Monday, September 21, 2015

Totally Tokyo Birthday Party

So first… this party happened about 5 months ago.  I’m terrible at blogging.  I love putting these party’s together.  I’m horrible about blogging about them.  I have another party I need to blog too.  Soooo… better late than never.  I guess.  
The idea of this all came around by Sushi.  My kids love it.  Nothing fancy, usually just good old Sushi rolls.  Then I thought about making cake to look like Sushi.  Then I started thinking about Japan & especially Tokyo and that bright, crazy, creative, fun Harajuku street fashion.  And there you have it… a party was born.  I must say one of the greatest things to come of creating this party was me and my then 12 year old daughter researching Tokyo.  We learned so much & now we both want to get there one day.  We especially fell for Takeshita-dori in Harajuku.   And based the party around the shopping, color and creativity of Takeshita street.  What a gem of a place!
I took inspiration for the invites from the wrappers of Japanese candy and treats.  Their designs are so colorful & have such fabulous combinations of patterns & designs!  
It also was a dress up party.  The kids were asked to dress in Japanese street wear.  We had a blast coming up with my daughter’s ensemble. 

As the kids came I snapped a photo of each of them.  Purikura photo booths are a big deal on Takeshita street.  So I used these photo’s & purikura apps to create that distinct fun look on each photo (this was done after the party). The app’s I found & used for this are called Rakuga-cute-cute- & Beauty plus (this is where you can enlarge the eyes for the perfect purikura look). Here is my daughters finished Purikura image…
I also had a great Japanese playlist going on in the background.  Some of them were american made songs, such as “Harajuku Girls” but thanks to the internet it was easy to find out who the top Japanese pop bands are & find their music on iTunes.  I kept the music going throughout most of the party. 
I wanted the backdrop of the food table to look like the entrance of Takeshita Street.  They redid it a few years back, but I liked the old one more for this…  so it is technically modeled after the old look.  They have all of this amazing balloon art by the entrance sign, so we couldn’t forget that either!
Often TAKESHITA is written across the front on balloons, so we mimicked that as well with my daughter's name displayed on yellow circles. A wonderful seller HandMek
on Etsy custom made these adorable Harajuku kids for me.  He is fantastic! And produced exactly what I needed! 
I found these paper umbrellas/parasols at Oriental Trading.  Unfortunately it looks like their price has gone up since I ordered them.  They are fragile, so if you purchase them be careful opening them. The paper is more like a tissue and it does tear quite easily.  I spray painted mine different shades of green, pink & blue (and I left a few white).  I hung them above the tables and they really stood out!  They were a fabulous finishing touch! 
The center pieces…

For the center pieces I made a Godzilla, a sumo wrestler & a lucky cat statue (Maneki Neko) As well as a sign that reads happy birthday in japanese & few other things.  I simply had them printed, attached them to dowels and pressed them into a 12x1” styrofoam disc.  The place settings were pretty simple.  I just mismatched what I had (which is totally the Harajuku style anyway) then added chopsticks.  The placemats are bamboo sushi mats.  

So my cousin Caden Lundberg is a kendama pro.  He came out to teach the kids a bunch of tricks & tips.  He did some awesome games with them and handed out some Kendama prizes.  He is fun to watch… his Kendama skill are crazy amazing.
We tossed in dinner after the Kendama demo.  I went with Teriyaki Chicken bowls.  It’s easy and a crowd pleaser.  I made a ton of food & it was a good thing because 12-13 year old kids are bottomless pits. For the drinks I had a selection of the popular Japanese Ramune Sodas.
  A little tip… Things like the ramune soda, treats, chopstick  etc… are loads cheaper to purchase at a local Asian food market.  Additionally these markets are fantastic to walk through!  It’s worth checking them out before purchasing anything online.  We come home with way too much stuff when we head to one.  It’s always fun to try new things!  And my kids love it!
Then we did a little Karaoke contest.  We just used Nintendo’s Wii U SiNG party.  It was hilarious!  I’m amazed how into it some of the kids were!  We could have done the Karaoke for hours on end.
After the singing entertainment we had a piñata.  It was a Godzilla piñata.  (Well he was actually a green dragon piñata… but he was close enough).  I filled the piñata with Japanese treats (again I found these at the Asian market).  And with the popular Iwako erasers 
I thought about renting those sumo wrestling suits.  But opted instead to have my cousin come for the Kendama demo.  I still think the Sumo wrestling would have been awesome.  But party’s are only so long and usually come with a budget ;)
After this it was time for cake and ice cream!
Every guest received their own box of cake made to look like sushi. It wasn’t terribly difficult to make.  I made sheet cakes that I cut into the size & shape I wanted. (I just used a circle cookie cutter for the rolls).  I froze these, it makes them much easier to work with.  Then I covered them with white frosting and rolled them in white sprinkles (white decorettes).  Then I added different sprinkles I had found at a local food supply store (Orson Gygi) to create the look I wanted.  I also used fondant on a few pieces to create the “fish.” The “wasabi” is a dollop of green colored frosting.  I used Americolor soft gel in avocado to get the perfect wasabi color.  
Oh and here is where I got the green “grass” sushi dividers
I made sushi container labels and printed them out on sticker paper so they were easy to attach.  I picked up the containers from my local grocery store that sells sushi rolls.  I noticed that to purchase them online I needed to get them in bulk.  But I would never use 100 sushi containers.  The manager at the store actually just gave them to me free of charge.  She was super cute when I explained what I was doing.  Thank you Smith’s! (P.S. the containers I used are approx. Tray~ 7 1/4 x 5”  Lid~ 7 1/2 x 5 1/4  )
The ice cream had it’s own special touch.  I loved that every cartoon drawing or treat I came across while researching Tokyo had a smiling face on it.  I kept thinking… man, their food is so happy!  So I added a happy face to the cone.  I just stuck it on with an adhesive glue dot.  I imagine double sided tape would work as well.  It isn’t meant to be permanent, unless you plan on eating it.
I also wanted the brightest ice cream I could find.  So this play dough ice cream worked great!  (I believe it is also called superman ice cream). It was funny too because most of the kids were super excited about the ice cream flavor, exclaiming that it was there absolute favorite. Personally… I think it’s kind of gross.  But kid taste buds are as unique as they are.

After desert we did presents.  And then the kids ran around & played.  They stayed for quite sometime.  But when you're finally old enough to “hang out” with your friends they could go all day long.  It was a riot watching them all dressed up running around in the yard, attempting more karaoke & being perfectly content with their dorky 12-13 year old selves.  I love these kids! 
Doing a party for kids this age isn’t always easy.  They’ve grown out of “kid stuff” but still want an excuse to dress up.  This was a perfect solution!  Seriously… I guess it might be weird for me to host this for myself and my friends, but I’m tempted.  It was that much fun!

The party was such a hit that my younger daughter wants it in a few months for her party.  She’s not budging on this and I’m happy to comply… it’s super easy when I’ve got everything ready to go!  
If you’re interested most of these printable items can be found in my etsy shop!

じゃあね jaa ne ~ (which is “see you” in Japanese)

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