I’d heard quite a bit about Harajuku before I went to Japan, about how young Japanese dress up in whacked out costumes and spend the day parading around, but believe me when I say there’s no preparation for the real thing.
So what goes on at Haraujuku? I’m sure there’s some deep thinking psychological analysis of the phenomenon, but I don’t think it would really explain it. Basically it’s a collection of young Japanese (I suppose somewhere between 15 and 25 … it’s very hard to tell), who dress up as characters from books and movies, dolls, goths, and any number of other things.
They all congregate on a bridge just around the corner from Harajuku Station, and stand there all day. They willingly stand for hours while people photograph and stare at them. They have their own little groups where they talk about whatever they talk about. The two girls in the pic above were posing with people for at least 4 hours. Quite happily standing there and staring at camera after camera. Looking like little dolls.
There were probably more tourists there than actual “exhibits”, but they just seemed to wander around, a little bewildered by the experience. A whole lot of head scratching going on.