First Vidoll, then D’espairsRayand now Deluhi. Yet another Visual Kei band is taking a temporary break from musical activities. Beginning December 1st, the band will be taking a pause so that the individual members can increase their skills and “musical power of expression.” Until Deluhi reaches their goal, there will be no lives or new releases.

Anyone want to take a stab at why so many young Visual Kei bands are taking hiatuses? A reaction to poor management and/or demanding record companies? An excuse, to cover something up? Such as frazzled vocal cords, due to improper care and growling? Or maybe it’s a curse: as soon as La Carmina watches a Visual Kei group perform live, it breaks up. (I saw Deluhi a few months ago; here is my concert review.)

TRICK MONSTER, CYBER HAIR & CLOTHING STORE IN SHINSAIBASHI, OSAKA., cybergoth fashion tokyo japan, rave shop, troll dolls, japanese rainbow hairstyles, dyed hair color neon, trickmonster, striped emo dye  hairstyle, cool shaved pattern hair, weird japan hairdresser salon

On a brighter note… quite literally! Yukiro and I went shopping in Shinsaibashi, the alternative fashion district of Osaka. One of our favorite stores was Trick Monster, purveyors of cyber rave clothing and neon hairstyles.

TRICK MONSTER, CYBER HAIR & CLOTHING STORE IN SHINSAIBASHI, OSAKA., cybergoth fashion tokyo japan, rave shop, japanese rainbow hairstyles, dyed hair color neon, trickmonster, striped emo dye  hairstyle, cool shaved pattern hair, weird japan hairdresser salon

Customers could purchase striped, rainbow hair extensions and have them fitted right then and there.

TRICK MONSTER, CYBER HAIR & CLOTHING STORE IN SHINSAIBASHI, OSAKA., cybergoth fashion tokyo japan, rave shop, japanese rainbow hairstyles, dyed hair color neon, trickmonster, striped emo dye  hairstyle, cool shaved pattern hair, weird japan hairdresser salon

Here are some of the very creative dye-jobs from the Trick Monster hair salon. Shaved patterns, colorful streaks, and a tomato-head!

TRICK MONSTER, CYBER HAIR & CLOTHING STORE IN SHINSAIBASHI, OSAKA., cybergoth fashion tokyo japan, rave shop, japanese rainbow hairstyles, dyed hair color neon, trickmonster, striped emo dye  hairstyle, cool shaved pattern hair, weird japan hairdresser salon

Rave revival. The store sold lunch boxes and grotesque-cute monster dolls.

TRICK MONSTER, CYBER HAIR & CLOTHING STORE IN SHINSAIBASHI, OSAKA., cybergoth fashion tokyo japan, rave shop, japanese rainbow hairstyles, dyed hair color neon, trickmonster, striped emo dye  hairstyle, cool shaved pattern hair, weird japan hairdresser salon

If a Troll doll were bitten by a zombie…

TRICK MONSTER, CYBER HAIR & CLOTHING STORE IN SHINSAIBASHI, OSAKA., cybergoth fashion tokyo japan, rave shop, japanese rainbow hairstyles, dyed hair color neon, trickmonster, striped emo dye  hairstyle, cool shaved pattern hair, weird japan hairdresser salon

“I was working in the lab late one night, when my eyes beheld an eerie sight. For my monster from his slab began to rise, and suddenly to my surprise… He did the mash. He did the monster mash. It was a graveyard smash.”

cutest cat ever, cutest cat in the world, fat cats scottish fold, teddy bear cat, rare breeds, purebreed breeders fold-eared munchkin cats, celebrity pets famous, funny face kitty lolcat sits on computer keyboard, weird behaviors felines

Set your TIVOs… Basil Farrow will be on Discovery Channel / Animal Planet on October 16th and 17th (check your local listings for the exact time). It’s a repeat of the Fat Cats episode; I’ll be posting a clip of his appearance in the next few days. You can see more of my fat-faced Scottish Fold cat on his blog, Facebook (friend him!) and YouTube.

I hope you get a chuckle out of my new CNNGo article, Asia’s 10 quirkiest theme cruises. Sail ho with Dan Rather, has-been celebrities and cattle! All my CNN articles are listed here; I’ll be filing reports from Tokyo in the next month.

Joseph Mallozzi, executive producer and co-showrunner on the Stargate television franchise, interviewed me for his blog spotlight on “individuals that make Tokyo so damn interesting.” How did my friends and family respond to my decision not to pursue a career in law? What makes the Japanese fashion scene so unique? Is there anything I’d never eat? My Q&A responses are here and after the jump.

What do you think of the cyber rave shop and hairstyles? Anyone have a theory as to why many Visual Kei bands recently announced they’re taking breaks?

Japanese Word of the Day: Toshiyori = Old people
Song of the Day: Deluhi – Two Hurt

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La Carmina!

Less than a month to go before I head off on my annual culinary odyssey to the land of the rising sun and the excitement continues to build. Unfortunately, this year, the late start to production and my increased Exec. Producing duties (to say nothing of this cursed script) have prevented me from doing much in the way of research for my forthcoming trip. Hell, this time last year I already had my restaurants booked and was happily perusing print-outs on the various temples, museums, and maid cafes I intended to visit. Still, I think I’ll be alright. I’ve spent enough time in Tokyo to consider it my home away from home, an awesome vacation destination that offers the best of both worlds: the comfortingly familiar and the adventurously unusual.

And so, in the lead up to my trip, I’d like to offer a series of spotlight pieces on some of the individuals that make Tokyo so damn interesting. Today, a Q&A with resident Tokyo fashion diva La Carmina…

La Carmina is a travel TV host, author of 3 books (Penguin USA and Random House), and writer for and Lip Service. Her popular blog on Japanese Goth fashion and subcultures – – has been featured in major publications (The New Yorker, Washington Post, WWD, Village Voice, Time Out New York, Fox News, LA Times). She’s appeared on The Today Show and co-hosted an episode of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern for Travel Channel. Recent TV hosting and arranging credits include Dutch Pepsi, Sony Australia, Canal Plus France, and CNN International in Tokyo. She will be the Asia host for educational travel TV series, Project Explorer.

So how does a girl from Vancouver, Canada end up at the heart of the alternative fashion in Tokyo? What brought you to Japan and what led you to stay?

LC: I’ve always had a yen for Japanese pop culture. There were Hello Kitty toys on my shelves for as long as I can remember. I first went to Japan with my parents when I was quite young; we traveled around Asia pretty much every summer. I loved the opulent and Gothic fashions I saw in Harajuku, and started dressing in alternative clothing as a teenager.

While I was in law school, I began my La Carmina blog ( to share my love of Japanese youth fashion and subcultures. It led to bigger projects — books, fashion design, TV hosting — which continue to bring me to Japan.

So would you consider Japan your second home? Did you face any specific challenges in acclimatizing yourself to life in Japan?

LC: I certainly consider Japan a second home. Many of my closest friends are in Tokyo, and it’s the center of the Visual Kei music and Japanese Goth/Lolita/Cyber fashion we love. I’ve got to say… I’m not a fan of the summer “mushi-atsui” weather (hot and humid). Or the mosquitoes, who feast on me like vampires!

You’re an author, illustrator, photographer, blogger, a travel TV host, and a fashion designer. Not exactly the type of life one would expect from a Columbia and Yale Law graduate. How did your friends and family respond to your decision not to pursue a career in law? And how have they responded to your success?

LC: Did you know Ben Stein also graduated from Columbia and Yale Law? He’s an actor (Ferris Bueller), novelist, Nixon speechwriter, financial expert, former NY Times columnist and overall funny guy. He’s a great example of someone who succeeds in a creative path full-time, and in a variety of artistic media. My friend and family know that creative pursuits were always of the highest importance to me; it’s hard to imagine me working in a law firm. So it’s not at all surprising that I’m doing what I do.

Has that degree nevertheless come in handy in time?

LC: Absolutely. I think many artist don’t (or refuse to) pay enough attention to the business and legal aspects of their work. As a result, they’re too often short-changed.

What makes the Japanese fashion scene so unique? Is there something particular to Japanese society that inspires such inventive counter-cultural display?

LC: Often, too much is read into Japan’s street fashion and its social meaning… Japanese festivals (matsuri) are traditional outlets for letting loose and wearing vivid fashion. Today, young people wear alternative styles for fun and personal expression. For the most part, there’s not much more to it.

What can you tell us about some of the more colorful fashion sub-groups (ie. Lolita, gyaru, etc.).

LC: The various “style tribes” are associated with certain brands, magazines and lifestyles. For example, Loli fashion is associated with the Gothic Lolita Bible and Kera magazine, designers like Baby the Stars Shine Bright, and cute-retro-elegant activities such as tea parties. In Japan, however, the “tribes” are fluid; many young people mix styles and don’t have any particular “manifesto” about them.

How does the Goth scene in Japan differ from that of North America if at all?

LC: Goth fashion in Japan is much more intricate, with an attention to detail and quality. Think Interview with the Vampire meets Queen Victoria and Marie Antoinette.

One of your books, Cute Yummy Time: 70 recipes for the cutest food you’ll ever eat, offers up some of the most adorable culinary creations to ever grace a cook book. What was the inspiration behind the book and how prevalent is “cute cooking” in Japan? Is it limited to children’s bento boxes or do grown ups delight in chowing down on hedgehog risotto balls and pecan pie turkeys?

LC: The interest in cute charaben (character bentos) probably peaked a year or two ago; there aren’t as many cookbooks or tools displayed in Tokyo any more. However, it remains a recurrent theme in Japanese cuisine — you’ll typically see cakes with kawaii bear faces, or ice cream decorated to look like a cat. People of all ages enjoy cute food.

Another one of your books, Crazy, Wacky Theme Restaurants: Tokyo is a guide to some of the city’s most inspired theme restaurants, from Alice in Wonderland to the Vampire Café. Do you have a favorite? In a city where you can sample anything from crab ice cream to fugu sperm tempura, I imagine an adventurous eater such as yourself has tried pretty much everything. What was your most memorable meal in Tokyo? The biggest pleasant surprise? And is there anything you wouldn’t eat?

LC: My Theme Restaurants book ( has photos and stories from over 30 maid cafes and bizarre theme restaurants; it’s hard to pick a favorite. I always have a great time with my friends at the Alice in Wonderland café, which is charmingly decorated and offers Cheshire Cat sundaes and pizza. Here are photos and a video from our last visit to Tokyo Alice: (

I try to stay open to any experience, but I’m quite certain I’d never eat a cat, dog or other animal companion… The horror.

What can you tell us about your La Carmina line? What kind of people wear your clothing?

LC: I most recently did a T-shirt collaboration with Akumu Ink, which you can see here: Anyone who appreciates Edward Gorey, Japanese scary-cute girls and Scottish Fold cats might enjoy these designs. Quite a few people have told me they’ve seen La Carmina shirts at anime conventions and Visual Kei (Jrock) concerts.

Put on your travel TV host hat. What kind of itinerary would you put together for an adventurer who only has one day in Tokyo?

LC: I also do fixing (local production coordinating, scheduling, arranging) for TV crews that come to Tokyo, so I’ve had quite a bit of experience with taking people around to my favorite pop culture underground spots. Typically, we begin with shopping in Harajuku and visiting wild Gothic Lolita Punk stores (here are maps and my Tokyo shopping guide Then we might stop by a game center and eat cheap conveyer belt sushi. Popping into a cat café and a theme restaurant are musts. And the adventure isn’t complete until we’ve partied all night at my favorite Goth/Fetish/underground nightclubs! (Here is a list with directions to my favorite clubs.

Where do you see La Carmina in twenty years? What else has she accomplished? Is she still in Tokyo? Is she still cute cooking, laced up, and hitting the Harajuku scene?

LC: The legendary “Yellow House baba” hasn’t stopped — 25 years later, the elderly lady is still partying with Japanese rockers and designing clothes in Harajuku. I feel like I’ve only begin this journey; I am always striving to push things further in every arena. Stay tuned to my blog, as I’m about to announce a new business venture and more exciting projects!



  1. Opheliac
    Posted October 16, 2010 at 1:17 am | Permalink

    fans who often came to their lives, said, Juri’s voice quality is decreasing.. I guess he too tired.. or get too much pressure..

  2. Fetesha
    Posted October 16, 2010 at 1:25 am | Permalink

    lol. Seriously.

  3. Vivi
    Posted October 16, 2010 at 1:35 am | Permalink

    they’re doing it to power up. It does get tiring to continue activities for years straight. They said they will come back tho.

  4. Glitterdemon
    Posted October 16, 2010 at 2:04 am | Permalink

    they run crazy schedules & their poor vocalists need some time 2 recover? think jui & hizumi. even ruki, isshi & shou had breaks.

  5. Tokyosboysclub
    Posted October 16, 2010 at 2:14 am | Permalink

    It’s a lot of work to rock so hard

  6. Matthew
    Posted October 16, 2010 at 4:31 am | Permalink

    my band shall continue Deluhi’s sound and strength

  7. Marta
    Posted October 16, 2010 at 4:56 am | Permalink

    Maybe the bands were like “Hey just let’s all go on hiatus together weee” LOL! I dunno, I just hope they come back from hiatus ><

  8. Matt
    Posted October 16, 2010 at 4:57 am | Permalink

    US Jrock style bands shall rise up to the challenge

  9. Valeree
    Posted October 16, 2010 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    :/ …like “Amerimanga” does?

    It’s just *not* the same.

  10. shadowpal2
    Posted October 16, 2010 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    HAHA loved the last question – keep doing what you love despite how many minutes pass. Why…if you only continue to worry about how old you’ll get within X amount of years – you’ll reach that “imagined age” in a perspectively less amount of time than the actual time it WOULD TAKE!

    Live! Enjoy every moment you spend with your friends, stay aware of your environment and explore the beauty every second. Though I can understand that there may be times where torture may be upon us in the present and our only means of escaping are to reminisce of good old days or fantasize about a better time. But nevertheless continue to live strongly and happily!

    I love the hair extensions, though I still can’t imagine how it would look like on me.

    As for all these visual kei bands going…I just don’t know…I really don’t know. D’espairsRay, Vidoll, and Deluhi. – These are 3 main big ones that we know. But…THERE ARE SO MANY MANY MANY OTHERS who just disbanded just like that after like 1 year of playing. Maybe there is something with the management of the band…or the record deals just being a complete rip-off in this economy (especially Japan’s for that matter). But hey…for Deluhi taking a break to practice and get better is exactly what Miyavi did at one time, and he really did get much better! Also…being a person who loves playing the guitar and piano by myself – I can understand that having alone time is essential to compose some of the best songs you can think of, the ones that just come out of your heart slowly then gradually, and then just erupts like a volcano. So maybe this is for the best. (please tell me I’m right!)

    Oh by the way, I just watched a new Korean movie today in theaters: “Man from Nowhere” – that’s the english title at least. It was pretty awesome! I missed the first 10 minutes of it, but it was a good action movie. Not too much “art” but a nice solid BRUTAL action movie.

    Oh and I found one of my favorite vocalist from it:

    • lacarmina
      Posted October 16, 2010 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

      What a beautiful song; thanks for sharing it.
      I’m optimistic too… Deluhi is very young and shows great promise. Here’s to many years of their success!

  11. Anonymous
    Posted October 16, 2010 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    I truly hope the bands are re-forming with new musical and artistic vision. And I hope this attrition is not a trend !

  12. Raanen
    Posted October 16, 2010 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    my guess is it’s another style change… which might be unfortunate… i like new deluhi, but i long for dark, grand hand jesture, visual kei deluhi :/

  13. Madcatlady
    Posted October 16, 2010 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    They need some time off for their personal Halloweens?

  14. Illusionary_paradise13
    Posted October 16, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Maybe jrock is dying! Soo many bands are on hiatus, like two or so people died. Lots of bands disbanded too. And some musicians are randomly leaving too. It’s the end of the world O_O

    • lacarmina
      Posted October 16, 2010 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

      Ah, it’s not the end… I know many young bands (outside Japan too) that are going to make waves very soon! <3

  15. shadowpal2
    Posted October 16, 2010 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Aaaaww…my comment got filtered out, – probably because of the link I sent you…though it honestly wasn’t anything inappropriate.

    Anyway I’ll type it again.

    I love the last answer to your interview! No matter what happens don’t stop if you truly love what you’re doing. Also as an advice to everyone else…don’t think about getting old or how it was when you were young. I know it’s terribly tough at times. But just thinking about getting old will cause you to age faster than it normally will because of the idea that time is relative, and while you think about getting old you’re losing the time you are experiencing now.

    Now there are times which are just unbearable to see through and you’ll reminisce to the beauties of the past or dream of joy in the future. It’s only human – none of us can “live” continuously with the now, but do make “now” worthwhile!

    Anyway…I love the hair extensions – though they’d be way too colorful for me.

    As for Deluhi, I think it’s for the best actually. Miyavi did the same a couple years back and he got so much better even though he was fantastic before it! As for all these bands just going on hiatus…I think it has to do with something about the JRock God getting a bit tired. (sadly).

    Oh well, oh yes yesterday I watched a great Korean action movie: Man from Nowhere (english title). It was one hell of a solid brutal action movie. There wasn’t any “art” or “symbolism” really…but it was still DAMN GOOD. I unfortunately missed the first 10 minutes or so or something like that. Some Korean friends of mine were going insane over the actor. I’m not too familiar w/ Korean actors and stuff but apparently he’s quite popular! He did a good job in acting too.

    But what hit me the most was the ending credit song…oh boy I can’t stop listening to it!
    Mad Soul Child – Dear (wow a farcry from the regular KPop stuff we hear).

    • lacarmina
      Posted October 16, 2010 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      Oh, sorry about the weird filtering… Disqus sometimes does that to long comments with links. :( But don’t worry, I check the filter every day and will rescue poor, innocent comments from the spam! ;)

  16. Darksunmoon
    Posted October 16, 2010 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Same as any band: egotripiness! OR misunderstanding that they need distance from to come around a.k.a. “artistic differences”!

  17. Sarah
    Posted October 16, 2010 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    aw man not deluhiDX

  18. Didymus
    Posted October 16, 2010 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    I want to start a store like that! I dunno how well NYC’s freak flag flies though.

  19. MichaelMagnales
    Posted October 17, 2010 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    I love all the hair!!! It makes me want to go dye hair like that on my own. It should be possible if I only knew what dye to use <_< I've got a lot of kanekelon hair now for dreading. I actualy wanted to dread it this weekend. The pictures gave me real good inspiration ^_^

  20. Draco
    Posted October 17, 2010 at 2:49 am | Permalink

    I can say one thing…its def the vocals PLUS the band wants to work on their sound for DELUHI that is. They all stated theres nothing to worry about, and I trust these guys. They reassured the fans many times already and its been barely three days since the announcement. Everything is going to be okay I’m sure.

  21. Jennifer
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Hi nice post. Thanks for sharing. I referred house of rave for online rave shopping.

    Buy Rave Wear Online Anywhere

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