01 March 2012

Gaijin Girls' Day Out

It's hard not to feel depressed when you're shopping in Japan. All the clothes are XS, S, 000 (I'm not kidding on that one), 00, 0, and 2. Perhaps a 4 if you're lucky. To top it off, everything is outrageously expensive.  I felt like a Road Warrior coming home with a cute skirt that A) fit and B) cost (barely) under $100.

Shopping in Japan may not be my thing... which probably is good news for Amos and my wallet (not to mention my self esteem and body image). BUT there are plenty of fun other ways to experience life as a not-quite-Japanese girl. Take, for instance, a visit to the Kuma Cafe... aka the Teddy Bear Cafe.

My friend Anna was planning a visit since she had company in from the States. She described it as "just so Japanese." Um... SOLD. I imagined a place a stuffy grandmother would enjoy: tea cups, lace, doilies, heat cranked up to 100 degrees. I could not have been more wrong (except on that last part. It was, as it seems to be the norm at restaurants here, beastly hot.)

The Kuma Cafe was a modern and BRIGHT concoction of pink, sparkles, lime green, twinkle lights, and - of course - teddy bears. My inner twelve year old girl was loving it. There were big stuffed bears, small stuffed bears, tiny ones that hung from the chandelier. It was all so good... until it got a little weird. We found large posters of sexy teddy bears, drawings of bears showing you the way to the bathroom, bear shaped cheese cutouts, and a bear with a tie watching the toilet in the bathroom stall. 

I do NOT get it, but I kind of LOVED it.

The Kuma Cafe was packed with teenage girls and a rather random group of boys. (But who am I to say which genders can or can't enjoy a stuffed bear or two... hundred?). As we wrapped up our lunches and coffees, our group of gaijin girls walked up to Sakae, Nagoya's bustling city center, and continued with our tour of Japanese female adolescence: Purikuda.

Purikuda (derived from the English words Print Club) is a uniquely Japanese photo booth where you can select from any number of backgrounds and props, enlarge your eyes, elongate your legs, smooth your skin, draw bunny ears or place stars and kittens all over the printed photo. There are dozens of different booths above the arcade, and costumes and dressing rooms are available for some pre-photo prepping. Again, it was teenage girl heaven. Who are we kidding, this non-teenager was more than loving it.

I can't believe that 27 years in, I'm just now finding out that you can remove pores and redness from photos... The Japanese should really start marketing that to the thin skinned Irish lasses. I have never been so photogenic in my life!

It almost makes you forgive Japan for their clothing sizes... almost.

1 comment:

  1. Sarah! I seriously want to go to Japan just so I can experience Puriduka. Are you even kidding me? Who came up with it and why hasn't it come to the US? LOVE it!


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