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Lolita travel in Japan! 
5th-Apr-2012 02:16 pm
Gackt!
Hello Lolis!
So let me introduce my situation: I might go to Japan in a few months (even though it's not sure, I must prepare a lot) but I am really thrilled!
As a beginner Lolita and Japan lover since many years, I want this trip to turn really great, even if it's just a week!
After browsing through EGL and many, many google searchs about Lolita and shopping places in Japan, it turned out like I MUST go there (at least for Lolita places):



-Marui One in Shinjuku
-Laforêt Harajuku and through Takeshita-dori to find J-fashion shops!
-The famous cosplayer bridge
-At least one Closet Child (maybe in Harajuku)
-Bodyline (Okay just if I need Loli things to complete what my parents bought xD)
-Tenmado Cafe (maybe) and Christon Cafe (I know about Alice Cafe, Vampire Cafe and Opera Cafe too)
-Maybe Shibuya 109, but only for "normal" shopping, but it seems like it's not the best ><
-Maybe Grimoire?

There come my (many) questions for Lolis who went to Japan or simply live there:
-I need to know more about shop etiquette in Japan, I don't find lots of things about it! Do you need a petticoat to try on things? Can you try shoes? Does it vary through Lolita/Gothic/Visual kind of things shops? I plan to go to the biggest brands, my favorite being Alice and the Pirates and since I will travel with my family, I am afraid to look just like "typical tourist who knows nothing about J-fashion" xD Moreover, I am really tall, so I need to try clothes in Japan :( Do all shops allow you to try?
-Also, I've heard that many Japanese don't speak English, and since I am French, my accent is quite bad, though I speak very correctly. I'd like a few advices about how to ask politely if i can try on clothes for exemple!
-Is Christon Cafe OK for families? I am not speaking about decoration but they have alcohol, and neither me neither my brother is 21, so I wonder if they have many drinks without alcohol xD How is the food? And at Tenmado? Any advices anyone?
-I won't wear my Bodyline in Loli shops since I recently discovered that my Bodyline skirt is an AP replica (I hate it now ><") Do you think Lolita is alright to wear in the streets? (I know that quite a lot of Japanese people don't know about it, and also I don't want to feel bad in my Handmade Jsk in shops...how do you dress in Lolita shops?)

Did I forget anything must-see in Tokyo for a Lolita? I am also some kind of Otaku (not in the Japanese meaning of course xD and I don't want to go to any maid cafes), a visual-kei lover, and I'd like to visit other j-fashion related stores in Tokyo (anything like Punk, Visual-kei, fairy-kei, hime-gal...is great, but not too much Gyaru) and anything Japanese Pop-Culture!
So give me all advices you have, Lolitas! Thank you for your help!
Again, excuse me if my English is bad, or too polite! Don't be afraid to rectify me!

EDIT: Thank you very much!! I am glad it was useful for other people too! <3

Comments 
5th-Apr-2012 02:27 am (UTC)
Just wondering, are you going alone?
I really wanted to go to Japan to and shop my socks off but nobody was interested. Don't get me wrong, I am usually very independent but going alone to a foreign country seems scary to be even though I REALLY want to try it. :)
5th-Apr-2012 02:34 am (UTC)
It's actually wrote in my text but I guess I talk too much! xD
No, I would go with my family :D (At least if we can go) But they all love Japan, so it's great!
But it would be so coooool to go alone! Then I could shop all day in Harajuku without my parents telling me it's annoying :D And all the Aatp would be miiine! :)
5th-Apr-2012 04:15 am (UTC)
I read it too fast sorry :(
And you are so lucky that your family wants to go with you! Good luck! (Sorry I can't be of more use)
5th-Apr-2012 03:14 am (UTC)
I went to India by myself. It scared the crap out of me, but it was worth it. Lonely Planet was my best friend while I was there.
5th-Apr-2012 02:34 am (UTC)
Hm, I'll say remember to always ask the shopgirl first if you wish to try anything on in the shops. They will let you try most of the time unless it's a special dress or something, asking them is a polite formality =) Also, trying on any clothes in Closet Child, the staff will ask you to take off your shoes in the changing room and if you're wearing makeup, they'll also pass you a facemask to avoid staining the clothes accidentally.

I don't know much Japanese either but usually I just gesture to the direction of the changing room, give a questioning smile and ask, 'Can I try?' in English along with the clothes to try on to the staff and they understand perfectly fine, haha.
5th-Apr-2012 02:44 am (UTC)
Thank you very much for the advice! :D
Also, I've heard about the facemask, it seems...interesting xD I don't usually wear makeup, but I will maybe wear some just to try the facemask x)
Haha, trying gestures in foreign countries is so funny xD
6th-Jul-2012 09:36 pm (UTC)
It really is hilarious overcoming language barriers with pantomime.
I was in Putumayo in Harajuku once, and I wanted to buy a cat-eared hoody for my friend back home. I pretty much pretended to put up an invisible hood and then did this:


...She showed me four different options.

Edited at 2012-07-06 09:37 pm (UTC)
5th-Apr-2012 02:37 am (UTC)
- There are several closet childs, so if you don't see something you like one, check another! Along with Harajuku, there is also one in Shinjuku, so if you're going to Marui, you should stop there as well!
- Not sure what you mean by 109 being "not the best".. personally I think it's awesome! There are tons of cool shops, it just depends what your style is.
- Christon Cafe, like the actual cafe? I think it should be fine for families.. I mean, it's just a regular, gothic-esque cafe if you don't go upstairs to Decadance Bar
- Many shops don't let you try on tops. I never tried anything on in any of the loli stores (besides a pair of shoes in Closet Child), but it seems to be the standard that most places don't let you trying on shirts/blouses/tops. Just check about other things, but it probably varies from shop to shop.
- Lolita is more than ok to wear on the street! :D It depends where you go, but in Harajuku/Shinjuku/Shibuya there are tons of lolitas.. in the summer I think less so since it gets pretty hot, but if you're in the urban areas, it's hard to miss that kind of stuff/other alternative fashions.
5th-Apr-2012 02:54 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! :)
Actually, 109 seems to have a reputation of being very noisy/annoying and I didn't wanted to annoy my parents xD I will go anyway!
Yay for wearing Lolita in Japan! xD
5th-Apr-2012 04:26 am (UTC)
Shibuya109 is no more annoying than trying to crawl through Takeshita Dori on a busy day.. haha. The only problem is the floors are kind of small/narrow! It's definitely a must see though! My advice is try to go on off times.. I'm not sure exactly when you're planning to be in Tokyo, but if it's a touristy time avoiding crowds in any of the major Tokyo spots will be quite difficult. If it's a time when people are still school, you can go early on weekdays and avoid some crowds.. it really depends. I'd say try to make a game plan of what you plan to do on certain days/which shops you'd like to go to the most in case it gets hectic and you need to cut some places out!

Also, in terms in english ability... most of the time shop staff/random people won't be able to speak much helpful english. Sometimes in major chain food places they can speak a bit, but usually you're going to just get a few random words here and there. After awhile though you'll kind of get used to (especially in clothing stores) the motions of buying things and it shouldn't be a problem if you don't speak very good Japanese.

(Also, off topic, but the drinking age in Japan is 20, not 21! ;D Though I have no clue how old you are. Drinking in public is also OK, so if you end up in Shinjuku in the evening... or even during the daytime.. if you'd like to avoid the drunkies and hosts, stay away from Kabuki-chou.. XD)
7th-Jul-2012 02:04 am (UTC)
I have tried tops on at Liz Lisa and Golds Infinity so I think most gyaru shops are okay for trying most items on. Maybe because lolita stores are special, they won't let people try on the tops? Plus, they are more expensive than most gyaru stores.
5th-Apr-2012 02:58 am (UTC)
My suggestion for foreign country shopping, especially Japan...

Some people will speak really good English, others might not so much. It was mentioned by another loli but some shops might not let you try on certain items (for reasons that are beyond me), so it's good to have a piece of paper listing your measurements (B-W-H) in cm with annotations in Japanese (through the power of google translate. If you don't feel comfortable learning to ask "Will this fit me?" in Japanese, use some more google translate and print out the kanji. You can look really apologetic and give this to someone working in the store and they can help you find the right sizes.

Also a big note: It's custom to take your shoes off when you go into the dressing room in a lot of stores. I made this faux pas once because the poor woman at the store couldn't get me to understand the concept with her complicated Japanese charades. Don't be a jerk like me!
5th-Apr-2012 03:10 am (UTC)
This happened to me at Closet Child Harajuku once actually, not being able to try on a dress. I wanted to try on a Juliette et Justine dress and I approached the staff. However, looking at the dress and then looking at me, the staff gave me an apologetic look and said no trying. I'm not sure why that happened either. My own guess is because I'm a UK size 12-14 and the Juliette et Justine dress, though was shirred around the waist, was judged too small for me and the staff was afraid I might over-stretch the dress or something and spoil it...but that's my own theory, lol.
5th-Apr-2012 03:10 am (UTC)
Thank you!
I will try your advice, it's really great! :D
They really are serious about shoes isn't it? I would never have thought about taking my shoes off! ><"
5th-Apr-2012 04:33 am (UTC)
I'm pretty sure some of the no trying rules are on things that stretch like cutsews and socks, which makes sense, because if they get stretched out, they don't always go back.
5th-Apr-2012 02:58 am (UTC)
The food at the Alice Cafe was pretty meh, but the food at Christon Cafe was all very good, and they have non-alcoholic drinks (as I don't drink) so thumbs up for that one. You won't really find anyone at that bridge anymore either, maybe one or two people in interesting outfits, but people have mostly cleared out from it, probably due to all the attention. Grimoire and Grimoire Almadel are great to visit, but they can be challenging to find if you aren't terribly familiar with Tokyo. It's much easier to navigate the main streets of the Harajuku area. Definitely always ask before you try something on in a shop, it can be frustrating that you can't just waltz into a dressing room like you can in other places, but, etiquette there >_> Marui 0101 is easy enough to locate, but you can save yourself a whole lot of walking if you make sure you take the right exit at Shinjuku station (if you aren't staying in Shinjuku).
5th-Apr-2012 03:23 am (UTC)
Would you happen to know the site's for the cafe?

I'm going at the end of April and haven't focused on food and restaurants to check out yet. Hopefully, they are easy to find. ^^;

5th-Apr-2012 03:29 am (UTC)
I don't have the site on hand, but here's a link to info on the one in Shinjuku, which is the one I went to:

http://www.notquitenigella.com/2008/07/08/christon-cafe-at-shinjuku-tokyo/
8th-Apr-2012 08:01 am (UTC)
Thanks! It seems to be really close to my hotel but I doubt my parents will approve of the place. The food seems to be pricey but good.
5th-Apr-2012 03:12 am (UTC)
What style of lolita are you into? If you like classical, I recommend Axes Femme in Ikebukuro Sunshine City. They have really beautiful things for reasonable prices.

To answer your questions, no you don't need a petticoat as most places will have one in the dressing room. You can try on blouses too actually. Just make sure you ask them if it is alright to try the clothes on before entering the dressing room.

Lolita is definitely alright to wear in the streets. You might attract a little more attention than usual, but it's usually positive. My German friends were stopped for pictures in Harajuku because they looked great ^^ Generally I'd advise you to wear lolita if you want to go shopping for it. Since you look noticeably foreign, you might get better service if they know you are into the fashion, rather than just a gawking tourist. Handmade is alright too! Also, it makes it easier for you when you are trying things on if you already have a blouse and petticoat.


Shibuya 109 is actually pretty awesome for shopping. There's a tights shop on the 3rd floor that I absolutely recommend. You can find the tights featured in Kera there, and you can get cute socks for cheap! They have grimoire-ish tights too(like Angel prints and what not).


If there is anything else you would like to know, please ask! I'm living in Japan now, so I'd do my best to answer :)
5th-Apr-2012 03:31 am (UTC)
I'm into Gothic mainly, while loving Sweet, but the truth is that I love evrything xD
Really thank you for all your advices!
Yes, wearing Lolita is better, they won't think I am a typical Gaijin teenager searching excentric stuff :D
I LOVE grimoire-ish tights! Now I really want to go to Shibuya 109! I thought they had only revealing Gyaru stuff ><"
Do you know any second hand Lolita shops apart Closet Child? Thank you! :D
5th-Apr-2012 03:58 am (UTC)
Me too :)

Glad I could help! No no Shibuya 109 has really nice lacy stuff too! If you keep a look out, you may find stuff you really like. They have a wide range of styles. Liz Lisa is really nice, if only just for the atmosphere of the shop. (they have their own unique scent that they use).

Do check out the bag shop too! I got an adorable clock bag from there the last time I went. I think you'll really love the tights shop! They have a wide range of designs. The prices are the same as Grimoire (3000 yen onwards).

I know there is Shimokitazawa Grand Bazaar. Never been there though!

Oh yeah I greatly recommend the Ghibli musuem and Disneysea! I really love them, and had a lot of fun when I went. The Ghibli musuem is the best thing ever. So magical *_*

5th-Apr-2012 05:16 am (UTC)
i am not OP, but i hope you do not mind i ask you something.
I am into Innocent world and Mary Magdalene... do you know if they ever have any stock clearance/sale/offer ? If so, when do they usually have it?
i love so many of the dresses but i will go bankrupt if i attempt to buy all of them in full retail price. ^^;
5th-Apr-2012 06:13 am (UTC)
Innocent World, like other brands, have sales during the summer. If you check their website, they might occasionally have special sales on too. Mary Magdalene is mostly made to order though, hence they rarely have the need to clear their stock.

I know Kera shop stocks Mary Magdalene and IW, but if you want to get IW items for their sale price, you have to go to IW directly.

I recommend Closet child if you want to get bargains. Their items are usually in great condition, and you may even find some items brand new with tags but at a discounted price!
8th-Apr-2012 01:39 am (UTC)
Thank you for the information! :D
5th-Apr-2012 06:23 am (UTC)
Is Disney Sea better than the Disneyland Park? I have plans to only visit 1-day at Disney and can't decide which one.

I was thinking of going on a weekday like on May 8th so it won't be too busy, is that okay? The hotel we're staying at has a shuttle bus to Disney so that's why we plan to get there. I'm going to miss not taking the train to there and seeing the Disney decoration but I don't think I have the confidence in getting there. It sounds far away from Shinjuku. ^^;

We just have to purchase the tickets in advance from the site but can't decide which one to attend. ;_;

Thanks!
5th-Apr-2012 07:19 am (UTC)
I love Disney Sea more, but maybe that's because I've been to Disneyland too many times >< I think Disney Sea is more for adults, as their rides are faster! If you like roller coasters I definitely recommend Disney Sea! The Indiana Jones ride was so much fun, and really well done. Tower of Terror is also a classic.

Also, Disney Sea had Duffy bear merchandise that you can't get anywhere else. It's really adorable. Weekdays are the best, I think Tues/Weds should have the least people. Always go early so you can fastpass the most popular ride. That way you don't need to wait in line. Always Fast pass what you can!

I think it'd be better if you take the bus. The special train is only between land and sea anyways. Personally, sea was way better than land for me, so I definitely recommend sea more! (try the popcorn, it comes in cute plastic picnic baskets).
6th-Apr-2012 02:58 am (UTC)
*hugs*

Thank you so much for your honest opinion! I will definitely look into the Fast Pass but I can only get 1-ticket per a lapse? I can't stock up on the others? I'm not familiar with how that works. Does that mean, I would have to go back to the entrance area for another Fast Pass to another ride?

Eek Disney Sea has The Little Mermaid <3 - *score* xD It does seem to have faster rides than Land. The only problem is that my parents are afraid of rides, so I'll probably go on it alone.
5th-Apr-2012 03:29 am (UTC)
Cell Phone Rental
- http://www.softbank-rental.jp/en/

If you're going to be separate from your parents, I'd recommend renting a cell phone. I used SoftBank when I was there a few years ago and had no issue with them. You can pick up the cells at the airport and bring it back. Price breakdown is very clear! If only Rogers showed all the upfront fees first. T_T;

I'll be going at the end of April and have no idea where to eat!
5th-Apr-2012 03:41 am (UTC)
I don't think I will separate from my family, because they MUST buy me Lolita stuff for my birthday xD But It would be very useful, thank you! ^O
5th-Apr-2012 04:43 am (UTC)
i want to thank you for bringing up this question. I am going to travel to Japan too so this thread is very useful!
I hope you do not mind i asked a few questions in your entry? (i am into classical lolita) :)
5th-Apr-2012 11:08 am (UTC)
If you like Italian (maybe that should be "Italian"...), then Saizeriya is good and pretty cheap - usually full of kids though!

Other ones to look out for are restaurants with huge 280Yen signs outside: everything is the same price, and the computer menus usually also have an English option too.

Hope that helps! :)
8th-Apr-2012 08:04 am (UTC)
Thanks! Will definitely check out Saizeriya (got recommended by 2 others as well) so it must be good and affordable. I love "Italian" food especially how they make their pizza. <3
5th-Apr-2012 04:29 am (UTC)
I know from the SF stores, petticoats are provided in the dressing rooms, and you can try on almost everything (like not socks, cardis, cutsews, etc.)
There was a post about shop etiquette in the memories if you look reeeaally hard xD
And advice, again from BABY in SF, it's best to try to go to the brand shops in lolita so they treat you better and know you aren't an ignorant tourist.
Maybe go to Closet child first so you have something to wear? ^^
5th-Apr-2012 04:56 am (UTC)
When you try on stuff in the stores they should have a petticoat in the dressing room. At least, I remember Closet Child had one.
5th-Apr-2012 05:10 am (UTC)
Never ask to try things on just for the sake of trying! It's considered very rude. Only ask to try things on that you are 80% certain you'll buy. It's one thing to reject an item because it doesn't look good after all, completely another to just take half the stock into the dressing room with you just because you can. XD;

No one cares what you wear into the shops as long as you are polite and obviously enjoy what you see and ask the right questions, but you'd be smart not to look like a mess or wear replicas. :) Homemade lolita actually gets a LOT of positive attention from other lolitas and shopgirls, especially if it's done with great skill and taste.

You'll find plenty of VK-themed shops (some brand shops and cheapo stuff) in Harajuku along Takeshita doori as well as in Maruione near Meiji doori (brands only). Don't be afraid to go down sidestreets! As long as you remember where the main road is and/or the general direction of the train station, it's hard to get lost. Closet Child Harajuku is on Takeshita doori and the easiest one to find since it's got a huge sign and everything.

I'd also say BRING WALKING SHOES. XD There's soooo much to look at, you'll be surprised at how much you walk around!

Edited at 2012-04-05 05:11 am (UTC)
7th-Jul-2012 01:56 am (UTC)
"Never ask to try things on just for the sake of trying!"

I do this a lot. Gonna go feel guilty now.... and then do it some more.
5th-Apr-2012 05:14 am (UTC)
+1 for take off your shoes when going into the change room. I didn't realize that either, was so embarrassed. ><

Wearing lolita is definitely ok around the Harajuku area, I noticed several while I was shopping. They're mostly toned down though, the only OTT ones were the shopkeepers. And I LOVED Shibuya 109. Best place for buying cute and trendy non-lolita clothes. Probably be able to find lots of nice loliable stuff, too. I didn't see any lolitas anywhere outside of Harajuku though.. The only other place I sort of saw one was a foreigner in lacy ita-lolita with her boyfriend on the streets of Gion one day when I was in Kyoto. Made me want to cringe ><... it almost waves a big flag saying "I'm a culturally clueless foreigner!" to the Japanese around you.
5th-Apr-2012 11:09 am (UTC)
For trying clothes on, a full sentence would be 'shichaku shitemo ii desu ka', but if you just said 'shichaku?' and gave a hopeful look they would get what you mean :) You probably won't be allowed to try on anything stretchy (cutsews, sweaters, perhaps things with shirring) and they'll want you to put a fabric bag over your head when you try things on to keep makeup from getting on the inside of the outfit as you take it on and off. Staff will zip you up and button you in if you need help. If you want to purchase something, you can just point at the item and say 'kore onegaishimasu'. They'll go get you a brand new one from the back of the store.

Dressing the part also helps a lot, so definitely consider wearing your lolita things to the brand shops! You'll get better service since they'll know you want to buy, not just gawk. Even just wearing your handmade JSK in a casual style with a sweater or something will be good enough. People on the streets likely won't pay attention.

For Takeshita Doori, do not even think about going on a saturday or sunday for shopping purposes. It's near impossible to get down the street and it's no fun. Try to go on a weekday, preferably before 4:00 pm. Same with 109: if you want to get a good look at the clothes, go in the afternoon on a weekday. If you want to sit in the top floor cafe and people watch, go on a weekend. A large chunk of Takeshita doori seems to have burnt down last fall and still isn't fixed, so if you're looking for a certain store some landmarks on your map may no longer exist.

For visual-kei CDs, Little Hearts is a new CD shop in Shinjuku ALTA. It's right outside the kabukicho exit with a huge tv screen on the building, you cannot miss it. ALTA also has gyaru style clothes, some wigs, and cheap shoes.The other CD shops are a bit further out and harder to find, but Jishuban Club, Like an Edison, Pure Sound, and Closet Child are also in Shinjuku.

I also recommend Ikebukuro Sunshine City. There's an ALTA inside which has reasonably priced casual lolita-able items and gyaru fashion. It would also be a fun day for your whole family, as there is an aquarium and many restaurants inside. Near Sunshine City is Ikebukuro Closet Child, which has a small selection of lolita clothes and a good amount of secondhand visual kei CDs/band merchandise.

Just as general advice, Tokyo can be time consuming to travel in, so don't expect to hit Shibuya 109, Takeshita doori, and Shinjuku Marui all in one day. If your family only wants to spend one day on serious lolita and visual kei shopping, go to Shinjuku- it's not as stressfully crowded, so you'll get a better experience in the brand stores, and things are relatively easy to find. Takeshita doori is a big tourism spot and certainly is fun to see, but if you really want to spend quiet time checking out clothes and making choices on how to spend your money, Shinjuku is better. Have fun :)!
6th-Apr-2012 08:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for the accurate translation of how to ask to try on something! I've been using a slightly awkward sentence to ask for the last 3 times I've been in Japan, and I'm relieved to know how to say it correctly for the next time I'm there. : )
8th-Apr-2012 08:11 am (UTC)
Now I can't decide whether to cancel Harajuku and stick to Shinjuku (and save on the hassle of learning to take the trains/subways). But more importantly, which lolita shop locations would have the most inventory in lucky packs? >;D

Is Laforet busy on Sat/Sun? May be I'll go there first and re-visit on Monday for Takeshita doori shops.
8th-Apr-2012 09:56 am (UTC)
Both are on the Yamanote line, so it's not much hassle to learn to get there! It's the dragging yourself through the station and down the street that consumes time :)

I haven't done lucky packs for lolita in about two years, but in my experience famous department stores in places like harajuku and shibuya get the most competition for lucky packs. I did new year's lucky packs at shinjuku marui and arrived about two hours before the shops opened, and at the time there were maybe 80-100 people in line in front of me. I got exactly what I wanted, and it seemed most everyone else did as well.

All department stores get pretty busy on weekends. Laforet's shops are a bit more packed together, so it feels like it's more crowded. You can easily do Laforet + Takeshita doori in one day, so you might want to just do both on monday :)
5th-Apr-2012 11:47 am (UTC)
- japan is hell in summer. hot and +80% humidity and doesn't get better at night. wear comfortable shoes. i know japanese women spend all day tottering around in 5 inch heels but i sure as hell cant

- the bridge is dead. don't go there, you will be a sad tourist having photos taken of you by other awkward tourists

- tenmado cafe is tiny, sits maybe 6 people comfortably but there's usually more stuffed in. sachi and yuka don't work there too often, check the schedule on the website if it's them you want to see. most of the people who go are regulars and know the staff and each other well, if you aren't good at japanese it might be awkward. they have drinks (alcoholic & non), usually a couple small food dishes, and some desserts. i'm not sure if they have a minimum order but it's likely. it's in an area that's all shady and dirty alleyways full of tiny bars. the kabukicho area is where host clubs, "massage parlours", girly bars and stuff are, so you might not want to take your family, or go during the afternoon

- theme restaurants are fun but a bit spendy. there's a "table charge" (usually 500-600y) per person (sometimes they bill this as an "amuse bouche" but even if you refuse/don't eat it they'll charge you) plus a service charge (around 10%), plus a minimum order of 1 drink & 1 dish per person. christon cafe usually doesn't need reservations, but the alice cafe in shinjuku it's a good idea to do so. drinking age is 20 in japan, but if you're a foreigner and order an alcoholic drink they won't check your age. food is good (usually arranged really cute) but not amazing, but you're going more for the novelty and atmosphere than five star gourmet cooking

- stuff you can't try on: socks, usually cutsews, sometimes blouses, sometimes things that are on sale, anything the shop staff thinks you might be too big for. to ask to try something on is "kite mite mo ii desu ka" (keytay meetay moe ee dess kah). if all else fails, say "try?" and hold up whatever it is with a :D face. yes most of the staff only know a few words of english. always take your shoes off before entering the fitting room. they'll probably give you a face cover or point to one inside the fitting room. it looks like a big see-through envelope, goes over your head with the long part in front. once you've got the dress or whatever on, the staff like you to show them so they can tell you many times how cute you are so you'll buy it lol. don't wear a replica going to brand shops

- laforet, takeshita/harajuku, 109, disney parks are crowded as fuck on weekends. try to go on weekdays, it will be much less hectic, especially if the weather is super hot so you won't be crammed up against hundreds of other sweaty people. maruione/closet child shinjuku are not very crowded on weekends. shinjuku lumine est has a lot of the gal brand stores that are in 109, and is less crowded. if you have limited shopping time, shinjuku is probably the best area

- closet child is the best 2nd hand store. harajuku & shinjuku have the best selections, the ikebukuro one not so much. there is another store in nakano, but i feel it's overpriced and most of what they feels pretty "used". there's another in shimokitazawa, has a lot of etc/jane marple, not a ton of sweet

- grimoire is small, kind of hard to find, and tbh their clothes aren't that great. their accessories are nice though

- wearing lolita is fine. nobody has ever bothered me except a couple of creepy drunks late at night

i live here, so let me know if you have any more questions and i'll try to answer
5th-Apr-2012 04:50 pm (UTC)
where is the grimoire shop? Last time I failed to find it although I thought I'm in the right street (we walked from shibuya to harajuku by feet and it must be somewhere on the way... but I was clueless xD)

and I laughed at your descirptin of tenmado, yoU're right! everytime I visit it I have the feeling that I crash into a personal party.. xD
5th-Apr-2012 12:32 pm (UTC)
Although I can't answer your questions, thank you for asking them as I will be in a similar situation in several months and need to know the exact same things! ^-^
5th-Apr-2012 01:55 pm (UTC)
I went to Japan on my own so kinda had to learn everything the hard way through trial and error, haha...
If you want manga/anime then Ikebukuro & Akihabara are good places. Akihabara also has a lot of 18+ hentai doujinshi though so it attracts that kind of crowd. It might be uncomfortable to go alone XD; Ikebukuro has a lot of UFO catcher arcades near the station so it's easy to find. Lots of fun things there.
Harajuku and Shinjuku seem good places for clothes shopping. You will find a lot of small stores selling alternative indie clothes in Harajuku the easiest. Shinjuku has the more big expensive brands and gyaru clothing. I think there is a small Closet Child in Ikebukuro too...

Just some tips I hope you'll find useful:
Sometimes they give you a face mask to try clothes on in case your make up stains the garment.
The tray on the counter is to put your money in, don't put money in the store clerk's hand when you pay for something.
It's generally bad form to ask to try clothes on if you don't intend to buy ^^' so make sure you will buy something from the store if you want to try items in changing room.
A lot of stores do loyalty card where you collect stamps on it depending how much you spend! It's a nice gesture ^^
Take shoes off before going into changing area.
I went to a butler cafe when I was there, it's really hard to communicate if you can't speak Japanese XD I was glad I had a translator friend with me...It's not worth going to the cafe if you don't have a translator with you. (Because the food is overpriced, you're really paying to speak to the waiters/waitresses and the theme setting)

Honestly I wouldn't worry too much about not wearing lolita around there if it isn't comfortable. Remember warmer seasons in Japan is really different to France ^^' Over there it is HUMID, so in hot season the air is really wet! I'm from England and when I went there in summer I really thought I was going to die. My face was wet all the time because I wasn't used to the humidity. I brought lolita with me to wear there but it was so hot and wet I barely ended up wearing it out x__x I just wanted to stay inside a mall under air-con all the time. it was so horrible! Just bear this in mind if you're planning to wear lolita a lot there ^^'
5th-Apr-2012 04:55 pm (UTC)
Don't worry about your language- I'm not a native english speaker either and I cannot speak japanese, but had no problem at all :)
from all cafés I've visited (christon, alice and vampire) I liked the vampire café most. I also want to visit a butler café next time (i also was in a maid café)
MUST: go to a tokyo decadance party if it's possible. it's fun!
5th-Apr-2012 07:43 pm (UTC)
Most people covered the basics: ask to try on stuff, remove your shoes before going into the dressing room, etc. I actually find it much easier to shop for lolita in lolita (brand, handmade or otherwise). Partially it shows the shop girls you are serious about buying stuff (and therefore they will be more helpful) and partially sometimes dressing rooms DON'T have a petti for you to use, especially if it's a smaller shop. As other people said one time I asked to try on a blouse and they told me no but any dresses/skirts were fine so again having your own blouse on while trying things on tends to be a little more helpful to get the idea of how a full co-ordinate would look :)

Be prepared for people to take "sneeky" cellphone pictures of you if you are in lolita this happened to me and my friend a lot especially in Harajuku! No one was ever rude to us in shops or on the street and actually I found people to me MORE helpful when my friend and I were in Japan the second time when wearing lolita every day than the first time we were there when we looked like normal tourists!

Even if you don't want to go to any Maid Cafes I'd definitely recommending a stop in Akihabara! It's full of figure/manga shops, arcades, and overall an interesting place :D
7th-Jul-2012 02:11 am (UTC)
I think everyone has said everything already, but I want to also say that it'll be really hot in August so be careful about overheating and drink lots of water! I personally stop wearing lolita then since the last thing I want is some tight layers catching all my sweat :P I, and most other lolitas, just wear cute casual clothing to go shopping when it's super hot so don't feel like you must wear it! I carry a parasol to block some sunlight but it will still be hot and humid.

Even though lots of Japanese people know English, they are very shy to speak it so you'll probably communicate more in gestures and one-word sentences.

I live in Japan too so feel free to ask me anything ^^
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