Due to the Covid-19 state of emergency it’s been a long time since I’ve been to Harajuku, and in just a few months many things have changed. I went through the new station building for the first time this morning, and I just thought, when did this get here?? I felt a rush of nostalgia for the old station, especially knowing that it will eventually be dismantled. I loved that there was this little wooden building in a major metropolitan area. The dismantling was planned to happen after the 2020 Olympics so I wonder if they will keep it around until 2021.
WITH HARAJUKU, UNIQLO, and Ikea!
Across the street is the fancy new WITH HARAJUKU (ウィズ原宿) which has a new UNIQLO and Ikea. Based on the sign on the door the UNIQLO will open tomorrow (6/5/2020) while the Ikea will open 6/8/2020. Though the streets weren’t crowded at all in the morning I imagine once these stores open Harajuku will start to get a lot more traffic. Some fancy looking guys with cameras were wandering the area and likely preparing for the grand opening tomorrow.
Walking down an Empty Takeshita Street
I don’t really like crowds so for me Takeshita Street is like Times Square in New York. If I somehow end up passing through – I’m speed walking and dodging my fellow humans as I go. So, it was actually really nice to slowly walk down and look into all of the stores and just take in the atmosphere of this usually crowded place!
Even for someone who lives in Tokyo, Harajuku is always worth a visit. I love the bright colors, ridiculous desserts, and fashion. Harajuku fashion has changed a lot over the years and has lost some of its originality, but it remains a place of creativity. I always walk down Takeshita Street towards Omotesando and check out the second hand shops. There are a lot of them and some of them carry unused brand names, while some are focused more on vintage pieces. Once it’s safe to leisurely browse in shops I’m looking forward to changing up my wardrobe!
A Japanese Haircut in Harajuku
My requirement used to be finding an English speaking stylist. I was really nervous about getting my hair cut by someone who doesn’t speak English, not because I was afraid of a miscommunication causing a mistake, but because I was embarrassed about my own level of Japanese!
Turns out, that is a very silly way to think, and if you are studying a foreign language you will not improve unless you put yourself out there. No one is going to laugh at you if you mispronounce something, or if you need time to look something up. More than likely the person will be patient and also try to meet you half way.
I really look forward to my visits with Hibino-san, not only because she’s a great stylist but because I enjoy trying some Japanese small talk. My Japanese is conversational so I always prepare a bit for our visits by saving some pictures for reference and looking up some haircut-related vocabulary. There is always a bit of confusion anyway but we work it out!