In 2004, if you would have told 13 year old Claude, that one day she'd be walking around Harajuku, Japan, wearing heart shaped glasses and bubblegum pink hair, she would've thought you were bananas...B.A.N.A.N.A.S! Yet, here I am on Love, Angel, Music, and Baby's home turf blending in like a pro...well kinda. Though it wasn't my first visit to the birth place of everything kawaii, it never truly looses it's luster and shine. Sure, it's a little more mainstream than it once was, with Vivienne Westwood and Pandora opening their doors on the main strip, but still the area has retained all of it's original magic.
As soon as you venture off to little streets and alleyways, a kingdom of everything fashion, from DIY designer goods collaged together to hype beasts haven and vintage couture treasures await. It's a dangerous place for people like me...but I'm not only in it for the goods. Harajuku is probably the most fascinating and mind blowing place to people watch on the North and Eastern hemisphere, or any hemisphere really! You really haven't lived until you've seen a middle aged, 6 foot something man, living out all of his Sakura Card Captor dreams in full lady garb, grabbing a sandwich at high noon. I'm telling you, it's a sight for sore eyes. Everyone is welcome to be as beautiful, adorable or weird as they'd care to be and I think that's pretty fantastic.
The Harajuku hood also houses the highest volume of adorable animal cafes in all of Tokyo, which will surely keep you oohing and ahhing at everything from Owls to Hedgehogs. Unless, like me, you get crapped on continuously for the duration of your allocated 30 minutes. Poop or no poop, Harajuku, still promises to keep you wonderstruck, and truly lives up to any Gwen Stefani song it might have inspired in the early 2000s...and I really liked that period of her catalog so you know it's gotta be really good.
Saint-Laurent sunnies, Strorets dress, Christian Dior bag, and Balenciaga Triple S'.