The word Kawaii means cute, adorable, or lovable and is a major part of Japanese culture! It’s everywhere, painted on airplanes, bank logos, entertainment, clothing, food, toys, and even affects personal appearance and mannerisms.
Kawaii is also a very popular fashion look! Unlike many other cultures where women often want to look more glamorous or sexy, many young women are wanting to appear just the opposite. Trying hard to look and sound as sweet, young and cute as possible.
Takeshita Street, located in the Harajuku district of Tokyo, is a pedestrian street and a great place to see many examples of trendy Japanese fashion. Wandering around you might see Sweet Lolita, Gothic Lolita, Kawaii, and Cosplay. Many of these styles which seem more like costumes to Americans are not unusual as everyday attire for the young people in Japan. You’ll see women wearing what look to be little girl dresses complete with lace collars, petticoats and even parasols. I especially loved seeing the fun makeup and accessories and have even adopted a few of the fun ideas I saw during my visit!
Other popular things to do on Takeshita Street besides “seeing and being seen” are shopping and eating crepes. Though there are many crepe shops, the lines can be long. The crowds of Harajuku Girls are thick and they are moving fast. The day we visited It was raining incredibly hard and every single person had an umbrella! The moment we stepped into the street it was like being swept up into the tide and it was all we could do to “get over” to the side again and catch our breath! Not only was this an incredibly fun place to visit, it was truly a moment I will never forget!
The boys and I decided that it would be fun to bring back as many flavors as we could find! We were on a mission! By the time our trip ended we had located 8 different flavors: cinnamon, green tea, strawberry, cheesecake, dark, chilli pepper, pudding, and sakura green tea. We brought them back and had our friends over for a Kit Kat tasting party! Everyone was pretty surprised at how much they liked all the flavors. The two favorites were pudding which we actually heated in the toaster oven and strawberry. Tim occasionally travels to Japan for business and at times brings us back new flavors. Our most recent tasting was rum raisin.
A few days after arriving in Japan we realized that not only is getting food “to go” not really a thing, but there aren’t really any trash cans on the sidewalks. It’s considered rude to walk around eating and drinking so you’ll find that most vending machines have trashcans next to them as well as a spot to stand and drink or eat your purchase.
Lost In Translation
It’s a good chance that when you’re in a place where there is almost no english spoken or written you’re going to find a few places where things were “lost in translation”. We didn’t see too many examples of this, but we had a good natured laugh at the few we saw which were pretty tame.
When visiting Japan you’ll notice that many people wear surgical face masks in public. When we first arrived it seemed very obvious and foreign to us, but after a few days we got used to seeing it everywhere and it became a normal. There are many theories about why the Japanese people wear them. We asked our Kyoto guide Kenzo and he gave a number of reasons, allergies, the spread of germs, and not wanting to be social were just a few.