In search of alternative youth culture and fashion I had heard about a shopping mall where I could find some interesting boutiques. Upon entering Tenjin Vivre I felt a little bit let down. The mall seemed like a typical department store; overpriced shops and very little to offer. In my despair I decided to go down to the food court in the basement of the building. I drowned my sorrows with an iced café latte and a good old Subway sandwich. Feeling somewhat recharged I decided to give Vivre another try.
Heading up to the second floor things seemed to look a bit more promising. There were some fashion boutiques geared towards current youth fashion. However it was not the mind blowing stuff I was expecting. I decided to continue my expedition up to the third floor. This floor was completely different. The shops were full of model cars, manga books and anime. I now understood why this mall had been suggested to me as a place to find youth culture related shops. This place was a sanctuary for otaku (geeks) with everything even remotely related to manga. The model car section was most impressive with stacks upon stacks of model car boxes. On the same floor there was a shop with a great selection of musical instruments. In this shop I found a keytar. Now I’m not certain but I’m pretty sure those things perished along with the 1980s. It was one of those countless moments when I thought to myself ‘only in Japan’. I suppose it could take one hours to work their way through the shops on this floor. This is not exactly what I had come to find, so I proceeded to the next floor with my fingers crossed and hoping for the best.
On this floor I found a clothing shop called GU. They had a vast selection of inexpensive clothing for both men and women. It was similar to Uniqlo (a clothing chain store in Japan) but I think they had a better selection. Still not satisfied I went up to the top floor of the building. Lo and behold I found Fukuoka’s own little version of Harajuku. There were a few boutiques selling gothic lolita fashion for both men and women. These clothes were so intricately decorated with the most beautiful fabric and patterns. They were full of all the frills, lace and ribbon you could imagine. There were ‘Little Bo Peep’ dresses as well as some steampunk outfits too. The shop displays were also executed really well. Alongside the gothic lolita fashion boutiques there was a punk rock clothing shop. They had the wildest collection of shoes with, of course, a great selection of Doc Martens. Feeling content I perused the shops on this floor for a bit longer before heading on to the next shopping mall, Tenjin Core.