Sorry, no pics of the wonderful amazing Harajuku kids in their astounding outfits, you can get plenty of those on Google–all the westerners taking pictures of them like they were zoo animals (that phrase always makes me think of the "Zoo Animals on Wheels" episode of genius Chris Elliott's Get a Life) kinda made me feel oogy. I mostly ended up taking pictures of incongruous signs, anyway. Like this one. What I wouldn't give for a REALLY smart clothing store! I'd want it to be smart both ways — in the 1950s sense of "well-tailored, appropriate, elegant" and the modern sense of "adaptable, technologically advanced": my "smart clothing store" would make me a 1950s day dress from a tabletop fab (for 'fabrication', but also 'fabulous') machine, adjusted to my exact measurements, in fabric worked up from my rough sketch. It would be dirt-repelling, have built-in ubiquitous computing (an off-the-cuff email would be literally OFF THE CUFF), and tell me the time and temp in eight languages. Plus the collar would morph into iPod headphones.
There's nothing like Japan to make you want the future, NOW. It feels so much closer here, like you'd just turn a corner and all of a sudden you'd see Cory Doctorow and William Gibson sitting at a sidewalk cafe table, being served tea by robots. You'd see Harrison Ford chasing a couple of replicants while a "take us to your leader" ship lands down the block. Utopia, dystopia, I don't care. Just hit fast-forward for me, 'kay?
One funny thing I will report to you: while waiting for our new glasses (yes, in Tokyo you can buy new glasses in a hour, start to finish, for $75 — my new ones are ORANGE and they ROCK) my co-worker marvelled that women here dress up in a "skirt and hose to just wander around on a Sunday …" here he trailed off, laughing, as he had just noticed my pale pink wool skirt and pink fishnet tights (which I wore with a yellow tee and teal cardigan sweater, paisley belt, and flat loafers).
Oh, and for all of you that asked, here's the scary mannequin from Shanghai. Don't think about it coming to life, or you won't sleep tonight:
Although, I guess, looking at it again, the most it would do is say something scathingly catty, turn on her heel, and walk away. And then come back and kill you later.