Vega @, Author at Why so Japan - Page 8 of 9

Shopping at the Stockholm Hanami celebration

Japanese items bought in Stockholm

During the Cherry Flower Day Festival (hanami) in Stockholm we bought some fun Japanese items, and I thought it would be fun to show you what we found.

I bought some lovely stickers. Even though they’re Paris themed, theyre still very Japanese to me, because that style is loved by a lot of people in Japan. You find clothes, shops and stationary in this style all over Harajuku.

Paul bought a Yamanote line post card and Chuo line mouse mat. Trains are very popular in Japand and a lot of merchandise is made. Paul collects some, and will show more from his collection later on.

why so japan stickerswhy so japan yamanote line post card

why so japan chuo line mouse mat

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Hanami in Stockholm

cherry blossom hanami in Stockholm why so japan

Hanami – Cherry Flower Day in Stockholm

Every year the Japanese Society in Sweden celebrates hanami by organising Cherry Flower Day Festival (Körsbärsblommans Dag) in Kungsträdgården in central Stockholm. Kungsträdgården is an urban park area with a big fountain in the middle that is surrounded by lots of cherry trees. The blossoming of the cherry trees is a very special time in Japan (Ive written about it here) and I think its so lovely to have a bit of Japanese culture in Stockholm during this time.

cherry blossom in Stockholm 1 why so japan

Because of the cold spring we’ve had this year, the blossoming of the cherry trees has been delayed, and we only have little buds at the moment. But that didnt stop the festival. The sun was shining and it was a lovely warm day!

Japanese clothing

We saw lots of lolitas, coplayers and people dressed in traditional Japanese clothing, like kimono. It was great to see so many Swedish young people being so into the Japanese culture. The lolitas pink looked amazing!

cherry blossom in Stockholm 2 why so japan cherry blossom Hanami in Stockholm 3 why so japan

cherry blossom in Stockholm 4 why so japan cherry blossom Hanami in Stockholm 4 why so japan

Traditional Japanese culture

Traditional Japanese culture was represented in the stalls. Bonsai, shodo, furoshiki, igo, origami, try on a kimono and lots more.

cherry blossom in Stockholm 5 why so japan
cherry blossom Hanami in Stockholm 6 why so japan cherry blossom Hanami in Stockholm 7 why so japan

Lots of things to see

The stalls also had Lolita fashion for sale, there was a café, manga exhibition, kawaii games to try… There were fashion shows and performances with taiko drums, songs and dance. So much to see!

cherry blossom in Stockholm 7 why so japan

Here are some more photos from the festival:

Hanami cherry blossom Stockholm 8 why so japanHanami cherry blossom Stockholm 9 why so japanHanami cherry blossom Stockholm 10 why so japanHanami cherry blossom Stockholm 12 why so japan
cherry blossom Stockholm 13 why so japancherry blossom Stockholm 14 why so japancherry blossom Stockholm 14 why so japanHanami cherry blossom Stockholm 15 why so japan
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Have you been to any Japanese festivals in another coutry outside of Japan?

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Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

The internet and the rest of the world outside of Japan saw Kyary Pamyu Pamyu for the first time when she released her music video PonPonPon. It was a big hit on YouTube and seen by millions. The music was catchy and the video was colourful, fun and weird.

But Kyary’s career began before that. She was walking through Harajuku with a friend and was stopped on the street by a photographer from the fashion magazine KERA. He asked if he could take their photo for a streetsnap to be published in the magazine, which they agreed to do. The photo can be seen here (extrernal link). That was the start of her modelling career, and soon she was being paid for shoots and regulary appearing in the magazines Zipper and KERA. Kyary Pamyu Pamyu became more and more famous and soon she was became a fashion blogger, and appearing on fashion shows and TV shows.

After meeting and working with music producer Nakata Yasutaka of capsule, she released her single Ponponpon and the mini-album Moshi Moshi Harajuku. The mini album was followed by more singles, and soon a full album was released as well.

kyary pamyu pamyu music why so japanHer musical career really took off, and soon she was performing not only in small venues, but even bigger arenas and festivals as well, and earlier this year she went on her first world tour, performing in Belgium, France and the UK, then Asia and the United States. She’s currently back in Asia again and will finish her world tour in Shibuya, where she started her career. Several of her concerts during this world tour have been sold out. One of them was the concert in London, and we were two of the lucky ones to be at that concert. Paul will write and post a full report about it here soon, including photos and videos from the London concert.

When KPP isnt performing around the world, she hosts two TV shows, Space Shower AREA and Catherine the Third and also stars in a show called TVJohn. She’s also has her own radio show on kyary pamyu pamyu fake eyelashes why so japanNicoNico Douga and appears in several TV commercials.

For her single and music video Tsukema Tsukeru she collaborated with the Mameshiba charachers, where the commercial for her new music video featured special KPP versions of mameshiba, called “Mameshipamyupamyus”. These special Mameshibas were also released as plush dolls. Paul has written about Mameshiba in a previous post, which you can find here.

There are a lot of Kyary products available, such as her own line of fake eyelashes (Harajuku Doll Eyelashes by Eyemazing x Kyary), books (her autobiography is called “Oh! My God!! Harajuku Girl” and she’s done a Tokyo guide book called “Moshi Moshi ☆ TOKYO”) and other things too.

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is famous for mixing the cute and kawaii with the obscure and weird. One example being a cute bow with a weird eyeball in the middle.

kyary pamyu pamyu book why so japan

If you want to know more about Kyary, there’s an excellent blog on Tumblr with loads of information, facts, photos, videos, translations and more. Its called Kyarychan and can be found here:

Her music is cute, upbeat and happy, and I like most of her songs. My favourite song though is probably the lesser known “Onedari 44°C”. Whats your favourite KPP song?

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Hanami – a celebration of cherry blossom

why so japan hanami cherry blossom celebration Hanami celebrations in Japan

Spring has arrived in Japan and its the hanami season. The word “hanami” is the Japanese word for “flower viewing”. For about two weeks every spring, Japan transforms into a cherry blossoming paradise when the cherry trees are in bloom. The hanami enthusiast can make the most of the season by travelling through the country, starting in south and going north following the blossoming as it spreads up the country.

hanami cherry blossom spring 1 why so japanDuring daytime, people enjoy this beautiful time of the year by having picnics in the park. You meet up with friends and family or co-workers and you enjoy food and snacks together (often bento and dango).

People are playing and there’s music to enjoy. People often stay for hours until the evening, and thats when some parks are lit up by decorative paper lanterns. The night time celebration is called “yozakura”.

Since the cherry blossoming season is so short, its progress is closely watched by private agencies who will predict when it will start, and newspapers and TV will report as its happening across Japan.

hanami cherry blossom spring 2 why so japanA bit of Japan in Stockholm

In Sweden, where I live, we have cherry trees in central Stockholm, and every year when they’re in bloom there’s a celebration of both the flowers and the Japanese culture. In the past there’s been performances with taiko drums, kimono show, kyudo show and even Japan’s ambassador has been there and held a speech. Swedish cosplayer usually dress up in cosplay and have picnics under the cherry trees.

Have you been to any hanami events? In Japan or maybe elsewhere in the world?


Image credit: Picnic photo by AKphotos

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Buying clothes in Tokyo

Buying clothes in Tokyo why so japan

Fashion styles

When you think of Japanese youth culture and fashion you most probably think of visual kei, the Harajuku girls dessed as lolitas and styles similar to that. You do see these extreme styles in Tokyo, especially in the Harajuku area. But most young girls in Tokyo do not dress like that at all. The typical Tokyo girl has long beautiful hair, very high heels, a very short skirt and a top that covers well and shows no clevage at all. The clothes are usually in soft pastel colours, like vintage pink and beige, and you see a lot of lace decorations. A very soft and romantic style, modern with a vintage touch. They look so pretty! This style is typical for a young woman in Tokyo. You see a lot of ther styles as well, of course, but this is the most common one.

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