Shibuya 109, or just 109 (ichi-maru-kyu, in Japanese), is a landmark for women between the ages of 10 and 30.
The cylindrical building stands at a fork in the road just up a slope from the scramble intersection in front of Shibuya Station, in Tokyo.
Within its eight above-ground and two underground floors one can find the latest fashions in Japan.
In addition, it is a sociologists dream. On each floor, you will find many boutiques, each offering a very defined fashion look. The women who work as clerks in these shops wear the clothes of the shop--and the attitude appropriate to the look.
The pinker the fashion, the cuter the look and behavior of the clerks. In the hip-hop influenced shops, the attitude was considerably cooler.
In one boutique, the two women clerks flew around the tiny shop screaming "irashaimase" (welcome). They both were deeply tanned, short, cute, and were sporting completely blonde hair, short cotton skirts, and lots of bangles. Across the hall, in a much more subdued place, the tall reserved female clerks barely noticed customers.
The mall was packed with Japanese women, all under 30, and legions of Asian tourists, many of whom were on the wrong side of 30.
In total, there were 50+ shops, some with wonderful names.
Some of my favorites were:
and, of course, XOXOkisskiss.
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Saturday, September 20, 2008