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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Buying A New Jacket In Shibuya

My old black leather jacket can't be worn anymore. For some weird reason, whitish-looking powdery stuff have been coming out of it. For the past few weeks, I've been wearing the same black jersey the whole time (the one you see on the black and white photo I used for the Twitter window at the right sidebar) because my other jackets are way too thick to wear during the Spring.

Besides, I needed to take a walk, and I haven't been to Shibuya all these while either.

Shibuya is a colourful place, and I see lots of costumed musicians performing, and promoting something. The ones in the photo below were standing outside a pachinko shop.

Costumed Musicians outside pachinko shop


Shibuya 2

Navigating through the crowded streets, I found the legendary HMV Shibuya, which has a huge range of CDs not seen in other shops throughout the rest of Tokyo. Hanging out there, exploring one obscure Japanese artiste after another, I am definitely sure that Shibuya has THE best HMV in the whole of Tokyo.

But then, it's unsurprising, since this is the place where Shibuya-kei's from. Now, here's from the Wiki entry about Shibuya-kei for the uninitiated, Shibuya-kei is a subgenre of Jpop that's a combination of jazz, pop, electropop. Initially, the term was applied to Flipper's Guitar, and Pizzicato Five, bands strongly influenced by French yé-yé Music and its most notable proponent, Serge Gainsbourg (been listening to his stuff recently). Other influences include lounge, and bossa nova. As the style's popularity increased at end of the 90s, the term began to be applied to many bands, such as Puffy, whose musical stylings began to reflect a more mainstream sensibility.

Some artists rejected or resisted being categorized as "Shibuya-kei," but the name ultimately stuck. The style was favoured by local businesses, including Shibuya Center Street's HMV Shibuya, which sold Shibuya-kei records in its traditional Japanese music section.

I've always been into Shibuya-kei, being a fan of Kahimi Karie, and often trying to find the works of Chocolat, Towa Tei and all. In fact, I managed to buy myself a couple of Kahimi Karie CDs (singles and albums) and one Takako Minekawa album for a bargain price of 500 yen just before I took the train to Shibuya (I found that CD shop by accident), but that's another story.

Here's what Shibuya looks like at night:

Shibuya at night

Shibuya at night 2

Shibuya at night 3

As I head back to the train station, I see a long queue in front of the Beard Papa Sweets (I was struck by how vaguely familiar the name was, and suspected that I was there once with a lady friend for the Chocolate Fondant, she later confirmed via MSN when I asked her, funny how I'm starting to do things that trace back to memories of her... feh). Anyway, instead of the chocolate fondant, everyone was lining up for the Green Tea cream puffs.

People lining up at Beard Papa Sweets

Curious to taste it myself, I joined the queue. And got myself one of those cream puffs too.

Green Tea Cream Puff

It's pretty good.

Anyway, I didn't have that much of a problem buying myself a new jacket. Of course, initially, I wanted to go ghetto and buy them at some hip-hop ware shop. To my horror, most of the stuff sold there were more than ten thousand yen, too much for me, I thanked the sales assistant politely, and made a lame excuse that "I'll be back", and rushed off.

I ended up finding a Hanjiro shop on top of HMV Shibuya and bought myself a jacket.

And later realize after I got back home that I look like a cosplayer from Full Metal Alchemist... -_-

This is the part where I camwhore with my new coat:

Me in my new coat... ignore the pictures on the left

Please ignore the Ueto Aya pictures (there's one Nakama Yukie though) on my left. It's just decoration.

Now, a closer look of my coat, (it might be hard to see because I'm also wearing black underneath):

A better look of me

It's less than half the price of the jackets sold at the hip-hop shop, and I kinda liked it. It's somewhat cosplayer-ish (sigh), but it's unlike anything I've ever worn before. Japanese fashion rocks.