Post Tsunami Tokyo Decadance

Originally, my Tokyo dates coincided with Japan Fashion Week, but meant I missed out on Tokyo Decadance. However, due to the tragedy on March 11, Adrien rescheduled (whilst having some R & R in Thailand) – meaning I got to go!

The first part of my evening involved me going to see one of my fave Japanese paddy punk bands, the Cherry Cokes (who I’ve written about before here and here). I’ll save them for another post all their own :)

Home from Shimokita after the gig, I changed and got ready for Midnight Mess – also the first after the earthquake and tsunami.

Well, I expected it to be a little quiet and I was right.   BUT the faithful few, both Japanese and western residents, gathered for their first time to party after 2 weeks of mourning and gloom.  How good it was to catch up with old friends like Tara (see below), Kenny, Maya of course, and meet some new people too, like Lily. It was like old times listening to Selia of Seileen sing…

 

But, I had other old friends to see, and the splendour that is Tokyo Decadance to experience for 2011, so off I went to the Christon Cafe, swapping my D Squared skeleton heel shoes for flats for the 10 minute walk through Kabukicho.

Tokyo Decadance

The theme for this TD was white and yellow (white for White Day that it was originally scheduled to celebrate; yellow for giving or charity). This meant you were supposed to dress in white or yellow :/

Easier said than done for those of us of the gothic persuasion! Although I did have that fluoro yellow/green belt, I opted for my favourite white corset with the ribcage on the front, and white tights, hoping this would earn me some discount off the price. It did.

But I tell you, if I wasn’t dressed to the nines as I usually try to for Tokyo Decadance, the other party goers went all out as they always do. I was staggered yet again, at their ingenuity and creativity.  Whether just amazing make-up & outfits, or actual costumes, everywhere you looked, people looked fantastic – in the truest sense of the word!

There were these three, for example, in some kind of cyber-militia space suits:

When I first walked in, I had barely scanned the entrance when I got leapt on and given a big bear hug by a guy with an eyeball hanging off his face – yes, Ryo, of Sexpot Revenge fame! Here we are below left, and right is us last year at the White Decadance (see more at my post here).

 

OK, so yes, I used to dress up quite a bit more…this time I don’t even have a wig on or fake hair attached to my head! But having come from a punk gig and with little time to change much, it just had to do :)

One old friend down, and a few to go! Next up was Suzanne and Jab – but doh! Suze had just left to go looking for me at Midnight Mess! But before long, we were reunited, and photos were had.

Soon we were joined by the swoonalicious Kenny, also clad in white like the others:

And let’s just see those shoes of mine that I wore, shall we?

I stayed until almost the end, but headed off just before as I had to get some shopping done the next day before heading to the 13th Moon gig. Hey, it was  after 5am!!

I should really have got lots more photos – including some of Jab who took all these ones, and Kenzo, Coco, Adrien, Kengo and all the familiar Decadance bods. But I really just went to enjoy myself and catch up with friends, chatting with them about how it was for them the day of the quake and since, hearing their stories. That I achieved in spades.

Sometimes for me, just being a person takes precedence over finding content for the blog. If I happen to get a few good pics on the way, fine, but be sure, I’ll always have had a good time, and have given my friends my time and attention. So yah, I ended up pretty cheery, and with a few pics that were too blurry to post, and video that wasn’t really useable. Hey ho – maybe next time!

Coming up soon – Cherry Cokes, Haggis and 13th Moon gigs.

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 :)

Hot alternative designer: Cosmic Couture; ‘To Gothics’ Tokyo

I’ve discovered an amazing alternative fashion designer from Berlin, namely Cosmic Couture. Designer Tatjana Warnecke utilises pvc and boning to fashion post-apocalyptic crinolines, glamazon corsets, sci-fi pants and jackets, gothic gauntlets as well as LED lit up leather outfits. There’s a futuristic, dystopian feel to her work which, though undeniably costumey, has a force and presence that transcends the gimmicky and charters the waters of alternative couture.

 

 

The ribbed PVC is called “future rib” and is used to great effect in many garments in the range, even on headwear!

  

The boys aren’t left out either, with fantastic jackets, pants, gauntlets, corsets and kilt-skirts:

 

 

 

Tatjana has outfitted the Rocky Horror Picture show cast in Berlin, as well as the German pop artist Monrose in her “Like a Lady” video – check out a small preview:

Want more eye-candy? Marquis magazine has been featuring the work of Cosmic Couture since 2007, and there is a gorgeous calender out now for 2011, featuring the Best of Custom Couture.

As you can see from the images above, she very much maintains her alternative point of view, and often works with alt/fetish clubs. On Thursday night December 16, Cosmic Couture staged its first show in Tokyo, appropriately at the “to Gothics” club, in association with Marquis Japan LLC.

What an amazing night it must have been! Performances by Trippple Nippples*, Tokyo Dolores (gothic lolita pole dancers/aerial artistes!!), and a huge line-up of DJ’s including VJ Liki with DJ Lau (originallyof Hong Kong, often plays Tokyo Decadance), DJ Rinko (who plays at Torture Garden Japan), gorgeous androgynous model and Dj Leo Candycane (of Fancy Him parties), and more. For the complete listing of people involved, see the To Gothics rundown at Liki’s blog.

*For more on the Trippple Nippples (pictured below), see the excellent article and interview at Dazed Digital. In it, they describe how they get a lot of materials for their whacky costumes from Tokyu Hands, a huge and wonderful DIY supplies place. See my post on Tokyu Hands here, and also here.

  

For clubwear that is out of this world, you can’t go past Cosmic Couture (bad pun intended!)

(I’ve included links to the Cosmic Couture/Tatjana Warnecke site now, so you can check it out yourself)

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

MYSTERIOUS – Neo Tokyo Fooding Bar, Shinjuku

I’ve done several novelty restaurants in Tokyo, including the Lock Up in both Shinjuku and Shibuya, but up til my last visit had managed not to pay a visit to a Space Age themed one in Shinjuku right near Don Quixote and the Lock Up. I’m referring to the imaginatively titled “Neotokyo Fooding Bar – MYSTERIOUS“.

It’s basically a bit space age, with cocktails called things like “Mercury” and “Uranus” and waitresses running around in pvc costumes.

The bar you can see here through the metallic mesh panel of our dining booth – it was lit a gorgeous moody blue colour. There were also ultraviolet strips running along the walls, and though it was dark and strange, it also felt cosy.

There are various sized rooms – ours was enough to fit 4 people, but there are larger ones like the tatami room below, and a few nooks for couples too!

I’d gone a little gyaru looking on this night, having made a big pouffy bun out of mauve fake hair, and wearing my circle lenses, pink lippy and darker than usual base. The Day of the Dead necklace I scored at Nude n Rude in Koenji.

So onto the food! This arrived, called the Mysterious omelette (714 yen), and it was very nummy, although swathed in slightly sinful mayo and katsu sauce. For my cocktail, I chose the Saturn (840 yen), which was yellow and blue – or green once I mixed it up. Other cocktail names included the Sun, Moon, Uranus, Earth, Mars, Pluto, Jupiter, Neptune…

Then came these prawns in a creamy dressing topped with caviar and served with salad, crispy deep fried lotus root chips and sweet potato strips. On the menu it was Hutoshi Akira shrimp mayonnaise and cost 1029 yen. Yep, this place aint cheap. But the dish was delicious. You just have to not fear the mayonnaise.

Mind you, the Starry Starry Fries only cost 556 yen, and we also had a tasty risotto cooked in a litte clay pot. The food is good, but small in portion, so don’t starve yourself before you come in here, and make sure you order enough.

For the menu and prices, see here.

Dessert was the loved-round-the-world fave, Creme Brulee:

Here’s a short clip from when I and my friends were in the Neotokyo Fooding Bar – along with a clip from shortly after when I saw them off to the station, which shows the temperature at the time was 30 degrees. It had got up to 37 when I was there, so 30 was positively cool!

So it has ambience and yummy food and drinks…but you need to have a few yen to dine there. If you went to only one novelty restaurant in your Tokyo stay, I’d probably go for the Lock Up nearby – but if you’re looking for somewhere new and have never before been, Mysterious is defo a cool place for a meal.

MYSTERIOUS Neo Tokyo Fooding Bar

1-16-3 Kabukicho, Shinjuku Shinjuku Square Bldg B1F
JR Shinjuku Station East Exit 5 minutes walk  or 3 minute walk from Seibu Shinjuku Line