Category Archive for Art + Design

Puroland Halloween: Tokyo’s Sanrio Hello Kitty theme park! Yayoi Kusama Museum, Takashi Murakami cafe Zingaro.

kuromi mascot meet and greet character photos puroland halloween

We met Kuromi! Welcome to the best day ever at Sanrio Puroland, Tokyo’s Hello Kitty theme park.

Read on for our fever dream-like visit to Puroland, along with other adorable pop culture and art attractions in Tokyo — including the Yayoi Kusama Museum, and Takashi Murakami’s Nakano cafe (Coffee Zingaro!). And I’ll show you inside my boutique hotels, The Royal Park Canvas Ginza Corridor and Ginza 8 (#PR).

meet hello kitty puro land sanrio amusement park

Did you know Tokyo has a Hello Kitty amusement park? Located at Tama Station, Sanrio Puroland is a kawaii dreamland filled with your favourite mascots.

As you can see in my Insta video, the park had special events, food and merch for “Puro Halloween” throughout October. (They have various seasonal celebrations year-round.)

exterior puroland rainbow gate tama station

It’s easy to get to Puroland – from Shinjuku, it’s about 30 minutes to Keio Tama Center Station on the Keio Line, or Odakyu Tama Center on the Odakyu Line. Take a short walk and you can’t miss the bridge to the rainbow entrance.

kuromi halloween stuffed toys plush

For Halloween, the theme park released special edition spooky goods starring Kuromi, the impish skull-wearing rival of My Melody.

kuromi devil satanic hello kitty character evil

Kuromi is a favorite among Goths, of course… although all the Sanrio characters look fab dressed in witch hats and Gothic Lolita dresses!

puro halloween hello kitty land tokyo japan

Sanrio Puroland opened in 1990, and has been popular with fans ever since. Many dress up as their favorite characters to visit the indoor park.

cinnamonroll theme park rides puroland ride

Puroland only has a few rides, and lines can be long — so we opted to simply walk around and enjoy the cute shops and photo-locations, like this Cinnamonroll fuzzy bus.

hello kitty theme park attractions events show

Of course, you can’t miss the gift stores, which are decorated to the nines (like this balcony with a Hello Kitty royal wedding).

puroland food court restaurants

The food area serves dishes themed after the mascots, of course.

kuromi themed food cute kawaii curry rice puroland

For Halloween, Puroland had these Kuromi and My Melody curry dishes, with ham and cheese cut-outs… Let’s just say this looks cuter than it tasted!

kuromi puroland tickets entry visitor guide goth

If you’re a fan of the Hello Kitty universe, you can’t miss Sanrio Puroland when you’re in Tokyo. Check out their site for opening tours, tickets, and more.

Thank you to Puroland for the press passes — it was a dream come true to hug Kuromi!

The Royal Park Canvas - Ginza corridor hotel review lobby

Tokyo is currently packed with tourists; in fact, visitor numbers now exceed pre-pandemic levels. Photographer Joey and I were glad to get away from the crowds — while also getting an artistic experience — by staying at The Royal Park Canvas – Ginza Corridor.

The boutique hotel’s sophisticated design is inspired by the flow of alcohol at Ginza Corridor, a lively street of small bars and restaurants that can be viewed from the balcony. The party continues in the hotel lobby, which often hosts live DJ performances until the early hours.

ginza boutique hotels The Royal Park Canvas corridor bar

The Royal Park Canvas – Ginza Corridor cotains three bars, including one that specializes in Prosecco, and one with an impressive selection of Japanese liquor. I enjoyed the shiso umeshu (plum wine), and using this mallet to crack open this mini sake barrel.

The spacious, modern rooms also have design elements that pay homage to drinking culture, like metallic champagne bubble motifs over the windows.

japanese bar curtains royal park tokyo hotels

Loved the chic decor and convenient location of The Royal Park Canvas – Ginza Corridor. The hotel is only a short walk from Ginza and Shimbashi stations, as well as high end fashion boutiques, art attractions, and fine restaurants.

The Royal Park Canvas - Ginza 8 lobby

We also stayed at The Royal Park Canvas – Ginza 8, which featured cozy, hip spaces that encourage you to mingle. The music lounge contained an extensive vinyl collection for guests to listen to.

japanese breakfast The Royal Park Canvas - Ginza 8 hotel review rating

We had a Japanese breakfast to remember at Opuses restaurant, on the top floor. I tasted small, artistic dishes (grilled fish, rolled egg, stewed vegetables) while looking out at the terrace.

The Royal Park Canvas - Ginza 8 luxury hotel tokyo japan

Here’s the long lobby bar / cafe at The Royal Park Canvas – Ginza 8. You can sip on cocktails or mocktails, and a variety of tea — but of course, I went straight to the bottles of yuzu (Japanese citrus juice, my fav). Thank you to both hotels for the sublime stays. #PR

yayoi kusama museum entrance sign shinjuku

If you’ve been reading this blog for some time, you’ll know that I will take any opportunity to see artwork by Japanese avantgarde legend, Yayoi Kusama (famous for her polka dot pumpkins and Infinity Rooms). And so, I made a pilgrimage to the Yayoi Kusama Museum, a permanent space dedicated to her work (located near Waseda and Takadanobaba stations, in Shinjuku Ward).

Founded in 2017 by the artist herself, the Yayoi Kusama Museum presents rotating exhibitions that lets visitors get a glimpse of her visionary world.

tokyo japan yayoi kusama museum exhibitions events paintings tentacles

Yayoi Kusama has been making waves in the art world from the hippie-era 1960s to the present. The Tokyo museum’s sleek architecture beautifully frames her brightly colored, pop-meets-surreal paintings and sculptures. 

Note that to visit the museum, you must purchase a timed 90-minute ticket in advance from their website. Photos are only allowed on several floors.

yayoi kusama museum sculptures tokyo japan exhibit

I especially loved the open-air rooftop, which encourages you to engage with her large-scale art. Under the blue sky, Yayoi Kusama’s flower appears to bloom towards the camera! On another floor, I admired “Visionary Colors” – a selection of her colorful recent paintings that meditate on peace and love, inner struggles, and oneness/liberation through “self-obliteration.” 

yayoi kusama obliteration room tokyo japan art museum

Kusama has experienced hallucinations throughout her life, which have inspired installations like “I’m Here, but Nothing.” I spent a few minutes inside this trippy bedroom illuminated with glowing UV polka dots – it made me want to have a disco party! 

Get immersed in her art at Tokyo’s Yayoi Kusama Museum. Check their site for ticket info, as well as special events such as lectures.

cafe coffee zingaro nakano takashi murakami

Finally, let’s pop into artist Takashi Murakami’s cafe, Coffee Zingaro in Nakano! Go to the second floor of Nakano Broadway, and you can’t miss his smiling rainbow flowers lit up in neon lights.

takashi murakami theme cafe artist hipster coffee zingaro

The coffee shop is the brainchild of renowned Japanese contemporary artist, Takashi Murakami. The café is a wonderland of his poppy, colorful artwork inspired by manga, anime, and kawaii culture.

food at coffee zingaro murakami themed burgers desserts

At Coffee Zingaro, everything on the menu looks like a Murakami painting. I tried the ham sandwich, latte, and pumpkin muffin — all of the food was stamped with his smiley flower mascot. and came with an Arigato sticker.

coolest interiors instagrammable cafe restaurant tokyo zingaro

I felt as if I was inside one of his whimsical, colorful paintings. The tables at Coffee Zingaro double as gaming consoles, so you can play retro video games like Mario Bros and Donkey Kong while you eat.

takashi murakami muffin smiling rainbow flower light zingaro nakano

The moist pumpkin muffin was one of the best I’ve had — and was certainly the cutest!

Bite into one at Coffee Zingaro inside Tokyo’s Nakano Broadway (2F). Also check out artist Takashi Murakami’s nearby Hidari and Tonari no Zingaro art galleries.

sanrio puroland gothic kuromi mascots サンリオピューロラン

No matter how many times I visit Japan, I never tire of the whimsical art and slightly bizarre attractions. Would you visit the Hello Kitty theme park, Puroland?

To see these cute mascots in action, I hope you enjoy the reels and more photos on @LaCarmina Instagram. Thanks for the add, and more soon!


Best summer activities in Vancouver BC! CICA Vancouver Sorayama, Capilano Bridge, Miku sushi, Fairmont Pacific Rim.

hajime sorayama cica vancouver bc space travelers robots

Domo arigato, Mrs Roboto! I had a grand time this summer in Vancouver, as I do my best to avoid travel in the high season (too expensive and Collapse-prone these days).

Instead, I stayed home in British Columbia and enjoyed art exhibitions (including Hajime Sorayama’s sci fi futurism), sushi on the waterfront, day trips to islands, and outdoor activities.

Read on for my offbeat, artsy guide to the top summer activities in Vancouver, BC — and check out the accompanying videos/reels on my Instagram @LaCarmina.

El Pequeño Libro del Satanismo satanism book la carmina

First, an announcement on the writing front…. My latest publication, “The Little Book of Satanism,” was translated into Spanish! It’s available now from Spain-based publisher Melusina, who did the translation and new cover design above.

To get a copy of my translated book, Google “El Pequeño Libro del Satanismo” (and more info below en español). The Little Book of Satanism is also available in English through AmazonKindleBarnes and Noble and Simon & Schuster. Canadians can find it at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon Canada — or simply search for the title to find it near you.

spanish book satanism melusina El Pequeño Libro del Satanismo lacarmina translation

Here’s the Spanish description of my book “El Pequeño Libro del Satanismo”:

“Con demasiada frecuencia, el satanismo se malinterpreta como una religión que hace sacrificios de sangre a un malvado Príncipe de las Tinieblas con cuernos y cola. En realidad, los satanistas modernos no son violentos ni teístas, y consideran que el Diablo es una metáfora significativa para la búsqueda del conocimiento, la razón y la justicia.

Nos asomamos así a la marca de la bestia en los movimientos culturales e históricos a lo largo de los siglos, que han informado las creencias y prácticas sinceras de los satanistas en la actualidad. Escrita por la galardonada periodista de cultura alternativa y bloguera La Carmina, esta completa guía incluye información sobre los orígenes bíblicos de Satanás y sus diversos nombres, apariencias y símbolos; su trato en la tradición esotérica del siglo XIX, así como su papel como chivo expiatorio, desde los juicios de brujas medievales hasta el «pánico satánico» desatado en la década de 1980. El libro concluye con una revisión concisa de la filosofía y las prácticas modernas, centrándose en la Iglesia de Satán, La Biblia satánica escrita por Anton LaVey y el activismo del Templo Satánico.”

EL PEQUEÑO LIBRO DEL SATANISMO de La Carmina, una obra que ahonda en sus valores afirmativos como inspiración en la vida. 14 x 21 cm. Páginas: 112. ISBN-13:978-84-18403-80-4. Precio: 14,90€.

satancon the satanic temple convention little book of satanism paperback review

To grab a copy of my Spanish-translated book, Google “El Pequeño Libro del Satanismo.”

The English version (“The Little Book of Satanism”) is also available worldwide from all major retailers. See links below, or Google the book title to find it near you.

la carmina the little book of satanism book review rating amazon goodreads

I asked ChatGPT to describe my book, and the AI spat out: “The Little Book of Satanism” provides a brief overview of the philosophy and practices of Satanism. Written by La Carmina, it covers topics such as the history of Satanism, the Satanic Bible, and the rituals and practices of Satanism. “The Little Book of Satanism” is a concise introduction to the basic ideas of Satanism and the worldview of its adherents.”

Order my Satanic book worldwide via AmazonKindleBarnes and Noble or Simon & Schuster. Those in Canada can find it at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon Canada. Thank you for reading — gracias!

hajime sorayama space sci fi sexy women robots fembot

Speaking of robotos — I was chuffed to visit the CICA Vancouver in Gastown for the first time. The Vancouver Centre of International Contemporary Art is a space for boundary-pushing works like the sci-fi visions of Japanese artist Hajime Sorayama.

space travelers hajime sorayama robot ai sculptures in tanks

Sorayama’s superrealist Mrs Robotos and visions of artificial intelligence / femininity / human emotions are out of this universe. CICA’s “Space Travelers” show features this immersive installation — doesn’t it remind you of an alien movie?

sorayama iron man marvel japanese sci fi painting

Since the 1970s, Hajime Sorayama has been mesmerizing viewers with his robotic-space-fantasy visions, which have a surprising warmth. I got to see his earliest commercial works from the 1970s, and large-scale paintings with pop culture themes like his take on Marvel’s Iron Man. (Wearing a leopard print active jacket by Mulu.)

hajime sorayama dior robot mrs roboto superrealism japan artist

Sorayama is known for his sexy robot ladies, which inspired films like Robocop and Ex Machina.

So shiny and chrome… To see how the light reflects off the metal surfaces and mirrors, watch my video of the CICA Sorayama show. (I always set my reels to the best space disco songs!)

space travelers cica contemporary art museum vancouver sorayama hajime

Sorayama has become more well-known in recent years due to his collaborations with Dior (above), Uniqlo, and more.

Space Travelers: Hajime Sorayama canada solo exhibition

Hajime Sorayama created mecha-dino sculptures for the film Jurassic World, which continue the theme of sentience vs AI. A remarkable show at CICA — and I can’t wait to see more of his works when I’m in Tokyo, where the artist is based!

long blue black dyed hair asian japanese hairstyles alternative dark

Here’s a first look at my new blue-black hair by Katya at Kore Salon in Vancouver. Happy to change up my look from the purple, which I’ve now had for years!

I took my new lilac cloud bag from Verafied to Buntzen Lake in Anmore, BC. My jacket is Mulu — love the cropped fit and breathable fabric, and glad to rep a woman-run, size inclusive label (up to 7XL).

mulu love activewear leopard print jacket fitness designer clothes

Buntzen Lake and this pier were the shooting locations of horror films Lake Placid, Freddy v Jason, and Jennifer’s Body. Quite a few cult movies were shot in BC, which is known as Hollywood North.

fairmont pacific rim hotel rooftop pool cabanas

Here’s the purple-blue hair I had before switching it up. Catching the breeze at the rooftop pool of the Fairmont Pacific Rim. I was writing a review of this stylish luxury hotel, which gave me an opportunity to hang at their waterfront property.

(Wearing a black MISBHV shrug and UK Swimwear top.)

vancouver waterfront hotel pool fairmont pacific rim willow spa review

You couldn’t ask for a better summer day at the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s outdoor pool fringed by palm trees, overlooking the North Shore mountains and harbour.

fairmont hotel pacific rim cabanas rentals outdoor pool

My friends and I lounged in this private cabana, and devoured salads, falafel, poke, and Prosecco.

See my Insta reel / video of our Fairmont Pacific poolside hang here.

botanist restaurant food dinner menu fairmont pacific rim

And then, dinner downstairs at Botanist Restaurant, one of the most exquisite fine dining spots in the city. The Chef’s Selection at Botanist was to die for: gorgeous, gorgeous cocktails and full-flavored Pacific Northwest creations like a quail’s egg on a floral black truffle nest, and perfectly charred kanpachi on creamed corn.

capilano suspension bridge park totem poles vancouver

I also served Sporty Spice for a day at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. I hadn’t been to this iconic North Vancouver landmark since the 90s, and discovered that there’s so much to see and do now — like a  daredevil cliffwalk and treetops adventure, and encounters with birds of prey!

I’m into the Y2K crochet bolero vibe these days. It’s hand-knit by Maryuan77, who sells them here on Depop.

capilano bridge tickets hours entry tips north vancouver

The Capilano Suspension bridge hangs 140 metres above the rocky river, and sways as people move across. The bridge was originally built in 1889, and became a leading tourist attraction in the 1980s. (Rest assured that there’s nothing sus about the bridge’s safety!)

exercise dresses white tennis dress active dress activewear

Capilano Park now has many other outdoor activities for all ages, like the Treetops Adventures. I had fun moving across seven footbridges hanging between tall fir trees, and looking down at the forest floor.

vancouver bc totem poles art capilano artists outdoor sculptures

Another highlight: Capilano’s totem or story poles, which were carved by local indigenous artists. They depict spirits and animals that have special meaning in their culture, like the Raven and Bear. (If you’re interested in BC First Nations art, I recommend UBC’s Museum of Anthropology as well.)

girl walking across capilano bridget tourism travel blogger

Be sure to wear sneakers or good walking shoes. I’m a fan of active / fitness dresses these days, which come with shorts and a built-in bra.

capilano suspension bridge vancouver park landmark bridges

Would you step onto Capilano’s suspended bridge?

y2k crochet boleros knit shrug arm covers

Check out my video from Capilano Bridge Park here (it’s set to the Bee Gees!)

capilano bridge park trees hike, birds of prey wild bird

The forest is home to birds of prey, like this adorable kestrel.

capilano skywalk tickets entry visit

The Cliffwalk was beautifully designed — it’s a narrow cantilevered walkway that curves around the Capilano River Canyon.

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is lovely to visit year-round. It will soon transform into Canyon Frights for Halloween, and the attractions are then lit up with lights for the winter holidays.

vancouver content creator influencer fashion style instagrammer

Who here is part of Leo Nation? For my birthday on August 17, I received the best present imaginable from my favorite Vancouver restaurant, Miku. They invited photographer Joey Wong and me to try a seven course kaiseki of dreams!

For my bday dinner, I wore this eyeballs puff dress by Sourpuss Clothing.

miku cocktails yuzu cocktail vancouver bc

Miku is part of Aburi Restaurants, which has become a worldwide name for their creative Japanese cuisine (they invented the pressed salmon and jalapeno oshi sushi, which is often copied but never surpasses the original).

Predictably, I ordered all the cocktails with yuzu (it’s my birthday after all). The Paper Crane (whiskey, amaro, aperol, yuzu) came with an origami bird.

miku omakase kaiseki tasting menu japanese chef

The chefs spoiled us with a multi-course menu featuring the freshest catch of the day and Miku’s signature aburi nigiri. Everything was beautifully plated on handmade Arita plateware from Kyushu, Japan.

vancouver best japanese restaurant miku aburi restaurants

I loved visiting Tohoku last year with the Japan Tourism Board. The Iwate wagyu croquette with yuzu creme fraiche and black truffle snow brought back tasty memories.

best sashimi japanese food vancouver high end pressed sushi miku

Here’s a video of my Miku kaiseki meal. The chef’s selection of sashimi came with dramatic puffs of dry ice, and each slice melts in your mouth (scallop, tuna, hamachi).

vancouver pan pacific hotel at night rainbow lights waterfront harbour

Miku’s waterfront setting and attentive service are also unbeatable (no wonder the Japanese restaurant is Michelin recommended). You can sit indoors or outside on the patio, and take in the lights of Canada Place convention centre and ferry terminal.

miku wagyu beef minami japanese vancouver restaurant

I’m a little allergic to shellfish, so the chefs changed up the menu and invented this wagyu x sukiyaki sauce x mushrooms dish just for me!

miku aburi oshi sushi nigiri kaiseki japanese sushi vancouver

The nigiri platter was a show-stopper. Vancouver is known for having some of the world’s best sushi, and Miku’s high quality fish / seafood paired with creative sauces and ingredients are top of the line.

vancouver birthday dinner restaurants dessert miku

And the sweetest ending: peach earl grey mouse (even Joey got a belated birthday cake). Thank you Miku for a kaiseki dinner I’ll always remember. (Check them out in Vancouver and Toronto, and sister restaurant Minami in Yaletown too.)

bowen island bc ferries horseshoe bay

I leave you with some photos from a day trip to Bowen Island, British Columbia. It’s a much-loved summer getaway spot for those in Vancouver — Bowen is only a 20 minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay, and you get to take in these spectacular views of the water and tall mountains.

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When you arrive, stop at the pier for Earnest ice cream and smoked salmon tacos. Then, head over to Tunstall Bay beach — I’m wearing AmyLynn Clothing on the shore.

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The waters are cool and oh so clear. (Photos by Yusheng.)

bowen island beaches attractions tourism what to do see

Thousands of you loved my video of the Bowen Island day trip — come give it a view, and see more Instagram @LaCarmina reels here.

bowen island tourism travel park killarney lake

I’m not a camping / hiking type, but it’s lovely to get outdoors in the Pacific Northwest during the hottest months. Wearing fashion from Tokyo at Killarney Lake on Bowen Island.

la carmina spanish translation little book of satanism EL PEQUEÑO LIBRO DEL SATANISMO

Did you have a fun summer as well? Now, let’s get ready for spooky season… including Halloween in Japan! Follow along @LaCarmina on social media to see my costume and adventures in Tokyo and beyond.

And thank you for reading my book! If you’d like the Spanish translation, Google “El Pequeño Libro del Satanismo” to find it. “The Little Book of Satanism” is also found on AmazonKindleBarnes and Noble and Simon & Schuster. Those in Canada can find it at Chapters/Indigo or