>> Tuesday, May 4, 2010
After spending part of the day in Harajuku, we wandered one block over to Omotesandō, one of Tokyo's most posh shopping streets. That it's just a stone's throw from the uber-trendy and super-youthful Harajuku makes it all the more interesting, for here, perhaps, is where all the Harajuku girls come to shop when they grow up. There's lots of money on Omotesandō, and most of it is changing hands at a rapid rate.
Major international designers have massive stores here, like this Louis Vuitton building, with multiple floors. It's one of the more interesting-looking buildings. It's obvious that quite a lot of money has been spent on these buildings, but a lot of money does not always equal attractive.
We did like this building's design though. It's called Todd's, and had a unique striping effect with windows and concrete.
There's a nice little children's bookstore in Omotesandō named CrayonHouse, where I met a couple of the SCBWI-Tokyo members for lunch and an interview.
The day Wendi and Jo and I hit Omotesandō, there was a big parade marching up the side of the street.
And boy do we mean BIG. I asked a fellow spectator what it was all about, and found out it was a May Day parade. It was, after all, May 1st! Some of the marchers seemed to have agendas, but not these folks:
I could only catch them after they went under our overpass, but they were dressed up as characters from the anime One Piece. We're eager to Netflix that one when we get home. It looks like a lot of fun.
We found these cute watches at Kiddyland (motto: For the Human Smile). Kiddyland is a five story explosion of toys, most of which flash, ring, jiggle, and honk. We loved it.
These zipper pulls were really cute. Price: 525 yen. (About $5.25 USD.)
I loved this sign in the Kiddyland bathroom so much I had to take a picture of it. I have to say, it described my experience in the bathroom rather perfectly.
Jo was rather intimidated by the toilet's controls though.
I liked that the employees signed the bathroom visit checklist with their mini-hankos.
Jo found some Smorkin' Rabbits we had never seen before. These were fuzzy, not plastic. The name of the collection was great though:
Throw a "Super Happy" in there somewhere and it would sound totally Japanese!
These paper straw characters were really cool.
You make them yourself using these paper straw kits.
Cute matchbook covers we found not at Kiddyland (fear not) but at Tokyu Hands, a many-storied crafts shop.
Many department stores sell stackable balance games with licensed characters. Tokyu Hands put together a funny diorama with all of them messing about together.
Tokyo is stamp heaven too. We've found so many cute stamps here! We've bought a few, but we can't bring home everything we love. No money, and no room!
Just off Omotesandō is a road called Cat Street. There aren't any signs to indicate that it's Cat Street, but that's what my guidebook says it's called, so that's what I call it. It was less upscale than Omotesandō proper (though certainly more upscale and mainstream than Harajuku), and had a much more laid-back feel.
If there's space for a building in Tokyo, the Japanese will build one there.
Another octopus ball stand. I just like saying "octopus balls." Love the logo.
An Airstream trailer, serving coffee!
I liked this shop a lot: all rescue-themed apparel. I almost walked away with a Tokyo firefighter t-shirt, but I was afraid it wouldn't fit. In Japan, Large is what we would consider Medium, and LL, if you're lucky enough to find that size, is still smaller than the Western XL. Which stinks for me, a rather large gaijin, because I've found all kinds of cool t-shirts I wanted to take home. The best find in Harajuku I couldn't buy: a t-shirt with little cutesy versions of Darth Vader, Boba Fett, and a Stormtrooper, with Darth Vader unhappy that he didn't get to ride in the pony-sized AT-AT with the other two. It was delightful! But too small. (I even tried it on, to be sure.)
A quiet little restaurant, tucked back off an alley off Cat Street.
We ended our evening by walking to nearby Shibuya, where Jo wanted to see the Hachiko statue, which, if you missed it, I talk about here.
We were even able to pose for a rare family pic with our favorite dog statue! More pics to come...