Friday, 30 October 2015

Inside Head

On the plane to Japan we got to see the Disney Pixar film Inside Out. We'd missed it when it was in the cinema here, so we were happy to finally get to see it!

Well, as you might know, in Japan the film is called Inside Head (which we think makes more sense...) and the characters were a popular prize in the various Taito Stations in Shinjuku. 

During the first part of our holiday a set of rubber charm straps were available in one UFO Catcher.  Of course, once we won one of them the completionist mindset kicked in and Pinkuiropixie tried to get them all... after a few evenings she was successful!

Sadness, Joy, Fear, Disgust, Anger and Bing Bong all accounted for!! As you can see, the packaging clearly displays Inside Head! ^^

Later on in our holiday when the arcades changed up their prizes a new Inside Head range appeared... super kawaii plush charms!! I won Pinkuiropixie a Sadness first (her favourite) - this kicked off another gaming session... most of the characters joined Sadness quite easily but Fear must have been scared to leave the UFO Catcher... but eventually we convinced him to come join his friends!

The plushes are super cute and have that stylised look that Pixar uses on its credits ^^

We are so glad we got complete sets of both collections!!

Mata ne!

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Gundam Front in Odaiba

Most people know about the giant Gundam at Diver City in Odaiba right? You know the one...

Well, it's not the only Gundam themed attraction at Diver City! There's a special factory experience for you to see how the super detailed model kits are made (and have a go at making one yourself!), a special domed cinema that screens Gundam short movies, a Gundam-specialist shop and more.

Even if you don't want to go into the main attractions (professional level model kits aren't everyone's cup of tea after all!), on your way into Diver City you can still check out the satellite shop (in a special trailer unit right by the life-size Gundam) and the combined Gundam Café and souvenir store! 

Amongst the awesome model kits (yes, if they wouldn't have got crushed in our luggage on the way home, I would have indulged in a couple!!) there are plenty of kawaii items available! 

We popped to the satellite store first - this specialises in the model kits, but there are still a few cute items like plushes and this awesome T-shirt I bought:

I don't know why, I just find Acguys super cute! ^^;

Next we went to the Gundam Café and Shop to see what was on offer there.

An affordable memento that's really popular in Japan are badges! They are all cute, but we both chose our favourite designs:

The one in the middle is Pinkuiropixie's, the other two are mine! ^^ (I couldn't pick just one!)

The Gundam Café Manager is so cute I also picked up a rubber charm of it for my Decora 3DS case:

The apron even has the Café's logo on - it's just the kind of detail you expect from an iconic brand like Gundam.

As it was a Café Shop I wanted a culinary souvenir as well... what could be cooler than a pair of Gundam chopsticks?!

That's right, they are mini Beam Sabers!! How could I resist?!

Finally in the Café Shop Pinkuiropixie spotted this kawaii T-shirt featuring the characters from the badges:

She wouldn't let us leave the shop unless I bought it for myself... well I didn't need that much convincing, I mean, it's an awesome shirt, right?!

Near to both of the shops there are also Gachapon machines that contain good value souvenirs.  I grabbed a couple with some of our spare change; first up was this Gundam Front limited badge:

There was also a range of little desk buddies (have no idea what they are really called ^^; ) - small figures that each have a use on a typical desk (hold a cable, sit on a coffee mug etc).  I got this little guy:

It's designed to prop up an item (like a mobile phone or a pad) - see where its head is squashed down cause of having to hold up your stuff?! Poor little guy!

As the giant Gundam and Diver City are both worth visiting if you go to Odaiba, it's definitely a good idea to pop and check the two Gundam shops out while you are there!

Mata ne!

Monday, 26 October 2015

Tsum Tsum Encounters in Tokyo!

We love Tsum Tsums and we were looking forward to seeing what Tokyo had to offer - we weren't disappointed!

On our first night in Shinjuku we popped to the Taito Station, where we saw the super awesome and super kawaii Tsum Tsum arcade game!

The game is basically a gigantic version of the smartphone game - yes those are two huge touchscreens! - you can pay to just play a game, or you can pay 500 yen and receive a special Tsum Tsum charm from the gachapon style machine in the middle:

But these charms aren't just a kawaii accessory... you can use them in the game!! That's right, if you collect a charm of a Tsum you want to use as your main Tsum in the game, you can place it on a special area of the machine just before you play!

You can even register a special smartcard, which lets you track progress as you level up your collected Tsums! We got two of these charms, Alice and Chip:

Doesn't Chip look super cheeky!! ^^

The Game Centers (Arcades) in Tokyo have lots of UFO Catchers with all sorts of prizes on offer - of course, Tsum Tsum items were available to those lucky or persistent enough!  In the Shinjuku Taito Station there was one of the smaller UFO Catchers filled with all sorts of small Tsum Tsum items you could win... well, we couldn't resist having a few goes on this particular machine!

There were rubber charms featuring all kinds of characters! Here's Stitch (Mr <3s Stitch!), Dumbo and Goofy:

And here's some Disney Pixar characters: Sulley, Woody and an Alien from Toy Story (another one of Mr's favourites!):

Even better though, you can stack the charms!! Yes, you can make stacks of your favourite characters for super-long bag charms!

The machine also had some hard acrylic style keyrings on small chains.  We were lucky enough to win two; Daisy Duck and Scrump:

Also available to win were some small Tsum figures.  We weren't able to win them all... but we didn't do too badly!

Finally there were these inflatable bag charms.  We got Pinocchio, Baymax and Dumbo!

Of course, the game centers had other UFO catchers with other Tsum Tsum goods.  In one arcade we won this Alien pouch/purse with neck strap that also features Buzz and Woody:

The other side of the pouch also features Jessie and Lotso!

Finally, Pinkuiropixie was super-determined to win this ultra kawaii Tsum Tsum towel:

Isn't it super cute?! It's got lots of characters from not just Mickey and Friends, but also Winnie the Pooh, Frozen, Monsters Inc, Nightmare Before Christmas and lots more!

Of course, Tsums could be found in places other than the arcades - in the mega-size BICQLO store (a collaboration between UNIQLO and Bic Camera) we found some small iron-on patches for a spot of DIKawaiiing!

There were four packs available and they were such good value we decided to get all of them!  In the toys and games section of BICQLO we also found some packs of padded stickers:

While shopping in a Loft store we found some more Tsum Tsum stationery.  Kawaii stationery is so much more affordable in Japan so we decided to stock up a little!  First up were these memo notes:

The pad features four different designs, but they are all super kawaii!

We also grabbed some mini post-its - ideal for bookmarks and for little reminders!

The four-pack even includes Alice in Wonderland and Pinocchio themed ones, which aren't that easy to find on items.

Finally in Loft we chose some cute stickers.  These will come in handy for using on calendars, diaries and to decorate letters to Pinkuiropixie's penpal! <3

Probably the most unusual item we found featuring Tsum Tsums were these cars, a collaboration with Tomica:

Of course, being Tsums, they can stack!!

Minnie even features a tiny Figaro on the top! ^^

We bought a few others as well as we didn't know if they'd be easy to find once we were home - Alien, Buzz and Stitch!

Who would have thought that model cars could be so cute?!

While shopping in a 7-11 conbini (convenience store as we know them!) we came across a box of Tsum Tsum items at the back... these were priced up individually and were all really good value, so we thought we should get them and then work out what was going on!

First we picked up this super kawaii cushion featuring Disney Pixar Tsums!

It's got lots of super cute characters from Toy Story and Monsters Inc, two film series that we love! <3

As long-time readers of Life in the Kawaii Lane will know, facecloths are vital for keeping cool and kawaii - as it was so warm when we were in Tokyo Pinkuiropixie chose a super cute Stitch facecloth from 7-11:

Finally from the mystery box we each picked up a rubber keyring.  Mr chose Alien (with Lotso) and Pinkuiropixie chose Alice (featuring the Cheshire Cat):

We since found out that these were part of a special Tsum Tsum lottery held by 7-11 in the summer and the items aren't usually for sale! We were very lucky to have chanced upon these during our trip!

Finally, how can we talk about Tsum Tsums without featuring... Tsum Tsums?! Pinkuiropixie took the opportunity to pick up a few Tsums that were missing from her collection as we had been saving so hard for our trip.

First up were the somewhat random trio of Little Oyster, Tinkerbell and Oswald:

In Shibuya they still had a couple of Inside Out (or Inside Head as it is known in Japan!) Tsums available; Joy and Anger!

We love the flame on Anger's head!! ^^

We were missing a few Toy Story Tsums, so when we found any in Disney Stores across Tokyo we made sure to pick them up.  Here's 3 Peas in a Pod, Bullseye, Ham and an Alien:

Next came Polka Dot Donald (exclusive to Japan Disney Stores and Hong Kong Disneyland!) and one of the Daisy Expressions Tsums that we thought was just too cute not to get!

They had some of the Stitch with flowers collection still available when we went, so we picked up Scrump, Stitch and Angel:

Aren't they super cute?!  Of course, we also had to pick up some of the other Lilo and Stitch characters.  Here's Leroy, Dr Hämsterviel and Jumba:

Finally we found some of the Honey Pot collection; Eeyore, Tigger and Piglet all dressed as super cute bumblebees!

As with all Tsum Tsums the quality of these is amazing; they even hae little antennae and wings!

Going to the birthplace of Tsum Tsums was amazing and we were so lucky to find so many super kawaii items during our trip! If you are a Tsum Tsum collector and you visit Tokyo, be sure to check out the game centers, Disney Stores and everywhere as you never know when you'll find a super kawaii item!

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Pinkuiropixie and Mr's Trip to Tokyo!

We are back home in the UK and are really missing the bustling streets of Tokyo! It's been quiet on the blog while we have been away but we have lots of posts planned over the next few weeks! LOTS! So make sure you keep coming back to the blog to see what we did on our holiday in Tokyo ^^

Before I start to tell you about our first few days I wanted to tell you all that Mr, who up until now appeared only for special posts, will now become a regular author on the blog! ^^ My blog is called Life in the Kawaii Lane and my life wouldn't be half as kawaii as it is if it wasn't for my Mr (<3), so I asked him to join me on OUR blog, and he said YES! So make sure you keep an eye out for his posts!! ^^

After an 11 hour flight we landed at Haneda Airport at 8.30am on Thursday 24th September! It was our first time at Haneda Airport and it was very nice and easy to navigate. Once we cleared security we came out of arrivals and headed towards the seating area just outside. Before heading into Tokyo we wanted to pick up a portable WIFI unit. There are several companies at the airport where you can rent either a WIFI unit or phone with WIFI, it's not a cheap service, normally charged by the day, but we wanted to make sure we were contactable for family reasons. There are areas in Tokyo that have improved the facility of free WIFI so unless you want it for reasons like us, you can just stick to that.

After sorting out our WIFI we headed towards the monorail. On our past trips to Japan we have purchased the Japan Rail Pass but as we planned to stay in Tokyo this time we purchased a Suica card each. If you only want to go to Tokyo I would highly recommend it! It made travelling really cheap! JR Passes are usually around £150 each for a week of travelling, and can be used on both the Shinkansen and JR trains. We spent just under £100 each across 19 days and the Suica can be used on all train companies except the Shinkansen. The Suica can also be used in some shops and vending machines. By buying our Suica at the airport we managed to get the super kawaii monorail version that is only available from Haneda Aiport!

How super Kawaii is it!! You can return your card at the end of your holiday but we decided to keep them as a momento! And they are vaild for up to 10 years, so we may get to use them again! ;)

So we headed for Shinjuku which would be our home for the next 19 days and it felt like home when we arrived! We have stopped here each time we've visited Tokyo but stopped in the sky scraper area, this time we went to the busy side of the station! After settling into our hotel, we headed out to familiarise ourselves with the area around the hotel. The lights of Tokyo feel so familiar now!

It's become a bit of a tradition now to go for a walk around Shinjuku on our first night, hit up the arcades, and to visit the Shinjuku Gift Gate!

This is an awesome shop and packed to the rafters with Sanrio items! You can't take pics inside so this is the best I got. I picked up a few bits on our first visit, including a Suica pass holder (just another reason to get a Suica!):

The other items I picked up were part of the Sanrio Halloween range and I will show you this in a separate post! Don't miss it! It's super Kawaii!

On our second day we headed to Odaiba, it was a rainy day but you can't let that stop you in Tokyo! Our first stop in Odaiba was Palette Town:

Palette Town is a large indoor entertainment complex which includes the Venus Fort shopping mall. The mall is styled as an Italian city, with plazas, fountains and a changing sky scene on the ceiling.

There's lots of shops here that you can visit, including a small Kiddy Land where I picked up some super cute new hair accessories!

Kiddy Land also has a much larger store in Harajuku that covers several floors so it was nice to be in this much quieter version, even though it was only a tiny amount of what the large store stocks ^^ After Palette Town, we headed for the Gundam outside Diver City!!

This is a lifesize replica of a Gundam and normally has loads of people around it taking pics, but as it was raining we were some of the only people there! This also meant the shop at the base of the Gundam and in Diver City were also empty so Mr picked himself up some awesome Gundam items. He is going to do a post on these so check back later!!

After a day of shopping in Odaiba we hit Shibuya on the Saturday. When in Shibuya you have to visit the famous Shibuya 109!

It's full of boutiques specialising in fashion, accessories and cosmetics. Whatever your style is it's always worth having a good look around! After 109 we visited a few more shops that we had on our list before visiting the Disney Store.

It's a super cute store inside and out! Inside there is a spiral staircase to take you to their upper floors, its like going up an enchanted tower! ^^ Here I topped up my tsumtsum collection (which I will post about separately) with any tsums they had that I was missing. After here we visited a melon pan shop as Mr is a huge fan! We had seen this shop on an NHK World programme and as soon as we spotted it Mr said we had to go! The shop is called World's 2nd Best Freshly Baked Melon-pan Ice Cream ^^

Basically they sell fresh melon pans stuffed with ice cream!! Mr queued up and ordered the chocolate ice cream melon pan:

They top it with toasted melon pan bits straight out of the oven! Mr said it was brilliant and just what he wanted on a hot day! If you are in Tokyo he recommends you give it a try!!

Sunday is Harajuku day and I couldn't wait to get there!! So much goes on in Harajuku on a Sunday, and we weren't disappointed. We arrived at the top of the Takeshita Dori and took the obligatory photo of the famous gate:

If you wait at the gate the screen scrolls round to a camera facing you taking pics! Although it was still September, Halloween had appeared to have taken over most of the stores on the Takeshita Dori with Halloween clothing, accessories and stores all dressed up for it! At the opposite end of the street is the newly famous Moshi Moshi Box and clock by my favourite designer, Sebastian Masuda!

The clock is decorated Decora style so I loved it! I wish they sold mini versions of it so I could have one in our home!! After visiting the Box we walked down Harajuku Street which is also full of shops, not as quirky as the Takeshita Dori but still very much worth a visit! It's over this side of Harajuku that you will find stores such as 6%DokiDoki, Candy Stripper and New Era, which is a must visit for Mr! This area is known as 'Ura-Harajuku'.

It was over in Ura-Harajuku that we started to experience the stranger side of Harauku that you only see on a Sunday! While we were taking a break at the side of the road I spotted this man with a cat pushchair, yes they have these in Japan!

I counted 13 cats! Yes 13!!!! All just sitting in their pushchair relaxing. People were allowed to pet them and they seemed quite normal, but still a rather strange sight, even for Harajuku!! As I turned around from taking this pic I spotted several people all dressed as Wheres Wally! I say a few, but the longer I stood there the more appeared!!

Out of no where we were smack bang in the middle of a Where's Wally flash mob that were meeting to celebrate the creator's birthday! There must have been hundreds of them!

They stretched down one side of the road, across the bridge and up the opposite side of the road! One man dressed as Odlaw even posed for a pic for me!

It was awesome to watch! There were men, women and children taking part and they looked like they were having a ball!! After they disappeared down a side street we headed back to the Takeshita Dori, which had gotten very busy since the morning:

After a bit of people watching we headed over to Yoyogi Park for a rest as Sundays can also be very lively there as well! We sat and watched the Rockabillies dancing:

 I love how they dance like they don't have a care in the world!! We also came across a skateboarding dog:

And yes, he was actually pushing and riding the board himself!! After this we headed further into the park where we came across a lady with two meerkats, dressed as a bride and groom:

As you can see, the Harajuku area isn't just a Kawaii fashion centre, it's a fun place with lots of cool people and things to see! No Kawaiister visiting Tokyo could miss out on spending a Sunday in Harajuku, it's a must! ^^

We hope you liked today's post and come back for the 20+ posts we have planned over the next few weeks!!! We have lots to show you and some very handy tips to you get the most out of your kawaii trips to Tokyo! 

Catch you later Kawaiisters!!
Pinkuiropixie and Mr ^^