Thursday, April 18, 2013

LA Day 2: Little Tokyo

Yesterday's walking around had me exhausted so I slept the whole night! I usually wake up at ~7am every day (and then promptly go back to sleep hehe) but I think jet lag also helped me snooze. While I was sleeping, Matt and Mariyah went to Koreatown which was literally right down the street from our hotel! I wish I had gone with them!!

Besides Kyary, Little Tokyo was what I was looking forward to the most. It's pretty much the closest I can get to actually going to Tokyo, haha. We woke up in the morning and went next door to a place called Nue Studio Cafe and Salon. The hotel lobby had a sign with the cafe's hours, and also on the hotel's website it has a section about them so it was very convenient! Here are some pictures from their website:

"Owner and stylist Todd Jameson is a well known hair god and rock star in Miami, where he opened the original Nue Studio in 2008. His shop, which was voted among the top 100 salons in 2011 by Elle Magazine, include art-covered walls, album covers used as flooring and a DJ booth."

While we didn't go to the Salon, the cafe was very delicious! The coffee was amazing and I got this thing called a "Fat Elvis", which is peanut butter, banana, and bacon on a croissant! Everybody knows peanut butter and banana go well together, but I never thought about adding bacon to the mix! It was so filling, I couldn't finish it all... Actually, all 3 of us had a hard time finishing our food!
The girls working there were also very cute and nice, which is always a plus!

According to GPS, Little Tokyo was only about 15 mins away from our hotel so after we had our fill, we went on our way!

Read more to see the purikura we took! :)

One thing worth mentioning during our trip is that we never had to use a parking meter. I had brought a TON of quarters just in case, but we were able to find public parking lots and neighboring streets to park on. The lot we found for Little Tokyo was just a block away and super cheap, when we were leaving I think it only cost around $7!

We actually got lost trying to find everything, thanks to my crappy little phone. We walked past the Toy District and into a bad looking part of town?? My bad!

We soon found our way back and I could not contain my excitement!! I wanted to look at anything and everything possible! They had little convinience stores that sold dolly wink lashes (among other things, obvs) and there was so many Rilakkuma items! There was a macaroon place, a cafe that only served bread, mochi ice cream shop, and food food food! We found our way to the "mall" and the first thing I see is the purikura place!!

I pretty much became a kid in a candy store! I'm guilty of sometimes abusing purikura apps on the iphone, and I would always get so jealous when I saw KERA or Zipper models taking these with their friends, or even just people on tumblr that have a purikura place in their city! I was already aware of the prices of the machines, they were either $8 or $10 each. As you can see on the wall in the back, they also sold anime merch, cosplay, and wigs. They even have a system where you can rent cosplay from them! I think that's perfect for casual cosplayers that don't want to spend a lot of money/time on the costumes, shipping, etc.!
There were also UFO catchers in the middle of the room. Among the prizes were Rilakkuma, Gloomy Bear, Pokemon, and some other characters I couldn't recognize. We almost won a loaf of bread with a face on it! I think I might prefer UFO catchers to the classic claw machine you see everywhere; UFO catchers have 2 prongs, while classic claw machines have 3, sometimes 4! I feel like it makes the game easier and harder at the same time.

The inside of one of the purikura!
These machines only take single dollars, and there's a girl working at the front counter that can exchange your bills for them. One of the machines had instructions that they had written out in english and taped by the screens, but most of them didn't have any translations. You can ask the girl at the counter for help BEFORE you put your money into the machine, but we just jumped right in! For the most part, you can kind of figure things out for yourself, nothing (as far as I know) will y'know, DELETE ALL YOUR PICTURES or anything scary like that.
So you put your money into the machine and the fun begins! Usually a screen will pop up with an arrow notifying you which side you'll be editing your pictures on after you're done. Some booths will have you pick backgrounds before they take pictures, while other booths just have a green screen and you can edit the bg later!
The booths will take up to (I believe) 6 - 9 photos.

We did a group one first! The booth we picked didn't really give you a lot of time to choose/do anything compared to the others, haha! This one actually had "suggested" poses that popped up on the screen before the photo was taken, you can see we tried to do what it told us to in the upside-down one haha. It took that photo, then it flipped it and we should have been able to mirror the pose but we overextended I guess haha.
I'm not sure what I enjoy more, taking the pictures or decorating them after!

Of course I had to take one by myself, haha. This time I chose a different machine and it was there was sooo much room! The entire seating/standing area was green, and there were two cameras! You had the option to pull out more space under the seat, which I think was for more people, and then it would switch to a camera in the top left corner. That's how I did that picture on the far right of me floating in space, I was so nervous someone was going to peek in at me being an idiot lol!

I wanted to spend all my time and money in that shop, I loved it so much! It's where I truly belong~ hehe.

Thanks to EGL, I had read that there was a lolita consignment shop in the area, and it was just a few feet away from the purikura place. It was called Fairytale.
After "researching" lolita for a couple of years, I finally decided to start shopping for my wardrobe this year! I was very excited to see what was in the store, regardless of whether or not a majority of the items were sweet! (I'm more classic or gothic)
It's a tiny shop but she had quite a few items! A majority of the items I saw were Angelic Pretty or Baby The Stars Shine Bright, and I think I saw a few Emily Temple Cute and Innocent World pieces! She also had some things from Hello Cavities, Kreepsville, and Swimmer; she was also selling issues of KERA and Gothic Lolita Bible! There were a couple of wigs on the top shelf, also a few bags, shoes, and socks. I liked that she had the same pattern socks in multiple colorways!
I didn't want to walk out empty handed, so luckily I found some pre-owned OTK Metamorphose socks for only $20!
One of the great things about lolita is that the clothes are well-taken care of, even the socks! The ones I bought were practically like new!
She also sells her items online on her store's website!
I took a quick lil snapshot
We went to Anime Jungle, which I think you should know if you've searched the internet for anime merch? I know I'd seen their name pop up a bunch of times on google and I've even browsed through the online store!
There's not really much to say about the shop besides the fact that it had A LOT of items. Figures were reasonably priced, they also had posters, bags, patches, pins, magnets, etc., basically everything they have in their online store haha! I was tempted to buy something but didn't because I usually just buy my merch when I go to cons, and I didn't come to LA to spend all my money on anime figures!

We stopped by Yogurtland across the street from the plaza. I got strawberry lemonade sorbet because dairy doesn't treat me well lol.

Our next destination was the American Apparel flea market! It was a quick drive from Little Tokyo, right in the warehouse district! I had NO idea that the flea market was actually a part of their real warehouse!

There's a community store on the bottom corner of the building, but to get to the flea market, you're directed by security to go up to the second level.

It was enormous! So many clothes, but not enough in my size haha! The items they sell here are overstock or defective and are cut at prices that I actually don't mind paying. I bought about ~$110 worth of clothes, but I'll share all the goodies that I came home with in my next post.

We drove through Rodeo Drive because we didn't feel like getting off and walking around when we knew that we weren't going to buy anything haha.

We went to Buffalo Exchange where I found a bunch of plain t-shirts, which is something that I don't really buy/wear often... but they were too good to pass up! 

After that we all had our first ever meal at In-N-Out! Of course I forgot to get animal style, but I did remember to get cheese fries! It was so yummy, much better than McDonald's or Burger King! Though I'm not sure if that's only because it was my first time eating it haha.

The sun was already beginning to set so we headed back to the hotel. We all wanted to go out and do some more things, but were clueless as to what there was to do at night! The only things I had looked up were daytime things, oops!

Next post will be about more purikura (hehe), the Kyary show, and all the things that I bought!

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