Translated by Shinji Takaramura
Mariko Suzuki: a Tokyo Guidebook from a Lolita's View
Ever wonder what the Lolita perspective on Tokyo is? Come have a peek!
Written by HashimotoAkane
This March, MATCHA introduced "Lolita in Tokyo Wonderland," a shopping and sightseeing guidebook for the Lolitas.
We interviewed the author, Ms. Mariko Suzuki.
Ms. Suzuki is the founder of magazines such as "Gothic & Lolita Bible," "KERA," and "KERA Maniacs." After working as the chief editor of the magazines, she is currently a freelance editor, also acting as the representative of the "Tokyo Lolita Club."
As an icon of the Gothic-Lolita fashion movement, she has been active since its beginning in Japan.
In the interview, we asked Ms. Suzuki about the guidebook, and also her thoughts regarding Japan and the Gothic-Lolita fashion.
Introducing the Lolita Culture in English
── "Lolita in Tokyo Wonderland" has information about shopping and must-see sights, written in both Japanese and English.
It's unique that a book about Lolita fashion, with English comments, is published in Japan. Why did you decide on this format?
Mariko Suzuki: As I was sending information about Lolita fashion to magazines like "KERA" and "Gothic & Lolita Bible," someone had suggested an English guidebook for the Lolitas.
Since then, I had been thinking about that idea.
In 2014, after resigning from the company that published "Gothic & Lolita Bible," I had tea with my fellow freelance editors.
Someone said, "So what do you want to do now?," and I answered, "I want to make an English Tokyo guidebook for the Lolitas."
Everyone said that was a good idea since the Olympics is coming to Tokyo. Iin the end, Jitsugyo no Nihon Sha published the book.
It was difficult to write everything in English, but all the shop information is written in both Japanese and English.
── Why did you think of sending Lolita fashion information in English?
In 2003, before starting the magazine "KERA Maniacs," I visited London and met the London Lolitas, whose numbers turned out to be more than I expected.
They gathered information about Lolita fashion on the Internet, and I was also surprised to see copies of "KERA" and "Gothic & Lolita Bible," which were hard to obtain.
The London girls held the Japanese girls as their idols, and lamented, "No matter how hard we try, we can't be a Lolita like the Japanese girls!" It was a praise for the Japanese Lolita culture.
I didn't know until then that the Lolita fashion culture we sent out was so highly rated overseas.
It was really an eye-opening moment for me.
Afterwards, I heard that there were many Lolitas abroad who wanted to come to Japan, and that they craved for information. So I started thinking it would be a good idea to make an English guidebook.
For the Lolitas. The Secret of "Lolita in Tokyo Wonderland"
── So you made the guidebook not only for the Japanese, but for the Lolitas abroad as well.
There are many wonderful places for the Lolitas introduced in this book, so I hope that they will visit those spots. And for the Lolitas all over the world who haven't visited Tokyo, but wish to do so someday, I hope that they take a look at this book as well.
It would be nice if those who read the guidebook can find their own favorite place.
── The guidebook shows many places that the Lolitas should visit. Is there a way to fully appreciate the book? Do you have any recommendations?
I think every reader has their own taste, so take a look through the book, and visit the place that attracts you most.
My personal favorite in the book is the Harajuku Map for the Lolitas, on pages 108 and 109, and the Tokyo Metro Route Map on pages 110 and 111.
I walked around the Harajuku area many times, and made the map from scratch. The route map is a special one, with a mark of a heart on the stations that are near famous landmarks.
With these maps, you should be able to find a place to go.
And please take a look at the note and the box where you can stamp your own seal, both on the page bottom.
One of the staff members, who is attracted to Tokyo and has a heart of a young girl, came up with the idea of a note. She used to have a list of places to visit in Tokyo, and when she visited them, she wrote down the date and her impressions. Don't you think that's fun?
It's a wonderful way to make memories, so I added that feature to this book. The readers should give it a try.
"Tokyo Wonderland": A World Filled with Lolita Fashion and Culture
── As our last question, please tell us your most favorite place for the Lolitas.
I would recommend the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum near the Tokyo station, introduced in pages 84 and 85 of the book.
The architecture is beautiful, so I hope that many people will visit the museum.
You should also visit the café1894 inside the museum, which used to be a bank. I think the Lolitas will love it. The tellers' counter is still there and you can enjoy the nostalgic atmosphere of the café.
And when you talk about Lolita fashion, you tend to start talking about castles.
Many Lolitas want to feel like a princess, so I think that they love a large mansion or a Western-style house.
The guidebook has many photographs of beautiful Western-style houses, so please take a look. [Pages 90 and 91.]
The cafe "Jardin de LUSEINE" in Harajuku is located in a Western-style house, an ideal place for those who love castles and large mansions.
You should also try their delicious sweets and the wonderful lunch. [This cafe is listed on page 36, and the photographs are on pages 18 through 21.]
A Pilgrimage in Fashion
In the interview, Ms. Suzuki talked about the guidebook, Lolita fashion, the Lolitas abroad, and her recommendations.
In Japanese culture, the word "pilgrimage" is associated with fans who visit places mentioned in their favorite anime or drama. They regard that place as holy.
Ms. Suzuki said, "although I'm not a believer, I love the Christian culture," and in July 2014, she visited Santiago de Compstela, one of the three Holy Lands of Christianity.
A Lolita's "pilgrimage" is to visit a place they adore, a place connected to the Lolita culture, a place filled with cute items. It is to discover a new "holy place" of their own.
The guidebook introduces many spots that can become a "holy place."
Filled with must-see spots that are "Wonderland" to the Lolitas, this book will surely make you want to dress up and visit those spots.
"Lolita in Tokyo Wonderland" is the key to the must-see sights.
It's up to you to decide where to go.
Copyright © 2010-2014. Jitsugyo no Nihon Sha, Ltd. All rights reserved.
Chapter One/ Cafes and Restaurants
Chapter Two/ Shops
Chapter Three/ Places to Go on a Date
Chapter Four/ Hotels
Languages: Japanese, with shop information in English.
This book is sold at bookstores in Japan, or on the Internet (Amazon.co.jp).
*Please note that it may be sold out on the Amazon.