October 31, 2012

Halloween Post: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

Halloween is always a non-event here, but if I ever had the opportunity to dress up, there is no doubt in my mind that I would choose to be a Harajuku girl. I have been obsessed with the idea ever since I was a high school student in Japan, buying glossy fashion magazines each week with bubblegum titles like 'POPTEEN' and 'Cawaii'. I couldn't understand the articles very well, but I loved looking at the street style pictures, all of which revolved around this mythical place - Harajuku.

Like many visitors to Tokyo, this year I was overwhelmed by the culture, colours and citizens of the real life Harajuku neighborhood. We went on a Sunday, hoping to catch a glimpse of the infamous fashion scene on display at Jingu Bridge - but were disappointed, as it was raining, and none of the Harajuku kids came out to play. The Harajuku girl remains as elusive as ever in my mind; a pastel, lolita dream.
Takeshita-dori, Harajuku's famous shopping street
The quintessential Harajuku girl can be embodied in one young Tokyoite, a 19-year-old who goes by the stage name of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. She started out as a fashion blogger, and became a model after being scouted outside a convenience store in Harajuku. She went on to have her own range of fake eyelashes, and eventually started a singing career, with a string of infectiously catchy hits - including a song describing the benefits of wearing fake eyelashes - contained within her debut album titled 'Moshi moshi Harajuku' (Hello Harajuku).

Her music videos are, to put it bluntly, batshit wacky. One minute she is dancing cutely, brandishing a lollipop, the next she is vomiting eyeballs. In another scene, she runs gracefully down a street in pink platform boots, with a piece of toast stuffed in her mouth. It's all a visual tribute to the Harajuku she hails from, in the most extreme, expressive way possible.
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. Image credit: http://kpopchaz.tumblr.com/
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is the perfect Halloween style icon. It's fitting that she has released a new music video in time for the holiday, aptly titled 'Fashion Monster.' I love her. I hope you do, too.


  1. Hi Siobhan!

    Would you please recommend some wintry things to see/do/eat in Osaka? My boyfriend and I will be there for 2 weeks this December and we can't wait! Only thing we are apprehensive about is the cold and perhaps, the lack of flowers. :P

    Would love to hear your suggestions, your blog is such a lovely read! Please don't stop blogging! ;)

    1. Hello there!

      Oh that's so exciting! I haven't actually spent a winter in Osaka, but I imagine it would still be lovely - the lack of flowers should be replaced by lots of bright, glittery lights and Christmas decorations (Japan does Christmas decorations really well, even if they don't celebrate the actual holiday)! =)

      Some good indoor activities to keep out of the cold would be the Osaka Aquarium, which is meant to be amazing, and SpaWorld (http://www.spaworld.co.jp/english/), which is a nice way to warm up and experience the 'onsen' culture. If you like shopping head to Shinsaibashi and Umeda - I recommend going into a big shop called 'Don Quijote' if you like weird, only-in-Japan kind of things (it's a chain store, there's one in both Shinsaibashi and Umeda). The theme park Universal Studios Japan does a fun Christmas themed parade, but you might not want to spend all day lining up in the cold.

      As for food... where to start. You have to try okonomiyaki and takoyaki, which are Osaka's specialty dishes. A famous winter dish in Japan is oden - it's sort of a stew - and you can find oden restaurants all over the place. You might wanna try some hot sake at a proper izakaya (pub) as well. ;)

      That's all off the top of my head, I hope you guys have an amazing time! Will you get a chance to go to Kobe and Kyoto too? They're so close by train, I highly recommend it.

      Thanks so much for reading my blog! =)

  2. Hi Siobhan,

    Thank you for your speedy reply, it's terrific to hear from you! :) We will definitely include all your recommendation to our itinerary and yes, we certainly do have time for Kyoto and Kobe and I am very excited about these sidetrips. :)

    When will you return to Japan?

    1. That's great! If you get a chance please let me know how your trip goes. =)

      I'm also going back to Japan for a couple of weeks in December, but this time I'm going to Tohoku as part of a student project looking at the impact of the earthquake. I've just gotten a job in New Zealand so it's hard to say when I'll be able to go back for a longer period of time, but hopefully sometime in the future. =)

  3. I'm sure you'll have a great time doing something so worthwhile for the country. And congrats on getting a job!

    We are in the midst of doing plenty of research for our trip it would be great to hear what you like about Kobe and Kyoto! :D

    1. Thank you! =)
      Ok, here's a quick list -

      Kobe - Kitano-cho (beautiful neighbourhood containing European settlers' houses), Chinatown (Nankinmachi), Meriken Park/Harbourland, Mt. Rokko cable car - amazing views.

      Kyoto - Kiyomizu temple and the whole street leading up to it (great souvenir shopping), Gion, Kinkaku-ji (Golden pavilion), Fushimi-Inari Shrine (a must-see, I reckon). If you're interested in geisha culture I recommend going to a place that lets you dress up as one - it's a little bit pricey but so much fun, and you can take awesome photos! I can't remember the name of the place I went to but I think you can search them on Google, you might have to book in advance.

  4. Hello! I have just stumbled across your blog as I'm headed to Osaka over the New Year! You've given me lots of things to look forward to and made me even more excited! Love your blog!

    1. Hey Maddie! Thanks heaps for reading, hope you have an awesome time in Osaka! =)