Day 4 of my holiday in Japan was January 2nd, the day Shibuya 109 opens to sell their fukubukuro and general New Year sales, so obviously I was going to Shibuya 109 haha! Some people queue up ridiculously early and get issued tickets in order to buy fukubukuro that will sell out within minutes. This activity dwindles every year though, as more brands move online, where you can even reserve fukubukuro and have them sent out to you. Why would you queue up in the cold when you can order fukubukuro online?! Some brands even don online-only fukubukuro, with special items you wouldn't get in store. Because I didn't have my heart set on any fukubukuro since I'm too picky, I decided to go to 109 when I was ready and have a browse, which turned out to be around 11am-12pm.
My breakfast made by my host mother was hayashi rice, which is rice with a 'demi-glace' sauce, which is a sauce made from tomatoes, red wine, beef and onions. I didn't know what it was when I ate it but it tasted like spaghetti bolognese sauce to me, which makes sense when I read what it is made from. We also had sweetcorn soup, which is very Japanese haha. You can even buy it warm from vending machines!
Every time I walked to Harajuku station, Tommy Lee Jones' bemused face greeted me on a coffee vending machine. The Japanese love Tommy Lee Jones and Tommy Lee Jones loves Japan!
Harajuku was still in the midst of their New Year sales so I took some more photos whilst I walked to Shibuya.
Spinns shop staff on ladders shouting out deals and selling fukubukuro
Tokyu Plaza shop staff shouting out deals
I also took the time to take photos of Omotesando as I walked down it. It's interesting how it has such an elegant, refined air and then as soon as you cross Meiji Dori, BAM! You're in Harajuku with Condomania staring you in the face.
A legit novelty condom store in Harajuku. No joke. (Source)
Ralph Lauren Omotesando
I had a browse around Omotesando Hills but none of it was to my tastes so I quickly snapped some pics and left.
Omotosando Hills, a shopping complex in Omotesando.
This is the Max Brenner Chocolate Bar that is highly recommended. I would definitely like to visit there next time!
An amazingly cute shop display in Omotesando.
An animatronic dog in front of Ted Baker Omotesando. It bowed its head up and down as if it was eating from its bowl.
Inbetween all the fancy brand stores is a quiet little shrine. I found it very beautiful and watched a family go and pay their respects.
I walked to Shibuya and went down Centre Gai first. I happened across an arcade and seeing as it was my first time seeing one, I went in.
Lots of cute anime figures as prizes in the UFO catchers. Seeing as I'm not up to date on anime, nor is it a big hobby of mine, I wasn't interested in trying to win the prizes haha.
Now this is an arcade game I can get behind! CHOCOLATE! I spent 1000¥ and in the end I won two tiny, tiny squares of chocolate...oh well, it's an experience I guess? Don't play to win, play to have fun! ...I still haven't eaten that chocolate.
My first time seeing a Taiko no Tatsujin arcade game! I recognised it because I saw Konata play them on Lucky Star. XD I had a go but for the first two songs, I had no idea how to cycle through songs so I ended up playing the first song, which I had no idea what it was or who it was performed by, twice! Afterwards I got the hang of it and played along to Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's 'Fashion Monster' and 'Ninjari Bang Bang'! Weeb goal accomplished!
After the arcade I went in search of a second hand clothing store a friend had recommended called Bingo. It was in the basement of 'Yahoo Off'. I have heard of 'Book Off', 'Mode Off' and the such but never Yahoo Off! They seemed to sell books and musical instruments from what I recall.
Unfortunately Bingo was not a success for me. I don't know what I was expecting, especially with the fashions I'm into, maybe some older Gyaru brands or clothing? There were a few things from brands like Snidel and Emoda but they were very bland and didn't look much different to 'normie' clothes.
Once you come out of Centre Gai, you face Shibuya Tokyu Plaza.
To the left is Don Quijote. This was my first time seeing a Don Quijote so I went in for a browse!
Donki beauty fukubukuro on sale.
Donki fukubukuro on sale, including Dolly Wink.
New Year's decorations.
I heard Donki was amazing for cosmetics and they do sell a lot, but I was a little overwhelmed so I didn't buy anything. I like to carefully decide what to buy, rather than impulsively buy and since I'd already bought my Hada Labo set, I was pretty satisfied.
So many face masks! A staff member was restocked them too. I got the pink Lululun masks (centre in the photo) in my fukubukuro from Matsumoto Kiyoshi Harajuku.
Cosmetics including refill packs for many popular skincare lines including Hada Labo.
I had Shiseido's Tsubaki (the red bottles in the photo) and Ichikami (black and pink refill packs on the second from bottom row) shampoo and conditioner on my shopping list, but after feeling the weight of them, I was unsure since they were pretty heavy. I also wanted the bottle version of Ichikami, not the refill packs and I only ever saw them in one store! Next time I go to Japan I want to stay longer, so maybe I can buy them then and use them during my trip, then bring them home since I might not buy as much stuff next time I go! X'D I could also ask a friend living in Japan to buy them and post them back to me, since I checked online and the markup on these items are insane!
Pretty air freshener bottles with cute little crowns on them! I want!
Scented toilet paper is popular in Japan (and my mum says also in France) - if you want your butt to smell like peaches or flowers, head on over to Donki! To be honest, I would totally use scented toilet paper if it was readily available in the UK.
Peach John (famous Japanese lingerie brand) fabric conditioner! Again, I want it! I want to fill my house with pretty home items like crowned air freshener, peach scented toilet paper and Peach John fabric conditioner!
After going to Donki, I went to Shibuya 109. Even though the initial queue at opening time had dispersed, Shibuya 109 on New Year is INSANE. Seriously, what would probably take me 1/1.5 hours to go around 109 took me about 3 or 4. There were so many people, the elevators were always full and there were even police officers on every level to direct crowds and traffic calm! All the shop girls were holding up fukubukuro and shouting out the prices and other deals. I can only imagine those poor shop staff's voices must be so hoarse...in fact, two shop girls were taking turns to shout out deals and were giggling when their voices cut out half way through.
Again, I couldn't take photos in Shibuya 109, and you wouldn't have been able to see much anyway due to the sheer amount of people but I did snap a quick video (albeit pointed at my feet) to capture the sounds of New Year sales. All those voices that you can hear shouting are the shop staff, promoting their fukubukuro, other sales and any time sales happening (more on that later).
I bought a couple of items in the New Year sales.
Glavil vest top, very similar to the Ghost of Harlem one.
Glavil's iconic cross necklaces were half price so I bought the silver one and received it in a cute reusable pouch. I put make-up in it when I'm travelling now!
I bought this cute set from a store called Secret Honey by Honey Bunch, which I had never known about until I came into Shibuya 109. Most of their items are very pastely, a bit like Honey Cinnamon, Swankiss, Rosemarie Seoir, etc. but this set stuck out to me. I really love the waistcoat and thought 'meh' about the skirt and wondered if I'd sell it when I got home but when I got home and wore the two together, it looks so cute! Whilst I was trying this on, I heard the shop staff shout about a time sale happening right there and there. A time sale, or flash sale might be more commonly used in the UK, is an extra discount for a limited time. In 109 or Laforet, it could only last 30 minutes or an hour. At Secret Honey's time sale I got an extra 10% off this set. In total I think this set cost me around £20 which is awesome!
I was a little hungry after shopping but a lot of the food places were naturally very busy. I didn't really want to wait so I just got a 'Lovely Caramel' frozen yoghurt on the top floor of Shibuya 109. It was really tasty, with caramel sauce and chocolate cookie bits! I placed my order and had to go to a different window to get my order, and the guy didn't know I was foreign. He said the order normally, saw I was foreign and then said 'I LOVE YOU.' in a joking way?! I laughed but looked at him a bit weirdly too haha.
After Shibuya 109 I decided to go to Shinjuku to visit Closet Child.
Shinjuku Studio Alta
Shinjuku Lumine Est, connected to JR Shinjuku Station
Shinjuku at night
Godzilla overlooking neon skyscrapers!
It took me a while to find Shinjuku Closet Child since the marker for myself kept jumping around on Google Maps...I think I circled the station about three times haha... I almost gave up but thankfully I didn't because I had an amazing haul at Closet Child Shinjuku.
Closet Child Shinjuku (source)
Embarrassingly, this was the first Closet Child I visited where I realised they had another floor for Gothic and Punk clothing and one for Otome style...I just visited the Lolita floor of Harajuku's Closet Child before that haha! I'm so glad I found out sooner rather than later because like I mentioned above, there were lots of great things on the Gothic floor of Closet Child. Naturally the next time I visited Harajuku Closet Child, I had a good look around the Gothic floor! The Otome floors didn't really appeal to me so I never really bothered with them.
The first thing I laid my eyes on in Closet Child Shinjuku was the dress I had been wishing to see in Japan ever since I started planning my trip...Alice and the Pirate's Merry Making in the Ghost Town! I was literally internally screaming when I saw it, and had to check the label to make sure it was actually Merry Making and not just wishful thinking. It's safe to say I grabbed it off the rail and hung onto it for dear life whilst browsing the rest of Closet Child. It was on the 'Rare' rail but was a really reasonable price, around or just under retail price. It was really popular in the UK and US when it was released, so people sold it on for a lot afterwards. It's interesting to compare what is popular in the Japanese and Western Lolita community. Many consider Merry Making a Halloween print, as well as Metamorphose's Dark Night Guardian (which I found at a later date too) so maybe Japanese Lolitas were uninterested after that holiday had passed? I'm not going to think about it too much, just count my blessings haha! It was even in my favourite colourway, black and purple!
My beauty...I tried it on as well, just in case, since I would've been legit heartbroken if I bought it and it didn't fit or suit me...
They also had the very first dress I fell in love with in Shinjuku Closet Child. It was Innocent World's Chandelier OP in grey and I spotted it in Vol. 1 of the English Gothic and Lolita Bible. It was so pretty and elegant to me, but when I tried it on, I just felt it didn't suit me. I put it back but was so grateful for the opportunity to try it and realise it wasn't for me.
I also bought this lovely Baby The Stars Shine Bright cardigan with detachable faux fur collar.
Next I went up to the Gothic floor, and other than my blessed Merry Making find, I was like 'Yes, yes...this is my floor' haha~
Black Peace Now top with detachable chain detail at the back
Algonquins pink tartan skirt with what I eventually realised were detachable leg garters/cuffs
When I first went into the Harajuku Closet Child, I was obviously in awe but I also thought '...Where are the Gothic Lolita brands? Atelier Pierrot? Moi Meme Moitie?' When I found the Gothic floor, I realised they were stored here instead.
An amazingly sort of tacky JSK from H.Frill...throughout the course of my trip I acquired so much H.Frill and H.Jelly stuff haha!
Gorgeous H.Frill JSK
After my very pleasing haul at Closet Child, I headed back to my home, Harajuku.
My home stay mother made me shio ramen with cabbage and sausage/hot dog for dinner, it was very tasty!
I was very pleased with my shopping this day, and just so so happy I got Merry Making in the Ghost Town. I remember thinking before I went to Japan 'Ah, if I walked into Closet Child, and there was Merry Making in the Ghost Town and Dark Night Guardian, I would die happy, and if there were nothing else in Japan I wanted to buy, I would still be satisfied.' so it really was a dream come true to get both pieces!
Stay tuned for Day 5, where I visit Aoyama, Akihabara, Ueno and Asakusa, visiting Sensou-ji (Tokyo's oldest temple) for hatsumode, the first shrine or temple visit of the new year!