Living the Kawaii Life

Coming out with a book 2 years ago was my chance to share my “kawaii” story to the public. In it was 2 pages worth of background on why the word “kawaii” means so much to me. Fast forward to 2015, and I got an invitation to be an “International Kawaii Leader” from NHK WORLD. At first, I thought I wasn’t worthy to be called one, especially since my personal style has matured a lot over the years (and I was afraid that I didn’t fit the Harajuku image), but I guess this is why the “kawaii” lifestyle appeals so much to me. It transcends age and the changes that come with it.

All these years, I’ve been constantly blogging and mentioning my love for Japan, but I’ve never really explained the story behind it. People just think that I love Japan for the pop culture, but I think it’s more than that.

We all started somewhere, and I admit my first introduction to Japan, like everyone else, was anime. My brothers eventually got me into Japanese music (we still know some OP and ED songs by heart until now), and I, in return, introduced them to the magic of Japanese fashion.

Neighboring Asian countries sold Japanese magazines, so even if I haven’t been to Japan, I felt like there was still a special connection somewhere. When I finally got to go to Japan for the first time, I felt like I belonged. My childhood love for Hello Kitty and all things cute and dainty were all so readily available in this part of the world! The 20-year-old me was obsessed! I cried so many times during that trip.

Thankfully, the universe conspires to always bring me back to Japan. I’m almost 27 now, and I still feel strongly towards the kawaii lifestyle. I don’t think I can ever outgrow it, let alone forget that I was once a girl who believed that striped knee-high socks and candy-colored hairclips = kawaii. Did you know that kawaii encompasses different styles? That it’s not just the image that the media portrays it to be? In the episode that aired yesterday, NHK WORLD chose Kawaii Leaders with totally different personal styles, but we’re all still considered kawaii!

Cute is cute, whatever the time and place, whatever the culture or age. Kawaii is really a happy way of life, and a positive state of mind! <3

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By the entrance of Takeshita Dori! It all started here! This was the highlight of my trip when I first came to Japan years ago.

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What’s a better way to express your friendship than matching clothes?

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Funky hair! Reminds me of cotton candy.

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I was told my outfit was otona-poi (sophisticated/mature/pretty-style) but still with a kawaii twist! Somehow, it’s amazing how people can look for “kawaii” angle in everything!

Harajuku was on the top of my bucket list when I was much younger, and it still never fails to give me shivers down my spine. Even if I go to Harajuku on consecutive days, it never loses it charm and I always find something new.

I still remember the days when I would browse Livejournal communities for scans of FRUITS magazine. I loved the concept of Harajuku street style snaps so much that I even replicated it on this blog during its early conception! (You can check my earliest posts and see that I actually meant for this blog to be a street style blog at first!)

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Anyhow, I got to meet Harajuku fashion icon Seto Ayumi, who is also the producer of a popular fashion brand called Aymmy. It was so surreal to have her be my tour guide around Harajuku, especially since I’ve been silently following her on Instagram these past few months! She was such a doll!

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From Aymmy’s latest collection! Love the colors!

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Harajuku’s novelty multiplied a hundredfold after Seto Ayumi-san showed me around her favorite spots. I’ve been to Harajuku as a typical tourist, but it’s always better to experience places with a local traveling with you.

Seto Ayumi-san showed me to Ura-Harajuku, which is like the back streets of Harajuku.

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Even their information center is kawaii.

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I’ve never been to this part of Harajuku before. It really helps to have someone show you around!

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And I’m so glad Seto Ayumi-san did.

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Or else I wouldn’t have found this gem of a store.

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All my childhood feels!

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The owner of this vintage toy store goes to the US every so often to source for these collectibles.

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The perfect mix of kawaii and kowai – So cute, it’s scary. So scary, it’s cute.

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Amazing Barbie collection!

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A doll in a place full of dolls. It was fascinating to see Seto Ayumi-san spaz about her favorite characters like Furby! We bonded over items that were familiar to both of us, but I also introduced to her some of my favorite childhood toys like Polly Pocket.

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Matchy-matchy patterned skirts! We talked about how we planned our outfits that day, and it just so happened that we process fashion the exact same way. Choose one main item, and build an outfit around it.

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After the toy store, we walked around and took even more touristy pictures!

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There’s this kind of kawaii too!

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She then brought me to this place called PUNK CAKE, a store that sells vintage clothing.

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The whole store had some sort of retro vibe to it, and all their products were curated to fit the brand’s image. Japanese vintage clothing stores aren’t just a warehouse of old clothes.

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Funky shoe design.

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Metallic booties, anyone?

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DIY idea – sew a teddy bear on your favorite bag. A long time ago, I used to wear toys as necklaces. Those were probably my most “kawaii” days!

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Color and pattern explosion!

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It’s all in the details.

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The store felt like a museum. It was so photogenic – I couldn’t stop taking photos!

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Because “osoroi” (matching style) is currently a big trend in Japan, Seto Ayumi-san and I tried on these vintage earrings in different colors.

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We also decided to style each other using PUNK CAKE’s current selection of items. How do I look? Harajuku style is really interesting, and I think Seto Ayumi-san is a styling genius. As expected from a popular style icon and brand producer! I wouldn’t have imagined these items together!

Her concept for me was “Spring in Harajuku”.

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Meanwhile, I chose a mix of both masculine (leather jacket, shoes) and feminine (skirt, hat) items for her. I considered her make-up while choosing the clothes. Figured something with red would suit her best!

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The embroidery on this top was too cute to resist!

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Also met the PUNK CAKE shop staff which were the most friendly, most polite people ever! Both of them wore pink jackets in anticipation for spring, even if it was still way too early for any sakura.

Thanks to NHK for this opportunity! I don’t think I can ever get over this!

Thanks to everyone who tuned in yesterday!