Shin-Okubo / Korean Town — one of a kind! ♥♥♥

If you check through my last few updates, you might get the impression that Shibuya is my favourite spot.

But actually, no, it’s not.

It’s Shin-Okubo, which I love more than Omotesando, more than Harajuku and definitely more than Shibuya.

Why…?

I went there for the first time in August 2012, just a few weeks after I came to Japan. At that time I had no interest in k-pop or even Korean food whatsoever, but there was one reason I would go there every week, and her name is Akane. She’s my lovely friend who at that time was staying in Kokuritsu International Medical Research Center Hospital which just so happens to be located in Okubo. Every week, until the end of March 2013 when she went back to her hometown, I visited her there, and that’s how it all started. Akane battled leukemia, but she’s a happy, healthy girl now. It’s a long long story, and I hope to write about it more one day. Today I want to show you the town that gave me more happy memories than any other place I have been to so far.

As I came here every week, I started checking out the shops, eating delicious japchae in the lunchtime, SoundHounding awesome k-pop songs I heard for the first time…and before I realized it, I was totally in love with everything about this town.

Shin-Okubo, Korean Town.

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Now that I’m k-pop / Korean food / Korean cosmetics obsessed, Shin-Okubo is like heaven to me. It’s like Little Korea in Tokyo. When you get off at Shin-Okubo station, you see posters advertising new Korean dramas or makgeolli rather than Asahi or some  TBS drama with Kimura Takuya.

With all the idol shops, it’s a k-pop fan paradise. Whoever your bias is, whichever CD you’re looking for – everything is here.

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 ♥   I swear this place will make me go bankrupt one day   ♥

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Last time I went there, each store was full of Tohoshinki. As it turned out, it was the day their Japan Live Tour began. Can’t complain, before the YG Family Concert it was full of BIGBANG accessories, so I guess it’s just what store owners do to keep each fandom group happy.

Besides, the guys from Tohoshinki are drop-dead gorgeous so it’s all good.

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 Countless cosmetics & k-pop accessories shops↓

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I really recommend this store. They have a supermarket on the first floor with cosmetics, super spicy  instant ramen, kimchi, seaweed, makgeolli, kimbap, all the yummy stuff and some handsome store assistants… Second floor: more cosmetics, brands like Missha, Etude House, 3 Concept Eyes, Skin Food, cute hair accessories and more handsome store assistants. Third floor: Korean fashion, shoes, watches, accessories, stationery and pretty female store assistants for a change. Everyone can find something here that appeals to them.

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〒169-0073 Tōkyō-to, Shinjuku-ku, Hyakuninchō, 2 Chome−1−2

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If you’re used to Japanese customer service style, Shin-Okubo might surprise you. Japanese store assistants must smile all the time, they keep distance from you, don’t really talk to you until you seem interested in an item. It’s completely different here…store asisstants will follow you around the store putting you under pressure to buy something, they will grab your hand and put some cream on it, asking you to smell it “Smells beautiful? Yeah? You like it? Buy it then”. When I wear clothes showing my tattoos, most of shop staff members ask me about them, they touch them (without asking me first actually, but it’s friendly — not creepy), one woman just grabbed my arm with both her hands and was rubbing my arm tattoo for like 2 minutes saying “oh so cuuuute” *rub rub*. I don’t mind. Also, unlike Japanese store assistants who will smile and compliment you no matter what, Korean shop staff is more likely to show what they really think.

That reminds me of one conversation I had with a female store assistant:

Store Assistant: What cosmetics brand do you use?

Me: Mainly Missha.

SA: Missha….ಠ_ಠ

/5 minutes later/

Me: *talking with my friend, commenting on a BIGBANG poster*

SA: Do you like BIGBANG?

Me: Like? We love them!

SA: Oh…..ಠ_ಠ 

***

This guy though! My friend and I passed his little stall with some sweets a few times, and each time he tried to get our attention, so I thought it could be fun to talk to him and ask him for a photo. I really wish I could buy one box of that thing, but unfortunately I don’t really eat sweet stuff (yes, my friends already called me a freak a million times).

He was a super funny guy though, so if you see this little stall with cute looking pastel cookies or whatever that is, get some of that sweet goodness

 😀

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 If you love Korean food as much as I do, you will never want to leave… Supermarkets with delicious stuff straight from Korea, and lots of awesome restaurants playing awesome music.

↓My lovely friend Madoka buying a corn tea supply for a few months

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I have so many good memories connected to this place , it will always have a sincerely special place in my heart. It’s a must go if you love k-pop, Korean food, Korean cosmetics, Korean anything. And well, if you don’t…it’s a fun place to hang out anyway!

Thanks for reading! ♥

***

That funny guy: Let’s take one more photo, c’mon

Me: Sure!

TFG: Love love moooooode!!!♥ (ラブラブモード!!!)

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YG Family 2014 WORLD TOUR: Power in Japan ♥

One of the things you should know about me (which I didn’t bring up in my last post) is that I’m a hardcore BIGBANG fan. I wasn’t much into k-pop until last year, but this is what hanging out in Shin-Okubo resulted in (oh Shin-Okubo, I owe you so much).

Simply speaking, I think these guys are pretty awesome.

One of the perks of living in Japan is that lots of k-pop groups, including BIGBANG, come here all the time.  I went to BIGBANG’s live concert at Tokyo Dome last December. They gave an amazing show and honestly, seeing 50,000 people who love them as much as I do, was a great experience.  How could I miss the chance to see them again?

Well, okay. To be perfectly honest, at first I thought “13,000 yen for a ticket and I’ll only get to see them for a couple of songs? Naaah… ” But my inner fangirl was like “Oh come on, even a couple of songs is okay….”.

YUP, TOKYO DOME, HERE I COME!

♔♔♔

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Going to concerts by myself is fine, but it’s always more fun to go with someone who shares your love for the same artist, right? I am lucky to have a friend who loves BIGBANG too (with G-Dragon as her main interest though….Believe it or not, no biases here! I honestly just love them all). The first time I met up with Sharla, we went to a YG Exhibition held in a super remote shopping center in Kisarazu (seriously I would have expected YG to choose something…I don’t know….cooler? No seriously, check Kisarazu on the map, it’s at the end of the world, in the middle of nowhere). We had bags of fun though so Sharla was the first person I thought about when I tried to think of someone who might want to go to the YG Family Concert with me.

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I got two tickets real quick — break time at work was enough time (yes, that’s what I do in my break time…I’m actually writing this blog during my break time right now, oops). Your life in Japan can be difficult sometimes if you don’t own a credit card. Luckily I was able to pay for the tickets with cash super easily at a 7/11 and I even got them printed at the same 7/11 one week before the concert. Everything was relatively easy and painless, you might need some help if your don’t read or speak Japanese though. I use this website to buy concert tickets –> a-ticket.jp. I can’t say it’s the best (because I simply don’t really  have anything to compare it with) but setting up an account on a Japanese website is a big hassle, so I guess I’ll stick with it.

WOOP WOOP TICKETS !!!

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What to wear for the concert? Let’s see….Something BIGBANG-ish would be cool. Black and white with some gold accessories. Yeah, sounds cool. BIGBANG is cool, 2NE1 is cool…everyone is cool! I want to look cool too!

….and so thought 50,000 other fans who came to Tokyo Dome that day. We all looked as if we planned our outfits together. Oh well, that feeling of unity was kind of nice though.

Here’s what I had prepared:

* Tank top, BOY LONDON (size L, 154 cm me can wear it as a dress *yay*)

* Shorts you cannot see, and that was the purpose

* Over the knee socks, WEGO

*Black platforms (creepers type) NADIA

* Cross earrings, H&M

* Gold chain necklace, WEGO

* Denim jacket, GU

*Black bag with studs, some random shop, it costed only 1000 yen

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What do you do before a k-pop concert? You go to Korean town to eat some kickass Korean food and spend even more money on some sweet BIGBANG accessories!

….and again, apparently so thought other fans — I have never seen so many people in Shin-Okubo.

There’s one more thing you should know about me – I’m totally crazy about Korean food. You’ll get to see a lot of Korean restaurants if you follow my blog, that’s more than guaranteed.

Stop one: Korean restaurant Maiu (maiukorea.jp)

〒169-0072 Tokyo, Shinjuku, Okubo, 2 Chome−32-23 韓国料理 まいう 大久保本店

780 yen for a lunchtime dish is on the cheaper side in Tokyo, I guess.

Besides, you can never go wrong with Korean food.

Japchae and naengmyon

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Stop two: purikura!

We had to document this special day with cute sticker pics. Actually, a ton of cute pics. What you see here is just 10% of all the purikura we took on that day.

You can never have too much purikura.

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Last stop: TOKYO DOME!

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You still have some money in your wallet after a shopping spree in Shin-Okubo? No worries! YG will take care of it! Before each concert, there’s a special tent-store selling YG Family stuff like clothes, stick lights, rings, hair bands, bracelets, earrings, hats, anything you could imagine.

YG sure does know what their fandom needs.

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Unfortunately, in Japan we are not allowed to take any photos inside of the Dome. I managed to take these photos before a very serious security guy said “No photo, no photo!”

Oh sneaky me.

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♔♔♔


THE CONCERT 

In a nutshell….

BIGBANG

Amazing as always. Professional to the core. They’re all beautiful and awesome. I love them for being them, they’re all different and that’s what I love the most about this group.

2NE1

Great show, really. CL is a walking perfection, she’s the leader for a reason. Dara and Minzy are total cuties, but Bom…not that I dislike her, but it was kind of painful to watch her putting so much effort in a tiniest move. Plastic surgeries have their limits, lady.

EPIK HIGH

They were epik! (you see what I did there?) To be honest I didn’t know them before the concert, but I’m kind of obsessed now. Just check out these songs and you’ll know why.

Love Love Love 

Up

LEE HI

Same as Epik High, I didn’t know her before the concert but she was really lovely so I’ll definitely check out more of her songs.

WINNER & Team B

YG’s freshmen. All young, talented and beautiful. What would happen if GD and TOP had kids? BAM! Winner and Team B would happen, I’m sure of that.

PSY

Well, Psy cancelled his show due to some unknown reason. But! Seeing all the YG Family members singing and dancing Gangnam Style – truly priceless. You should have seen Tokyo Dome. Nearly 50,000 people going totally crazy, unforgettable!


BEFORE

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AFTER

(yes, my eyes might have been teary)

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Trust me, it’s not easy to leave the Dome knowing your idols are still somewhere there (I’m not a obsessed psycho-fan, I swear).

Sharla and I decided to walk around, calm down a bit (and take photos of strangers looking cool…no creeping!).

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Here are some fun people I asked for a photo. It’s so nice that fans actually put so much effort in to their concert outfits. I think it’s so sweet.

Psy, Bom and TOP (“Doom Dada” MV look)

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All in all, seeing my idols again was amazing. They totally rocked my world.  Simply, it was a really happy day.

I guess I’ll never get too old for this.

♡♡♡

Thanks for stopping by and reading my thoughts!

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