Previous 2 days' exhibition visits had been truly enriching. Then it was time to finally go looking for knitting & yarn shops in Tokyo. Found a few shops on the internet, tried emailing them before my trip, but only 1 replied. Found out from my Japanese friends that apparently English mails tend to go into their SPAM folder :(
After Earth Day Tokyo the day before, I actually checked out Azabujyuban, where supposedly a knitting cafe carrying organic cotton yarn is operating. To my great disappointment, when I reached the address, it was a shop selling children's clothes instead! & I found out from the lady boss that they have taken over the shop for about 10months already! Argh!!! :(
20th April 2008 - Knitting Shop Hunt
Unbeatened, I decided to start my hunt with a knitting shop within Shinjuku itself. As I was asking my way around, I realized one thing. The Japanese may have produced amazing craftwork & craftbooks, but the locals (at least those at Tokyo) don't seem to be that into craft afterall! Well, maybe except for beads, which is really popular now. Just like how accessories shops are very popular in Singapore now. No one, not even the vendors at Bead Art Show & Earth Day Tokyo, knew where I can find knitting shop in Tokyo! Well, I surely seems to be the one having the most information about knitting shop then!
My 3rd disappointment when I finally found Okadaya in a back alley near Kabuki Cho... They are closed on Sundays! Argh!!! Not willing to give up just as yet, I stopped by a Udon restaurant for a quick lunch before I headed to my next stop - Shimokitazawa.
I was almost devastated when I saw this bright yellow, cute gate tightly shut before my eyes!!! Also closed on Sundays!!! How I wished I'd done more research! I would have started my trip with shop hunting then the 2 exhibitions! :(
I refused to let these disappointments spoil the whole trip, so I decided to go slow & just let whatever came my way surprise me... I was lucky afterall.... Just 5min away, i saw this very interesting shop (in fact, I wasn't even sure if it was a shop!). Even though it was not open, the sign made me giggle: "Obaachan Chi" (House of Granny). Hehe... I asked a salesgirl at the shop opposite, in our broken languages, I figured out that it was a mini gallery! Anyone can rent the space to showcase & sell their stuff. It need not be Art though. Sometimes there are also people selling their 2nd hand items there as well. How interesting!
As I walked around this cosy neighbourhood, I notice even more hidden treasures! The shops here are all very nicely decorated & their stuffs are beautiful! There are lotsa vintage shops here. Zakka trend is indeed the "in" thing now in Tokyo. The shops are so full of individual personality & style. Well, for those who know me, you know I am so not a shopping person! Yet, it sure was a great shopping experience for me at Shimokitazawa!
Here I saw a shop just like our InQbox. The things here are mostly handmade items by students & put on consignment. Must be where InQbox got their similar idea. Things are cheaper here, but no offence to anyone, honestly, nothing very unique, look just like what we see at our local "InQbox" shops.
After shopping for almost 3hrs (yes, u read it right, 3hrs! Quite a record for me indeed!), I decided to head back to my hotel & start packing for my departure the next day. Who knows, another surprise was awaiting me just outside Shimokitazawa Station! Another interesting Street Artist, Noboru-san, has been doing his weekly live drawing there for the whole of April in preparation for his exhibition in May. Noboru-san is an Art student. His friend, Rokuhisa-san, was there to give moral support. We chatted, almost lost in translation :P, exchanged emails & I headed back to my hotel as the sun was beginning to set... What an eventful trip...
Tokyo, I will be back! :)