We didn’t just stuff our faces with food during our summer holiday (though, from my past few posts, it probably seems that way!) We also did a whole lotta shopping in the cutest and kookiest places we could find, from Tokyo Station to Nakano Broadway and, of course, Harajuku, here are some of my favorite kawaii finds! 💖
Tamagotchi have made a huge comeback in Japan recently (if they ever went away, anyhow.) I was never fortunate enough to have a real, legit Tamagotchi when I was a kid. Instead I got some lame rip-off version from the Hallmark store… You’d think a fully-grown, responsible, professional adult like myself wouldn’t give a hoot about tiny computerized keychain pets anymore, but, as soon as I saw this brand new Tamagotchi store across the street from Harajuku station I was gone.
First of all, the shop itself is just freakin’ adorable. I don’t know how anyone could resist walking past it, regardless of age and maturity.
And they had Tamagotchi donuts. DONUTS.
I don’t remember Tamagotchi characters being this sickeningly cute. UGH.
Kuchipatchi’s by far my fave, though.
Next stop, just on down the road in Omotesando: Kiddy Land!
I rushed right up to the Rilakkuma floor to check out the current collection, which was panda-themed!
Of course, there were also plenty of other special collections, such as…Rilakkuma x Tokyo SkyTree! Sure, why not!
Summer yukata-clad Kiiroitori with an adorable watermelon fan, wahhhh!
There was even a smartphone-wielding, glasses-clad Korilakkuma collection… Not too sure about that one.
I kind of expected that Gudetama fever would have died down in Japan, since (s)he’s sorta old news there now, but, luckily, (s)he was still as popular as ever. I’d be pretty worried if I were Hello Kitty. Being outranked in popularity by a lazy, naked egg would be awfully embarrassing.
Along with cutie character shopping, I also stocked up on some new clothes from a few favorite shops in Harajuku: Candy Stripper, Nile Perch, Spinns, Chicago vintage clothes, and WEGO.
I love going to Tokyo during sale seasons. I rarely buy clothes in Korea anymore, just cuz I know I’m gonna find exactly what I want and for a bargain on my next holiday to Japan. This trip was also the very first time we arrived in Tokyo during La Foret Harajuku’s Grand Bazaar! We arrived on the final day of the store-wide super sale, so, unfortunately, lots of stuff was gone already. I mostly just shopped at my fave place for adorable home decor and accessories: Swimmer. And I very nearly bought a pastel pink, bow-covered Lolita dress from Angelic Pretty, marked down to $60 from over $200…but the crowds were just too much. I’m trying really hard not to regret putting that dress back on the rack now, boohoo!
We also swung by the Sanrio Ginza Gift Gate, where I stocked up on adorable, pastel socks and other bits ‘n’ pieces.
All the plushies, please!
Hello Kitty x Funassyi, not strange at all!
More Gudetama and his/her buddy Kirimichan. Don’t strain your eyes: it really is a slab of salmon with a tiny human body.
Sanrio and San-X characters are infinitely marketable cuz you can just dress them up as anything and some easily excitable soul like me will freak the funk out and buy them all up. Sail away, sail away…
Next stop, a train ride across Tokyo to the very unique Nakano Broadway:
This place is basically a sorta run-down, partially-vacant shopping center. Much like the fluorescent-lit, gloomy shopping centers I used to hang out in in various small Norn Irish towns. Except, instead of Cash Converters and Poundland, it’s full of the most random collectible shops, arcades, manga stores, and walls of gachapon machines.
Too many plastic balls of joy to choose from!
For around 100 – 500 yen ($1-$5,) you can get a plastic ball containing a surprise prize. The themes are endless, from well-known characters such as Hello Kitty and Gundam, to completely random things like…tea party hamster keychains OMFG. (I got the pink crepe hamster and I was literally bouncing up and down squealing like crazy. I can’t bear to actually use it as a keychain, though, for fear of it getting all grimy and worn down.) We also saw banana-shaped cats (or cat-shaped bananas?), depressed salarymen with pigeons, and…water bottle panties. The possibilities of what can emerge from gachapon machines are endless.
Remember to recycle your gachapon ball after you remove your prize!
The good thing about gachapon machines is that you always get something, even if it’s not what you want. Unlike those gosh-darned crane machines that just hate me.
I wanted one of these cutie bootie Shiba Inu plushies SOOO BADDD, I’m not even gonna tell you how many coins I shoved into this dumb machine, and all for nothing.
Y U GOTTA TEASE ME LIKE THAT?!
Don’t even try to tempt me, Gudetama, I’ve got no chance with you, I know it. Boohoohoo.
Mandarake manga heaven.
There were so many vintage toy stores like this, just completely covered in cluttered goodies.
Oh my glob.
There were even Mexican wrestling masks. Why?!
Finally, as we moped into Tokyo Station and enjoyed one last bowl of vegan ramen at T’s Tan Tan, preparing to head back to Seoul and kiss our holiday goodbye, we wandered down to the Tokyo Station Character Street…
Just take all my money, why don’tcha, Japan?!
Yes, you’re right, I DO need a fuzzy Totoro toilet seat!!
And Rilakkuma toilet roll to go with it, perfect!
I will also take a dozen of these inexplicably shocked bananas.
I don’t know what’s going on here. Somebody, enlighten me, please!
Tokyo Station-themed Gudetama plushies.
Oh great googly mooglies, Tokyo Station Pikachu plushies, too!
And about a bazillion Nameko plushies dressed up as anything your heart desires.
Christmas presents: sorted.
I don’t know who you are but I want you cuz you’re freakin’ adorable.
Bye bye, Japan! Hopefully the next time we see you we’ll be hauling along all of our earthly belongings and have work visas in our hands. Let the job-hunting commence!