My first week in Japan, and my good friend K who I met in San Diego came back to his home town for summer vacation and I was so happy to have a friend. I had been unsuccessful thus far in finding anyone with similar interests that spoke enough English so that we could communicate beyond vague hand gestures, bad drawings, and reading from the dictionary. He tried to help me to find where to buy foundation in my skin tone. Something I hadn’t thought about before travelling, no store in Japan has my skin tone! Japanese skin has yellow undertones, and my skin tone is light ivory with violet undertones. I have the complete opposite undertone than almost all Japanese people have, and because of this I can not for the life of me find a matching foundation. Even though K took me to the MAC counter in Shinjuku, they tried to make a blend for me, eventually giving up and telling me it would be best to import :(. The MAC counter failed me. Eventually we ended up in Shibuya for shopping and ramen, before we even remembered to take pictures.
The next day was Sunday, and I really wanted to try making some friends out in Harajuku. I am a big fan of Japanese music, and Harajuku cosplayers aren’t your average otaku. They’re of the visual kei and band fan variety, and they dress up to imitate their favorite members or the member in the band that they most resemble. I figured they would be a good source of information on how to get into the fan clubs and social scene for the bands I like, and the only way I was going to get ‘in’ was to join them. I didn’t really own anything typical of Japanese fashion, most of my stuff was cheap American hot topic generic mall goth style, but I figured something was better than nothing. K however wasn’t really interested in Visual Kei, but he wanted to hang out with me regardless of my weirdness, and joined me on my adventure. I didn’t have any luck on this day making any new friends, my language skills were still severely lacking, but also Harajuku cosplayers are notoriously hard nuts to crack. Usually the most attention you’ll get out of them is a yes nod to take a quick tourist photo, and after you’re done they’ll ignore you until you leave them alone. I ended up deciding the best tactic would be persistence. If I go every weekend, I’ll learn their culture, adapt myself, and hopefully make a friend before K had to leave me for the fall.