A Place where Eccentricity and Bizarreness is the Norm - My Family Travels

In the midst of the bustling city of Tokyo, the largest city in the world, you might see flying streaks of fluorescent pink, deep purple, or neon yellow hair. More often than not, the hair is teased up into some variation of a mohawk. The outfits: bright, semi-gothic dresses paired with impossibly tall heels, making the person resemble nothing short of a living Victorian china doll. Like Alice followed the white rabbit, you might find yourself trailing after these whimsical people…and step right into, well, Wonderland itself.

             Welcome to Harajuku, where if you’re not blanketed in lace, fur and bright patterns, you stand out. A place where eccentricity and bizarreness is the norm.  A place where the fashion is light years ahead of the rest of the world. For example, when I went there three years ago, everyone was wearing baby doll dresses, which, in my opinion, made them look like colorful muffins. Not exactly the most flattering look, I thought. The fashion trend last year in the US? Baby doll dresses.   

            No big surprise there.  

            I guess what’s so fantastic about Harajuku is the fact that the phrase “anything goes” can only be applied here. Imagine the most ridiculous outfit you’ve seen and multiply it by about a thousand and you get a typical Harajuku teen. Even though I have visited Harajuku every year since I was ten, I am still awestruck by the people. Half the time I wonder how they can even stand up straight, let alone walk with all those accessories weighing them down, not to mention the seven inch high heels. Harajuku doesn’t need neon lights to like up its street, unlike Ginza or Shinjuku; the hair and outfits do it all.

            For 365 days, the place is a permanent street of Halloween, minus the candy of course. Every Sunday without fail, high school teenagers — and adult who still think they are kids — gather to put on a cosplay (costume play) parade. Harajuku is probably the only place where you’d see Hello Kitty rubbing elbows with the Joker while parading next to an anime school girl.

            I don’t really know why these teens do it. To escape the daily realities? To be ridiculous because you can get away with it? Because they love to perform and be in the spotlight? For fun?

            I met a girl in the bathroom one Sunday who was changing into her costume, a black dress with enormous wings erupting from the back. She had snuck out of her house to participate in the cosplay and her parents didn’t have a clue. I got the courage to ask her why she does it.

             “It’s our culture,” she replied smiling, and left to flaunt her costume in the crowded street that she had come to call her home every Sunday.  

             I finally understood.

            Harajuku is a street ruled by teens. It’s their Wonderland. 

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