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Gothic and Lolita

Gothic and Lolita - Masayuki Yoshinaga, Katsuhiko Ishikawa When I lived in Japan (suburb of Yokohama), my friends and I sometimes flirted with the girls who wore these kind of fashions and hung around Harajuku station. We didn't know the fashion was called Gothic Lolita, and we called these girls "Amish Punk chicks", although in retrospect, there is nothing really Amish looking about this style. ******Above was the first unfortunate draft of my review of this book, which sadly focuses on me and my immature friends a decade ago. It comes off as somewhat dismissive of the Harajuku girls, and I have to set that right. I give the Harajuku girls a lot of credit for their creativity. Most of them made their own clothes, and customized them in very imaginative ways. The whole Harajuku scene was definitely not the same thing as the "club kids" scene in NY (popularized by that McCauleigh Kaulkin movie), because Harajuku girls were not (as far as I could tell) about irresponsible hedonism or being at the center of attention. I think they really were about being creative and expressive, and having fun with fashion. The girls who took it seriously had a friendly competition about it, and I think they did have a lot of fun, but being a bohemian (probably the best characterization of this crowd) is harder in Japan than in the West- there are more social pressures and expectations, especially on women, than in the West... so if you think these clothes are a bold statement, it is actually twice as bold (a random figure that feels about right) for being in Japan.*sigh* I can't believe I'm writing so much about a topic that I have only a passing familiarity with, but another big fashion in Japan in the late 90's/ early 2000's was the Yamanba or Ganguro fashion, which was all over Tokyo back then, and characterized by bleached hair, excessive tanning, excessive eye makeup, and outrageously tall platform shoes. Yamanba linkI don't think most Yamanba really knew what sort of statement they were trying to make, and did not have the sense of artistic dedication that the smaller, tighter-knit Harajukus had. One thing the Yamanbas did have going for them, though: their undisputed leader was singer/actress Ayumi Hamasaki. If you want a Japanese techno record that will absolutely blow your mind, check this out: Hamasaki CD link