Thursday, June 25, 2015

Triple Fortune Bonnets: A Buying Tutorial

Hey there and welcome to my buying tutorial for Triple Fortune's bonnets and other items. I will be showing the various ways for procuring these items and the turn around time including process for each. First I will be showing you how to make a purchase through KERA Online Shop which you will need to have a Tenso account to complete. Second will be via a special order and third through second hand markets. This is a very image heavy post so please be warned! Please click the images to pull them up in the gallery to see the notations I've made as well.

Purchasing tactic 1: Kera

When purchasing or making a reservation through Kera Shop Online it's good to make an account with Tenso first. Tenso is a forwarding service from Japan. What they do is give you a Japanese address that you use to fill in as your  mailing address ( so instead of your home address in whatever country you are in ) when purchasing from a Japanese website and will act like a PO Box for you in Japan. Once your parcel arrives to them in Japan you can get it forwarded from your personal PO Box to yourself. 

After setting up your Tenso account you should be able to view your Jp PO Box address on their website. It will look like this. 

I would keep this page, or at least the address handy for when you're getting ready to order. As of 6/25/15 Kera has updated their website so some of the ways of finding items might be a little bit different. I'm still going to keep the old information images just in case it wasn't updated for all browsers just in case though. If you are using the old version you can click on the the Triple Fortune header, if you are using the new version you might have to search using keywords " トリプルフォーチュン "

Old version:

New version: 

You'll pick whatever item you'll want to order and depending on the indication of the info on the item you'll be able to tell if its a reservation item or a ready stock item. If it's ready stock it usually ships within 24 hours of received payment. If it is a reserve item, they will notify when your item gets sent to them and then it will be shipped to your Tenso account. In the screen caps of the old version you'll see I was purchasing a reserve item; in the new version of the website, a ready stock item.

Old version : 

New version: 

After you have made your selection please hit the pink ( old version )  or green button ( new version )  and it will add the item to your cart. Keep repeating the process with other items you would like to procure until you are ready to check out. Your check out screen will look like this.

Old version:

New version: 

After proceeding to check out they will ask you to register or to login to your account to proceed with checkout. When filling out your registration form you should fill it out like this, and make sure to use your Tenso account address if you do not live in Japan.

You will then hit the next button will prompt you with payment options. I've also included a payment key in the images below. Since COD and bank transfer are only available to residents of Japan you will have to use a credit card. After picking your payment option, click to the next confirm screen ( right button on the bottom. )

After doing so you'll come the last confirmation page before completion of your order. It will cover going over everything you've entered so far. After confirming that all your information is correct you'll hit the button with the exclamation points to send the order. You'll get brought to a page saying that your order has been completed. 

After you order is completed you will receive an email from Kera Shop Online about the notification of completion for your order and when it will ship.

Turn around time: 
The turn around time for ready stock items from Triple Fortune is almost immediate and should arrive at your Tenso PO in 5 to 7 business days. If it is a reserve item it is true to the statement that the turn around is between or 1 to 3 months. They will send you an email whenever your item has reached them and is getting ready to ship to you. After receiving this email they will charge your credit card so make sure to have the amount available to be debited/credited from your account. As of current, I have reserved 2 bonnets through this method and have received one at 2 months, the other at 3.

Purchasing Tactic 2: Special Order and in store

The Kera Shop Brick and mortar located all through out Japan usually offer a special order service. With the aide of a Shopping Service or SS for short, you can make a request at their local Kera for a special request bonnet where you can pick the colors, types of flowers chains etc. Currently as of 6/26/2015, Special orders are now closed  until further notice. one of the seamstresses for their brand was inured and endured surgery so production for their stock has been slowed dramatically since April of this year to as of current. They will reopen services again but it has not been eluded to when that will be.

Now if you are lucky enough to be in Japan to do your own shopping, I would suggest hitting up Atelier Pierrots as well as multiple the Kera Shops and even Dangerous Nude. They offer Triple Fortune products brand new but the stock is very random. You may also send an SS to do this but again since the stock is random you can never guarantee the color you are looking for will be there or that there is stock on hand. 

Turn around time:
Turn around time for special order bonnets vary on their schedule and can range from 3 months to over a year. I have ordered 2 bonnets this current method. The first bonnet came at 6 months but was not the colors I had requested. My second bonnet has been over 1 year now and am still waiting. As for purchasing in store well.. thats instant satisfaction, isn't it?

Purchasing Tactic 3: Second hand

Purchasing items second hand items are always a gamble but you can sometimes land a really great deal or special colorway of an item that hasn't been released in a long time. My suggestions would include second hand stores like Fururun, Usagiyouhinten, Auction Grand Bazaar on Rakuten as well as mbok and Yahoo! Auctions and even Lacemarket and some occasions. 

Now something to consider when searching for these items is it always wise to search in English as well as Japanese [  トリプルフォーチュン  ] for more hits.  In some screenshots I have included you can see all the items that pop up using these methods. 

While it is not as for sure bet you'll get your desired item as purchasing something directly in person or via online, you can sometimes manage a deal and find them cheaper than retail.

Turn around time:
Since you are buying from a seller or second hand store the shipping with EMS from Japan is usually 4 to 5 business days to the USA, it might be a little longer to other countries. If you are purchasing your parcel from an auction site it may take a few days to a week later depending on how long it will take for the money to transfer as well as it to ship to them before they can ship it to you. Majority of my bonnet collection has been procured this way but it has taken quite some time to find them and it is by far not an exact science. 

Thank you for taking the time to read through this lengthy tutorial and I hope this helps with your future purchases! I tried to be as through as possible but if there is anything that you might need help with in your purchase process please just give me a shout and I'll try to help you out. Please stay tuned for more  from your local Texan lolita!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Traveling Lolita: New Orleans

It's been a while since I got to document such a rich and culturally diverse city like New Orleans and when given the opportunity to visit, I jumped at the chance. I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend a wedding for two very good lolita friends of mine. I performed the ceremony that would join these two lovely women and it was truly a wonderful experience. But before and after the initial wedding I got to explore some of the surrounding area, Chalmette and Metairie.

The cemeteries were a very high on my to do list and one of my first stops. In the first cemetery, Rt. Rochs, located in the second chapel lay a separate prayer room almost like a miniature shrine. There, ex votos are mementos left in payer. Leg braces represent victims of polio; the plaster brains those who may have suffered from brain cancer. With no parish any longer associated with the chapel of St Rochs, visitors have taken this tradition and the variety of offerings from hand written letters, glass eyeballs, to toys; they range from the simple to outright obscure. Bricks marked Merci and Thanks are cobbled together on the floor of the shrine to bring a rather eclectic collection of hopes and thanks.

In the photo above is a panoramic view of the little shrine covered with ex votos. It was astounding to see what might be left in tribute or might be picked up by visitors as charms from their experience. The delicate balance between macabre and beauty were such a treat to capture. I was so happy to contribute if even in a small part.

Most of the cemetery outside of the chapel was above ground, a bit of a customary thing in New Orleans due directly to the city's inherent flooding problems. There you would see many different burial styles ranging from coping tombs, family tombs, and wall vaults. My favorite are the family tombs which could range from four to thirty people in a single tomb.

On our way out we also saw a house covered with severed chicken feet. I'm not sure if they were practitioners of voodoo, but it was still pretty wild to see. 

Another cemetery I got to visit was the Valance St Cemetery. This one was not as well upkept as St. Rochs and some of the tombs were weather beaten and unclaimed. So a lot of the coping tombs and wall vaults were actually exposed to the elements so you could see the remains of generations upon generations inside and nature reclaiming and poking through the cracks. 

To say the least, it was a surreal experience to see nature reclaiming the tombs of the departed and all the life in the neighborhoods surrounds these hollowed grounds. I would really like to revisit this particular cemetery again as I think the disrepair and crumbling of once was, is a beautiful glimpse into the scope of what happens to our physical attributes and legacies after we cease to exist on this plane.

Another bucketlist attraction was Kawaii Nola, a cute boutique located on Magazine street. Thankfully this is a hip neighborhood strip located a bit away from the hustle and bustle of the french quarter. I had heard so many good things from local lolitas about this place and was really happy to pop in. There I got meet Kanako and talk about her shop and how they carry both local made adorable items as well as international things, truly encompassing everything kawaii! Sadly they won't have a booth this year at Mechacon ( a local anime and jfashion convention July 17 - 19 who's guests are Baby The Stars Shine Bright and Alice and the Pirates this year ), so if you're in the area for the convention or any other time, be sure to stop by there for all your cute needs!

We also stopped into a couple of great shops where I snagged this great vintage hat you'll see in the photos below and some lovely macarons from Sucre. The seasonal blackberry and peaches n' cream were good, but, Laudrees' I think are still my most favorite. We also got to see twin steamboat houses which were spectacular and worth a visit if you're ever in town as well as an old abandoned orphanage which I would have loved to get inside of.

The most important part of my trip, and my favorite was celebrating of the union of two of my very good friends, Ash and Megan. I can't share a lot of photos of the actual ceremony, because I was actually in it, but it was beautiful. I'm really happy I got to be a part of a cherished moment and it was also really lucky it rained during the last part of the reception so nothing got ruined!

A special thanks to Amber who held my umbrella to shade me from the super awful direct sunlight. 

I'm really happy that I got to experience New Orleans the way that I did and I can't wait to go back again later this summer for Mechacon. Kammie was a wonderful host, her friends hilarious and lovely to boot; and the overwhelming feeling of hospitality left such a positive lasting impression with me. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more adventures from a traveling lolita!