The sky finally reveals its fantastic blue color. Cottony cumuli hover above and bless the city with cheer and flying smiles. On the train, I let Beth Ditto scream in my ears to beat the relaxed Sunday mood and prep for hardcore Harajuku. I realize that my row and the one across it carry more gaijin than locals. I lower my iPod’s volume. I hear more English than Nippongo and that makes me feel less alienated and seemingly more connected than usual.
I smoke in front of Harajuku station. I haven’t finished one stick and I already feel my forehead wrinkling. I look up and curse the summer sun.
I go to the Harajuku Bridge. I’m excited to see more cosplayers other than the ones I always see. I actually haven’t seen this bridge this busy. The gaijin, including myself of course, flock like vultures surrounding a gathering of different Japanese subcultures. Obsessive fans dress up like their favorite manga, anime characters or band (visual kei) with Decora/Kawaii and Lolitas. We all want a piece of the action. Sometimes we even commend each other’s lenses. Some of the cosplayers are camera-shy, constantly warding us off by covering their faces even when we ask them politely for a photo. Some give poses and are friendly to gaijin. It’s difficult to compose a photo because of the competition among the photographers and the onlookers. Sometimes I don’t know if I’m being rude to the locals when I take photos without their consent. I bet it’s pretty darn tiring and frustrating for the cosplayers also with all the lenses aiming at them all the time.
The sun is beating me up so I hide under the trees of Omotesando and smoke. A white guy comes up to me and hands me a paper with hiragana writing. I tell him that I’m a gaijin too. He introduces himself and his wife. He’s a photographer from Germany and he wants to take my picture. Having my photo taken in Harajuku is hardcore giddiness! This is the third time so I feel really chirpy about it. We chat a little until our cigarettes die out.
I walk down Omotesando and into Cat Street. I go into Monomania. I buy a shirt. Back to Omotesando and into the side streets. I plan to buy cheap accessories at Takeshita-Dori but I’m in no mood to brave this scene under the intense sun:
A gaijin wearing the DM's that I want! I had no size! BOO!
I stroll down Yoyogi-Koen to watch the Rockabillies and other park activities. Then I head back to Omotesando.
This guy surprises us with his acrobatic way of crossing the street. Only in Japan!
Harajuku station on my way home.