Cafe and Dining …”and people” – the coziest cafe in Shibuya!

I’ve been living here in Japan for about 2 years now, so I have been to a lot of really awesome places while I’ve been here.  Some of those places were rather hidden and I found them by a total coincidence,  some of them were shown to me by my lovely Japanese friends.  Actually, I would have never expected Shibuya to have such a lovely cafe as the one I want to show you here.  If you plan on visiting Tokyo or you live here and haven’t had a chance to go there yet – put it on your bucket list!

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 It’s about 5 minutes on foot from Shibuya Station (Hachiko exit). All those narrow streets of Shibuya can be quite confusing if you don’t go there every single day, and even though I have been to that cafe a handful of times, I still had to use the map to find my way there. If you see a cool looking building on your left, congratulations! you are now a minute away from the cafe! You’ll see some interesting graffiti on your way to your ultimate destination. I don’t know what’s the intended message, but it looks pretty flipping awesome.

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THE CAFE

and people

新東京ビル 10−2 Udagawacho, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0042

Their website: andpeople.co.jp

What they say about themselves on their website:

“and peopleは『風や緑を感じられるカフェ』 
をコンセプトにくつろぎの居場所になれたら、そんな思いでオープンしました。 
ベランダの窓をすべて取り、店内とテラスの境を無くし、 
ランチタイムには太陽と風を感じながら…夕暮れとともに約70個のキャンドルが揺らめき、 
緑に囲まれたテラス席やユッタリと包み込まれるソファー席で 

『外国なのか、日本なのか…』 
『友人の部屋なのか、店なのか…』 

そんな浮遊感の中でさりげない時間がゆったりと流れる “居場所” を目指しています。”

/a very liberal translation/

“Going with the concept of a place where you can experience nature, a place where you can relax; we opened and people.  With our open verandas where you can enjoy the sun and feel the light breeze during the day…with over 70 candles shimmering in the twilight…with the terrace decorated with greenery and the relaxing embrace of our sofas, we aim to make you wonder:

“Am I in a foreign country, am I in Japan?”

“Or am I in my friend’s room…or in a cafe?”

…and in this feeling of floating, where the time goes by slowly, you will think “it’s a place where I belong / I can be me”

Touching.

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If you get cold, you can use one of the blankets provided. How lovely ♥

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I’m wondering if the decoration actually tells a story or is just a random mish-mash of things the owner found in music shops and vintage second hand stores. Well, doesn’t matter, it’s awesome.

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 Elvis altar…

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 MENU (click on the pic to enlarge) or check it here → andpeople.co.jp/menu

What I liked most about this cafe was their amazing range of drinks and beer cocktails. In Japanese convenience stores we can find all types of sweet cocktails like Strawberry & Peach & Mango & Calpis chuhai etc. but to my surprise, there are no fruit beers! I really miss Polish raspberry, apple, black currant flavoured beers…And I found a wide range of beer cocktails here at this cafe, which is the second best thing! White peach beer, cassis cranberry beer, maple beer, orange beer…YUMMY HEAVEN!

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Let’s take a quick peek upstairs…

(I took these photos on 3 different days, that’s why the light outside is different)

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Upstairs there are some lovely puffy sofas…

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…and as it gets darker outside, hundreds of lights and candles are lit, creating a totally warm and cozy atmosphere.

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Sakura Latte

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Bergamoth Fruit and White Peach Beer

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A lovely place, isn’t it! I really recommend it, if you miss this European charm.

If you go there once, you’ll definitely be back.

Thanks for reading!

Crazy cat guy in Shibuya! 九州猫おじさん

 Like I mentioned before, I don’t really hang out in Shibuya, but when I do…many rather interesting things happen. On the day of that photo shoot I described in my previous post, Ayaka and I were hanging around the Shibuya station area and saw something that caught our eye….

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 Hey, you see that? What’s that?

A man…

A man and his cat….

Oh wait, there’s more!

A man and his 9 (maybe 10?) cats.

Oh okay…that was rather unexpected.

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Yup, he was just standing there with a “Ohhh yeeaaahhhh look at my magnificent catssss” look on his face. He wasn’t talking to people. Just standing there with one cat on his shoulder and like 8 or 9 (I coudln’t really see how many) fluffy balls in a pet stroller. Of course, people stopped and took pictures, petted the cats and you could hear a loud “Awwwwww!” every few seconds. The guy had a sticky tape roller and he used it from time to time to take the cat fur off his face, hair and clothes. One cat went like 1 human step away from the stroller, and the guy suddenly grabbed its tail and put it back in the stroller.

I was a bit puzzled actually.

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↑↑↑↑↑  “Your death will be slow and painful, human”

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They were super fluffy and cuter even than the Nyan cat, but I noticed something that was a bit worrying. They didn’t really move… I mean they were alive but they were sleeping all the time and they were like rag dolls. I have never seen any cats behaving like this. All the cats I have ever seen in Japan are wild, they seem to hate people and run away when you get closer than 5 meters. I know that these cats were domesticated but still…Cats do whatever they want, if they want to go, they go, they don’t give a flying fungus that you want them to stay. I don’t want to make strange assumptions, but just think about it…

Is it possible to train your cat to behave like a rag doll? Anyone else think it’s weird or is it just me thinking about it too much?

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↓ Notice John Lennon on the left.

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↓An old man, giggling school girls and cats. Japan in one picture.

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Apparently the guy called himself 九州猫おじさん and that translates to something like “The [old] cat man from Kyushu”. I know that because before I and Ayaka left, he took out his smartphone and showed us his facebook page (without saying a single word). I’m not really sure why, maybe it’s his fanpage or something. You can find him by typing in “九州猫おじさん”. I can’t decide whether I should go “Awww!” looking at these picutres, or feel sorry for those little fluffy balls, because they were dragged out into the busiest and noisiest area of Tokyo just to serve as some sort of entertainment for people.

Well, at least photos of Tokyo still make me go “Awww!” everytime.

Tokyo, how can one not love you?

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Thanks for reading!♥

Fashion snapshots in Shibuya / getting scouted for modelling!

Rumour has it that it takes as little as being a foreigner in Japan, to be scouted for modelling.  Well, personally I don’t think that’s true to any degree. I guess everyone can get scouted, you just need to hang out in the right places to get noticed. But since I don’t really aim to plaster my smiling face on a million magazine covers, I often hang out wherever I want, often in places not associated with fashion, like Ueno or Shin-Okubo.  On the day when I got this photo shoot offer, I happened to have something to do in Shibuya — I met my friends and took a ridiculous amount of cute sticker pics (you can see all of that in my previous post).

I was hanging around the Hachiko statue / Forever 21 area waiting for my friends, when a guy with a huge camera asked me if it’s okay to take a few fashion snapshots of me. He said that it was my tattoos that caught his eye. Okay, yeah, I have some time, go ahead. He took a few shots, and handed me the flyer you can see below. He said he needed to show my photos to the editorial department of his company, and if they liked them, they’d invite me for a photo shoot. Okay, I thought, that would be cool, but the main question was : DO I HAVE TO PAY? He answered “Absolutely not, it’s free, no money talk involved”. But! My dad always told me that the only thing you can get for free is getting your ass kicked so I knew I should be careful, even if the guys seemed legit.

But first let’s see what actually happened on the actual photo shoot day…

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What the flyer says:

Currently auditioning many models for work!

100,000 hits on the blog everyday!

100,000 hits on the website everyday!

Number 1 ranking of Dokusha models!  (amateur models who appear in fashion magazines)

Over 10,000 followers on Twitter!

Over 20,000 readers of our mail magazine!

etc etc..

Wowzers! But let’s not get too excited.

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 ♥

 On that day I was going to meet my lovely friend Ayaka.

Ayaka loves sweets, anime and cute stuff and she basically wears colourful clothes with candy & cookie motives and lots of Madoka Magica accessories. I was a bit surprised seeing Ayaka wearing “adult” clothes on that day. She told me that the green jacket you see, was the first thing she has ever bought in Harajuku and that she picked it up like 10 years ago or so. I’d rather not remember my fashion sense 10 years ago….

The Madoka Magica purse is one of Ayaka’s personal treasures. They’re inseparable.

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 And here’s what I chose for the photo shoot day…

white top: SPINNS Harajuku

denim jacket: GU

DAMMY skirt: WEGO

NADIA platforms: bought second-hand for 2000 yen

Nostalgic plastic wire choker thingy: Paris Kids

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I asked Ayaka to go with me to that model (?) agency. You know, safety in numbers and stuff. I’m so grateful she agreed, they said some things in Japanese I couldn’t quite get and Ayaka has this amazing ability to explain everything using easy Japanese.

Let’s gooo!

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 Here’s what happened next: upon arrival I got some documents to sign.  I had to agree that the company could use my name and my photos whenever and however they want. So basically, I can’t choose which photos go online and I cannot take the whole thing back once I sign it.

Then a funny photographer came and said there’s a park nearby, so we could take a few snapshots there. First, he instructed me on how to pose. I suck at posing, I really do…Oh well, not that it was some magazine photo shoot or anything, so it’s all good.

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 Quoting my mom: “Boring shots”

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  Then we moved to another place and he told me to “look relaxed”.

The photographer didn’t mind posing for a photo with me, in fact he was a pretty cool guy.

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 Apparently this is what I look like when I’m relaxed…

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  And the last stop: the tree shots. As I mentioned before, I suck at posing and I don’t really feel relaxed in front of the camera. I would make a crappy model for sure. The funny photographer told me what to do — “Just touch this tree and look cool”. Okay, sounds like something I am able to do.

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 Touching the tree and trying to look cool

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 He then asked me if it’d be okay if he took some photos of my tattoos…and my shoes. I guess these things were the most eye-catching?

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My dear Aya ♥

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♦♦♦

After the photo shoot we went back to the office and I got a questionnaire to fill out (which I handed to Aya). Let’s take a look at the questions:

1. How was the photo shoot? 

 fun?     okay?     boring?

2. (Whatever you previously circled) Explain the reason why you chose your previous answer:

My answer: “I don’t have much self-confidence in front of the camera, but during the photo shoot the photographer said things like:  “Great!” or “Well done!” (← 上手い、いいね)  and I thought that was nice”

3. Do you think you’d like to have a photo shoot again?

Yes      No

4. How about the photographer’s behaviour?

Very good? Good? Okay? Bad? Very bad?

5. Anything he should improve?

My answer: Nothing in particular. It was fun, thank you.

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The last thing and the most important one…

THE TALK

After filling out the questionnaire, a guy wearing lots of silver jewelry introduced himself as the producer and invited us to his little booth-office. If you ever get scouted, expect to hear a lot of good things about yourself. I mean, it’s business and they’re trying to make money — this is something to keep in mind at all times. Don’t let them pull the wool over your eyes. Long story short, basically I was told that I have a huge potential because:

* my skin is sooo white

* my style is sooo good

*my Japanese is sooo cute

He looks at me and goes: “that’s what sells best, foreigners are cute when they make some mistakes while speaking, it’s not good when their Japanese is perfect. That’s not cute”. Ha.

He even told me that I could model for wedding dresses and I was like “Hmm, yeaaah” (look at me, 154 cm tall and lots of tattoos? PUH-LEASEEEE).

And the last little tiny itty-bitty thing: if I am interested in working for them, like getting fashion modelling offers and stuff, I should get a super-duper-professional photo shoot. And that photo shoot would cost me …. 120,000 yen (about $1200?)

*applause*

I’m satisfied with my current job and I don’t really trust some random people promising an amazing career after taking just a few snapshots of me, so I said “I’ll think about it” and that was it. I don’t really think they are out there trying to trick people. Who knows, maybe if I got that special photo shoot, I could get some other offers? Anyway, I got some fashion snapshots for free, it was fun, that’s it.

They put up my pics on their website, check it out if you’re interested.

http://sweets-selection.com/profile.php?user_id=2840 ←

I guess that a vision of a modelling career is really tempting, especially when some serious people like photographers and producers tell you that you’re so cute and unique. But I have my priorities sorted and I’m a realist, so they didn’t manage to convince me that a 120,000 yen photo shoot is something absolutely necessary.

If you ever get scouted on the street, always, ALWAYS ask if it’s going to cost you money.

Has anyone had a similar experience?

♠♠♠

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♥Thanks for reading!♥

 

Cosplay purikura ♥ コスプレプリクラ

Have you ever dreamt about turning into a Japanese schoolgirl for a day? No? Me neither, but it was fun anyway. Yes? Come on over to Shibuya!

I don’t always hang out in Shibuya, but when I do, this is what happens…

COSPLAY PURIKURA! 

*I recommend listening to this song while you’re reading this *

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What a good day it was! I got to meet Laura — we have known each other for about 2 years, but until last Friday we hadn’t had much of a chance to cross paths. Laura is from Belgium and she studies Japanese and Graphic Design. She’s been staying in Osaka for a couple of months and this time it was one of her longer visits to Tokyo, so we decided it was high time we finally met ♥ After Sharla joined us, we thought we should take some pics of all three of us together, and the easiest way to do that was to find a purikura machine. We didn’t really plan on trying one of the cosplay ones, but oh well, now I can confidently check the feeling of wearing a Japanese school girl uniform off my bucket list.

Hellooo♥

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Basically, purikura machines can be found in any of the many game arcades you can find, next to the ufo catchers, slot machines, and people chain-smoking cigarettes (I believe that some game arcade customers don’t need oxygen to function).

This particular place is called Club Sega and it had the whole ‘purikura only’ floor, so there was no cigarette smoke there, thank god (if you didn’t know that yet, in Japan it’s perfectly fine to smoke inside buildings, but on the other hand it’s frowned on to smoke outside and people can do that only in designated smoking areas)

クラブSEGA渋谷店

28-6 Udagawacho
Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0042

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Though most people imagine anime or video game characters when they hear “cosplay”, you shouldn’t really expect those kind of outfits. Of course, there are other purikura places where you can find some anime character outfits. I have actually taken some sticker pics wearing Mami outfit from Puella Magi Madoka Magica (*click*), but the main clients of purikura booths are teenage girls (and girls in their 20′s *cough cough*) not nerdy Akihabara guys so anyway, you should expect short skirts and low-cut tops rather than warrior armors and swords.

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….let’s see what choices we have.

High school girls, maids, tight chinese style dresses, policewomen, slutty policewomen (they called it アメリカンポリス→”American police” hmm).

We went for a cutesy look — Japanese school girl uniforms!

The first thing one of us had to do was to register with them and get a special card (thanks to Sharla for volunteering to do it, I already have like a zillion point cards in my wallet), then each of us paid 100 yen for another card which said 衣装貸出カード, costume rental card. Makes sense, all clear and simple.

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Bad news for boys…

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After entering this magic room, we saw something that looked like a celebrity dressing-room. Mirrors, changing rooms, cosmetics you can use for free, hair straighteners and everything a girl needs to transform into a proper cutie pie.

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♥PURIKURA TIME!♥

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Some editing…

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You can even add some hairy legs or an inflatable doll face, if that’s what tickles your fancy….

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.and here they are! ♥ (remember what I said in my last post, there’s no such thing as too much purikura!)

Some people ask me what’s up with those V signs. Nothing’s really up with that, guys. That’s just something you do when you pose for photos and after 2 years in Japan, it’s something you do completely automatically. 

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After that we did tons and tons of other fun stuff but that’s a topic for another blog update.

Thanks for reading! ♥

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Some purikura philosophy for you to ponder:

“No love, and you’re going out to live?”

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DUUUH

DUUUH