Harajuku is the fashion district for the young hipsters of Tokyo. While at Kellogg (business school) back in 2007, I had written a 20 page research paper on the Japanese sneaker and urban retail industry. Our class was on doing business in Japan so it culminated with a 2 week trip to Japan to finish your research. So of course the research for my paper included wandering around Harajuku and hunting down the hard-to-find exclusive brands. If you come on a Saturday morning, you’ll see kids lined up as early as 7 or 8am for a 11am limited edition release of a sneaker or a shirt. The clothing operates more similarly to an entertainment release model with different levels of exclusivity.
Walking around, I felt ages apart from my 25 year old self! Wow, could 30 really be such a huge difference from 25? Yes, yes it is. I felt terribly uncool hahaha. The streets looked unfamiliar to me and I had forgotten where all the hard-to-find stores were. In 2007, I was lucky enough to be there the day the Undefeated Tokyo store opened in Harajuku. To get into the store, you had to pull a ticket out of a box that told you what time you could get in. Of course I was leaving for our flight that day, so I convinced the door guy by explaining that I was from the US and leaving today so I hurried in and snagged an opening day sweatshirt for $150. Yes, that was during my fanatical phase. I had also purchased a $300 Bathing Ape hoodie that week and explained that some girls spend money on purses and I spent my money on hoodies and sneakers (I still don’t spend money on purses).
The best part of walking around Harajuku is the people watching. If we were to liken this neighborhood to one in New York, the closest would be Williamsburg but it still definitely doesn’t really compare. I love the eccentricity and boldness of their fashion sense. Makes me want to go out and buy crazy clothes. 😉 What I noticed also is that Japanese women (and men) are much more liberal with their hair dye. Most people have their hair dyed and many with crazy colors. There is a light brown/blonde craze and in Harajuku there is a lot of pink. Even the Forever 21 poster has a girl with pink hair. Hmm…so now that I’m unemployed should I dye my hair a crazy color?
After walking around for the entire day, we were pooped. There are a ton of crepe shops everywhere, so we stopped at Angel Heart for a treat.
Banana with chocolate ice cream and whipped cream—like an ice cream sundae in a crepe! Yum.