Japan Makes Me Happy

Sooooooo cool

I am currently immersed in a raging case of Japanese FEVER! I am absolutely, unequivocally, totally obsessed with Japan & everything about it. I have never been there & I am DYING to visit (does anyone want to sponsor me?!). Delicious, fresh sushi, noisy purikura (プリクラ), love hotels (ラブホテル), Harajuku kids, beautiful temples, the delicate, staccato-like language, enormous intersections, neon colours, glossy black hair & a huge, sprawling metropolis… it sounds like heaven on earth. Not to mention a great photo backdrop, which, I am slightly embarrassed to admit, was at least half the reason why I went to Burning Man last year!

When I am fixated on something I can’t get — at least at that very moment — I turn to the internet (ahhh, bless) to feed my obsession. Here are some of my favourite ways to immerse myself in the culture from afar.

Kris Atomic (illustrator extraordinaire) went to Tokyo last year & her pictures were an absolute treat. (You should also read her livejournal, it is great!) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6.

Lisa S. went there just recently & reading through her adventures was fabulous! (It was also, incidentally, what triggered me to write this.)

Here is Tokyo Daily Photo, compiled by Macky.

Check out the crappy_lovley community for delightful & crazy pictures of the girls from Spank! in Koenji. Like these party pictures!

Here’s a BBC video concerning fashion in Japan (part one & two).

Watch Kelly Osborne’s (slightly spoilt but still entertaining) Japanese experience.

My friends in Tokyo run Tokyomade, sending out fabulous Japanese goodies to anyone fiending for a materialistic fix!

My other friend Julie is about to land in Japan & start teaching ESL there. I write about her a lot, but if you’re new here (hello!), you can read about her time there at Julie in Japan!

Gilda, long-time iCiNG reader, often writes about her time in Japan on her blog, holiday in the sun! Her whole blog is great, but if you want an instant Japanese hit, click here!

tae*’s beautiful photographs of Japan.

Japanorama‘s segment on gyaru — bad girls! (You can see other episodes here.)

Super Gals!

The naughty side of Japan!

Tokyo Undressed, a photography blog by Rikki Kasso. I LOVE this.

I watched this, completely mesmerised — it’s a video of Japan’s “Adult Treasures” expo.

Misty Keasler has some fantastic photographs of love hotels throughout Japan.

‘Between a rock & a soft place’ is an article on love hotels from the Tokyo Journal.

This guy has a set of photos from his visit to the Hello Kitty room in a love hotel in Osaka.

(None of this stuff is safe for work or suitable for anyone under 18 though, so consider yourselves warned!)

Sometimes the internet just doesn’t cut it, & one feels compelled to turn to that antiquated tome of information — the book. For those of you who, like me, love to flick through glossy pages, snap these up!

Japanese Schoolgirl Inferno: Tokyo Teen Fashion Subculture Handbook by Izumi Evers, Patrick Macias & Kazumi Nonaka is a historical guide to Tokyo teenage fashion. If you’re dying to hear about why ganguro girls look the way they do, or how the gothic lolita look evolved, this is the book for you! There are pictures, interviews, tips & tricks. Definitely worth owning!

Love Hotels: The Hidden Fantasy Rooms of Japan by Natsuo Kirino, Rod Slemmons & the aforementioned Misty Keasler is a hop, skip & jump through some of Japan’s most incredible love hotels. (I personally like the carousel in one of the rooms.) Amazing book.

Pink Box: Inside Japan’s Sex Clubs by Joan Sinclair is a FASCINATING look at Japan’s sex clubs. Usually strictly off-limits to anyone but the Japanese, Joan managed to charm the owners of the clubs & was granted permission to over 80 such clubs within a year. Her portraits of the girls working, the clientele & the environment in which they work is incredible.

I also recommend reading anything by Haruki Murakami — my favourites are The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle & Kafka On The Shore.

Ah, wonderful Japan. Please fuel my fascination by telling me about great Japanese blogs, your favourite kind of sushi, the best things to do on a rainy day in Kyoto & the J-pop stars which make your heart go DOKI DOKI!