Thursday, 5 December 2013

Strange Shop Names

There is really no end of these so just a few of my favourites so far:

For when you urgently need a suitcase
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Sadly the cafe was decorated in neutrals
Shop Sign - Mauve
For clothing that makes you feel snug and protected
Womb shop

Something I have yet to understand is why the Japanese associate everything french with the ultimate in refinement and chic. I can only assume it is because France is quite a way away from here and so they haven't been. The number of shops with french names - restaurants, cafes, book sellers, clothes stalls, chemists - is quite astounding. But then I asked someone if the Tokyo Tower was supposed to be a replica of the Eiffel Tower and she seemed quite confused.
Tokyo Tower from Mori Helicopter
More than a passing resemblance though, right?

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Daiso on Takeshita Street

Now that we have a move in date for our new flat I am becoming quite single-minded about furnishings. We're trying to do it all on a budget and so I headed for Daiso on Takeshita Street, which is one of the huge 100 Yen shops. These are like the UK's pound shops but everything is about 80p.

The street it's on is like Camden Market - lots of small shops with their wares spilling onto the pavement selling things aimed at the youth market. You can get your psychedelic sweatshirt...
Trippy Clothes Shop
...next to a store selling gothic vampire lolita outfits.
Goth/Punk Clothes Shop
Among many other shops there is even one packed with everything you never knew you wanted to do with Tamagochi. Remember those little keyrings with digital creatures in them that ate and poo'd then died? Yes those, except they evolved.
Tamagochi Shop
I happilly admit to not knowing what was going on in that shop except that there were some 10 year old girls who were really excited by it all.

Back to Daiso - 4 floors of poundshop goodness.
Daiso
I shopped until my basket overflowed and I started wondering about how to get it all home but will need to go back for the cleaning things. As well as my own needs I was shopping for presents for my sister, sister-in-law and I Love Lucy Bee recipient. And in that order left to right here's what they are going to get.
Present Mosaic
Remember all of this was 80p per item. On top of all that and the boring stuff like plain mixing bowls, measuring jugs, teaspoons etc I got kitchen things:
Colourful Kitchenware
Bins and clothes hangers:
Colourful Clothes Hangers
It is going to be a colourful flat!

Daiso also does all sorts of things to do with pets, stationary, gardening, food and crafts - the latter being of most interest to me! Here is the yarn aisle (yes, a whole aisle! And not bad quality either.)
Yarn Aisle Inside Daiso
Plus all hooks, needles etc. Then opposite that are the sewing things.
Sewing Notions Inside Daiso
I'm not saying this is the same quality as an actual craft shop, but it's above what we get in the UK from what I've seen so far.

Among the other tourists inside were quite a few russian women - when you think about it it's not that far to travel for a holiday if you live in the east of Russia - and when I finally went back outside there was a group of beefy Russian men scowling up at the shop and clearly waiting for them to come out. I could easily see Pooch standing among them were I so unwise as to take a trip here with him with me. It must be part of me turning into the perfect housewife that I would never think of doing such a thing and am making sure he's unbothered by the domestic shopping - leaving him to concentrate on earning the money I'm spending. I must make sure I do not get used to this...

Monday, 2 December 2013

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Pooch and I spent Sunday afternoon strolling around an idyllic part of Tokyo.
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This park originally started in 1590 and belonged to one of the Shoguns during the Edo Period. Some of the trees were clearly hundreds of years old but it has been extensively landscaped since the original and is now a kind of cross between Regents and Hyde Parks in London. There were lots of family groups picnicking as well as pensioners painting the views (very well too) and young couples and groups of friends walking around. It is 200 Yen to get in so about £1.30. Definitely worth it!
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With autumn, the leaves were changing and you got the most amazing colours and effects with the sunlight.
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Lots of people were as fascinated by the sunlight's effects as I was so you got little groups of photographers all in the same places - as in to the left of the photo below.
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The variety of plants was amazing. Apparently there are 64 varieties of cherry tree alone so the blossom in the spring will mean this is somewhere I will definitely be coming back to.
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And yes, the weather does continue to be rather splendid! About 16 degrees and clear blue skies yesterday.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Cats and Magazines

Friday was a pretty good day for me. It all started with my first ever visit to a cat cafe.
Cat Cafe Tokyo
I arrived about 10 minutes after opening and it was still breakfast time.
Cat Cafe Tokyo
When I go again (when, not if) I will make it a little later as anyone who knows cats knows that they do not want to be stroked while eating and that after eating they just want to have a wash. The one little guy I'd spotted online and particularly wanted to look at was this one.
Cat Cafe Tokyo
He hasn't got his ears down in anger - he's one of those cornish type cats who have folded down ears which I've never seen in real life before. So cute! But he was clearly not in the best of moods and took himself up to the highest possible perch and this is all I saw of him after that.
Cat Cafe Tokyo
The place was very clean but with lots of toys and sleeping places for the cats. This is where folded-ears was - right at the top.
Cat Cafe Tokyo
I positioned myself on the heated carpet (like an electric blanket but a carpet which are apparently quite coming in homes where carpeting is really unusual) and these two settled near me.
Cat Cafe Tokyo
I mainly stroked the brown one who got more and more elongated as she got more and more relaxed.
Cat Cafe Tokyo
Her buddy wasn't terribly friendly until the owner (who all the cats adored and who clearly adored all of them) came over to brush her. She rolled on her back and...
Cat Cafe Tokyo
...then she just stayed like that! So adorable! She was quite happy for any of us to come and stroke her incredibly soft tummy and as for her pinkest nose and paws...squee!
White Cat Montage
Initially being there was quite bizarre and freaky but as my hour came to an end (I could have stayed longer but thought that was enough for a first trip) I felt much more comfortable.
Cat Montage 2

After such excitement I thought I'd spend the afternoon curled up with a craft magazine and found a place nearby called Libro. Ladies with a penchant for japanese craft books and magazines may want to sit down.
Knitting and Crochet:
Craft Books 1
Sewing and Patchwork:
Craft Books
"Japanese Crafts":
Craft Books
That wasn't the whole selection either. There were so many more on every topic you can imagine. I went home with just one which I thought was amazingly strong willed of me.

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