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  • Shelley Dark

15. Daikanyama day

You know what we could say about Tokyo's weather so far? Beautiful one day, perfect the next! Yesterday was hot with a blue blue sky, today was just right. The only hiccup of the trip so far was that cold wet day in Takayama. We've been so lucky.

I could have packed much lighter clothes than I did - there are things I haven't worn at all because they're a little too warm. As for the 7kg packing experiment - it was really only 5kg because my computer etc took up 2kg - I've just loved being able to lift my small suitcase with one hand so easily, and I think I'll never pack heavily again. But it's great that this time Ange could bring my big bag with her so I have room for a little shopping. I must work out how to solve that problem next time.

The elusive Mt Fuji is often covered by cloud so we were thrilled to have this view this morning at breakfast. And a table at the window again. -:)

The Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower is also part of the view and houses three educational institutions: a fashion school, a design college and a medical school. Tange Architects were awarded the design contract with their concept, and it was finished in 2008. The cocoon-like structure symbolises the nurturing of students inside.

These are the flowers we bought yesterday at the Aoyama Flower Market - giant sprays of white freesias, white alstroemeria and blue delphiniums. The flowers in the market are grouped by colour and customers can just walk around taking what they would like from the buckets and paying at the counter. It's like picking flowers from your own garden but less work.

This building was on our walk to Shinjuku Station. We are using the Citymapper app for working out how to travel from a to b. It's truly amazing. It even tells you which end of the platform to catch the train on, or descend from. We decided this morning that we'd take a train to Daikanyama and we needed to change trains once. Negotiating the platforms would be difficult without help, but there is usually someone nearby to give advice in English. Today it was a delightful older American man who is writing a book on Japan's Capital Markets before 1941. Or after? I forget.

There's an aversion to flashiness in Japan. A preference for the simple and unostentatious. Which is very attractive. But it has a strange manifestation in shop signage. Or lack thereof. Some shops have no sign, and any indication they are even a business. By being almost inaccessible, do they become more desirable?

This photo might be the front door of any house in Tokyo. It's not. It's the front door of Yaeca Home. It's a small a concept store with a carefully curated collection of garden and home furniture, some antiques, some household objects, and a few items of clothing. I'd read that it would be hard to identify but thankfully someone had posted a photo of the front door on the internet otherwise we would never have found it. There is no sign, it's in the middle of a residential neighbourhood, and you'd never know that it's a shop of any sort.

photo courtesy Ange!

French chairs with woven seats and backs against the windows looking into the garden.

A framed print I rather liked.

A very unusual ceramic and wire chess set.

Vases, the finest of glass ware and a low stool.

Upstairs there is a small collection of clothing, in white and grey, navy and black. I loved the thick cardboard clothes hangers!

We strolled along through different sorts of neighbourhoods, some quite affluent, enjoying the sunshine.

It was fun to catch glimpses of private gardens, but we also enjoyed the self-seeded street-side 'weeds'.

The banksia roses are in full bloom.

We were on our way to a shop-come-nursery called Bio-top. It turned out to be stunning, faced in copper rectangles with a curved front. An old olive tree on guard at the front door, and a dogwood flowering outside the nursery section. There are plants, homewares and toiletries dat ground level and clothes on both floors.

Ange and I were enjoying the styling as much as the stock.

Across the road is a ceramic shop with a facade of precast concrete.

I rather liked the design of this pale green bowl.

The nursery had a small number but an extensive range of plants including a few Australian natives: flannel flowers, and rice flowers.

From Biotop we walked through a less affluent area, where we saw a novel way of solving the parking problem - car lifts!

We were walking along chatting away and hardly noticed this fairly nondescript building. Until Ange said, what's in that window? We walked across to look.

It looked like an antique shop but we couldn't see a sign, nor could we see anyone inside. Then we noticed on the simple scrubbed pine door with this sign. Tentatively we opened it.

If I had an antiques shop, this would be it. What a feast for the eyes. The young (to me anyway) owner's name is Yoshida Shotaro and he has just returned from another buying trip to Europe. Look at his website. It's charmingly naive.

Old stickers.

Enamel watch faces.