I'm traveling to Japan this spring (mainly Tokyo) and I could totally go for tips on where to go and junk. Like yeah everyone knows to go to Angelic Pretty and Closetchild (yes this is a lolita trip)' what what are some great lesser known stores to visit? What awesome cafes and weird american food places are there? Any advice for traveling to Japan in general?
Marui Annex? (0101) in Shinjuku has a bunch of stores including AATP, Baby, ETC, and AP. It was super fun to wander around in. Laforet in Harajuku is similar. The Closet Childs in Shinjuku and Harajuku were both good. There are lots of super cute accessory and clothing stores in Shinjuku.
I really recommend going to the food hall in the basement of the Isetan department store in Shinjuku. There were so many different food stalls serving everything from boxed lunches to pastries to super expensive fruits and traditional Japanese sweets.
If you want a nice quiet spot to wander around and take pictures, visit Shinjuku Goen Park. It's huge and has a bunch of distinct cultural gardens.
I regret not going to Q-Pot and Q-Pot Cafe.
That's all I can think of off the top of my head. I remember seeing more used clothing stores in Harajuku, but I didn't check them out.
Yeah I'm hoping to hit up all those cute little themed cafes. I remember some fancy Alice restaurant in Ginza I think years back, but I don't know if it still exists.
Also anyone know of any used BJD stores? I'd like to own one, but I don't care enough to pay the usual price tag.
if youre looking for alice cafes theres one in ropunggi and i ended up going to two in shinjuku. Theres one in the odakyu building (west exist) or at least close to it which is the queen of hearts labyrith themed and one by a butler? cafe on the road with don quiote just before H&M(or the street its located on). I cant really remember the theme its kinda dark and it made me think of mirrors but maybe its the caterpiller theme?
You can skip the church cafe (christon cafe) it has some nice decorations but the food isnt worth it and there was a bit of wait... i saw a few gothic lolitas there but its only good for photos. There is a pikachu cafe that just opened up and if you like hello kitty it may be worth it to go to puroland if you dress up and are mainly going to buy goods and take photos there are only a few rides and its very childish. For me it wasnt worth it. its normally about 2000 yen or so but on the free day it wasnt worth anything more than free. The sario cafe is adorable inside with the shaped food and what not but it was closed because puroland was closing. (puroland is about a 30min express train ride from shinjuku costing about 330yen and there isnt much else around there except non loliable shopping malls)
>Major regret was not going to Qpot cafe
Id personally recommend flavored karaage (fried chicken) from lawsons especially peach or roasted corn. If youre there for it def try the starbucks sakura chocolate frap. Its so good, lemon is soso if you miss sakura and its the same as last year.
>also not really related but in shibuya theres a 108yen sushi shop called uobei its on the side of uniqlo.. i really enjoyed it and you usually get stuffed after about $8-10. Its the kind where you order on screen (english available) and then speeding race cars deliver you sushi. I believe uobei is genki sushi's (california/washington anons) cheap sister shop except way better quality in my option than the ones here.
Serious advice: don't be a giant weeb. It's embarrassing to the expats who live there.
Also, learn Japanese, because most Japanese people don't speak much English, and not all signs have Romaji. I lived in Osaka and I was kind of surprised how foreigner-unfriendly Tokyo's transit system could be, even though the city is touted as being more "cosmopolitan." Also also, stand on the left side of the escalator and pass on the right in Kanto region, stand on the right and pass on the left in Kansai region. If you block the passing lane people will get pissed.
If you're in Osaka, the Alice Auaa store is down the street from Angelic Pretty and worth checking out for the amazing shop design, it's gloriously gothic!
Yeah, Christon Cafe is okay for a drink, but the food was really awful!
Diamond Dining runs a bunch of different Alice-themed cafes, their website should give you an idea of locations that might work. They each have a slightly different theme and decor, and the food is okay: http://www.alice-restaurant.com/ (warning: music)
Vampire cafe in Ginza (same company): http://www.diamond-dining.com/shops/vampire/
It's pretty weeb, but Nakano Broadway can be a fun spot to check out, especially on a rainy day, and there is (or used to be) a second-hand lolita shop attached to the Mandarake on the 3rd floor: http://www.nbw.jp/index_e.html
In Takeshita Dori there's a western style food restaurant, all you can eat. can't remember the name, but the price was around 1100 yen. it wasn't anything special, but it was a lot of fun to go there. plus, they have delicious peach jelly
Ooh also check out sweets paradise. It's all you can eat sweets as well as normal food. I believe it's 1400yen. The sweets mainly cake are soso IMO but in the shinjuku east exit location they have the best pizza and pasta. They also have kakigori/snow ones/shaved ice and popcorn. The Hachioji one has good fried chicken and sadly I never found the one in harajuku. There is a time limit though of 70-90 minutes unlike other buffets.
How pissed will the shop clerks be if you walk in to the store without your "gear" on? I'm going to Japan alone and I don't think I could muster the courage to go out in lolita without company. Besides I'll already stick out enough as it is so yeah don't need people stirring more because muh anxiety.
Anyone has recommendations for a lone traveller?
Most of store staff didn't seem to care. A friend of mine bought a pair of AatP socks for me on his last trip and the staff were totally fine with him, and he's a 300+ tall red-haired dude.
I shopped at a bunch of stores in normal clothes and was treated nicely, especially when I bought something. The only person who gave me attitude was at the Moitie shop in Marui Annex, and I sort of expected that from Moitie.
They won't care I don't think, I have seen people in normal clothing at the stores often. Just in general though you should try to look neat and well presented, walking around in yesterdays stained pokemon shirt and mussed up hair isn't going to score you any points.
don't worry too much about not being dressed in lolita/super cute- i've stayed in tokyo for while and there were many girls who shopped and weren't dressed up at all. just be mindful of the people around you, careful not to knock things over when shopping (everything is very small!), and always remember to ask for help rather than self-serve. Shop girls are very happy to help, so don't be afraid to ask questions and so forth. Enjoy your trip anon!
Omg thanks, as someone with add that advice was even more precious than you'd know. How are their English? Could you ask them for help in English or very poor Japanese and like communicate with the help of body language? I'm afraid that learning more than the very basics in a few weeks would be impossible for me.
Sorry for all the silly questions! Have nobody else to ask.
Alot if your white, blonde and around after school. I was with a group of natural blonde and white friends just trying to eat crepes and we had to stand there looking at our food while tens of high/middle schoolers took photos of us in harajuku. If youre travelign alone it wont be as bad though
Bring a cheat sheet in japanese characters and english!
Laforet hardly knows any english and same with closet child. Id say generally most places dont know englsih except for odaiba and really really touristy things. Im too lazy to get phrases for you but look up "bigger size/smaller" numbers for shoe size (especially bodyline saying it in englsih and often using your hands doesnt work there i noticed)"can i try this on" ect. closet child you can try on for dresses and skirts but i believe you cant for blouses and smaller things. Some brand shops you can; putomayo encourages it. They pretty much forced me to try things on. AP didnt make me try anything. and i wasnt really looking at baby. REMEMBER TO ALWAYS TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES IN FITTING ROOMS. ALWAYS. (theyll say it too but in japanese)
Also if your an amerifag enjoy tax being included in the listed price in most shops. if it says +税 then it means add tax which i believe is still 8%
>If you ahve enough time, check out tokyodisney sea if you like duffy. Also disneyland Tokyo has all differend goods then all other disneylands because theyre owned by a different company.
Learn atleast katakana it's much easier to get by and sine it's in "English" anyway you don't really need to understand much more. Besides ordering non japanese food gets much more easier.
Since we're having a general thread, can someone recommend me something to bring from the US that would be a nice gift for my bf's family? His grandma specifically. I can't really think of anything nice that Japanese people tend to like.
>> foreigner-unfriendly Tokyo's transit system
Are you kidding? Tokyo's metro system is amazing. They make announcements in Englidh, have useful visuals for the stops, etc. Its an excellent system for foreigners.
OP, I suggest you head to Nakano Broadway. Its a big shopping centre filled with otaku goods, I think its interesting even if you're not too into anime and games. Has a really nice toyshop too. There's a shop of Copo on the ground floor that sells really good socks and tights - I got a pair of gorgeous lilac socks with stars and moons for about 300¥. The tag price was 1000¥ so in guessing they are an outlet, but a really great selection!
The best ramen in Tokyo is along the alleyway that splits the centre in two.
Any food or candy that is specific to your hometown?
Anyone with issues with getting around needs to go to this website. Pop in the station you are leaving from and the station you are going to and it does the rest. Check it in your hotel (because I had trouble finding open free wifi) and take a pic of it to refer to later. All you have to do is remember the colour of the line you get on and where you get off.
Nakano Broadway is the bomb. Don't forget to spend some time outside, there are maid cafes, nice afternoon tea places, vintage shops and traditional crafts there too. There used to be a place that sold the cells from anime, if you want a good one (like a cell of super saiyan Goku) be prepared to take $$$$ with you on the day so you don't miss out.
In KabukiChou in Shinjuku there is a Cap-com bar. You will need to book a table in advance. Some of the staff speak english and it's loads of fun.
Spend a day out at Odaiba. The 1:1 Gundam is there and the shopping centres are awesome. There is also a giant pet place and a few museums that are pretty amazing. When I was there last there was some kind of car enthusiasts rally in the car park. Some guy had the La Cucuracha horn on his car, which is something I always associate with 80's bogans so to hear it in Japan was pretty strange.
Why don't you ask your bf?
He's going to be a lot more helpful/knowledgeable regarding his family's likes/dislikes than a bunch of random people on the internet are.
One of my host families really enjoyed American sweets, and the other hated them. Being from the upper midwest, I brought a variety of things like maple syrup, local fruit jams, kitschy shit like coffee mugs and fridge magnets with state/US related shit on them, a box of fudge, etc. when I went for a 6-month study abroad program.
I'm also going to Japan in about a month, and I was wondering where I could get any clothes that are similar to the ones in pic related? Or basically anything from this user http://peachnim.polyvore.com/
You don't technically need a reservation for capcom. It's probably preferred but I was able to go twice and for lucky with a table. They do time slots though, I think they are two hours long and everyone is kicked out then for the next group.
Places like The Lockup need a reservation for sure unless you want to wait hours or get turned away.
Square Enix cafe is a good place to visit too.
Lockup (at least the one in Shibuya) does not require a reservation, at least if you're going on an off-ish day. I went at like 9-10pm on a Sunday night before clubbing and got in with no wait; there were lots of empty cells, actually.
I don't see the appeal of places like SE cafe; it's a basic fucking cafe that just sells merchandise, and both the mediocre food and merch are overpriced. At least at maid cafes, sanrio cafes, and qpot you get special service or food (and frequently keepsakes included with the food/service).
Bringing omiyage for the family is pretty important! I've never been in that situation, but I think I'd bring something like nice stationary/stamps or fancy soaps/bath beads. That way you're giving her something she can use and enjoy instead of a generic keychain-type thing.
I just the square enix cafe was nice if you were fan. Even if it was overpriced, I liked the exhibit part. Yeah, the food was okay. I went once when they had a special menu with eggs benedict and it was actually good. Other stuff on the menu is kinda meh.
That is understandable. I tired to call ahead for a reservation for last Halloween and it was booked a week ahead. There is one in yokosuka though it's not listed on their site that I had to wait 2 hours to get in but it is fairly popular here with the military base nearby. When I got in though it was pretty empty too. I think sometimes they have hours or certain days that are just busier.
I had a lot of people use english with me outright even though I had decent conversational. I was also surprised by how many times I thought I had asked for something clear and simple like "Ginko wa doko desu ka?" and I got weird looks and instead tried broken english "Baenku?" and they're like "Aaa Baenku...."
Pretty much Japanese feel like they HAVE to use english with you. A practically fluent (pasted N2 studying for N1) friend had the hardest time with this. He would full on make conversations with people but occasionlys someone would try there hardest to reply in english. but in any case since you say decent ill assume youre accent was heavy or they were wondering why you needed a bank because forigners can only withdraw money from 711 and post offices....
This is good advice, especially honey which is very expensive in Japan. Individually wrapped items are best if you can find them. For Americans, japanese people lose their shit over See Candies, jelly bellies, and anything fake french or fancy looking. They also like pepperidge farm cookies and mini reeses cups. Don't bother with nasty shit like hersheys chocolate or hostess baked goods. They also really hate licorice, even non-black flavors.
Europeans should stick to the fake fancy shit like tea or anything with french on it. They won't like marmite so don't try.
You'd think they'd want to try something weird from your country but they don't. Just bring something generic. My japanese classes said that food is the best gift because of limited home space and they were right. Japanese people are really brand and status conscious so they aint about to attach your embarrassing keychain to anything. Maybe a Tiffany one.
Branded chocolates like Sees or Godiva would go over well. Maybe a Coach scarf or pouch or card case or something, there's an outlet near my hometown so I stock up on small gifts like that when I visit. It's probably important to get nice gifts for anon's bf's family members.
Sorry, I did not see this message but thank you, I should probably get a small brand item for everyone on top of the specialty stuff. Don't know why I didn't think about this. Thank you for the reply!
In my experience English and Europeans tended to have worse accents than Americans, actually. For some reason like 3 of the 4 English people I knew (who were pretty "good" at Japanese) still had a hard time pronouncing certain things.
That's a pretty big generalization you're doing here.
My japanese teacher told us german people don't have a bad accent compared to other countries due to similiar pronounciation of the vowels.
Okay, to be more specific, my friends were largely Dutch, Danish, and French. Vowels didn't seem to be the problem so much as like Rs and just controlling their pitch/accent.
I will agree that Germans and Norwegians seemed to have hardly any accent at all.
I personally think that accents come down to your vocal talent. In grade seven at my school we took four languages (for a part of the year, all compulsory) and each teacher wanted me in their class, not because of my grasp on the language (Mandarin, plz kill me) but because of the accents that I could do.
I've had people tell me that my Japanese is good, even if I fill it with pauses just because of how it sounds, and when I was in Japan, people were mixed about how they responded to me (if I spoke to them in Japanese, they replied in Japanese, if they spoke to me first it was always in English eg. salespeople)
Your original accent has nothing to do with it. It's all about how well you can imitate another accent, even if you're just playing around and doing some sterotype you should practice with them while speaking in English if you want to sound authentic.
My friend is french, I've been to France, I had to learn french in school and I can't imagine this to be true in the slightest.
If I had to list a country I would imagine having a hard time speaking japanese without accent I would certainly list France.
I'm a French studying Japanese, apart from the 'shi' and 'r' phonemes it's pretty close. It's way easier for us than english speaking person because our language has more syllabic distinction than english.
I've always heard that French and Dutch people have a much easier time with Japanese pronunciation than Anglophones. Not sure about Danish, but it sounds quite similar to Dutch.
This is probably a big part of it, too. I'm also able to mimic most accents but I know some people who sound derpy enough in their original accent and completely incomprehensible if they try to speak another language.
Secret Honey in 109 was one of my favorite stores.
If you are in Shinjuku and want to go somewhere off the beaten track for a hearty meal in a cute setting, Rakeru cafe was my favorite place to eat there. In the same area there is a really good video game stuff store where if you go up a few floors, there is a HUGE level of gatchapon (you'll know you're in the right spot where you see a long line of them on the street level right outside the store, and there is also a downstairs room of gatchapon across the street).
In Harajuku the places I ate that I liked was Mee's Pancake (if you exit the far side of Takeshita Dori, the opposite end of the train station, then turn right , it's a little ways down and on the opposite side of the street from F21). They had cute food and cute atmosphere. Also there is a food court with sketchy guys handing out coupons for gyro/sliced meat but if you go up to the second floor food court there is a bunch of different things and places to sit and eat (if it's not too crowded). Good for people watching couples on dates :)
Also if you can, check Closet Child more than once because their stock changes quickly. I found more main pieces I wanted in the harajuku store, but better bargains at the shinjuku one.
When you're in a department store, always check out the bottom floor and the top floor. If you want to get pocky and cheap stuff to bring back as gifts look for Y100 stores.
The subway system is really not that hard once you know what to look like, JR lines are better than like Metro but for most places a Lolita has to go, you will probably be taking JR. Green "door" signs are exits, the main skill to learn to figuring out which numbered exit you want and ONLY go to that number. If you go the wrong way it WILL make a difference.
An expat shared this link with me on the plane ride there, made a huge difference in finding my way around:
The main japanese you need to know is
>hitori/futari desu onegai - ichi/ni kudasai
one/two please, either for seating (hitori/futari desu onegai) or how many you want to buy of a thing (ichi/ni kudasai). if you are being seated in a restaurant, next say "Non-smoking" or "smoking". 90% of the time that is the second thing they ask you when seating you. if there's more than 1 or 2 in your party learn the word for how many you are.
the rest is just figuring out consistent context things. in stores, if they ask you a question while ringing up your purchases, they are probably asking if you want it wrapped/if it's a gift. in most restaurants you pay at the register in the front. some(most places?) bring your check to you and you bring it up to the register and pay.
try to stand to the left/walk to the right but honestly... japanese people aren't all that conscientious about this either so just go with the flow and look around you.
Also if you can take a bus to/from the airport...freaking do it! So much easier than trying to bring your luggage through Shinjuku station at literally any time of the day.
Speaking of train stations - if you have a pass card, you tap it on the stall. If you have a paper ticket , it goes in the slot, comes out on the other side of the gate AND TAKE IT . When you get off on the other side, you do the SAME THING to exit the station. If you're used to american/fix-rate metro, it is NOT THE SAME AT ALL.
Seriously make a Pasmo or Suica card, there's a Youtube video on how to do it, it's so much easier than trying to figure out how much each ticket is. And easy to check the balance and refill. All the machines have an English option
The Narita Express from the airport is ok if you're staying near one of the stations it stops at, but the bus also stops at hotels and such so it might be possible to find one that's nearer to where you're staying. Also the bus staff handle your luggage for you.
I just wanna say more about subways, it's really the most intimidating part of traveling but once you figure it out it's so obvious.
If you get a paper ticket but don't know your exact fare, there will be a "rate adjusting" machine before your exit gate at the station. Use that to get a refund/add more to your ticket as necessary, The Pasmo or Suica card is really the easiest way to do it but if you aren't sure about using the machine to get one, go into the station office and ask for help.
Take a deep breath and give yourself some time to just watch what other people do, don't try to rush it and guess which is how I ended up paying Y4000 to go 2 stops on jr my first day...learn from my mistake ok? If you aren't sure about something, just pull off against a wall and give yourself a minute to look around and figure it out. Having a mifi is the easiest way, you order it ahead of time and can either pick it up at the airport or have it mailed to your hotel on the day you get there. IF you are willing/able to go without access for a day and you are reasonably tech-smart, you can go into yodobashi camera and find a "foreigners" SIM card for your phone for the period of time you will be there, I think the minimum is 2 weeks - it's cheaper than a mifi service but you have to know what type of sim card your phone uses and whether it will work before you bet on this option, also the yodobashi clerk probably won't pop your sim for you with his took so you will need a pin to do it yourself :\
the thing that took me the most courage to work up to was exploring vertically. a lot of stores look *SKETCHY AS HELL* if you are used to American ways - you will be going up dim/dirty stairways, passing odd-looking other businesses, getting into tiny elevators, or walking past huge signs with anime boobs on them. Example: The Shinjuku Closet Child looks like it shares an entrance with a love hotel. I walked back and forth about six times saying "this can't be it...."
Yeah, i figured it out eventually on my trip...but it took some trial and error, even with researching before hand how to do it. haha. on our trip from narita to shinjuku after our flight, the suica machines were down so we had to buy paper tickets from the booth.
the first two days I was there, I got really bad culture shock. i never understood the term, but I felt like such an idiot, like I was offending and confusing all these poor shop keepers and waiters, realizing I had totally gaijin smashed my way through a metro stall (not realizing the thing about putting the paper ticket in at the final destination) i just wanted to hide in my hotel room.
Instead I got dressed up in lolita and went to harajuku and handed out american candies. it was halloween so just approaching someone in costume or looking happy, I would say the easiest japanese, "Sumimasen...Happy Halloween!" and hand them a candy and everyone said thank you and smiled and was happy about it, so it helped me relax a little.
Seconding (thirding?) Nakano broadway for otaku of any sort. What's your pleasure? Used books and cds? Dolls? Anime figures? Gashapon? Home good with Ghibli characters? They're all there and in many cases you can get them much cheaper than other places. Check out the basement for a quick snack of dumplings, soft serve or something else and go back to shopping. :)
Nakano is also home to many themed cafes (maid cafe, cross-dressing Prince cafe for female only clientele, etc). There is also a branch of JoySound karaoke that features Evangelion themed rooms. In the network of streets nearby there are also a ton of amazing restaurants including a family run one (sorry, I forgot the name, but I bet a local could point you in the right direction) where you can get amazing eel. My friend had smoked eel and it was so good he ordered a second plate.