, as you walk in there is a vending machine, as many restaurants have – which saves you talking to anyone if you’re an extremely introverted otaku. IN my case, as I was trying to make out the various options available to me, a lovely staff member came over to explain in English which ones were miso/soy based, which pork, and which seafood, as well as the various sizes you could order, and side dishes. I took the miso broth base and waited.

Watch while the guys assemble the ingredients of the ramen:

And when my dish came – what a revelation!! The aroma! The flavour!! I fell in love with ramen right there and then, and went back a few days later. I went to a few other places in Shibuya, but this place remains my fave.

Tonchin Ramen Restaurant, Shinjuku branch〒 160-0021 1-11-10 1F Shinjuku Kabukicho
TEL.03-3207-5887
OPEN AM 11:00 ~ AM 4:00

Kabukicho clips

On the eve of me trooping off to Tokyo again, I revisited some snaps and vids from past trips, and decided to post a few snippets from April, around Kabukicho.

Kabukicho Gate

Tokyu Milano Cinema

 These are all a bit dodgy, being made on my little point n shoot – but this time I’m taking my proper video camera again so I can make better ones!

Alas for me, my beloved Hotel Kent that I usually stay in, is under renovation/construction, so I have to go elsewhere. It’s right in the heart of Kabukicho, near the KOMA theatre, a cinemaplex, and lots of restaurants and late night spots, so was perfect.
Hotel Kent

It’s right near a corner where the hosts and hostesses hang out, but it’s sad when it’s cold and rainy, as they still have to do their jobs and it looks miserable.
Kabukicho in the rain

These are walking from the Kent up to Kabukicho gate
Kabukicho near Kent
Kabukicho

For part of the time instead, I’ll be staying again at the Shirakawago.
Shirakawago Hotel

I’m also trying out a new one (for me), called the Shinjuku Vintage Hotel, which is a bit further north, up towards Shinokubo. This, of course, is perfect for when I see 13th Moon at the Shinokubo Earthdom. It’s an artistic and multicultural neighbourhood (there used to be a punk art/ghetto space until last year – see my post here). I’m keen to explore the area, and will post good videos this time!

Film-themed bar in Golden Gai, Kabukicho

Following on from my post on Sumire No Tenmado, I thought it would be worth mentioning the rest of that night – also spent in bars in the Golden Gai area of Kabukicho.

The three of us stumbled out into the laneway after hot chocolate and cake in the lolita bar – and wanted to experience a bit more of the Golden Gai before heading home. Valerie, Jim and I looked at various doors and posters outside the tiny establishments, and saw that this one had film posters plastered everywhere. Orright!

In we went, to discover that the owner had been an actor for many years, and was friends with names we know well – like director Takashi Miike! (To my dismay I can’t remember his name or that of his friend, or the bar – but I will find it again next month and let you know).

Soon we were having a lovely time and felt like old friends – see us being silly below:

You can really see how small these bars are – just enough for 5 or so. I’m standing by the front door to take this. Valerie doesn’t like being photographed really, so this is a rare one.
Next it was my turn to be in the picture and ham it up with the guys. I think you can see we were having a right laugh!
Valerie and Jim left to catch the last train home, but I stayed to chat and have a few more beers. Fun! Finally I stumbled out and WAS going to go home….but saw the light was on in my fave punk bar Hair of the Dogs as I passed - so I went in.  (See this post and this one for more on the bar).
This blurry pic accurately describes my rate of comprehension at the time:

Tohru the owner was pleased to see me – and invited me to his hanami party that Sunday.  I realised we were beginning to become friends, rather than just patron and punter. It felt good.

Kokusyoku Sumire, Sachi and Yuka. Sumire No Tenmado

Two of the most recognisable faces in the Tokyo Gothic lolita scene are the duo who make up Kokusyoku Sumire, Sachi & Yuka.  If you don’t know them, allow me to introduce you.

Those who have the Gothic & Lolita book will certainly recognise them – they’re in it. But who are they and why are they famous?

Sachi plays violin and piano, while Yuka plays accordion and piano and sings. They perform, model, and run a lovely Lolita Bar in the Golden Gai, called Sumire No Tenmado. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting there and taking tea and cake several times – although the very first time I visited, they were away in Hollywood visiting Tim Burton on the set of Alice in Wonderland!  (But I found my fave punk bar, so it all worked out).

In April this year however, the bar was open and I attended with Valerie from Tokyo Fashion & Art Factory and Jim of Horror High School. (BTW, a great article on Valerie’s blog was in the Japan Times in June). We met some illustrators while we were there – it’s quite bohemian that way!

Next time I will plan ahead and get some good photos of the cafe so you can see how charming it is, with little replicas of cakes, dolls, beautiful artwork and lolita touches everywhere. Yuka serves up delicious home-made cakes and pies with sinful cream and ice-cream, (or hot food if you prefer!)

It really is a must-see for any lolita, or any lover of japanese lolita culture. However, it is so small you may have to wait for a while before you can sit down.  Sumire No Tenmado is open for afternoon tea from around 5pm or in the evening (bar time) from around 8pm. Weekends and holidays it is tea time all day, 12 – 8pm.

Intrigued? Visit the Kokusyoku Sumire website to find out more about them.

Their latest album just released is called Alice in the Underground (see below), again with fantastical stylings, and they toured Europe with it in May this year. You can read more about them and their performances in their blogs – Yuka’s blog, and Sachi’s blog.

They have sumptuous visuals, as you can see:
I love their quirky sound! It’s sort of Rococo Gypsy Lolita. Here is a video so you can hear what they sound like:

As I mentioned, Sumire No Tenmado is in the Golden Gai, and the map is here:

You take the eastern exit from Shinjuku Station, walk down Yasukuni Dori, and look for Mister Donut on the corner of Kuyakusho Dori.

Then take the little lane next to Mister Donut that leads to the Hanazono Shrine. This leads you to the Golden Gai area.  It’s the 2nd or 3rd lane, on the upper floor.  Look for the sign – you’ll have to look up to see it!

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Sumire No Tenmado
Kabukicho, Shinjuku 1-1-7-2F
Golden City Garden City Shinjuku third
03-3209-1204 03-3209-1204
Opening Hours:
Weekday / Saturday 16:30 to 23:30,
Sundays / Holidays 11:30 to 20:00
Ladies free, cover carge for gents.