Universal-Doll content changes


Photos unrelated but pretty. Kyoto during cherry blossom season last year.

When I first started the Doll in 2009 it grew out of kogal_panel on livejournal. I was really shocked by the lack of current trend information online for gyaru clothing and style and the lack of brand knowledge. The blog is named universal-doll because the “Doll-kei” trend was really in gyaru fashion at the time and I feel like fashion is for everyone. We can all be the universal doll. Yup, cheesy as it sounds.

Since then the boom of shop blogs and tumblr and instagram and all sorts of mediums have allowed trends to come out of Japan almost instantly. But you guys know that, you follow your favorite shop staff’s blog/twitter/insta. So it’s made the original purpose of my blog obsolete. Which I’m happy about.

And then there’s the problem of gyaru fashion or more how certain pieces have been widely accepted into Japanese mainstream and a lot of gyaru fashion has become less creative in the process.  I hesitate to say gyaru is dying, it’s more like gyaru evolved and melded in. Circle lens are now more natural and come in a variety for anyone beyond gyaru. Eyelash extensions have made the false eyelash look popular for anyone even the OL. And the perception of many have changed with it. I still wear contacts, put on lashes (although less often and not as bold), have extensions (volume not length), my nails are always done, and shop from many traditional gyaru stores (mixed a lot lately with other brands) but I just don’t see myself as gyaru anymore. I think that’s become the perception of a lot of women.


Drugstore essentials. Masks, eyedrops, bath salts and hairspray


I’ve often wondered or thought about quitting blogging. I mean my blog’s original purpose isn’t really there anymore. And I think  bloggers have become more lazy and readers too. Why check out a whole style post when you can just click on it for a second on instagram?

But I love reading blogs. I feel like we become dumber if it’s all just instagram instead of words behind it. I also met a lot of my friends because they had blogs. I thought about quitting a bunch of times. When I moved from Japan, when I got bullied a bit, when I got sick, when my mother died. But I feel wrong pushing people I love reading their blogs to blog more and myself not doing the same.

Bergen, Norway last summer. I really want to go back to Norway.

So I’ve decided to take the Doll a little more closer to me. I will still post shop staff photos, I have a book review and summary coming up about Emiri’s hostess life, kawaii makeup reviews by the ton, I have some magazines to talk about… but I’d also like to make more personal travel posts, maybe healthy eating, there’s going to be a long series on my obsession of vintage brand (with a Japan focus) and some more personal things that I’m more interested in. I don’t really know about my own face on the blog beyond make-up reviews. I’ve thought about personal style blogging but really I feel silly posing for photos. So currently plans for the blog are in a little flux.

mitsublogs-nakano  A street in Nakano, Tokyo

You won’t get a long blogpost about my obsession with the Houston Rockets and NBA in general or my love of kettlebells. But I’d like to get more variety and feel less confined to certain topics (self imposed of course). Please keep reading if you’re interested but understand maybe it’s not the same Doll anymore?





  1. Tinny
    May 11, 2015 / 1:31 pm

    I like the sound of your plans for the blog! That’s all I can say, really :)

    • Mitsu
      May 11, 2015 / 4:08 pm

      Thanks for commenting and reading :)

  2. Rayah
    May 11, 2015 / 2:39 pm

    Prettty good idea.
    When i first found your blog ( about 2 months ago) i went through practically everything in 2 days , i kept looking at your older posts and now i cant wait for new updates!
    You’re blogs are really enjoyable! Love how you express yourself in words , truly fascinating.

    • Mitsu
      May 11, 2015 / 4:09 pm

      Wow that’s a lot of reading! Always so shocked how easy it is to consume something that’s taken so long for me to write. Thanks for the lovely words!

  3. May 11, 2015 / 3:43 pm

    It’s a shame that you don’t consider yourself gal any more..! I feel that you still have a purpose, particularly in talking in more detail about issues etc. that some gaijin gals might not have access to.

    Reading your blog is always interesting and informative, so I will be staying subscribed! :)

    • Mitsu
      May 11, 2015 / 4:18 pm

      Hmmm. Well I think there lies a problem in what is gal and how unstable the current climate is.

      To me gyaru is two things.

      Gyaru ver 1 – Gyaru is marked by its periods in the past: kogal, ganguro, amekaji, agejo, kurogyaru etc… so you can be dressing in past styles. And that was never really me. As much as I love vintage I love the modern. I love the most recent trends and love how fashion changes. So I could never be that past gyaru now. Or dress like past styles. I wanted to be agejo when it was booming and rock when it was a booming. But this is still gyaru of course. But the ladies who love these styles don’t need blogs for this, they have past blogs or just tumblrs or old eggs and such.

      Gyaru ver 2 – What is current gyaru? No really what is it? And this is what I’m really not sure about. Am I it? Who is? Magazines don’t tout it. Jelly is normcore. Vivi is about effortlessness and otona kawaii. Ageha and Larme have always said we’re gyaru combined with something else. So the brands that are thriving that are gyaru brands either cool style like Sly and Moussy or Onee brands like Rienda, Resexxxy etc… are they gyaru. The girls don’t call themselves gyaru they don’t really say anything about gyaru. So I’m at a loss. A lot of girls who subscribe to these brands either cool or Onee will put up past pictures of themselves even ones just 2 years ago and say “Wow I was really gyaru back then” and I do the same. Which means, what is now?

  4. May 11, 2015 / 3:45 pm

    I’m looking forward to whatever content you’ll post in the future but I’m sure I’ll miss the old stuff too (however I know it’ll always be there if I want to look back and reference which is great). I don’t know if I’ve ever actually told you, but a number of your posts have helped me in the past. In fact, I used your “Buying from Japanese stores”/Tenso post to make my first online purchase with VENT Online Store. I’m not sure I would have had the confidence to order without it! I also do a quick “*location* + universal doll” google search when I’m researching an area I’m planning to visit in Japan to see if you’ve already written up something useful and interesting (such as the koyo recommendations or the owl cafe.) I was especially looking forward to the next parts of the Japanese Hair Salon 101 series (hoping to use it to help me on my next trip) but I know that if your heart isn’t into it, blogging isn’t very fun.
    Regardless, I’m excited to read whatever you want to write about going forward. Good luck!

  5. Chacha
    May 11, 2015 / 3:53 pm

    My friends and I discuss everything you post on your blog, from fashion to traveling
    you provide so much well thought out and detailed information for all of your readers!

    Like you said it’s easier to look through photos on instagram on current trends but I always but I always find time to read your blog!
    Gyaru isn’t what it used to be at all but it’s interesting to see it’s transformation,
    and maybe one day it will make a huge come back, as fashion is always repeating itself

    Either way, I look forward to your future posts!

  6. May 11, 2015 / 4:45 pm

    It’s always good to take a step back and see where you are in everything. I did that too, recently. But I’m really glad it got you to keep going and still blog. I love reading and seeing all the things you have to share. I am just getting into gyaru so that’s how I found you :3 I wish I knew what exact phase gyaru is in now but like other fashions, it’s a part of you and you make it what you want to be. Maybe there isn’t a unified trend in gyaru and everyone is just finding their true selves. One of the foundations of being gyaru is to be yourself right?

  7. Hayley
    May 11, 2015 / 6:34 pm

    I’m so glad you’re not quitting blogging! I have been a long time reader (but infrequent commenter… yes, I’m one of those) for many years. I definitely don’t consider myself gyaru anymore either for exactly the same reasons as you. I’m looking forwards to whatever you end up posting in this next phase (I’d stick around for a kettlebell post, even). All of those topics you mooted appeal to me, healthy eating especially. Kepp up the good work :)

  8. Helena
    May 11, 2015 / 10:30 pm

    I will definitely keep reading! I honestly just enjoy your writing and the breakdowns of certain parts of the fashion culture in Japan, regardless of what it is.

  9. May 12, 2015 / 12:24 am

    I’ll always remain a loyal reader of your blog no matter the direction you take and I truly understand and relate to a lot of the points that you mentioned such as no longer feeling like a gyaru, not blogging as much (I’m guilty of that too!) etc. I always liked the more personal posts such as your outfits and food recipes.

    Definitely looking forward to all the new content you’ll be writing about soon, and perhaps it might motivate me to get my lazy butt off the chair and update my blog too hahahahahahahaah

  10. alice
    May 12, 2015 / 3:39 am

    just post gudetama pics plz.

  11. May 12, 2015 / 5:30 am

    Whatever you write, I’ll still support you. :)
    People grow as a person. Their interests, passion, style, they change over time. And maybe the gyaru part of it is accomplished, move on to the next part of your life! Whatever your new interest is. :)

    Then this blog will be a collection of things that grew together with you in your entire lifetime. Good luck!!!

  12. May 12, 2015 / 7:07 am

    Mitsu, I am so happy you won’t be quitting blogging though I know it’s hard, and especially if you feel like the main “purpose” is gone… But your blog is a part of you, and I totally relate to what you said about people losing something when they lose the words behind the pictures ! I think you need both to really appreciate content, so I am happy that you will be keeping the Doll alive in whatever shape it takes ♡

    Definitely looking forward to your Emiri book review – without spoiling too much of what you plan on writing, how was it ? ? So curious, haha >~<

  13. May 12, 2015 / 7:49 am

    I have loved reading every post of yours, you write with enthusiasm and knowledge and your pictures are great. I think you have a unique space here, whether for talking about fashion trends or anything else you would like to. I’ll definitely be here to read no matter what, because beyond all the fashion stuff that I find really interesting, it’s your writing and the way you blog that I like a lot too. I hope you will enjoy it at every stage! x

  14. May 12, 2015 / 7:56 am

    We just hope to see more posts from you!! And of course whatever you post we are sure people will love it!!!♡

  15. Amari
    May 12, 2015 / 8:06 am

    I’m glad you’re not quitting, I personally love your writing style and that you have such long, well thought out posts. I will keep reading your blog because of that. I can’t wait to see what you post in the future! :D

  16. Marie
    May 12, 2015 / 2:33 pm

    I have always loved your blog! I’ve been following it for years now. You are the only Japanese blog I know of that is still active and has fashion posts.

  17. Krrizis
    May 12, 2015 / 5:17 pm

    I’m a fan stalker of your blog? Like a silent reader and all who came across your blog mid last year. Been devouring every post that you’ve released like a hungry hyena. I can’t even recall how many times I hit refresh within a day (if there’s a spike in your blog views, it may probably be due to me).

    As someone who got into Japanese fashion rather late albeit towards Mode and Normcore, your blog was a great source for me to read about the evolution of Jfashion. It also exposed a great deal of Japan’s culture and heritage to me. For someone like me who’s been in love with Japan since I was a child, you’ve brought so much joy to me through your writing. So it’s great to know that you’re still going to continue writing. I’m happy with whatever direction you intend to take the blog into otherwise if it makes you feel happy.

    Keep writing. Do know there’s someone here who reads your blog avidly, waiting in anticipation. ^^)v

  18. tori
    May 12, 2015 / 7:57 pm

    Universal Doll was my all time favourite gyaru blog. I loved your take on gyaru and how you were always on top of trends; however, I do agree that the fashion/style has been watered down and…what is deemed “trendy” or “in” right now is…a tad boring. There! I said it! =[ I miss the old school agejo days and the current styles like seiso actually bores me to tears. I mean, why wake up an hour+ early to do makeup if your goal is to look like you’re not wearing a lot of makeup but actually wear the same amount of makeup? I’m bored, just sleep in.

    Fashion aside, I still enjoy your travel posts and kawaii makeup posts so I will definitely continue to read your blog and can’t wait to see what you have up next. =]

    • Mitsu
      May 15, 2015 / 1:54 pm

      We are of the same mind so much! You’re making me lol so much with your talk. I do hate simple makeup a little. I wish there was more to it yanno XD

  19. Stephanie
    May 12, 2015 / 10:04 pm

    I actually found your blog only recently, and I have to say that your personal travel posts and makeup posts where what I appreciated most while reading back through your archives. So I’m excited to hear that’s the direction you’re going to take your blog! You’re a very engaging author, and I’m excited about the makeup reviews and vintage brand posts in particular. Thank you for maintaining such a great blog!

  20. Ruthie
    May 13, 2015 / 2:45 am

    Hi Mitsu,

    I’ve been reading your blog for about 5 years now. I originally found it when I was looking up information on a “deco” shop in Shinjuku. I love the fact that your blog has evolved and I love that it has broadened its outlook over the years. I was so worried when I read this post that maybe you were about to quit blogging altogether!! I am so happy that you will continue to blog and I look forward to reading for at least another 5 years.

    Ruth (in Ireland) xxxx

    • Mitsu
      May 15, 2015 / 1:53 pm

      Deco!!!! Man I still love it! I don’t care if it’s less popular now. I still need to finish my bike to its full sparkle glory. Summer is calling and I need to blind people with sparkles :) How do you feel about it now?

      • Ruthie
        May 19, 2015 / 6:44 am

        I’m still a huge fan of anything sparkly and I will always love over the top deco nails. They’re just not very practical!

  21. Hanna
    May 13, 2015 / 8:45 am

    I’ve been a long time reader of your blog and I’m so glad you’re not considering quitting the writing altogheter. Although I originally discovered your blog as a means of finding nice coords I could use as a style guide and other nifty info about gyaru/japan, I really feel the blog has grown along with me. I really love your travel/food posts, shop staff snaps and the like, and I feel that the quality hasn’t dropped at all. My favorite blog, whatever the subject matter may be :).

    • Mitsu
      May 15, 2015 / 1:52 pm

      Awwwwe man, when you say such nice things I just don’t know how to respond but with a simple thank you. I really appreciate you taking the time to write something so kind. I’m a bit chuffed for lack of a better word :)

  22. Anaiyah
    May 14, 2015 / 6:44 am

    I’ve never commented before but I’ve been reading your blog for about 3 years and I’ve just always loved your entries. You’ve been really super helpful (especially with those sub-genres and and explaining slang terms) an just an invaluable source of info all around. Thank you for not giving up even when you really thought you couldn’t go on. I’ll definitely stick around for more of your posts!

    • Mitsu
      May 15, 2015 / 1:51 pm

      Thanks so much for commenting!! I’m so happy you enjoy and I’ll try to keep updating with some research although it’s a bit time consuming but I’ll work on it :)

  23. Rebecca
    May 14, 2015 / 9:42 am

    I love your blog, and it would be a shame if you stopped. I wouldn’t mind if you write about other stuff than gyaru-related things. It would be rather interesting and fun in my opinion :) lots of love to you! <3

    • Mitsu
      May 15, 2015 / 1:50 pm

      I’ll try to do some gyaru stuff too, actually so much I have is gyaru related to talk about. I guess it’ll take a while before I give the blog more than half of it is not gyaru :)

  24. Rii
    May 15, 2015 / 1:03 am

    Girl, I always told you you’re gorgeous. And I honestly, although I barely have time to check blogs, would make sure even more to check yours if you blog more about your personal style and life! Your opinion is so great to hear and matters a lot to me as well. I love reading your posts and while looking at your instagram over the past months I actually hoped you’d post more personal stuff.

    So in short: I can’t wait!! <3

    • Mitsu
      May 15, 2015 / 1:49 pm

      I’m still waiting for you to blog more! I absolutely love your style evolution and you’re an inspiration!

      I’ll try to work harder on personal but I’m always crap about it. We’ll see what I feel like blogging about :)

  25. May 15, 2015 / 2:25 am

    Long time reader here – love your work! And having met you in person, I’m tremendously interested in what you have to say! I’m happy it will be more personal; you’re a funny and interesting gal, interesting beyond your knowledge of gyaru. Look forward to what comes next hon! xx

    • Mitsu
      May 15, 2015 / 1:48 pm

      Leanne I’m so sad we’ll miss each other in Japan once again. We gotta make our schedules work better. Thanks lady for your heartfelt words!!

  26. May 15, 2015 / 4:11 am

    I always think it is most important for you to be happy with the content on your blog. If it makes you feel like it’s homework (you don’t want to do but feel pressured to do it) you should probably change things up a bit.
    I honestly look forward to more personal sides, too because I think this brings a certain, even more individual taste to a blog.
    As long as you feel good with what you post, there is no reason to not do it and keep doing what makes you happy. :)

    • Mitsu
      May 15, 2015 / 1:47 pm

      Homework is definitely how it felt sometimes lolol such a good term for it :)
      Thanks for your kind words and support!!

  27. May 15, 2015 / 7:19 am

    I’m glad you are not afraid to let your blog evolve with you!
    In my opinion changing the topic of your blog is better than to stop blogging if you still like to do that -.^

    • Mitsu
      May 15, 2015 / 1:47 pm

      I’ll work towards making it better and hopefully gyaru interests are still there to read about as well :)

  28. Svena
    May 25, 2015 / 12:08 am

    Hi Mitsu!
    Didnt really write anything here before, cos I was just a very lazy reader, but I just wanted to say thank you for keeping the blog going and for updating really often with not just pictures, but real content too. :) I always check back on the web to see if there’s new content, wether its about your travels, or fashion updates or any random stuff, I just like reading your stuff in general. Actually yours is the only one I read cos you really put alot of effort into all your posts ^_^ so as a lazy, stereotypical reader, I’m really grateful to you for bringing Japan and the general culture closer to me (and to your readers in general).

    Thank you! And haha keep those posts coming please <3

  29. June 12, 2015 / 11:42 pm

    Hi Mitsu! It’s funny I was looking through my old blogger (now on private) and remembered how I was so into gyaru. Then I clicked on your link and read this post. Universal Doll was one of my favorite blogs to read during my gal phase, and I always loved coming here to read about the latest gal trends. But what I also loved was your personal posts about traveling and other posts as well. Mainly because I think you’re a great writer and I think you’re able to produce interesting content, no matter what the topic. So I think it’s great that you’re letting the blog evolve with you. It’s bittersweet how we all found each other online through our love of gyaru, even though a lot of us has outgrown or adapted other styles. I look forward to your new posts and content! <3 See you on instagram!

  30. pinnku
    October 12, 2015 / 10:58 am

    I’ve been a long time reader (5 years at least 8’D) but this is the first time I’ve commented and I’m sorry for that!

    I’ve always admired gyaru style, but never taken the plunge to keep on trend, so I guess it’s odd that I’ve kept up with your blog for so long. But then I guess that’s because you offer more than just gyaru and whatever you do here, however you do it, I’ll still drop by and read and enjoy! (I love your deco work and all your trips to japan, your photos are lovely!) And even though gyaru trend has become (as others have said) almost boring now, I’ll look forward to your reviews and posts and we can all hope for a revival as fashion has it’s want to do 0u0

    So basically thank you for continuing to blog, for maintaining that link between a lot of us gaijin gals and everything that is Japan and I look forward to whatever you come up with next!

    You’re a wonderful writer and voice on the web and I can’t wait for more!


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