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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Shibuya, not my MOST favorite place, yet「2」

Super late post, God, I'm so sorry. I finally get my hand on my tablet and creativity kicked in, I cannot deny my original passion after all (I dedicated almost a whole week making this video). This time, it's Shibuya's turn! Despite its endless crowd (which you should be careful about, cases of getting separated from your travel companion is not rare, it's fairly easy to get lost in the crowd), Shibuya is a nice place to hang out or just chill, sitting in some cafe shop and watching the ever so dynamic crowds looking for some inspiration! Btw, I'm sorry for lots of dirty snow, these pictures were taken on 9th February, just a day after the worst snow storm in Tokyo after 20 years.

Reaching Shibuya is quite easy since it's connected to many lines, especially subways but so far, I've only used these four methods;
  • JR Station Shinjuku Yamanote Lines Platform 14 (bounds for Shibuya, Shinagawa)
    Shinjuku - Yoyogi - Harajuku
    150 JPY
    7 minutes
  • Keio Inokashira Lines (bounds for Shibuya, from Kichijouji)
    Kichijouji (1st station) - Shibuya (last station)
    17 minutes on express train
  • On foot from Harajuku
    30 minutes
  • Shonan-Shinjuku Line (bounds for Shinjuku, from Ikebukuro)
    Ikebukuro - Shibuya
    160 JPY
    12 minutes on rapid train
Now you know hot to get there (remember; the basic is to get to Shinjuku's station), hop on those trains and prepare yourself to be swallowed by the sea of people, and  of course for some shopping. Exiting the station could be confusing, especially if you're coming on JR from Shinjuku (lol) BUT just try to find nearest escalator with 'Tokyu Food Show' and go down, there'll be a small flower shop down there and don't go down because you're now in the first floor of Tokyu Department Store, more specifically; the beauty and makeup corner! They have high end brands makeups here; Jill Stuart, Paul & Joe, MAC, Shu Uemura, Nars, Dior, you name it. They accept credit cards as well, so if you're here for some non-drugstore makeup products, you could use some time here. I don't know whether the ever so helpful sales assistant could speak English or not (always speaks Japanese there, for some reason, they never approach me with English even though I clearly look nothing Japanese), but I think they have basic knowledge of it since Shibuya is usually frequented by foreigners).

For Keio Inokashira user, after you make exit, walk straight, cross the bridge for Tokyu or go down the escalator on the left side. Going up will lead you to Shibuya Park City.

If you're done with some beauty adventure, make your exit from Tokyu (I think it's the door near NARS counter) and there'll be smoking corner Hachiko (I KNOW, I'M SO BUMMED ABOUT THIS :< I can barely stay there for 30 seconds because of all the smokes) on your left near some locker coins and an old train car on your right used for many advertisement purpose. The picture above is more or less the scene you'll see (I'm using different exit, not the Tokyu one, it's on the right side of Tokyu).
Aren't your chest drumming? You're about to make a walk cross that infamous Shibuya Crossing. For some reason, I was kind of nervous the first time and the weird sensation was still there after multiple visits. From where you're standing (Tokyu exit), there're two zebra cross. This one leads to; Shibuya 109 Men, Ginza Corner (sweets, cakes). The path on the left side will take you to; Tower Record at the far end for musics, CDs & DVDs, department stores, McDonald, and some other store I do not remember (Lumine Men included). The other side will lead to Shibuya 109 and central Shibuya path(s).
This picture was taken before I cross the path viewed above, on my right side. After crossing, turning right takes you to cafes & restaurant under the bridge, Lindt Cafe (must visit for chocolate lover), and a little walk after Lindt Cafe will lead you to another crossings (you could see at the center-left side of the picture, there's another crossing). Remember when I said you can walk from here to Harajuku? In this crossing, you may cross or just stick there without crossing but turn left for Harajuku and just walk straight(BTSSB is on this street).
I was starving at the time so I made a detour to that blue cafe for a...brunch? The taste was okay but it's a little weird to eat Spanish Omelette with Seaweed Pickles. Or it's how Spaniards eat them?? I don't know. The cafe have a really good atmosphere, I definitely recommend it!
I'm done so I'm back to (what I consider as) our starting point. This picture was taken right in front of Ginza Corner (if you're facing Tsutaya at front, this will be on your left). It was where you're supposed to be standing before you cross the path. Sometimes, you could even spot a shooting scene or just some casual photographers taking pictures with their props. No big deal, everyone's completely used to this.

From where you're standing, Tsutaya will be right in front of you. Seibu department store is right on its right (no pun intended). If you're looking for new released CDs or DVDs, you could make a visit to its first floor and purchase some. The upper floors are for rentals. The Starbucks in here is very famous and it's almost always crowded. I noticed many tourists make a visit there, I myself have never been there but according to my place, the view from the second floor is superb.

If you look at the bottom-center part of picture, there's a small gate on Tsutaya's left side (with blue banner). This is considered as Shibuya's central district path. Tt have many small stores and shops including; It's Demo, Zara, Forever21, and many many stores which names I could not remember. Tutuanna is also accessible from here, along with Animate, LOFT, etc. Many restaurants are located in this path as well. My advice is to take your time exploring here before you indulge yourself in shopping, just to know what's in there, it could be confusing but it's actually not hard to navigate. Whenever I go to Shibuya, I always ended up eating at Genki Sushi which was located at one of the alley branching of from this path.

Excited yet? Now, if you're already in front of Tsutaya, or you have returned from exploring the central district, look to your right (assuming Tokyu is across in front of you), it's where Shibuya 109 is. Just walk there, all sass and giddy, and make trip to Matsumoto Kiyoshi lining up the street, or cross the path for Big Camera. There'll be another crossing in front of Nike Store, if you do not cross, follow the path and walk straight for H&M on your right and walk a little more for Family Restaurant Gusto across at the end of the street. If you cross, you will be in...
there. There, the entrance of Shibuya 109. This was taken in front of Nike Store before I cross the street. Unfortunately, there's a no photo policy there so as much as I wanted to, I snap no pictures of how it looks inside. That's it. I know almost all of you are here for this place, solely. And I won't blame you, really. You can spend the whole day here if you want, or, if you're a one brand person like me, you'll spend less time in Liz Lisa. Now, I've never talked to any Shop Staff in English but from what I saw and what I heard, they can speak English, not the best, but don't worry if you don't understand Japanese, they'll do their best to help you! Especially for stores like Liz Lisa or any other store often visited by foreigners, I think the staff already know there'll be non-Japanese speakers coming so they're already, at least, prepared with basic English. So, make no more wait nor haste, enter, with all your sass and cash, or cards, and satisfy your desire here!
Now, if you had explored the central district, I think you had ended up somewhere around here. Now, I assume you have both your hands full with all the shoppings you've done so why not take your time chilling in a coffee shop. There're plenty of coffee shops in here but my favorite and my recommended place is St. Marc Cafe, right across Animate building, actually. For some reason, it's not as occupied as Starbucks and I always got seat whenever I came here, no wait whatsoever (sometimes you have to wait for empty seat in Starbucks). They have variations of pastries and parfaits, my personal favorite is their chocolate croissant.
Animate and Mandarake is right across St. Marc Cafe. You go down that suspicious looking tunnel on the left side for Mandarake and enter the building, take the escalator to 3rd floor for Animate. It's not as big as ones in Ikebukuro but Mandarake here have much more figures than Ikebukuro branch. Animate is not so different.
I ended my short trip that day in St. Marc Cafe, by...guess what? Studying. I had final the very next day so I could not spend too much time here. Also, I was not in a good mood at the day because of the horrible snow a day earlier (mood changes depending on weather). I was recovering from cold as well so I was not in a really good shape (I remember my throat was very sore).

Looking back, Shibuya is probably my most visited place while I was staying there. It's been a month and two days since I left Japan and sometimes I miss the feeling of freedom whenever I make a lone trip there, spending my day just walking aimlessly visiting random stores, and always, always ended up in Shibuya 109 or Animate. I'd really like to call Shibuya my most favorite place in Tokyo but Ikebukuro have what Shibuya does not have so I have to hand the trophy over to Ikebukuro. Nevertheless, a visit to Shibuya is a most, and I recommend booking one whole day, especially if you're here for a shopping spree.

The next place I will cover is Shinjuku. I don't know when and I cannot really promise you when, I have much more things (and distractions) now that I'm finally home. On the other hand, I cannot believe Liz Lisa is ready to release their Summer Collection. I'm really excited! See you later, folks!
Saturday, March 1, 2014

Liz Lisa Playful Pin-Up Girl 2nd Impression

Hello, everyone! I'm sorry for my absent! I'm in the middle of processing my Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Ikebukuro pictures for upcoming post but I got distracted when I saw Liz Lisa released their new Spring Tabloids. The tabloids featured Triendly Reina, Tamashiro Tina, and Kanno Yui (who in some pictures did not look Kanno Yui lol). I've mentioned in previous impression post, purple and pastel seem to be their central palette. I also mentioned they throw in some navy blue, and I thought there won't be as much blue, but guess what, we've been given a stream of navy and denims. Seducing me with solid blue, way to go Liz Lisa, way to go (imweakwithdeepbluecolorivetoldyou).
Like I said, denim. This page clearly show that denim will probably take big role in this season's collection. Take a look at the recent new arrival in their official page, it's practically two new kind of denim clothing going in the rack. This page also gives an idea that crop tops and high waisted bottoms, knee-length flare skirt will be everywhere this season. I personally like high waist skirt (even though I can't always work it). The coordinate Yui was wearing on the cover, and the third and last coordinate on the very bottom are my favorite. I love how the items just click to each other beautifully. On the other hand, the last coordinate on the middle row seems awkward to me.
I take it the bustier and the lace cropped top is two separated items? I'm really loving the bustier, I think it goes well regardless of what season depending on how you style them. It's one of those classic and timeless piece, denim just adds the effortless aspect to this piece.
Moving on to the newspaper, Tina is rocking that look we often saw on Liz Lisa's crews on their official ameblo. I think I've seen this coordinate multiple times and I cannot say I'm all plus for this, I think it depends on the person who wear it. On some it looks awkward but on some it looks good. It's purple, what do you expect? We'll be swarmed with purple this Spring.
I'm feeling 50:50 for this collection, just like in this spread. First, I'm soo feeling the first coordinate with all the blue; the blue stripped (Classic, classic) cardigan, the (what seemed to be) denim suspender skirt, the lace trimmed white tops, they just went together, perfectly. While the coordinate on the bottom just didn't click together for me. It's probably the cutting (or her posing) but it just doesn't do the trick on me.
I said it's probably about the cutting but looking at this one, seriously, I don't know because this one looks good, they fit seamlessly to each other. I swear it's not the color because this could be purple checks instead of denim and I will still be liking it. 
The Knee-length skirt coordinate is probably the most un-Liz Lisa-ish coordinate I've ever saw, they're more Emoda or Mitsumaru Ingni-esque than Liz Lisa, does not mean it's a bad coordinate. Like mentioned above, denim will be another 'main character' of this season. I'm loving the 'Denim Sweat' coordination so much (classic, classic, classic). The 'Flare Skirt' coordinate at the very end looks promising as well (what did I said above high waist skirt??), simple yet stunning. 'All in One' coordination is the odd one, I cannot grow myself to like it since I saw it in their web's new arrival section. It looks...weird.
First, let's talk about the bad hair styling because Goddess Tina looks less than stunning in the first two pictures. As for the outfits, I'm not feeling the second and the third because they look super awkward. Maybe it's the cutting, I don't know why but many of this season's collection is awkward. The first coordinate featured the probably most promoted and repeated item in their Spring's Promo; the check dress. It's probably the most simple dress in the whole collection, there's nothing new nor special in it but for some reason, it's one of those item that I grow fond of immediately. Maybe it's the simplicity of it. The bottom right featured LL Twinkle items, the only thing that caught my interest are the shoes. I'm still bitter about the fact that LL do not have shoes in my size and looking at these three shoes make me even bitter because the laces, the ribbons, what is there in them that is not to love?? If I could, I'll get my hand on the purple one.
The next pages will feature Kanno Yui, themed "Girls Love Dream". The dress she's wearing on the picture looks like a french-maid-ish dress only it's in one color. If they had more than one color scheme in all right places, it'll totally look like a maid dress. Regardless, I'm loving this dress, if only they do not come in puffy shoulder image
Remember when I said Kanno Yui didn't look like herself in some of photos? It begins from this page, just look at the very bottom right picture? I had to ensure myself multiple times that it is, indeed, Kanno Yui. While we're at it, let's talk about the dress. When I first saw it, it immediately remind of of clothes/uniform often worn in Gundam(?). I cannot explain why, it just remind me of them lol. I'm torn between liking this dress of not because it looks odd when you line it up with other Liz Lisa's dresses. Take the pink jumper skirt worn by Yui beside it. It's the standard Liz Lisa jumper skirt with (probably) rose prints on it and a layer of organza.
Let's just skip the very bottom picture which was obviously a victim of photoshop (how awkward could it be??? Look at her legs???) The two coordinate on the tops are absolutely fabulous! I personally like the navy coat better (what did you expect from me?). I almost purchased it but I decided to stop myself and purchased this tops instead. The dress looks absolutely lovely with the off-shoulder accent and all the laces adorning it. It comes in three colors; white, pink, navy. The white and pink one will probably give off a strong feminine and delicate feeling while the navy one will give more mature and sophisticated feeling.
With all these new products introduced in this tabloids and looking at all the new items they posted on their website, I must say I'm growing quiet fond of this season's collection even more than before. I'm definitely liking their recently released items more than the early spring collection. What about you? Did these two new tabloids managed to change your opinion toward this collection?

Stay tune for Shibuya Tour Post (?) next! I'm planning to publish them somewhere around Wednesday-Thursday next week, just pray that I won't have any other distraction!