Category: DJ on the Road

Here is where I write about any of my holidays I like to take

My Holiday to Boracay

So, it’s been awhile since I’ve updated here, it is winter and the holidays have been and gone, so after a month of taking it ‘easy ish’, it’s back to the grind and back to work! But first I guess I should do a quick low down of my trip to Boracay for my short ass winter vacation.

 Passport and Boarding Pass

So, given I have taken a lot of time off DJ’n this year and given I spent a shit load of cash the last few months, I decided to not take any days off this time round, so my holiday window ended up being very small, left Sunday morning, and come back Wednesday evening in time for NYE… Ah how things never quite go to plan. So arriving there, well, the airport was about as bad as the runway, small and ill equipped. My hotel annoyingly was unable to provide a transfer (yet has one leaving the hotel to the airport… go figure) so went with the common option of the tour group/bus (can’t remember their name but it seems everyone uses them, it’s the budget option…) and yeah, really regret that, the trip itself was ok, but the wait for the bus to fill up (an hour) the stop over at some shitty bus stop/cafe (30mins) the pissing around at the port (30-45mins) just killed it for me, esp given the trip going back from the hotel was barely 2 hours, the whole way! This was closer to 5 hours… and it just made me tired, by the time I arrived at the hotel, it was dark and I just wanted to sleep. Got room service, basic food options that were really shit to be honest then crashed.

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Next day woke up early and had breakfast. The hotel/resort is a really nice place, has a bunch of villa style buildings housing the rooms scattered on either side of the mountains and golf course and looks very different to the rest of the Island. After breakfast I headed down to D-mall to check out the lay of the land, the beach, restaurants, clubs, shops etc and get some stuff from the supermarket.

Station 2 Boracay

After a few hours walking around it was back to the hotel and a whole afternoon chilling by the pool. One thing I noticed was there was staff, everywhere! It was kind of strange, it even seemed as if their families were there… The next thing I noticed was there was also Koreans, everywhere!!

Fairways Infinity Pool

Anyways the pool was really nice, was windy as hell on the beach but the pool was nicely sheltered, had a feed pool side and just relaxed, even had my towel stolen by a Korean girl who picked up the wrong one… (Even thou it was obvious it wasn’t hers… useless, even the pool side attendant cracked up and shook his head… Korean travelers huh lol) anyways afterwards went back to my room and chilled for a few hours before venturing down to D-mall to grab a feed and check out the nightspots. The feed was good but the service was rubbish with a smile, something I have come to expect in most Asian countries, they mean well but it really is nothing but organized chaos that works to a point, once that point is reached, it falls apart spectacularly. I mean sure, from local restaurants I don’t expect that kind of service you would expect in the west and it’s nice to dine in that more of a relaxed atmosphere but from upscale places that pass themselves off as quality service etc and restaurants at 5 star resorts, I expect a hell of a lot more than I often get. As for the food itself, I did stay away from the local cuisine, mainly because things like big ass steaks were cheap and Phillapino food is best cooked at someones house!

 Steak Feed at Epic

Anyways, the clubs, well it is kind of what you would expect, a smattering of night spots that are half bars, half that student style, loud get drunk with a couple of more ‘up market’ spots and a whole lot of in-between, there was a really nice balance. Most of the DJs were rocking laptops on what often looked like ‘worn’ gear (I can only imagine at how much it costs there to get good gear over there) The skill level was mediocre at best, I didn’t get to hear too many DJs but from what I did hear, I wasn’t impressed, a few were ok, playing out standard residency style sets with just standard mixing, a couple were terrible, jumping all over the place with little thought or effort put in and others were just chilled playing good tunes for the atmosphere. Anyways ended up chillin at one spot for a while and then headed home around 2ish. Good end to a good day.

 Fairways New Coast

The next day I was planning to go wind surfing, and finally managed to head out in the afternoon, the weather was total rubbish but managed to get a good lesson in and get the basics mastered, thou it didn’t help when switched instructors towards the end, the first dude was the owner and obviously knew what he was on about and he just made sense (he was Eastern European, forgot what country he was from) but he had to do some stuff so got given their normal instructor, a Philippino dude… my god, that dude made no sense, at all! Total fail! Anyways, had a good afternoon in what most would say were atrocious conditions (meh like a normal windy Welly day lol) and headed back to grab a feed and chill out at another restaurant, went back to my hotel room, was planning to head out but ended up crashing, thank god I did! Little did I know how much I was going to need that extra sleep energy the following day!!

 NZ Sheep

So my trip home, those who read my FB will already know the story, to make it brief, my flight was at 3.40, got to the airport at 2ish, checked in only to find out my flight had been delayed by oh, only 8 hours… hmm ok I can deal with that, looked around the airport to figure out basically all the flights had been delayed (the weather at this stage was fine… but the day before some idiot slid their plane off the runway closing the airport down) So vip lounge was full, I went across the road and chilled in a cafe all arvo/evening, when time came for my flight, delayed even longer, with no information about it at all, basically it left at 6am in the morning after hours of no information then finally getting a boarding call yet the plane was full when I got on it (guess I missed the Korean only boarding call) then waited another hour while paper work was being done… Seriously, again, shit service with a smile, Kalibo airport was a fucking slum with no one having a clue what was going on and no information being relayed at all. Total bullshit! I could write a lot more but meh, over it now, wouldn’t have minded if it wasn’t for the bullshit way they treated us. Anyways, in the end 26 hours later after leaving my hotel room I finally walked thru my door, missing my set for NYE and I think the first time ever I missed a set like that at the last minute (had a close call once with a flight delay but still made it with hours to spare) So that didn’t really sit well with me either. But at least I made it back and tried to enjoy the last few days of my holiday before going back to the grind.

 Stuck in the Airport on NYE

So that’s it, my lovely winter vacation… will be thinking twice before going back to the Philippines again after that experience, basically that is the reason I hate flying on cheap ass airlines to small ass airports!

My Holiday to Taipei

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Taipei is a pretty nice city, very green and settled in what I believe used to be a lake bed till it drained out thousands of years ago (I think there is still some remnants of the water towards the center of the city, but if your that interested, Wikipedia and Google!) Anyways my trip got off to a stella start with being upgraded to business class on my flight, got to love that, the reason thou being over booked is a bit of a fail… but apparently airlines do this to cover themselves in case of changes or cancelations… I’m guessing last min ones but still, it can be a risk, but in my case it was a gain.

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Arrive in Taipei and wholly shit is it hot there, but the first thing I notice is how clear the sky is and how green it is, kind of puts Seoul to shame really. After checking in at the hotel I decided to check out Taipei 101 since its close to my hotel and not sure what my next 2 days will entail so thought might as well bang it out early. Easy enough to get there, the place is really modern and has that feel to it, however it is def off set by all the 100’s of tourists floating around, and since it was a Sunday, screaming shit kids. The wait to get on the elevator going up was maybe 30-40mins so not too bad given the elevator ride to the top only takes all of only 40 seconds and the view at the top is def worth it.

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Taipei is a funny city in that it doesn’t have a huge amount of high buildings or a big concentration of them in a single area so 101 really stands out (almost comically if you wana be a stink guy about it) The view at the top and seeing the mountains surrounding the city is really something. The tower itself is nothing overly special, well it is but as far as towers go they all have their own little something. 101 has this huge ass swinging ball as a wind dampener (cue dirty jokes) but it is an impressive structure and if it wasn’t so tourist heavy the surrounding/adjacent mall and facilities would be much more bearable. I wanted to eat there but yeah nah, waaay to busy so ended up getting a feed from a place close to my hotel that sold NZ beef, score! and dam, the price of food is really cheap

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So on to my second day, was meant to meet up with my friend but didn’t hear from so decided to first go check out a popular anime spot I had read about under Taipei Main Station, well its not actually under the station, its close to it thou (ill post specific directions in another post) but it quickly became apparent that a lot of shopping in Taipei is located underground almost directly following the subway lines, the mall here wasn’t huge, but looooong! and that was only the part I checked out. As far as toys go, they (and it seems everyone else) is miles ahead of Korea… weird but my guess is Korea is still on that whole anti Japanese buzz could be the reason… But I digress, there was many small shops rocking mostly One Piece, Hatsune Miku, Gundam and various other popular anime products, but not many of the less popular ones as expected. I was surprised to see some old G1 transformers floating around. After grabbing a feed here I decided to check out Xmien, the main ‘trendy’ shopping district, similar to Harajuku in Japan, and it is very similar but I did notice that the same local brands tended to show up in most places, it did however make a nice change from seeing immigrant Nigerians (or whatever country) peddling their bullshit gears. The area consists of maybe 4 blocks by 4 blocks space worth of shops, lots of stuff tucked away in small places but the best spot to check out is the department store, well its not really a department store, its just a big ass building fill to the brim with a heap of really good shops, kicks, clothes and anime, winning! Anyways I ended up spending most of the day shopping and by the time I rocked back to the hotel, it was food and crash while deciding what the hell to do on my next day…

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I really didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I decided to go to the zoo, i thought about doing the temples and museums etc but honestly there is too much associated history that I know nothing about so doing those sites kind of felt pointless (I wasn’t in the mood to learn either) so I decided the zoo would be great since it is a well known zoo, and I have never seen Pandas before! So after lunch I headed out to the zoo, so easy to get to, just jump on the subway (side note, the subway system there is really good, clean and efficient) It was a little tricky at first to figure out how to plan my zoo trip since there was no real guides at the entry but I figured it out pretty quickly and started making my way thru the different sections checking out the animals. Now I love animals, I think they are so amazing and beautiful, so seeing them in a zoo is both a pleasure and depressing at the same time. Feeling happy that I can see these amazing animals but depressing that I cant see them wild and free in their natural habitat because humans are basically heartless, greedy fucktards.

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First stop was the Pandas, I want one! But my god, their enclosure was just depressing, I felt so sorry for them. The line was pretty big, but the cueing line for when it gets really busy was insane, I would hate to hit there during a weekend, i was there on a Tuesday arvo, it might be holidays at the moment, I’m not sure who is and who isn’t on holiday but you can be sure weekends are stay away times. Anyways after the pandas I steadily made my way from the bottom up to the top of the valley which the zoo is nestled in, they have done well with the space they have, but as always, more is better. I really enjoyed my time at the zoo, however, people, control your fucking children! I could see quite a few people getting really pissed off with how some of the kids were acting and I was beginning to get the same way too, poor animals, having to live with that shit everyday, its bad enough they are stuck in cages…

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After the zoo i decided to head up the gondola after hearing/reading it was worth the trip, yup it was! the ride is maybe 30mins of nothing but spectacular views all the way to the top where you kind of just get dumped in a hillside community that’s famous for its tea houses. I looked around for one that would have a good view of the sunset and found one that was pretty much perfect, funny that the lady beckoned my to come in but I had every intention of going there. I was surprised how quiet it was but I guess it was a weekday. Anyways had some fresh tea (im not a tea person but it tasted good0 and had some wild chicken, that ended up being waaay bigger than I thought it would be, but at any rate I got to enjoy an awesome sunset. Headed back down and made my way back to the hotel to crash again after a long ass weekend! Kind of failed with my flight time, need to remember to coincide my flight time with my check out time.

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My Holiday to Shanghai

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So, 4 days in Shanghai, well all I can say is Shanghai is one of the most interesting cities I have seen, mainly because of the buildings and the huge difference and contrasts in architecture shown throughout the city. It really is extreme in some cases, not uncommon to see multi-million dollar sky rises or heritage styles sights right next to a run down slum of apartment buildings. The city itself is seemingly still under going massive change, which is evident by the multitude of construction sites littered across the city, places being completely cleared (slums etc) and new buildings being put in. The Bund seriously looks like it should be in England, but then on the opposite side of the water you have that typical Asian skyline with big tall sky scrappers and lots of neon lights. It really must be an architects dream to check this city out.

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So, as for me, well first day got in, had a look around my local area, I was staying at the Renaissance Shanghai Yu Garden hotel which is right next to Yu Garden which is a pretty famous tourist trap with some stunning buildings in what is an impressive market place. The hotel itself was awesome, fully recommend staying there, the rooms are decent sized, the staff are very friendly and helpful, the pool is trippy and even has a decent fitness center, and the food there is pretty good too. Didn’t do much sat night, I was thinking of going to check out one of the clubs, but after reading some stuff online about it, I decided not to, didn’t feel like going to an over packed nightclub since I was already tired so crashed out

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The next 2 days were spent shopping and looking around the city trying to find things. On the first day I didn’t do much research, I had already heard Nanjing Road was meant to be this impressive shopping mecha so thought I would end up spending half my day there then head to one of the bigger shopping malls… Well that was a fail, seriously, Nanjing road is rubbish, all it is was your usual international shopping brands all packed into a few malls scattered down a pedestrian st (some pretty big ass malls thou) Its basically the same shit you can find anywhere in the world. It is worth taking a walk up and down to see the thousands of people doing the same thing, everyone just ends up taking pictures of the big buildings and malls and doesn’t seem like anyone actually buys anything. Its more like a mall shopping district than a market style one. I did get lucky thou and found a store that sold some anime clothing, but it was really kiddy style, except for a couple of Hoodies I picked up that were neutral enough to not look too childish. Went to the super brand mall and fared no better there so ended up heading back to my hotel and jumped online for some serious research… Walked a long ass distance too

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Which leads me to day 2, after looking online I managed to track down some stores to check out. Had about 6 places to check out, Mostly nestled in between Hauihai Road and Nanjing Road, it is actually a big ass area thou if you have a map and street addresses, things can be found easily enough. My success rate on the stores thou was pretty low, but luckily I did find some other stores along here that were worth checking out, but only a handful that I was really interested in, mostly located along Changle Road (which stretches a dam long way, with a few side streets that also have stuff too, but mostly fashion for women, seriously, if your a female and want to shop in shanghai, go to this area!) At the end of the day, ended up picking up only 3 T-shirts. After all that dam walking, I was kind of annoyed lol

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So, after the fail of the previous 2 days, this day was a day for sightseeing, first up was off to the Graffiti walls I had randomly come across about online, a big long stretch located up by Shanghai Railway Station (I’ll post specifics with the photos I took in another post) There was some good pieces up there, but a lot of them looked pretty old which was a shame, but it is worth a look. After that, I had a quick look around Yu Garden shopping area, finally found some anime stuff on sale (had searched what felt like half the dam city lol) But it was limited (esp by the language barrier because I have a feeling one of the places is a small store that has a bigger online store, more about that in another post) I did however managed to pick up a couple of things I wanted so that was good! Next it was on to the Big Bus sightseeing ‘tour’ which is an open top double decker bus that takes you around the city, its ok but the drivers still drive like regular bus drivers so you end up flying past a lot of stuff (ill also mention how totally fucked up China is when it comes to road rules later too, needles to say I saw one dude get knocked the fuck out by a scooter as he was walking across a green light…) The tour comes with a couple of options, either just the bus, or a couple of add on’s, I took the river cruise and tourist tunnel add on. DO NOT DO THE TOURIST TUNNEL! It is the biggest waste of time ever, total rubbish! The cruise was pretty good, thou a bit of a mickey mouse affair getting there, then having to wait outside, we got a free meal which wasn’t mentioned so that was nice, however I had to deal with pushy fucking people while waiting for my food, seriously, some people are just straight dam rude, it was a buffet dinner, and seriously, it was like a pack of ravenous wolves trying to get in there… Most of them were Chinese, and older too (thou a couple of the young ones were just as bad… seriously…) Apart from that and the annoying people taking photos on the top deck, the cruise was pretty good, some amazing views! But kind of wished I had taken a more ‘upscale’ boat where people have some dam manners!

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Well the cruise ended and again jumped on a bus to get taken back to the Bund (the cruise started way down river and did a loop going up and back) and then headed back to the hotel to have some food and relax before packing up my stuff and crashing. Overall it was a good trip, had enough time to not only shop but also explore the city, didn’t do everything, skipped most of the temples, but apart from that managed to see a lot of different things while also getting some relaxation and down time in too. Not sure if I’ll head back there again unless if it is to perform but definitely an awesome city.

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My Japan Excursion Pt.3 – Mugiwara

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Well since I am a bit of a One Piece fan I decided to give it it’s own section, thou it will be kind of short. Anyways, OP is one of the most popular running manga’s maybe of all time, and its been around for years, the manga consistently sells strongly and the anime itself is up to episode 650 ish and it is unlikely that it will slow down with many fans all over the world, so what better for any fan than to check out the Mugiwara store located in Shibuya

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The store is located on the top floor of Parco mall, it is easy enough to find if you have a map, the first time I went to japan I literally just stumbled upon it, lucky this time I knew where to go and it was actually my first point in call, since its pretty easy to get to from Shibuya station and from there its only a short walk across to Harajuku

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The store itself is really like any other fan store, it has some life size figures, theme music blaring and of course all your little bits and pieces related to OP, but mainly things like souvenirs, a few clothes, stickers, key chains, cups, posters and things of this nature, they have a few toys but not that many, if you want to find OP related toys and figures your actually better off going either online or to Akihabara (or a big name store) as this store is really geared more towards the souvenir side of things (thou you can find a couple of limited edition toys there)

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Anyways, it is still worth visiting, you will likely come away with something you like, prices seems reasonable enough and the location is good, there is also a few other stores related to anime in the same building too.

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There is one place I did miss on my trip there and that’s Nakano Broadway, which in hindsight is a place I really should have gone to, it has tons of second hand anime stores in there as well as plenty of shops selling new stuff. But reading around it seems they don’t have much new exclusive stuff but if your looking for my retro stuff this is the place to go.

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Well that’s it for my Tokyo excursion, pretty short I know, but hey, Tokyo is a big ass place and there are many different places where you will find all sorts of things, even when you have a good idea of where to go, there is always that random floor of some shopping mall that will have stuff you didn’t even know about, or that small side street store with boxes full of figures, if your short on time, hit up the places I have mentioned (and also maybe a jump store, they usually have anime related stuff too and are pretty common) but if you have more time… well good luck!

 

Ps. I had to borrow some photos from google since I didn’t end up taking many myself

My Japan Excursion Pt.2 – Akihabara

Akihabara is like every anime fans dream come true, what was once an electronic district is now arguably the central hub for most anime and manga related products in Japan and it still has a heap of electrics to buy from as well

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The area of Akihabara stretch’s along from the station to the Main Street that has several blocks of stores and side streets filled with shops as well as a few malls, expo center and basically just a heap of stores lined up next to each other that span upwards on multiple floors

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Arcade style game stores
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A few maids

 

The area itself is relatively easy to navigate, all the streets are straight lines and everything is pretty close together, but the shops themselves are pretty small with a lot of stuff jam packed into them.

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A typical store

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There are a few different types of stores that tend to get repeated over and over yet each one does have different things and often varying prices too compared to the other similar shops, while others will tend to specialize slightly in a certain product. There are the cheap electrical product stores selling pcs, camera, phones etc usually tax or duty free, there are the card stores, second hand stores, new toy stores, random toy stores, electrical parts stores, lighting stores, game stores and of course maid cafes!

 

Card Store
Card Store
2nd Hand Store
2nd Hand Store

Two things to note, firstly, One Piece is EVERYWHERE, almost every store you can find a One Piece toy, secondly and most annoyingly, there is little to no organization in most stores with the exception of the big brand stores. You will often find shops have stuff just randomly placed everywhere, some will have it slightly sectioned out but in reality trying to find specific things can be a very time consuming process, some stores (esp the second hand and smaller toy stores) just have everything jam packed into display cases or boxes randomly (least it appears random) so trying to find that one gem of an item can require extensive sifting thru a lot of stuff! Now for some people this can be fun, but be warned, it is time consuming, I didn’t cover the whole area, missed maybe a block or two worth of side street shops and skipped a lot of stores too and still managed to burn thru 4 hours, in the end giving up because I was carrying around too much stuff and the shops are very small. If you are looking at buying a few things, bring a big backpack!

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I did decide to go to a maid cafe, I have always seen the girls around dressed up trying to entice people to come in, also it has become quite a popular activity and is worth doing at least once. They are basically a theme cafe where you go in, they treat you like a master, you can order really cutesy food, get things decorated, interact and play games with the maids and have a good laugh at them and at yourself for going along with some of the ridiculous things (going moi moi cue to envoke I think its a love spell on your food is the less tame of the options) The girls all seem light hearted and I guess it will have its ups and downs like any service job, it is prob even more difficult at times having to keep up appearances but then again Japanese sales people always seem to have a really bubbly/cheesy personality so maybe they enjoy it. For me it felt kind of awkward, trying not to laugh at some of the sillier things and also at some of the people who actually looked socially awkward trying to interact with the girls, thou this is probably a good way for them to break their bubble a bit, it was still interesting to just observe, could probably conduct a good psyc test there! I would also recommend going with a friend, alone is ok but still…

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I didn’t get a chance to see it but there is a J-pop group known as AKB48 who performs in Akihabara I think everyday and is probably worth checking out as they are quite well known and even have their own café. Korakuen hall is also nearby as well as a Gundam cafe. Akihabara is really a place you can either whip thru quickly just to say you have been there, or spend hours sifting thru all the goods there looking for that one thing special from your childhood or that one toy from your favourite anime. I am sure there are more rare items floating around there, but finding them is a whole other story

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My Japan Excursion Pt.1 – Harajuku

Well back from Tokyo, I really do love that city, its clean, interesting, has good food and nice people, oh and the shopping is awesome! Thus the reason why I headed over there in the first place, to go stock up on clothes, the only downside was the fact it was raining the entire time, not the best thing when your trying to carry bags and stuff around the place, however Tokyo in all its efficiency even packs your bags with plastic over top to keep the rain out! Anyways here is a recap of my shopping experience just in case you feel like checking out the areas I hit up.

Firstly Tokyo like any other city has its main shopping districts, usually divided up roughly into your certain style of shopping, eg big department stores (Shibuya) electronic zone (Shinjuku/Akihabara), Souvenirs, local products etc etc and of course within each of those areas will be small sub areas as well

Now my interests usually lie within the Urban/Youth culture areas where I can find hip hop/b-boy styled clothing and kicks. Now while you can find bits and pieces all over the place in department stores or flag ship Nike stores etc the best place hands down is Harajuku.

Harajuku
Harajuku

Now you can probably divide Harajuku up into 3 areas, you have the Main Street/boulevard which has a couple of big shopping malls with various high end stores scattered in between various coffee shops and other stores, then you have Takeshita Dori, basically a side street running mostly parallel to the Main Street that has all your other stores and most definitely the place you want to hit up. This street I would divide up into 2 sections, the first section that runs from the station to the first major intersection is mostly your cheap tourist trap stores with a few gems littered in between, the second section after the intersection is mostly your ’boutique’ stores where you can really start to find some good popular urban labels ‘but more expensive’ clothes.

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Takeshita Dori

The first section can be a bit of a mine field, you have a lot of touristy type stores and lost of highly annoying (and shitty sales manner) Nigerians’?’ Who wander the street trying to get you to come to their stores (usually run in concert I believe with a local) Now these guys I avoid like the plague, firstly their sales manner just pisses me off, sure I call my friends bro etc but if I am running a store, use some proper fucking manners, this isn’t the ghetto, excuse me sir sounds a lot better than being yelled at ‘hey bruah’. Secondly the stores they run have over priced generic shitty clothing imported from the same place as all the other stores these guys run… all over Asia! You will see the same shit in Tokyo being sold by the guys who run similar stores in Seoul, so if you want to wear the same shit other people buy then by all means go there, just remember to bargin them down because their mark up is already ridiculously high, I had one store (which was actually all Japanese) quote me a hat price, they said normal price was 6000yen, by the time I walked out the door it was down to 4500yen (there was no way I was buying it but as you can see, you can haggle with these people if your that desperate, just don’t buy their shoes)
On the bright side, in between the annoying stores is a couple of really good places, my advice is just avoid the Nigerians and go for the local run places.

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Moving on past this area is the more ’boutique’ fashion stores, places where you can find a Bape store, or Kicks Lab among other shops that sell the more popular and expensive labeled urban wear. These stores unfortunately don’t have any bargaining room but you can pick up the occasional sale. But this is the area where you can definitely find some nice gear and it is worth having a good look around as most of the stores have lots of different stock and its all in the one area (the Main Street with a couple of side streets varying off to the big street) Not much to tell about this area except happy shopping and credit card beware!

Kicks Lab
Kicks Lab

Depending on your shopping style you can either burn through this area in an hour ish or you can take your time to check out the wears of every place, I would tend to allow for an afternoon at least, I’m a very decisive shopper and browse thru things quickly and I was there for maybe 3-4 hours (with a drinks break) so you experience may vary, also be aware this isn’t the only area to shop and if you are looking for very specific things, you might have to look elsewhere. As for sizing, that is hit and miss again, most common sizes are M-L but you can find XL in most stores (but not always however the L might just fit you, most L and XL will fit me, I’m kind of in between the 2 sizes so my guess is the sizing is kind of similar to western sizes, maybe one size apart) At any rate, happy shopping!

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