Our reporter’s fashion quest continues as he ventures into the ultra-hip jungle of Tokyo’s Harajuku with a mere 10,000 yen (US$85), this time enlisting the help of two high school girls who know the terrain like the back of their hands.

■ Heart of Sparkliness

Just back from his Family Mart shopping spree, in which he could craft the perfect emo beach outfit (pictured above), RocketNews24 reporter Seiji Nakazawa felt his next creation should be something more glitzy and glamorous. Of course the perfect place for gleaming cutting edge fashions would have to be the Harajuku area of Tokyo.

However, as a middle-aged guy, the place tends to overwhelm his senses with its glaring bright lights and cacophony of random sounds and EDM coming from all directions. For this mission he would certainly need help. So, with the aid of teen website My Navi Teens he was able to secure the assistance of two experienced Harajuku guides: Aika Yamashita and Hinata Zukeyama.

▼ Hinata is on the left in the brown sweater and Aika is on the right in blue

These two intrepid high school girls have logged countless hours exploring the deepest corners of Harajuku. If anyone would know how to best coordinate an outfit from 10,000 yen, it would be them.

■ Girls just wanna have fun
Seiji, Aika, and Hinata walked onto the sparkling Takeshita Street side by side. The conspicuous trio drew stares from everyone, and how could they not? After all, when you see two 18-year-old girls hanging out with a guy too old to be their friend and too young to be their father it can only mean one thing: fashion make-over in progress!

However, as they strolled past the brightly lit storefronts a strange feeling came over Seiji. He suddenly felt as if he were back in his high school days…or at least a high school in an alternate universe where he had friends.

The enthusiasm of the girls as they gasped at dessert displays and how they saw everything as “sugoi” (awesome) in one way or another was contagious.

However, as the trio were enjoying some awesome cream-filled crepes, Seiji’s mobile phone rang. It was the editor.

Editor: “How is the report going? You said you’d be back by ten o’clock?”
Seiji: “Jeeze take a chill-pill. Me, Aika, and Hinata are just having some crepes.”
Editor: “What? Don’t you know I made a 1,000-slice cheeseburger for dinner tonight?! You’re going to spoil your appetite!”
Seiji: “Pfft, whatever.”

▼ “So then I was all like, ‘what-e-ver’ and hung up.”

Although a total drag, Seiji’s editor had a point. There was shopping to do and it was time for these three BFFs to get to work!

■ Play it safe with a white sweater
Luckily, Aika and Hinata already knew exactly where to take Seiji, and right when they reached the entrance of a place called WEGO they showed him a nice white sweater. Hinata explained to him that white knitted fabrics are well-known to look really good on men.

This was comforting to Seiji. Coming to Harajuku, he had been expecting to get decked out in some wild Bjork-like outfit with crazy spikes and glitter, but a white sweater wasn’t far off from something he would normally wear.

However, despite the lesson, these girls clearly weren’t interested in purchasing said sweater. Soon after, they walked past it without giving it a second look. They also strolled straight through the entire men’s wear section and into the women’s clothing area, where the real fashion happens.

■ Kawaii!!!
Soon after entering he could hear a stereo “Kawaii!” when the girls found the centerpiece to their 10,000 yen outfit: a pink shirt-like dress with a picture of a magic bunny on it.  They looked over at Seiji to see if he would go for it, and while still under the optimistic effects of the girls’ cries of “Kawaii!” he agreed…after confirming that he could keep his trusty boxers on underneath.

And so, with all the speed and finesse of a world-famous surgeon performing a tonsillectomy, Aika and Hinata grabbed at the items necessary to coordinate with the shirt dress. Here is what they got:

▼ Pink “Rabbit Magic” dress – 2,990 yen ($26)

▼ Velcro sneakers – 4,990 yen ($43)

▼ “Flower broach” socks – 350 yen ($3)

▼ Triangle choker – 590 yen ($5)

▼ Fluffy hat – 100 yen ($0.85)

Everything was bought from WEGO with the exception of the fluffy hat which was found at a great discount from a shop called Spinns.

Much like how native Americans are said to have utilized every part of a buffalo, these girls somehow instinctively could use up nearly every yen of Seiji’s 10,000 and came to a grand total of 9,773 yen ($83.53).

■ Young at heart

It was time for Seiji to try out his new 18-year-old-selected Harajuku look.

Everything fit fine except his trusty boxers which were creeping out the bottom of his dress. He stared in the mirror dejectedly at this ridiculous looking coordination and went out of the dressing room to disappoint his new friends.

“I blew it,” he said pointing to the small strips of old-guy-grey fabric slipping out over his thighs.

“No way, that’s totally OK!” said Hinata cheerily and Aika punctuated the sentiment with an enthusiastic “Kawaii!” at this unlikely combination.

After hearing their kind words, Seiji suddenly felt better about his outfit. He thought the girls may have been on to something. After all, the small glimpse of underwear added a little sexiness to the look while the conservative style of boxers kept things tasteful. It was the perfect balance of flirtatiousness and refinement!

He began to think that Hinata and Aika might later copy his look and them pass it onto their other hip Harajuku friends. After a while, his boxers-under-dress look may become a global fashion trend.

As Seiji stood on what he assumed was the very cutting edge of fashion, he realized something. Fashion isn’t about safely going with what’s currently trendy like plain white sweaters. It’s about venturing forward with the positive spirit and open mind that can often be found in young people. And if we share that same bright energy with each other, then great things can happen.

Finally, before Seiji would return to his drab 33-year-old life he celebrated this last slice of youth with a commemorative Instagram post.

Original article by Seiji Nakazawa

Photos: RocketNews24
[ Read in Japanese ]