Image from reuben via Flickr
Since I discovered that Sailor Moon and Card Captor Sakura – cartoons I first watched when I was little (and never seemed to grow out of ) – are from Japan, and then when I found out the band I liked, Malice Mizer, was also Japanese, I’ve been actively interested in Japanese pop culture.
After that came more anime, then when that died down a little, Lolita fashion. Then came along gyaru fashion, magazines, and slowly, more and more of this media I couldn’t read was showing up everywhere I looked. Communities I joined on LiveJournal, shows I watched, interviews and tours on YouTube, fashion sites…
My friends were into it as well. I’d hear about holiday planning and where they’d go or had gone, where they shopped, and often when I exclaimed “where did you get that? I love it!” the answer was 109, Harajuku, ‘a random shop in Shibuya’, Osaka, Liz Lisa. For how much I loved them they seemed out of my reach.
When I was into Lolita, Baby the Stars Shine Bright had just begun shipping internationally. Bodyline was acceptable, and the secondhand Lolita community was bustling. The YEN to AUD was wonderfully in my favour, 100¥ to the dollar! But it didn’t last. The yen grew stronger against our dollar, and (irrespectively) the novelty of shopping online died a little.
Still interested in reading my magazines and websites or blogs though, and entering linguist mode, I decided to pick up the language. I studied intensively for a year and a half, reaching “intermediate” level. This year I’m going to take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT), though I’ve been out of practise for a long while.
It’s sad to look back at how my flame for Japan dimmed over time. I never did get there, like I’d wanted to since I was 12 years old. It wasn’t until this month that I got back into Liz Lisa, and my passion rekindled and began to burn so fiercely in my heart that now, 10 years later, I have resolved to make it there.
Liz Lisa is available online. The makeup I want is online. Everything I could want from Japan is online, except the experience. I think this is what my soul needs. I need to walk around and feel belonging, walk into a store and like the things they sell. It’s rare to do that here! The stores I like are expensive and haven’t got the sentimentality that Japanese clothes have to me.
It’s silly to me that I’ve been so obsessed and smitten with this country, but have never been there before. My knowledge about Japan is inconclusive; distant; impersonal. I will get there.
This means no more shopping sprees (post on that coming up as soon as I receive the last thing I paid for!). With enough posters on my wall though, this will just be another motivator for me! I’m so excited to make my dreams come true. I guess that’s what this is about, isn’t it?
Wait for me, I’ll be there soon.