Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Nekorobi Cat Café

This is the next in my series of Japan write-ups!

Now reader, have you heard of such things as cat cafés?

This idea came to Japan from Taiwan some years ago. At these establishments you can play with cats while enjoying some refreshments. 

Being what is commonly known as a cat lady, I had to visit one! After some research I settled on Nekorobi in Ikebukuro.

Here's my outfit:

So, off to Nekorobi!

When we entered, there was a small gate and then a glass door. This is to prevent cats from running out and getting lost! On entering we were greeted by the sight of a huge cat asleep on the counter! His playmates were also around the peaceful-looking room, sleeping, lounging, and chasing each other. Before we could join them, we had to exchange our shoes for slippers, put our things away in lockers and wash our hands thoroughly. 

Haruki-chan (centre) was stretched out on the till counter when we arrived

As well as playing with and observing the cats, you can play with the wii or iPad. I used the iPad to email a lot of people saying "I'm at the cat café!!!!"

The cats are beautifully looked after, with bright shining eyes and soft fur. They are all exceptionally lovely to look at. Well, lovely might not quite be the word for Kiyomori-chan, but he has his own very special charm!

Definitely one of my favourites. I'm also a fan of Haruki-chan, the prince of the place! He's very big and very handsome, and he played with me for some time, chasing the fishing rod. At one point he grabbed it and ran off, dragging me behind him! He's so strong, I had to let go!

I had liked Burt-kun (named after the Mary Poppins character) from his pictures on Nekorobi's website , but he unexpectedly turned out to to have a yanki attitude! He strode around with a tough-guy walk, starting fights and sniffing at things loudly and disdainfully. When I tried to pet him, he totally snubbed me!

 Burt-kun sulking under the table. Shortly after this picture was taken he attacked the cat above him.

Just the same he couldn't disguise the fact that he was cute! My friend took a liking to Kuririn-chan, the huge, milk-tea coloured, emerald-eyed Persian. He looks like a lion! 

In spite of having so much fur, he didn't have a single knot! He must take to grooming a lot more kindly than my Persian, Nikita.

Since our stay was enough to almost fill the points card, we got the feeding bonus. We were given a little dried fish and kibbles to feed the cats with. I gave all mine to Kuririn, since he looks like the sort of chap who appreciates food. Haruki-chan was rushing around to hoover up the leftovers!

This little fluffy thing is Aisha. I have to admit, I totally fell for her! She's very small, with very soft fur, and the most delicate little face. Most of the cats (a notable expection is Haruki) don't interact with the human guests so much. This is understandable, being the nature of cats. However, I think Aisha-chan and I made friends! We had a good game, me tickling her and she grabbing my fingers. I'm afraid I was too busy playing with her to take any good pictures, but if you check this section of Nekorobi's website you can see the all the cats' biographies and plenty of pictures (English page here).

I hope you enjoyed hearing about the café, and I hope it wasn't cat overload. The next installment will be much more Classic Lolita-related (shopping!!!!)

I'll leave you with a few more pictures.

Bye bye!

Friday, 27 January 2012

Ebisu and Ginza

Hello readers! Here is the next intallment of my trip to Japan in January.

For most of my holiday I stayed in Shinjuku, but I also had a short stay at the Westin Tokyo in Ebisu to meet up with some friends. From outside it doesn't look like much, but inside it's quite gorgeous! The steps leading to the tea lounge are flanked by two Pegasus horses!

Looks like one of the Pegasuses is decorating my new hat!

The hotel is in Yebisu Garden Place (Ebisu is the modern way to write Yebisu), which offers plenty of shopping. Should you feel peckish, there are also many restaurants including this French one:

Doesn't it look like a château? We had lunch there; it was one of those meals with endless small courses. They were all nice, but I have to say that the basil-flavoured bread was the highlight! What I really enjoyed as far as food was the Japanese meal we had at the hotel:

My meal, tenpura set.

My friend's meal, sushi set.

The day after checking into the Westin we went shopping in Ginza, which is famous for it's big department stores and many designer shops. I caught a glimpse of some glamorous hostesses shopping with their patron in Max Mara. They had the most amazing hair, and lots of it!

Bargain hunters were out and Ginza was bustling! We needed some refreshment, so we went to Ladurée in Mitsukoshi department store. The decor is actually very similar to the Paris one! I think I prefer the Paris one overall, but Mitsukoshi's is by far preferable to Harrods' (see my previous post here).

Well, that covered the posh side of Tokyo. I hope to experience more of that in the future! 

I'm rather curious about Ladurée around the world now.... have any readers been to any other locations?

Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed it.



Monday, 23 January 2012

Happy Birthday, Elegant Poupée

It's Elegant Poupée's first birthday!

I can hardly believe it was one year today that I started this blog. It has gone very quickly. I also can't believe how many followers I have now. Thank you very very much to all 195 of you! It means a great deal to me to think that there are so many people from all over the world who read my words and share my love for Lolita fashion. It's been wonderful to get to know you through your comments and your own blogs, and I hope we'll continue to get to know each other in this way!

I love blogging, and I hope I'll get better at it as time goes on. I feel quite proud that I have kept it up for a whole year, and now it feels as if blogging is part of my everyday routine. Thank you for your suggestions on improvements- I have a list of aims and a list of posts to write now, which I'll be working on. Thanks for all your support, which keeps my enthusiasm going and inpires me.

Today I have an outfit to show you! I must say, I quite like this one. I went to a maid café event yesterday, and I decided to dress up a bit. Black and white and ladylike was my inspiration!

Hat- Vintage
Onepiece and sash- Handmade
Everything else- Offbrand

I've long admired those 18th century ladies with classical white dresses and black satin sashes, so I had that sort of an image in mind, which is why I added the hat. I also wanted to use black and white striped socks to add something a little unexpected.

I tied the sash in a bow at the back and fastened it with a brooch:

It would have been nice if the sash was longer! 

I had a pancake and tea at the café. The cute and lovely maid, Merry, wrote my name on the plate in chocolate sauce.

I'm very impressed that she did it so beautifully, since my loooong name must have been quite a challenge! We did a spell to make the pancake more delicious- "Oishikunare, moe moe kyun!" It seemed to work quite well.

Thanks again for all your comments, follows and support over this past year, and here's to many more years of Elegant Poupée!



Saturday, 21 January 2012

Shopping in Shinjuku

Hello Readers!

It's the next installment of my visit to Japan.

As I said before, on the 1st of January, nearly everything was closed! However, the 2nd was the day the sales started in many shops. So what else to do, but shop?

My first stop was the second-hand Loli/Goth/Punk/VK shop Closet Child Shinjuku. We arrived a little while before it opened, and there were a few lolis waiting around outside. I started on the highest floor, selling punk and gothic items. Next was the Lolita floor, and that was getting very busy! I found two blue velvet jumperskirts on the sale rail, one Metamorphose and one Emily Temple Cute. I have always wanted a blue velvet dress, and these were both so nice! 

Luckily I had the luxury of being able to try them on, something which non-Japanese lolis don't often have. The Meta one was more frilly and ornate, with a lace trim, whereas the Emikyu one had a rather subtle design with a plain bodice and a panels at the front where the nap of the velvet was alternately reversed to make stripes. Well, it was lucky I did try them, for I'm afraid the Meta jsk did me no favours, but I fell head over heels for the Emikyu one! I also tried on a beautiful almond-coloured Victorian Maiden coat, but I decided to put off buying a new coat until later when I'd had a proper look around.

I had a quick browse of the next floor down where the Vivienne Westwood items are sold, then went on the music Closet Child, which is located nearby in a separate building. Pure Sound is also nearby (another second-hand VK shop) and I got JE*REVIENS and MALICE MIZER cds. I wanted to get Aioria's one and only album, but alas, I couldn't find anything by them all trip. In Pure Sound there was only the separator marked "Aioria" and no cds!

We had lunch in Gusto, one of Japan's many chains of family restaurants. I'm very fond of family restaurants! They serve supposedly Western-style food, but the dishes tend to be rather unique to Japan (such as omu-rice, and katsu-sando). I had Hamburg steak :D Oh dear, I need to cultivate a more established taste in food! I did have more refined things on other days though, don't worry.

Thus fortified, I made my way to MARUI ONE. Guess what, I saw one of my idols, Choco-nyan! She works in Emily Temple Cute. I hope I didn't stare too much. I wasn't sure at first, but the parting of her fringe is very distinctive (and as you might well guess I'm rather particular about fringes XD) and when I saw it I was certain it was her! 

It was quite busy there too, but not crazy. We did all the shops! Metamorphose has some nice bags and socks at the moment with a somewhat scholarly air, very suitable for Classic Lolita. Also, the staff are really charming and smiling! arthérapie has gorgeous things as usual, and I saw some items very similar to a particularly lovely Jean Paul Gautier series that was a Japan exclusive some time ago, with an embossed rose. JESUS DIAMANTE was the one shop that was completely deserted. Has it fallen out of favour? La Parfait on the other hand, which I find rather similar in style, was bustling. On the top floor I picked up Cure magazine, which has D on the cover, and an English interview with them. Actually, I got to meet them again while I was there! I'll tell you all about that soon.

 KERA SHOP ANGEL was filled with loveliness, and I had a lot of fun trying out different accessories on my head! A lot of items were 20 or 30% off. I really admired the hats from corgi-corgi, which are even nicer than they appear in KERA and GLB. My companion was kind enough to buy me one, a pretty milk-tea coloured affair with a brim heaped with velvety brown roses! A very nice Christmas present, thank you~

I also picked up some socks in MARUI, a lucky find since they were just the thing to turn the rest of the day's aquisitions into a coordinate! 

The next place I wanted to visit was MYLORD, since I've been looking at the webshops of quite a few non-Lolita Japanese brands lately. MYLORD mostly caters towards a pretty, soft and feminine aesthetic, not offbeat like Lolita, and not sexy like Gal, and not slavishly fashionable either. Some brands are more casual than others, and there's a few different price ranges. I had been admiring L'est Rose and f.i.n.t from afar, but I have to say, though they were nice (particularly L'est Rose, which is very nice quality and has some adorable dresses and sets) nothing I saw gave me the same wonderful feeling as Lolita. I think it was good to have a look around these shops, both to give me the inspiration that comes from seeing something fresh, but also to reassure me that I love Lolita. 

Lace and fur collars were everywhere in MYLORD, brogue shoes, satchels, long pleated skirts and cropped loose sweaters. I liked the natural, soft colours and the dreamy impression of the clothes. The atmosphere however was not dreamy! I have never been shouted at so much in my life! It was somewhat like going to an English street market where the vendors call out "Flowers are lovely dear!" and that sort of thing. However, this is indoors, at great volume, in a high nasal voice, through a paper megaphone thing that the shop girls also bang on to make even more noise. They were announcing a 'time sale', something that I haven't heard of outside Japan, where sale items get reduced even further for a limited time (a few hours or so). I didn't buy anything, despite all the loud encouragement (I didn't mind the noise actually, it made things more exciting though I did find it a rather strange experience).

We finished the day with tea and cake at Ducky Duck in MYLORD. With a name like that, how could one miss and opportunity for a visit? The service was very good actually, and I liked being given a little sand timer so my rose tea didn't get stewed.

Next time I'll be living the high life in Ebisu and Ginza! Please check back soon for the next post, and I hope you enjoyed reading this one.



Monday, 16 January 2012

Happy New Year at Asakusa and Ueno

Hello everyone! I'm back in England, having returned yesterday. 

Thanks very much for your comments while I was away. I have read your suggestions carefully and I'll do my best to improve!

I had a wonderful time in Tokyo, and I spent a bit of time in Yokohama too. Today I'm writing up the first post about my trip!

I arrived on the 31st of December. I managed to do some shopping right away- I picked up a yukata and the latest Gothic and Lolita Bible in the airport! The yukata was on sale in Uniqlo. I've been meaning to get one for ages, so I grabbed it. I wasn't expecting them to be sold in December, even at a reduced price!

It took a couple of hours to get to the hotel in Shinjuku from Narita. I saw Kikirarashoten from the train as it passed through Shibuya!  When I got to the hotel I had a nap, and got up to have dinner and see the new year in. 

I wanted to have an authentic Japanese new year as possible, so my friend and I watched Kouhaku (Red and White), a variety music program that's on every 31st of December. The colours represent two teams of performers, and at the end there's a vote to decide which team did the best. The team leaders/presenters were Arashi for the white team and a very pretty actress for the red team, with performances by Kouda Kumi, Wada Akiko (who seemed to be on Japanese television for the whole of my two-week stay), EXILE, Lady Gaga, AKB48, a lot of enka singers and of course SMAP. And lots more besides! 

As well as Kouhaku, the sun rising over Mount Fuji was broadcast on live on tv, and I ate soba! So that was my fairly authenic seeing-in of the new year. By the way, my Chinese horoscope is Dragon, so 2012 is my year! 

I got up at six o'clock to go to the famous Sensoji temple complex in Asakusa. Going to a temple is new year tradition. 

This is the main entrance to the complex, Kaminarimon. After you pass under the red lantern, there is a long street filled with stalls and shops selling souvenirs, dolls, wigs and hair ornaments, sweets, snacks, leather goods, clothes for your dog etc. Rather different from going to church! Further up there are lots of food stalls, which I particularly enjoyed. 

After browsing the shops, we went to get o-mikuji (fortunes). At the place where you get them there is a little box of long sticks which each have a number on, which corresponds to one of many little numbered drawers containing papers on which your fortune is written. You make a donation and shake the box until a stick drops out of the little hole, then check the number and collect your fortune.

I was not fortunate!

Ouch! To dispel the bad luck, you must tie the slip of paper to a special frame.

A bit tricky with cold fingers, but I tried to tie it as tightly as possible. I hope it stays put! On the left of the picture you can see some of the little drawers containing fortunes. After that we went to the main temple to make an offering and new year's wish. I also got an o-mamori, which I'll show you later.

Then it was time to attack the food stalls! I had sweet sake, takoyaki, yakitori, yakisoba, and one non-fried and oily things, a miso-y, nimono-y thing that was very delicious. I enjoyed the food ever so much! I also felt the need for a cup of tea, so we found a nice little cafe just outside the complex.

Having warmed up a bit, we went back to Sensoji for another look around. It's pretty, and very large, so there's plenty to see. We met a very handsome fellow there!

I think perhaps we met before, when I visited Sensoji for the first time about five years ago. Maybe he remembered me, since he came over to say hello.

He must have felt quite relaxed in my company at any rate, deciding to have a lie down.

This little boy decided to join us! He looked very cute in his puffy green coat, like a pea in a pod.

When we had finished at Sensoji, I suggested we go to Ueno park, since nearly everything was closed that day and at least we could have a nice walk. We actually did a lot of walking that day because we tried to go to Ueno-koen on foot. It turned out to be further than expected, so we had to give up and take the metro, but at least we saw some interesting sights along the way:

Lots of tanuki! Do you like tanuki? I'm very fond of them now, though I recall the first time I saw one of these ceramic ones I wondered what on earth they were supposed to be. In case you are also wondering, tanuki are little sharp-toothed furry mammals native to Japan. In mythology, they are also mischevious shape-shifters, who like drinking lots of sake. I recommend the film 'Pom Poko' if you'd like to know more about them! 

I tried to pose like the tanuki, but I think I rather failed. I just look like a giraffe as usual!

Ueno Park has a small but rather nice shrine, which you can get to by walking through these red gates:

I always think these gates look so impressive!

Even the drain covers are pretty in Ueno!

On the way from the station, we found one lively street with a lot of shops open, including a Matsumoto Kiyoshi (it's a drug store), so I did a bit more shopping!

Let's have some materialism after all that culture! 

1. Bioré Marshmallow Whip I saw this in Singapore and was very attracted by the name, but it was quite expensive so I decided to wait until I went to Japan. It was a little discounted at Matsumoto Kiyoshi, so my patience paid off. I can report that it's definitely a good cleanser! It doesn't dry your skin, but still gets it very clean and leaves it soft and smooth. Just one pump is enough for your face and neck; it's very foamy!

2. False lashes I wanted to try out these separated-type lashes, since they seem to really open up your eyes. These were only 315 yen, but they are very soft and not too shiny. I don't think they look that great on me though!

3. O-mamori This is a charm my friend bought me at the temple. If I return to Japan next year, I'll take it once again to the temple for it to be burnt. I do hope I will return!

4. Bioré oil-in sheet refill I used to just wash my face with foam cleanser to get my make-up off (horror!) but after reading articles about how dreadfully that practice it will age you, I started to use make-up remover. This oil-in sheet remover was being promoted in Singapore, so I picked it up there. There's a cute pink case that dispenses the remover wipes; this is a refill.

5. Esprique Aqua Drape lipgloss I'm keen on Japanese cosmetics, thanks mostly to the attractive packaging! As well as that they're effective for me personally since I'm Eurasian and have a more Asian skin-type and colouring. I've been trying for ages to find a nice lip gloss that looks natural but gives a bit of freshness and colour to my face, and when I saw this coral one it looked just right. Esprique is a slightly pricey brand but I was totally sick of looking for lip gloss in England so I treated myself. I'm glad I did because I'm really happy with it!

6. Lavshuca eye palette Lavshuca has lovely packaging! I liked this set of natural colours. You can create quite a few different looks with this colours, and they all work well together. The middle colour is super sparkly!

I hope you've enjoyed this first post about my time in Tokyo. I'm looking foward to writing up all the rest! Next up is the first day of sales shopping~

Until then,


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