I occasionally scan YahooNews Japan (the google of Japan) for gyaru items and I stumbled across this AbemaTV program about Gyaru technology.

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It starts off with a reporter searching out interesting stories in Shibuya. In a completely non-scripted non-planned way (sarcasm)

The reporter’s reaction is “uhhhh what’s this?”

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They stumbled across two gyaru that call themselves “Gyaruden (ギャル電)” = Electric Gal.

Their names are Mao-san (pink hair) and Kyouko-san (grey hair). And say “ギャルによるギャルのためのテクノロジー” Because we are gyaru we make technology for gyaru. But really this story goes deeper than that and involves two interesting gyaru so let’s get into it!

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They started making flashy (pun intended) six months ago. And they do it for the “party people” (パリピ paripi some gyaru slang for you)

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The reporter then goes to visit their workspace where they make their Gyaru-den accessories.

It’s located in a place called Rainbow Souko (レインボー倉庫 site) which is a chain of coffee shops and workspace collectives. Their space is at Rainbow Souko 2 (here’s a map of how its laid out).

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Mao in fab deco glasses at work building a LED lightup earring.

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Like the one she’s wearing.

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Predictably the reporter gets a gyaru makeover and learns to construct her own LED earrings.

Then she sits down and asks about the girls lives. Kyouko-san says she hasn’t really had any schooling instead she’s learned on the streets. And the reporter is like “Oh you’re self taught” and Kyouko goes “Ohhhh you can say that”. Her current profession is pole dancer (usually pole dancers in Japan work as gogo dancers in clubs and keep their tops on. Judgement free either way just an FYI).

Mao-san says she is a college student at a trade school learning about electrical construction. But she says she wants to keep her own style doing it.

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The reporter asks why did they get into this?

Kyouko says “The Singularity”.

Which is some deep stuff.

Let’s let wiki take care of this:

The technological singularity (also, simply, the singularity)[1] is the hypothesis that the invention of artificial superintelligence will abruptly trigger runaway technological growth, resulting in unfathomable changes to human civilization.

Yup. Lots to take in there.

Either way they’re doing some cool original stuff. Check out their twitter: https://twitter.com/galden999

Here’s the static news story on Abema times about the Gyaruden group (here) and official Youtube video (here) and they also got to be in a Nike Japan commercial (here).

I think it’s a new way to look at being flashy in a style that’s definitely toned down.

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I’ve stayed loyal to my Avarice nail salon in Harajuku (previous posts) for several years now for Japanese gel nail art. Their work continues to amaze me and no matter what I come with they’re up to the task. NOW they have an English speaking nail artist who did a working holiday in Australia. She’s lovely and loves to chat in english. So I super recommend Avarice even more to my readers! Just remember if booking on hotpeper to mention English.

1950s Cinderella Gel Nails

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Disney’s Cinderella nails! I wanted these to be pretty simple but still have that great gel nail art. The art is based on the original 1950 animated feature. I’ve become a big Disney nerd and the classic styles of Disney are my favorite. Simple with a few details: Cinderella herself, her slipper and a hint of the pumpkin carriage.

Chanel Paris-Dallas collection Gel Nails

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My nails had gotten so short! But that’s no problem for Avarice Harajuku superb gel nail art everytime! This time I wanted the theme of the Chanel Paris-Dallas collection. Being a Texan I’ve always wanted a Texas flag or shape on my nails. Even though I’m anti-gun I’ve oddly also wanted gun nails. The Coco Chanel portrait was based on the flyers they handed out for the Paris-Dallas collection.

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Pretty close right?

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The gun was a 90s part of a belt. I liked it better than the Paris-Dallas gun jewelry so in it went.

Chanel Spring Vintage Nails

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 Mad Max: Fury Road Gel Nails

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I GOT MAD MAX NAILS!!! Mad Max: Fury Road is my favorite movie of the last few years. I knew when I had the chance I would try to make Mad Max nails happen.

My nailist hadn’t watched the movie, so showing her photos she gave me the look that said: why do you want this on your nails? It’s totally unkawaii. Then I played her the Japanese trailer and that did not win her over either. And then I tried to explain the movie in Japanese, which was a complete failure. Trying to explain it in English just ends up with me yelling WAR GUITAR!! or FURIOSA!! and then slipping into happy fangirl goo.

Then she got to it… and asked if it’s okay if I make them more “manga” and they won’t look exactly like them. I was like my expectations are low, I just need to fangirl more.

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BUT CHECK THEM OUT! OMG! War Boy! Furiosa! Mad Max!

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Furiosa was like my Mona Lisa nail. No matter the light she’s always staring at me.

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Mad Max and Furiosa! Avarice gel nail art wins all the awards.

My hands were super dry. I had just landed in Japan. My hands go horrible on the flight and stay bad in Japan. The air and public restroom soaps just kill my hands. Hand lotion is your friend in Japan. I actually discovered my favorite hand lotion for traveling is MUAC AHA Hand and Body lotion. I was given a sample and it just takes care of dry spots immediately because of its alpha hydroxy acids. It doesn’t provide the lovely scents of other hand lotions, but overnight total change in dryness!

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In the past years I’ve been down on Tokyo sakura viewing. I mean when you can have a gorgeous castles in the background, see sakura on a mountaintop viewing regular sakura seems a bit boring? My mind really changed about how pretty Tokyo sakura viewing can be last year. One of my favorite spots was Nakameguro (中目黒). Nakameguro is famous as a destination for sakura because of its beautiful Meguro river that flows through it. The sakura drip over and its truly a gorgeous sight.

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The quintessential Nakameguro Sakura View (TM) and people free!

 

Nakameguro is a sought out place to live in Tokyo because of its hip but laid back vibe. It’s right next to fancy Daikanyama but not as expensive, so a lot of younger people live in the area.

Reasons I like Nakameguro Sakura:

Because it’s a river walkway you may be put off by the concrete of it all and lack of proper Tokyo sakura hanami viewing space, but these two things put off people so it’s much less crowded than places like Ueno Park, Yoyogi Park and Inokashira Park that get tons of drunk rowdy people. And it serves alcohol and lots of places to eat unlike Shinjuku Park. It’s also free unlike Shinjuku Park. If you can get a bench along the river it’s easy to spend several hours gazing and chatting.

 

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Sakura suits the river so well. I do think the Tottori river sakura are more beautiful but for central Tokyo sakura these are hard to beat. I headed out with Nicola and Linda.

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During a weekday the crowds are manageable and we were able to snag seats.

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The sakura do really cover all of Meguro river. Because of the shade and temperature differences theres a wide range when you can see sakura on just this one walkway.

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When we finally got seats this was our view. Pretty special right? The river really makes the crowds feel not so crowded. You can see one of the food trucks parked across the river. There were lots of tasty food options.

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The strawberry champagne was a big seller.

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We also got a bottle of pink sparkling wine to celebrate the season. Instagram worthy!

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Bonus! This super cute poodle we saw while enjoying an impromptu hanami.

 

Visiting Nakameguro for Sakura viewing:

Sakura season is finicky but even with buds or falling off the Nakameguro Matsuri is lovely to see. They do a light up as well for those seeking out a sakura light-up. It’s also an easy walk if you just want to put in an hour to view but not the whole day.

Nakameguro Station is a small station that can get super crowded during sakura season it’s on Tokyo Metro Hibiya and Tokyu Toyoko lines easily accessible through Shibuya. If you’re going at night or during the weekends I suggest getting off at Daikanyama Station of the Tokyu Toyoko Line (8 minute walk) or Ebisu Station on the Yamanote Line (14 minute walk) and walking to Nakameguro both of which are nice walks. Daikanyama has tons of cafes and cute food options in case Nakameguro gets too busy.

 

 

My first Sakura post of the year! I have more planned. I really got to enjoy sakura last year and I unfortunately can’t visit this year so hopefully posts on the blog turning pink will cheer up.  :hearts3:

 

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Yayoi Kusama (草間彌生) is a modern artist in every description of the term. In her 80s now she’s finally getting the recognition she deserves inside Japan. She was born in Matsumoto so when I heard Matsumoto was going to put on an exhibition of her work called “Yayoi Kusama: The Place for my Soul” I knew I had to make the trek to see it.

Seeing Yayoi Kusama art in Japan is actually a bit difficult. Other than one piece or two at museums across Japan permanently has a famous pumpkin on a small island of Naoshima which is both beautiful and very difficult to get to (travel bucket list) and the Matsumoto items. But if you’re in Tokyo Feb 22 – May 22  this exhibition will be showing (see below)

I first found out about her in the Marc Jacobs x Louis Vuitton documentary. She ended up doing a collaboration with Louis Vuitton and Louis Vuitton to hype the collab did a giant exhibition of her work starting at the Tate Museum in London. I was lucky to visit the exhibition and I fell in love. I’m a Yayoi Kusama obsessed now. From nails to lots of her prints and other bits inside my place in the States.

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Her giant flower sculpture. At least 30 feet tall and the size of a building. There are rare permanent Yayoi Kusama outdoor sculptures so this is a treat. Also great for selfies.

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Outside the museum she was on display.

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It was sakura seaoson in Matsumoto so I could see real and Kusama flowers.

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A suprising permanent installation is the Yayoi Kusama Coca Cola collab outside the Museum.

You can’t buy the faux Kusama cokes, but the rest is buyable and cute. And yes you can sit on Kusama works!

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Driving throughout the streets of Matsumoto is the Yayoi Kusama bus. It was released in 2010 and drives around a loop of all the Matsumoto tourist sites. I just missed it!

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Another permanent piece of Kusama in the main lobby of the building. The Matsumoto art museum opened in 2002 and is a really beautiful well lit building with lots of room for exhibitions.

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Stairs leading up to the exhibition. Classic Kusama.

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The exhibition starts off with her spinning chandeliers and mirrors. It’s one of her newer Ifinity Room styles.

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A whole dedicated to this giant steel pumpkin and a matching interior. I really loved this.

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An Infinity Room based on cloth versions of her earlier Phallus work.

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One her most recent pieces. Using dots, reflectives and phallus shapes all her eras in one.

She started using basic phallus shapes all lumped together to discuss how she felt about living in a masculine world and how intimidating it all felt. Seriously she’s 87 right now and she’s been doing feminist art since she started doing art. If haven’t been exposed to Kusama, give her a shot.

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Her early drawing work. She likes to display her pieces now all together instead of separate.

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One of her pieces I think from the 80s. It doesn’t really go with a lot of her other work, but it’s interesting

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Not pictured was her Infinity Mirrors pod and truly the highlight of my exhibition experience. Yayoi Kusama usually does Infinity Mirrors rooms which are beautiful, but the pod is a one person experience where you step in and for one minute you experience full deprivation of anything else but the Infinity Mirrors. Everywhere you look is infinite. Just you and the infinity. It’s like one full minute of being in beautiful space. And it was at the end of the exhibition so you really do feel like she let you in fully to her world.

 

Heading to Matsumoto Museum of Art:

Sadly her exhibition has ended in Matsumoto museum (link, link), but her flower sculpture, Coke dotted walkway and small pumpkin sculpture are all on permanent display. All of those are free to see without paying the 410 yen admission. It is a straight 10 minute walk from Matsumoto station (google map) and I think Matsumoto makes an amazing day trip from Tokyo. The Nagano region is my favorite in Japan and I’ve seen a lot so give it a try. If you’re heading to Matsumoto I talk about cost and direction in my Matsumoto Castle sakura post.

See Yayoi Kusama: A place for my Soul exhibition in Tokyo and another exhibition in the United States

If you’re in Tokyo February 22 – May 2017 the “Yayoi Kusama: My Eternal Soul” exhibition will be at the National Art Center near Roppongi. You can also pick up Yayoi Kusama goods nearby at the Mori Art Museum Gift shop in Roppongi. The Mori Art Museum Gift shop is a really cool place to buy art related gifts. Some of my favorite bits in my house I bought at the Mori Art Museum Gift shop.

Also if you’re needing more Kusama and you’re in the States she will be touring starting in May at the Smithsonian (Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden) in Washington D.C. along with Seattle, Los Angeles, Cleveland and Ontario.  I’m really hoping to make it to the DC leg, wish me luck!

 

If you’re curious about my own Kusama collection check out my Instagram stories today  :smiley:

 

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