I hope this week finds you well. The weather here in Tokyo this week has just been crazy. Not only was there a small earthquake, but there was also days and days of rain and wet snow. And here I thought I was getting away from bad winter weather in Ohio! Nope, just followed me here to Japan. Anyways, when it becomes rainy here in Japan, that is when you can really see some beautiful things. Everyone has their umbrellas open, which seem to be all the same clear, umbrellas, careful not to whack each other in the head. And yes, I will admit that I did almost hit my friend with my umbrella. It was an accident! Things can get a bit overwhelming in the mass of people, especially when there are umbrellas involved.
Weather aside, this week was actually pretty great. It was my friend’s birthday here and she managed to plan this wonderful afternoon at a Gothic Lolita tea house. For those that do not know, Gothic Lolita’s can usually be found wearing heavy makeup, dark colors, religious jewelry and some Victorian-esque dresses. They really have a style all their own, so it can be a bit difficult to try to describe them. I think you’ll see what I mean. Anyhow, a few of us made the trip to Shinjuku to celebrate…Lolita style!
Tucked away in an alley, and up some extremely narrow stairs was this tea house called Sumire no Tenmado (or Violet Skylight). I have been to tea parlors in America, but this was nothing like it, except for the fact that they were serving tea. The room was very small, about the size of my dorm room, and everything was being operated by one woman. We all felt so bad for being such a big group for her to try to handle on her own. However I have noticed that Japanese service in restaurants or cafes, it much more efficient. They even have a pager for you to buzz them!
While we were there, we took in the beautiful hand-drawn artwork and décor. We sipped on tea, homemade mecha chocolate cake (that’s green tea cake!) and coffee. The woman serving us even made the whipped cream herself while we were waiting! Everything in the small room was beautiful, even the bathrooms were decorated flawlessly. I can safely say that I have never been to a pace like this every before. Even Tim Burton was there once! Does that mean that I met someone famous? No, I guess not.
If Gothic Lolita is something that you are interested in, I would definitely recommend going to this tea house, Sumire no Tenmado. While it is not traditional Japan, it certainly is something that I think everyone should experience first hand. Our time there was so lovely that none of us wanted to leave and head back home in the rain!