Shimokitazawa is hands down my favourite area in Tokyo. It’s full of indie, vintage and antique shops, pretty bakery’s, noodle bars, music venues, and generally has a much more laid back vibe to it. When you come from Shibuya to here it feels like a completely different world.
First thing we did when we got here was to hunt down an awesome antique shop we found last time, and the very nice owner let us take some photos (so rare in Japan!). Just look at how much there is in here, I could spend all day just in this one tiny shop!
So many cute little shops, this one was full of vintage toys, fabric and other bits and bobs. It was so beautifully displayed inside but it was strictly no photos so I only managed one of the outside, which was also pretty adorable.
Lots of the shop fronts were super cute and had great names too!
I really wanted to know what was behind this door…
One of my favourite finds in Shimokitazawa this time was a beautiful little bakery called Kaiso. The constant flow of fresh baked goods being placed on the counter while we ate (they had one table for 2 which we managed to nab – result!) was wonderful and made in the kitchen through the back of the cafe. We each had a coffee, John had a little mushroom pizza and I had a little sourdough roll filled with chocolate chips – sooo tasty!
We finished off our trip to ‘Shimo’ with the obligatory visit to a Japanese Cat Cafe! Not much to say about this, it’s all about the visuals.
After all that fun we went and had an extremely tasty curry for dinner. Perfect day.
Ahhh, day 6 was so good, I wish every day would start with a Yayoi Kusama exhibition. It was a small exhibition compared to the one we went to at the Mori Arts Centre a few years back and was focused on work from the 60′s plus some new videos and songs, seriously good.
When we were finished here, we went along to Tokyo Designers Week. This was the reson we decided to go to Tokyo at this time of year, and it was my first trade show ever. Unfortunately there wasn’t much here that I thought would be suitable to sell at HZ, but it was a fun afternoon none the less. My favourite bits were the Container Exhibition and the Design Boom Mart which featured designers from around the world.
Here are some pictures from my favourite containers…
I’m not very good at this blogging lark, am I? I’m not very good at taking photos either, and there’s also a lack of those from the last few days. However I’ve cobbled together a few pictures for your entertainment.
I don’t think this was for Halloween…
This cute window display was at Andersen in Ueno
Hachiko is Tokyo’s answer to Greyfriars Bobby I think I might start a campaign to get the Number 42 bus decked out like this in Edinburgh.
A very big wheel. I didn’t go on it. Nice weather though.
I did buy this and drink it. It was yellow and warm from a vending machine…
I have, of course, been doing a bit of shopping. This is my very favourite purchase, it’s part of the Hello Kitty Monster Cosplay range from LaForet.
I also bought this gorgeous ring (on my funny looking finger)
some pretty washi paper, might go back for more of this.
and last but not least some fabric from Tomato – I finally made that pilgrimage!
Top image fabric will be for skirts and dresses, and the poodles I bought because I couldn’t not buy them I got to Tomato 30 mins before it closed. Most shops in Tokyo close at 9pm but Tomato closes at 6. They played Aud Lang Syne for the last 15 minutes.
I’d love to show you more but there’s so much stuff in Tokyo you’re not allowed to take images of, mainly in shops or shopping centres. They put so much effort into making amazing displays it seems a shame that they won’t let you take pictures. Last time I was here I was actually man-handled out of a shop for merely holding my camera in view of the assistant. I’m not taking any chances this time.
Tomorrow we’re off to Tokyo Design Week, our main reason for being here – can’t wait!
This was the day I was most looking forward to out of the whole holiday and it didn’t disappoint one jot. It was super fun!
For those of you who don’t know, Naoshi, is a Sunae (sand) artist from Japan and all of us here at HZ are madly in love with her work so when she kindly agreed to do a sunae class with John and I in Tokyo we were very happy indeed.
We met Naoshi and her friend Kaori (who did a lot of translating – thanks Kaori!) at Kichijoji station and headed to a cafe called the Love and Leaf which is a circus cafe, but sadly there were no performances this afternoon. We had a ‘omurice’ (omelette with rice) for lunch then started work on our sunae.
Naoshi had brought some bear, rabbit and circle shapes with her so we could choose which we wanted and then design a face for it. Both John and I chose a rabbit, and Naoshi and Kaori went for bear shapes. After a little bit of sketching and choosing sand colours we got down to the serious business of cutting which was much harder than I thought it would be.
Naoshi took us through the steps to create our sunae and we all got to take them home with us wrapped in a cute clear bag and sealed with colourful ties, Japanese style!
I was pretty happy how mine turned out, but wish I’d used more darker outlines and made the fangs bigger (you can *just* see them).
Here are Naoshi and Kaori’s finished sunae…
We were all laughing at John as he took so long, but it was a pretty awesome effort, looks great don’t you think?
Thank you Naoshi and Kaori, we had great fun and it was so nice to meet you!
Hello from Japan! We arrived yesterday after a fairly stress free flight where I managed to sleep a little and watch a couple of films I wanted to see but never got round to (Bridesmaids and Midnight In Paris). Since we arrived at 8.30 am but couldn’t check into our hotel until later we spent the day mooching round Shibuya, particularly in The Loft, and drinking coffee and feeling a bit grotty.
Today we woke up super early and headed off to Ueno to go to the Zoo. I feel a bit conflicted about zoos, one one hand I hate seeing the animals caged up and kept out of their natural environments but on the other hand I love being able to see them so close up, I imagine a lot of people feel this way.
Today I saw a lot of animals I have never seen before, it was pretty amazing. Highlights include giant pandas, red pandas, the slow loris, lovebirds (amazingly cute!), an enormous hippo, a giant Galapagos turtle and a sloth! There was also a petting zoo which was super fun. Here are some pictures, not good ones I’m afraid, but pictures none the less
I think the animal that amazed me most was the Hippo, I’d never realised how huge they were before today, not sure if you can tell from this photo but they are MASSIVE!
To finish the day off we went for a ride in a swan boat. Ace.