Archive for November, 2009|Monthly archive page

3 more weeks, and a quick jump to Osaka

Tons of gals sitting around Centaagai doing their make-up like old times.
This was at 10:30 when trains wind down so they quickly dispersed after this picture and only so many were gathered for 10 minutes. This is so not common on Centaagai, instead most use the “center street” to actually walk to another place. But it was nostalgic and rare so enjoy the nostalgia with me. ❤

Lip Service Roomwear!
Oh lawdy. I do not want to leave my house anymore. I think people could become hikkikomori because Lip Service roomwear was bought. The roomwear and Betty Boop release opened Friday and they had such pieces!
IN LOVE!
It’s the center one, a two piece set!
I really was lusting over the onsie on the left, but onsies aren’t that practical to sleep in, they’re just cute.
I want to buy more! >_<;;
I also got the Betty Boop set, but I’ll post that later since it’s actual clothing not just lazy bed manatee clothing.
Men’s Egg PlaYz

I was out and about in Shibuya and I hear a truck passing blasting music. This is a really common way for musicians to advertise themselves in Japan. Ne-Yo and Enimenem also had trucks blasting their music when their records hit Japan. But I turn to see this!

 Mens EGG got a music group
The music group is called PlaYz, and sounds a bit Johnnys-kei, aka typical male group pop. The five members are: Ayumu (who got a major make-over… or make-under?), Yukihide, Katsumi, Kazuaki and Yuki, all Men’s Egg models.
In this pic it does look a bit like 4 twinks and their leather daddy.
As for the quality of their music, judge for yourself:

Their video has gotten 240,000+ views which livedoor says is good. This is from their “mini-album” Love on the Street. Time will tell on their staying power. Although this is absolutely not what I want for my Men’s Egg Night ^_^;;;

Weekend fun

Friday day after classes I headed to 109 to pickup my Lip Service roomwear + Betty Boop dress. I also got an adorable set from One*Spo ❤

Using the clean mirror and the clean room.
Jacket: h&m
Shirt: Moussy
Shorts: Zara
Leggings: tutuHA
My Lippy girls were shocked I was so casual, but sigh… school sometimes makes you ultra casual ^_^;;

I was trying to un-lazy myself so I went for fluffy hair and a cashmere beret from One*Spo for the night.
Doll eyes with thick low seperation on the lower eyelashes. 
Tip: use a clear eyelash adhesive for the bottom, go for black on the top lashes
I look dazed here <_<;;
 
 
I was channeling Rin with a One*Spo set and pigtails. It was gold night with Onespo good love and gold eyeshadow from MAC. 
Good weekend. Possibly too much drinking, but it was insanity/good to end Saturday night but eating ramen in Kabukicho and chatting with bosozoku from Kyoto and surrouded by OraOra boys, hosts and hostesses at 7 in the morning on Sunday.

Onward, ho!

I am soon to be ending my stay in Japan. I head back to Houston on December 17th for a while. At least until Summer if not until Fall. I’m sad of course, because I love the shopping, the style, my daily grind and my good friends here. However, I love my man and miss my animals. Also, Texas is a pretty damn awesome place.

 
Yo Persians, imma let you finish, but my Luna has the best flat face ever!
 
Japanese hats for cats, so wrong so rightt
Disapproving basset hound sees what you did thar

When people in the US and Japan ask me if I like living here, I find I can’t give a simple yes/no answer anymore. It’s a whole lot more complicated than that. Without going into a 8 paragraph discussion on it, I will simply say those who think Japan is OMGYAYPONIEZHARAJUKUAWEZOMMMEZ have not lived here for a long time.

Japan just isn’t the endgame for me. My man works in the States and I would like to be a college professor and going to graduate school happens in America. I do plan to go back to teach English in Japan for a while before actually starting graduate school, but the rules will definitely change since as a working stiff my ability to do several gal fashion trends that I like will be limited (weekend gal love). So right now, ignoring the hardships of living here, is a really special time for me to enjoy and dress for myself the way I want to present myself.

Of course I will continue to report on gal fashion and I have way too many saved posts on genres that I need to step-up and post ^_^; At most it will just be six months until I move back here, so only directly shopping for Spring will escape my grasp ^_^;;

I will be away in Osaka for 2 days this week, I just can’t seem to stay away. ❤

…that is all

Ora Ora kei and trend rising

I’ve been wanting to talk about OraOra Kei for a while now. Actually my first post on the Doll mentions it, but I guess I need to dive deeper into it. OraOra-kei has kanji attached to it 悪羅悪羅系 the kanji has a nonsensical meaning of evil smooth. However it’s more the pronunciation that’s important since Ora is the manly sound used by yanki to say “hey” or “look here”.

OraOraKei is a continuation of yanki culture with the addition of Onii-kei gyaru styling. I know after seeing some pictures you might think, hey this is not gyaru. But it is, and many 109-2 brands are latching onto it. Soul Franky is opening it’s own OraOra side brand on 2010/1 and hunting for models currently to be the face of its brand.OraOra has risen for a lot of reasons. Mekas blog has another contestable article about them here. I will agree it has come from outside Tokyo, but its headliners are Tokyo based.”

OraOra Style is characterized by

  • Black
  • Track suits, construction wear, or suits with a black and sometimes black+ gold theme
  • Extremely tan skin
  • Short cropped hair, often with Atsushi-styled lines shaved in (see below)
  • Sunglasses or fake glasses, worn either on the eyes, forhead or behind the neck
  • wa tattoos such as yakuza-styled sleeves or back pieces
  • high brand accessories such as D&G sunglasses and Louis Vuitton pochette gange bags
  • A group, OraOra boys are extremely group oriented aka they travel in packs
  • Cars or bikes especially those that are monstorous or bosozoku culture.

 
 
Even Joy rocks some Oraora
Wa-style tattoos + glasses
The second most popular brand below Rebel according to Soul Japan readers is Natural Nine, a more street-wear Stussy looking brand.

The rise in OraOra I think has happened for four reasons.

– The lowering economy does lend itself to yanki styles.
– The sharp rise in Hosto-kei last year with 109-2 brands putting out suits for the first time, tends to support a backlash to a manlier side of gyaru: currently that’s OraOra-kei
– With the Game network headlined by Dj ACE, they have been like prophets preaching as they travel.
– OraOra is supportive of a wide range of ages, Soul Japan was featuring an 18 yr old and a 43 yr old.

I think it’s impossible to not look at the Game network when looking at OraOra-kei. Ace began the Game website earlier, offering OraOra clothes along with psychedelic trance cds. In essence he was beginning to sell a lifestyle. A further extension of that is DJ Ace’s Rebel clothing line that he sold off the Game website. Rebel clothing has grown into a wildly popular brand (the top rated by Soul Japan viewers), with Men’s Knuckle noticing the fad in August 2008 and Ladies’ Egg in October 2008. Both within the gyaru/gyaruo circle, but focusing on what is a yankii fashion.

Under the Men’s Knuckle umbrella, Soul Japan came out in May 2008, focusing solely on OraOra culture.

The first issue with Game members on the cover and all sporting Rebel wear.

Now another yanki culture is born. However, that is not to say Bosozoku have died out. Last time I was in Osaka I could hear roar their trade-marked capped engines made circling Osaka every 30 minutes, and I was on the 28th floor ^_^;; If anything Soul Japan tries to latch onto 3 markets at once Bosozoku/car freaks, K-1 hopefuls, and new manly Gyaru.

Oraora has two main idols. The names people repeat when saying they love OraOra.

Atsushi from Exile

The lead singer with the velvet voice and looks that attract a manly guy to say hey… I love you, not in that gay way, just I love you man.

DJ Ace who is designer of the Rebel clothing line, DJ, Producer and model.

Ace in the Center

Ora-ora is here to stay for 3 reasons.

It’s not just Tokyo
The Mixi group of Soul Japan and in its introduction thread people have said they’re from Shizuoka, Kanagawa, Saitama, Ibaraki, Chiba and Tokyo to name a few. Soul Japan 4 did it’s release party in Fukuoka to spread the word.
It’s has its own music style
Now psychedelic trance (and Goa) used to be supported by clothing makers Goa (of course) which does a loose khaki hippy style and Shanit which is full on tie-dyed hippiness.
Men’s Egg model Daichi Tanaka rockin’ the Goa
Sexy DJ Ace rockin’ his Rebel brand
However with many of the psychadelic trance DJs actually more manly and into the then-yanki style, now OraOra-kei. The people who go to the clubs are OraOra now. When I was at the Gataka event, it was impossible to see anyone dressed in Shanit, instead they were all OraOra-kei.

It’s supporters can wear it and still have a job
This was one of the big reasons Mamba died. Handing out tissues or trying to work Izakaya catch isn’t a steady job, but most of the people in Soul Japan are making good wages. Buffalo Bobs, Xfrm and Vice Fairy’s chief people are all OraOra-kei. They can therefore continue the fashion easily. DJs, K-1 figthers, car customizers and such are some of the good jobs OraOra boys can get. There was even a salaryman featured in Soul Japan 4.
OraOra girls
Now this has been a harder fashion to take off than for guys, mainly because it’s very visually easy to group this style for women into the Rock-style genre combined with a mannish look. Brands like tutuHA, Barak, DIA and Heaven and Earth support this look.
 
A girl from the mixi Soul Japan doing full on mannish-Oraora-kei

This is not as a common as the looks presented in the October and December 2008 issues in Egg

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
As you can see there’s a lot of animal prints, black, texture, and mannish looks. You’ve probably seen this look in a lot of magazines or walking around in Shibuya, but you might have said it’s rock or simple gal. Oraora girls are usually not group oriented. You’ll often see 1 or 2 with a bunch of Oraora boys.
Note: Although this look is made to seem tough and deliquent-esque, in my experience OraOra boys are very nice and polite and are often the most welcoming in clubs. They like to turn around or to the left and make sure everyone is raised up and excited for the music or hand over a free drink.

Christmas at 109

 
It’s not Christmass or even X-mas, it’s X-Madonna at 109!

Christmas-time is a big shopping celebration at 109, but of course Christmas is a date night here. The #1 date night. That means party and date dresses pop up in 109 stores. I know people think it might be for New Years, but New Years is actually more of the family event in Japan with soba and Hatsumode. Stores usually also have freebies this time of year to get people into the buying mood more.

I am currently hunting for a party dress to take back to the States for NYE, there are a lot of options now at 109 ^_^v

Lip Service in Christmas

Lip Service has put out another catalog and it’s filled with all the dreamy goodness a girl could want for Japanese Christmas.

 
 
 
 
 
Fabulous looks by the Jelly girls. It really plays into the single girl or girl getting ready for a date. I love the couple underwear on the last page. Too cute!

 
 
Lip Service also has a relationship with Nuts (as seen previously) and they toted Lip’s new line in their January issue (yes both Jelly and Nuts are already out with their January issues ^_^;;). I love their riders coat and the Betty Boop dress looks cute paired with their bowtie.
I think that ribbon corset velveteen dress is cute, and possibly for New Years. What do you think? Yay or nay on that dress?
Their first roomwear collectionr releases this Friday (11/27). Their eyemasks look luxurious, so I am tempted to buy them.
Of course since the glasses freebie set and eyeset came out last Friday you know I had to get my purchasing on. *sigh* I know 3 of the staff-chans there. We chat when they’re free.
 
New shoes from Lip Service!
My first Lippy pair! Love the stud detailing on the ankle strap.
On the Betty Boop catalog page the model is wearing the red version of these.
I also nabbed the Christmas gift set.
Eyelashes + eyelash glue + body lotion. A clever gal set.
The were three eyelash choices, I chose the Cool set, which (hopefully) you can see purple on the outer corners of the lashes. It looked striking without being drag queen on my staff-chan.
Lip Service’s freebie is the his and hers glass set with tealight candle and holder. I really like this freebie ❤
 
 
Lip Service also had a great set price on 1 cropped cardigan (your choice of color) + 1 shirt (3 designs in different colors) + velteen pumpkin shorts (choice of colors).
I think this was a cool idea to have options within a set and “financial condition” (lol)
One*Spo
One*Spo has had some adorable stuff in, but recently it’s outfit sets that are made with jackets to short for the talls.
I couldn’t resist their loose top combining lace and Union Jack trends. I also like how the skirt is really just attached on and only gives the illusion of a 2 piece.

Heaven and Earth
I usually always browse this store, but never buy anything. The look they do tends to be outweighed by the bolder and in-your-face Glad News. However, since last year Heaven and Earth has been concentrating more on an OraOra look. IMO Barak, TutuHA and Heaven and Earth are the best makers of this look. It’s very monotone with a skull and animal print theme and it’s often categorized by a worn look with damage, slashes, and cutaways. Grey, black, white and khaki seem to be the mesh of colors.
Slashes with a thin skull extra lining in the front. More slashes on the upper back.

Soft nubbly hoodie with faint skull print.
One thing I can’t get over is how comfortable their pieces are. Their fit, loose cuts and long lengths work awesome with tall people. I’ll definitely be shopping here again.

MAC
Of course it’s hard to shop and ignore make-up shopping. I pass the MAC counter at Tokyu Hands in Shibuya Station most everyday and it just calls me to come in >_<; Their new seasonal collection called Magic, Mirth and Mischief has tons of cute shades. I recommend checking out their pretty holiday looks.

MAC Lightful. A great moisterizer before make-up and recommended for dry winters.
Mineralize eyshadow duo in Mayhem (MM&M collection)
Dazzle Glass in Jingle Jangle (MM&M collection)
I’m looking forward to Christmas!

Mekas and Tsubasa

Gyaru Ressurgence and Mekas

I have occasionally run into the Japanese English-language fashion blog Mekas when it was still going. I however didn’t see their takes on NEW gal until a few days ago. In their well-laid out article Gyaru Ressurgence, they point out key points in why 109 and its brands are still a force to be reckoned with.

I’ll give you a moment to read and then we can discuss.^___^ *plays Jeopardy theme music*

First of all, I think it’s a well researched piece that got reprinted in The Japan Times, so obviously it has gotten peer-review praise.

As an aside…where did they find a picture of these 3?! The make is bordering on mamba and the hair, gurl get a hat for those roots. These three are looking a bit unkempt for 2008.

Contested claim 1

However its continuous discussion of the class system and gyaru belonging to the lowermiddle and poor classes is just bogus.

So the Gyaru may no longer be a “trend” like they were in the 1990s but a manifestation of lower middle and working-class fashion values in the market. If this is true, you can expect the look to exist for years to come as long as the split between rich and poor keeps getting steeper.

First of all, how many people ages 18 to 25 are upper middle class? Even college students are the typical eternally broke bunch.  Continous stories are put out about how OLs prefer to leech off their parents so they may buy brand goods and enjoy high-class items while being on a low salary. And those women are over 25 yrs+ (See parasite singles wiki, parasite singles washington post, usa today parasite singles bottom of the story).

The girl in the Washington Post story is 26 and making 26,000 a year. That’s lower middle class! Simply because gyaru and gyaruo are of a lesser age of course they will be classified as such. Just because they do not dress in Otome fashions is simply bunk to classify their look as cheap. I think Mekas confuses the point of wages = cheap look.

Considering a woman with extensions, nails and a tan could be spending upwards of $600.00 a month on her look, there’s nothing cheap or low-class about that! 109 clothes can be cheap, because they’re appealing to a younger audience, not because they are low-class.

Contested claim 2

Mekas also decides that there is gyaru boom in the countryside.

While the Gyaru look is still considered outside of the mainstream, the subculture has become the standard for a large number of rural and working-class girls across Japan. (Tokyo youth seem less interested, even though Shibuya is the shopping hub.)

I have some serious doubts about this one. Personally since I think the farther you are away from the epicenter of a trend, the less connection you are likely to have to it. Although websites like rankuten and girlswalker do well to sell-out their on-line merchandise, I do wonder how much of it comes from the countryside.

Also, I have just not personally seen evidence of this. Honestly, I have not spent much time in the countryside. But when I have been in smaller towns and in the mountains there is a definite lack of gyaru that I see. This comment makes it seem like I would be seeing the opposite.

Mekas does not back up these two claims with data. Yes there is a resurgence and sales data of clothing + magazines can tell you that. However, the reasoning is not backed up.

Tsubasa

Mekas also discusses Tsubasa, and when discussing Tsubasa I have mixed feelings. I think she’s gorgeous and was an adorable model for Popteen during her stay there, but at the same time I question her “graduation” from Popteen as she did it.

When she discovered she was pregnant she decided to “graduate” from Popteen and get married. Of course people spouted pregnancy rumors, but no word was heard from her during her time of pregnancy. She even closed her blog. For me, it seemed like a very Victorian thing to do to seclude oneself during pregnancy. Like it was a shameful thing. Since there is only a tiny stigma about getting knocked up and marrying, I do think Popteen would have kept her. If not, marketing while pregnant could’ve have still worked.

Now she has Rion and POOF is now a galmama. Selling her mama+baby lines for Gilfy and Umeshan’s company Buzz Spunky now has a kids line.

She is a rolemodel so the feeling of “shame” around her pregnancy seemed to only present a bad image. If you contrast it to how Rumi was portrayed in Egg it’s a whole different way. There’s even pics of Rumi in the delivery room, looking not so gal-done.

Having said that, I do still like her and want her products and herself to be popular and cross into the main market.

Mekas while discussing the Shibuya Girls Collection has doubts

They are total unknowns to anyone besides avid Popteen readers. The “star” model of SGC was Tsubasa Masuwaka — a 23 year-old ex-Popteen model and young mother who is big with the kids in Shibuya but has no connection to the mainstream entertainment industry. (She is sometimes featured on TV shows but only in news stories about her marketing power with teens. Despite her popularity, she is not invited to be a cute tarento on quiz shows.)

However in the Gyaru Ressurgence article they discuss her as a new Icon.

Popteen’s main model Tsubasa as the next big opinion leader for youth — the first legitimate heir to Ebihara Yuri. Tsubasa has the Midas Touch in being able to suggest products on her blog and see them sell out days later. Her spokeswoman work for the brand Liz Lisa had put the manufacturer on the map.

 Her big test comes this month with the large branding of Dolly Wink.

Dolly Wink is a cosmetics line from Koji, that offers fake eyelashes, eyelash glue, eyeliner and eyelash cases.

Posters like these are everywhere in Shibuya.
 
The display looks adorable
Fabulous ribbon theme
An eyelash case. Definitely will purchase this. It’s a pain to take care of tons of loose eyelashes around. This was a really clever idea.
All the eyelash lines are up on the Koji site. Love the Sweet Girly style. A possible buy ❤
There’s a special movie on the Koji website about her. One of the things I like about Tsubasa is she has a very real voice. Unlike many female celebreties and staff-chans alike, who have faked their voice to be higher and sweeter, she sounds quite natural. Also great hands-on pictures of her working to develop the line.

Thanksgiving, Saike & Tokyo Guide prt1 McDs

First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who commented on the previous post. I hesitated on posting it because I worried how my statements would be taken, so I really thank the positive and constructive response everyone gave. ❤

Yay Thanksgiving

So those of you in the States are winding up to the family pigfest that is Thanksgiving. But, sadly there is no Thanksgiving in Japan, so 20 expats are forced to huddle together and eat a potluck Thanksgiving in honor. It’s downright impossible to find turkey in Japan unless you’re ordering on-line, so we dealt with chicken surrounded by all the goodness of cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatos, and pumpkin pie. A German, some Japanese, a Canadian Native and two Swedes also came to the event.

Blurry but there’s me in the back
In my local 7-11 on October 31 started stocking Christmas cakes. Tokyo Disney World already had Christmas trees up when I went on Halloween. It’s surreal, the fall holiday season is unknown here, except for MARON gentei items. Which is chestnut (thanks Anon!), and gentei meaning seasonal.

Saike Saikou!
After the Thanksgiving celebration I headed to the Tokyo Next Gen psychedelic trance event featuring Gataka and Zikimoto as well as Ace. Ace decided to schedule a dj week where he played Friday his usual Rebel night at Atom, then take a plane to Fukuoka and dj at the Soul Japan release event, and then fly back Sunday and dj at the Tokyo Next Gen. I saw him play both Friday and Sunday and all I can say is the man looks like he’ll be having a massive hangover for a week.
Sigh Ace is awesome, I will miss hearing him play when I head back to the states. Sunday was my last time >_< More on Ace on the OraOra article coming up, so stay tuned!
I didn’t know cameras were legal at the event, so you have to settle for LQ camera phone pics >_< The djs were great, I got pretty drank, and everyone was nice and sharing their alcohol. I was the only foriegner that I could spot other than the djs and 2 of their security. It was quite surreal. ^_^;;
The crazy venue which had a giant screen playing psychedelic videos and the half-circle the djs played in.
DJ Ace in the center of Zikimoto. *happy sigh*
Half of Zikimoto working the tables
Gataka rockin’ out. If you haven’t listened to them, they’re recommended!
Me and a girl I was drinking with. It was 5:00 and we were both suitably gone.
Tokyo Guide: Centaagai – McDonalds
Throughout the month I’ll be working to be your tourist guide around gal places and fun things to do in Tokyo. Hopefully if you make a trip you’ll be thoroughly informed where to go.
The big crossroads on a rainy day
The Centaagai McDonalds is centrally located in the big crosssection. So of course it’s a destination for gals, but more than that it’s a great place to people watch. The 2nd floor smoking area is where you’ll find most of the gyaruo and gyaru. Mostly they’re highschool age, since McDonalds is of course cheap. On the 2nd floor there’s a great row of seats where you can look down at Centaagai and people watch to your hearts content.
The great view.
Since you’re in Japan and at a McDonalds, try the Shaka Shaka Chicken. It’s on the 100 yen menu and delicious!
The smoking area closes at 8:30 so be sure to get your watching on until then ^_^

GAL: Guide + vision

Someone asked for a getting into GAL guide and here’s my take on one.

 Okay I know this is going to have many arguable points, and some may dismiss this post. Feel free to, I hope you enjoy the rest of the Doll if so. My intent is not ruffle feathers, but direct this at those who are new to gal looks and need a push.

My vision of gal follows five simple points

1. Gal is a fashion movement. End of story. Yes there are many activities that are gal related, but it is first and foremost a fashion movement.

2. Gal is constantly evolving. The look you followed last year might look terribly dated on the Tokyo streets. Yes some trends continue on, but a big trend tends to date itself. Mamba are dead, hold a funeral, move onto the now.

3. Gal must be constantly improved. Your look is an kinetic being, meaning you must be constantly changing to strive to find the best look within the fashion.

4. Gal is broad. BROAD! Even if you exclude the two extremes of b-kei gal (hiphop gal) and hime gal (princess gal) you are dealing with a broad spectrum of style preferences.

5. Gal is NOT cosplay. It’s not a costume, it’s a way of fashion life for many women. Women who work extremely hard to get the effect they want. Women who have often made life-changing choices to work in retail instead of college, or be nailist, do hair etc… Unlike the US where it is easy to go back to college, it is just not the case in Japan. These women have chosen a lifetime of possibly minimum wage jobs because they changed their fashion. To play it as a costume is just downright rude.

Second of all, ANYONE can enjoy gal fashion and pull off a gal look.

It is my hobby and obsession to people watch. As a self-confessed shopaholic, I am constantly shopping off of people’s looks this especially stands true to gals. Break down the barriers you have about only Asians can “do gal” or blond is the only gal, or larger sized women can’t do gal. BULLSHIT!

Sorry for the language, but this is just absolutely untrue. I have seen some of the bigger sized girls in Tokyo pull off spectacular looks and in my experience these also do amazing hair. I have seen tiny girls fail like they tumbled out of their closet. I have seen many foreign gals do great looks. And no I am not the be-all-end-all of taste, but neither are you.

Yes the gals in the magazines are tiny, the average BMI of a Japanese model is 16. 2 pips below a healthy weight, which means one big flu and their body organs could give out. Not to mention the heart problems later on in life. Yes many gals have blonde or light hair, but the damage is obscene to your hair and many pull off black better.

Step one: buy a ton of current gal magazines

Or find the ways via the glorious internet to read them. It’s best to pick a small selection of magazines you like. These will become your bible. Without proper access to 109 and shops putting website items often later than in stores, these are the most current pieces you have without stepping into a store.

Nuts, Egg, Blenda, Jelly, S Cawaii, Popteen, Ranzuki, Ageha and others all provide their style direction in different looks.

Personally I currently enjoy: Ageha, Nuts and Jelly as my main reads. Since Ageha lends itself to Agejo, Nuts to more of a Celeb-rock look and Jelly to a casual Adult style each can combine to form a look.

Devour the looks in these magazines, judge for yourself what is editorial (aka something made to look cool for the magazine) and something designed for everyday. An example of this would be ex-Popteen model Tsubasa Matsuwaka’s bow from last year.

An example from the Tokyo Girls Collection
Yet thankfully no one took the giant bow look to the streets. Instead smaller bows were used to provide the doll effect.
Seperate types of gal
Yes there are more types of gal, but 
Haadi/Electro – Brand JSG, Ed Hardy, Galaxxy
Erokawaii – Brand One*Spo, Mar*s
Oneegyaru – Brand Cecil McBee, Egoist, Duras
Rock-kei – Brand Glad News, Gilfy
Oraorakei – Brand tutuha, Heaven and Earth
Doll – brand Delyle, Honey Bunch, Liz Lisa
Hime – brand Jesus Diamante
B-gyaru – brand LB-03, Baby Shoop
Agejo – brand Mar*s, Lip Service
Ame-kaji – brand Cocolulu, Shake Shake, Vanquish
these are the main ones I see day-to-day. If it’s not on the list it’s possibly dying. (yes there are kogals but they are schoolgirls in Japan, I am doubting who is reading this is either.)
Start an I love this board or list
Through Polyvore or just a simple cork board at home, cut out your inspirational looks and study from them. Judge what could craft an outfit best. If you’re less the collage type, a list can help although not as visual. Also you can use booknote Post-its to refer back in your magazines of what you like.
This should be your time to narrow your style. Often the more you solidify the kei you enjoy and style direction you choose, you can be more effective inside of that genre.
Be a fashion editor to your closet
Which current items do you see in  your closet that can be used for gal? I am betting you will find some. A chunky winter scarf, some skinny jeans, a loose tee, some leggings. Scrounge together what you feel echos the current trends. (See fall trends to check if you have any looks)
edit: malignita’s lovely Steal this Look on kogal_panel can also help American gals learn to use American stores to fit a gal mystique.
Gals identify each other through aesthetics

This may be a little too sociological, but it’s more do your nails, eyebrows, eyelashes, general make and hair echo a gal mentality.
Nails: Magazines put out a nail guide and some are quite intricate, however if you stick to getting acrylic fakes with color and some stones you will find yourself doing it right. Or learn a skill and do them yourself.
Hair: Gals have a set color range. Yes it changes seasonally, but there’s a range of browns, blondes, reds (orenji as they call it) and such that are acceptable. Consider which of these colors looks good on your skintone (ask for beauty advice from pros) and go for it! I do not think moving into gal exists without a hair change.
Tanning: While for some its not popular such as Hime or Agejo, judging by the chocolate and caramel legs I am seeing this winter still tanning is very in. As an extremely pale person I’ve noticed that when I tan ungal Japanese often put my in the gal category even when my hair might be simple or such.
Make-up: Please please go back and read Gal Mori and then we’ll talk. Eyelashes are such a boom lately. It’s hard not to see girls in 109 that do not have extensions (my shopstaff Kie does them) or fake ones (Mai, Yuuna and other shopstaff I know prefer this). MAC is beloved by gals and gals often work there. Head to MAC and get yourself some of their quality foundations and eyeliner.
Please please DO NOT follow the make-up guides step by step in Japanese magazines if you’re not-Asian. Why? Your face has different contour and depth. Japanese gal magazines proclaimed 2007 as the year of looking like a gaijin (I kid you not). 2009 is now apparently by SCawaii the year of the haafu (half-Japanese half-gaijin).  Those of us not Asian, we are already contoured in such ways. Overusing contour make-up can lead to horrid results. Yes white and black and hispanic and arabic and etc… benifit from shading and highlighting, but in different areas.
Get yourself style icons: Pic the model you love from your magazine and study her look. Pic a few and mix to your liking.

Accessorize: I have often seen many western girls fall flat because of their lack of accessories. No I do not mean to get all creepy decora on me. Although a necklace, a belt, a hair accessory can often be the maker to a bold look.
Spend time
Make YOU your BOOM. Gals do not just wake up with eye make put on and clothes perfectly arranged. It is work, WORK!!! Lazy isn’t a word you have in your vocab. I recently was talking to a very sweet DIA shopstaff girl with amazing hair. I asked her how long it took and she said around 5 hours. That was just on her hair. So she possibly woke up at 4:00 in the morning or earlier to start her routine.
Kaji (meaning casual) of any sort is NOT LAZY! It is often tons of time spent to LOOK casual. Do not associate kaji and yuru (loose styles) with laziness. This is simply not the case. Effective kaji is extremely thoughtful and you might find these girls took the same time on their look as high-maintence Agejos.
Also you cannot do gal halfway. Especially as a gaijin, from my experiences we have to try harder to get past perceptions that Japanese people have of foriegners and also show we can enjoy gal fashion just as well.  Even if you are living back in your home country. Go hard or go home, simple as that.
Be humble and improve yourself.
We ALL can improve within how we want to portray ourselves.  We also all started out from 0, so remember yourself at the beginning and then consider others. My mother always said if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all. Sometimes this should be the code of gals. My experiences with Japanese gals, this is mostly the case. Instead highlight the positives of yourself and others.

Love Hotels

Hotel Little Chapel in Osaka (more pics below)
Love Hotels, the why

When I lived in Koenji (a commuter train station on the Chuo Line in Tokyo) my bed creaked, my walls were thin and I have a steady man. So I went to a love hotel, since then I’ve gone to a few and think they’re a fun experience.
This is also the common reason for a lot of people who use love hotels. Either they live with their parents, or they don’t want to use their tiny apartment and small bed. It doesn’t hurt that two of the big hotel districts are either located in Kabukicho (near all the host clubs) or in Shibuya (near all the regular clubs), so they are expressly conveint for casual sex. 
Be safe!
While sexually infectious diseases are common, there is not the scare or STD and AIDS awareness that exists in America (1 in 17 Shibuya teens have contracted an STD). So condom use is often spare. Men often don’t carry protection, so ladies should always carry condoms if they are considering sex.
Love Hotels, the how
There are a few english language websites discussing love hotels. However they are often not updated and many have closed.
Love Hotels are hotels set up to accept stay time (usually 2-3 hours) or overnight time. While I talked about the flashy hotels near clubs there are also business style love hotels located on the outskirts of big cities so salarymen with companions may drive in for privacy and atmosphere.
A business style Hotel Angelic in Tennouji, Osaka
Love Hotels often get a lot of English-language press because of their themes. Notoriously in Osaka there used to be Hotel Adonis with a famed Hello Kitty S&M room. (more fantasy hotel pics here) This place has since closed down and is now a simple Love Hotel.
The sad exterior of Hotel Candy Hall where Hotel Adonis used to stand.

There are still themed hotels around and S&M style hotels (hotel Phain is currently still running) that are more used as a kink playspace instead of an actual getting-down love hotel. Instead now love hotel rooms range some simple to stylish with the theme only extending as far as the entryway.

Love Hotel, the how-to
Hotel Little Chapel, one of Osaka’s best known ones.
More from Little Chapel in Namba, Osaka
Hotel Mickey Cookies in Osaka
plus: cute exterior and they gave you a tiny cup to fill with candy to take to your room
minus: super tiny rooms
In all love hotels I’ve been to they have a board showcasing all the rooms, ones available are lit up. On the weekends its common to see only 3 rooms available or less. You either press the button below your choice or take out a card. Sometimes you had this to a clerk and during the night you often pay through a keypad at your room. More Japanese language is required for the keypad version, but generally when the keypad pay style is not involved you need 0 knowledge of Japanese to work out a love hotel.
As mentioned before you can choose short time stay or overnight. There are often restrictions that you can only do short stay before 11 or 12. Usually this corresponds to last train.
Love Hotels are not just a bed for sex, but often several fun options. One I went to in Kabukicho had a giant jacuzzi tub made for 3 people to sit comfortably in. One I went to also had a sort of blow up wedge to try out different errmmm ideas <_< ;;

Some hotels have food or sex toy orders. All I have been to have karaoke attached to their tv system. Mostly it’s Japnese songs with 3 pages of older tunes to sing. It’s a blast to do in private and considering the price of night-time karaoke for 3 hours its not such a bad alternative. 

Warning: Unlike American hotels and regular Japanese hotels, who shove the porn channels to one side of the programming. Love hotel tv’s programming of regular tv and porn is indescriminate so you may flip channels and get: news / porn / drama / porn / regular movie / porn


Some love hotels provide lube and condoms, while others just provide condoms. All offer the bare toiletries you would find in a regular hotel. 

The inside of a Kabukicho love hotel room
  chandelier over the bed ^_^v

Actual bed set up with lubes
Bar and TV to the far left are the mics for karaoke
Lighting controls from the bed
Classy tea set-up
All toiletries provided at this one
Their lube selection. Lube in Japan is called lotion, so make sure you don’t start using this as moisterizer >_<
Actual massage lotion located next to the jacuzzi

So enjoy, and play safe ^_^

Nails = Happiness

For me there is no greater happiness ATM than looking at my nails. I know it sounds silly, but I’m so happy with them!

Love my nailist ❤

I made an appointment at Carry for 4:00 on Saturday and it ended up lasting til 8:30. My nailist was a total trooper. We’re both suffering through allergy attacks, although mine improved hers was sniffly. The girl was running on little sleep, but she still was ultra-genki. A lot of the customer gals sit quietly, or chat for a few seconds before looking at their phone in sort of an im-too-cool-to-talk mode.

But my nailist is a chatterbox and I love chatting, too so it was perfect. We were chatting from everything from Mexican paramilitary which led to Noripi, and then to boys, Exile and future dreams.

My  genki nailist, in Glad News ❤
 She had 2toned Egg Model Kanako’s type hair
One of the nailboard selections in the way background.

For her, like many women in Japan her future dream is to become a wife. As a woman with future long-term career goals, and much too American-ized in my thinking, it’s just not my endgame. I have a long term man and I’m very happy, but endgame? >_<

I kept taking pics for my blog and we kept having this running conversation about it:

Her: so what does your blog talk about?
Me: Uhhh enjoying gyaruness in Japan
Her: Oooo

Her (10 mins later): I wanna see your blog
Me: but but it’s in English
Her: but but I can learn

hehehe she is ❤

The pieces

The rock print inspiration

I came in with this Chanel-inspired design and then poof all these sets of nails were laying around so of course I changed my mind. Carry is evil for this, I rarely leave with what I came in wanting. However, it’s not a bad thing, just too much sensory overload of catalogs and pre-done sets on boards to look at to not have a stirring of change. ^_^;;

I saw the butterflies done in purple on another nail set. It was very “wa” and possibly meant for yukata wearing matsuri times. However it felt so Ageha, that I had to have it done and we found the good rock print matching.

The final product: Rock Ageha nails

Butterflies! They’re actually each four separate pieces each made by acrylic and painted on the spot to order.
Yes the stones are giant. I can barely put my ring on (lol)

The crazy horrorshow of post airbrushing black

I had such a good time at Carry and I can’t recommend them enough. They’re all so cheerful and really warm when you get to know them. I always enjoy myself there.

Bonus shot: Another nailist’s Brit Rock nails
I would’ve shown my nailist’s wintery plaid nails, but her hands were messy post nail time. The nailists all have gone longer and gorgeous with their own nails at the Shibuya Carry.

I came, I saw, I shopped.

After not doing a shopping post in a while it’s downright intimidating to show how much I went crazy on. It got instantly cold here in Tokyo so I felt the need to stock up on winter pieces. And I did… ^_^;;

Disney

My purchases from my trip to Tokyo Disney Sea.

Washcloth and bathing headband
The cute headband
Halloween mask and blinky ring
(everyone at Disney wears a hair accessory hat/plushie/mask)
Marie passcase and hairbow ❤ Marie
Glad News
I thought GN was going to have a horrid winter judging by their early releases, but I was happily wrong. Love all their fun prints!
New leopard fake fur coat w hoodie!!
Pic from the GN site
They finally got this comfy sweatshirt dress back in! Luvs it
 
Love this crazy faux multilayered hoodie
On with hotpants from Ascent Gem
This and the shirt below was 2 for $40
GN shirt and new skirt from Zara
Crazy print close-up
More skull love from GN and plaid shirt from Zara
Zara
Lately I’ve been really liking some Zara pieces. Since it’s in Centaagai a lot of gals shop there.
 Along with the plaid shirt and leopard skirt I got this combo
Shorts + shirt for $40.00
Black damage shorts seem to be really trending ATM
Lip Service
Continuing their excellent Winter!
My new leather “rider” jacket from Lippy. Love the high collar
Catalog pic (one on the left)
Leopard scarf, sigh I keep buying so much leopard ^_^;;;
Pretty lavendar onepiece and accessories
Party bag and digicam case with detachable strap
Tutuha
My first purchase from tutuHA! A giant stud belt bag ❤
…I love winter clothes!!

Cecil McBee’s Winter Catalog ’09

I picked up Cecil McBee’s Winter Catalog sold at bookstores and conbinis. It’s 920 yen, but you’re gauranteed a scarf (of decent quality) so I took the plunge and got a cute hot pink scarf. The Winter Catalog with its moniker “The Brilliant Lady” is more OL and Oujousama themed than Gal leaning. However the clothes are pretty and the coat selection looks lovely as always. Previous Fall 09 catalog here 

Their catalog even lends itself to more crazy with a 25000 yen Swarovski iphone case in a Cecil McBee logo and car accessories.

50 pages of it for you, so I will not be posting all. You can download all 50 pages in a handy zip at mediafire.

So what do you think about their Winter looks and what would you buy?
And bonus points if you noticed Egg models and twins NoriTae ❤