Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Japan Part One

Back from Japan. Here physically but mentally, I'm back in this garden in Tokyo, listening to the water run and watching leaves fall. Sigh. Japan was fantastic. Em and I had such a good time. Where to begin?

We only had two weeks and we were travelling in a big group; Em's parents, her niece, two aunts, two cousins and a group of people - friends of Em's folks who wanted to see Japan. Em' s folks have a long association with Japan and this was their 7th trip.

Our hotel was in Ikebukuro on the Yamanote line - which seemed really close to everything.

Some highlights?

Day one: went up massively high building (Government buildings) for a magnificent view (it's free too) of Tokyo. On the top floor was a mini Toy Fair (yay); lots of mobile phone charms and soft toys. Cute rules in Japan. So much is cute - just when I saw the cutest thing (example; buttons - but they were of a tiny mouse-trap with a matching mouse - all no bigger than my one cent coin) - I'd see something even cuter. Later we met up with a friend of ours who came over from Beijing to surprise Em in Tokyo! So Robyn joined us for the next five days. Day one ended over Udon noodles and Asahi beer. I was very, very tired. Could explain why I spent $25 on buttons on the way back to our hotel room!

Day two: Meiji Shrine; a Shinto shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken. We were lucky to see three weddings at the Shrine (pics to come) - just fantastic. The gardens are massive, cool and green but patches of red too as the leaves begin to turn.

Later we walked back to the station to see the Harujuku girls (and boys) - Japanese teenagers (usually) who dress up, catch up and express themselves creatively by wearing the most amazing clothes. Some are inspired by anime characters; lots of Sailor Moon girls. I couldn't help but take photos. Some shook their heads, but only when I asked first...but I realised if you don't ask, they were fine with you taking photos. It was a strange mix of "look at me"...."don't look at me"...wanting to be seen but not appearing as if they wanted to be seen. Then we walked down Takashitadori Street; a long, narrow strip packed with shops; lots of Goth, punk, leather clothes, boots, bags, shoes - and the wonderful 1000 Yen shops where are discount stores packed with cute things (stickers, craft supplies, cards, paper, make-up) - all for around $1. Hello!

Then we caught the train to Shaibuya (then a bus) to Junie Moon & Gallery Lele- the home of Blythe in Tokyo. I was pretty much beside myself with excitment at this point. I have two Blythe dolls already but yes, I came home with a 3rd plus a bag full of gifts for a friend who wanted a doll etc for her daughter. What fun. The shop is small but fantastic and I got to see heaps of custom Blythes on display thanks to the Variety Fair exhibition. I bought Gentle River - a Team Sibley doll - and this incredibly talented artist had a lot to do with her creation. Needless to say, River is devine; her red hair, eye chips and clothes are just lovely; especially her coat with tiny woodland creatures embroidered all around the edge. She's stunning and yes, lots of pics to come.
Finally we had dinner at a small place, Soup Stock Tokyo - a fantastic soup place; one cup, small bowl of rice and green tea. Yum. Very cheap.

Well. That's day one& two....sigh. Work to be done. Don't get me started on the craft books, the hand-bags, Tokyu Hands, Shinzi Katoh, buttons, bits, zen gardens etc.


Nicole said...

Ooooh sounds awesome! So glad you guys had a blast.

shalini akhil said...

hey, welcome back! looking forward to catchup and stories! :o)

Some Books I've Really Enjoyed

  • Apples For Jam by Tessa Kiros
  • Saturday by Ian McEwan
  • Philip Larkin: A Writer's Life by Andrew Motion
  • The Bell Jar by Syliva Plath
  • Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman
  • Stasiland by Anna Funder

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