Monday, May 23, 2011

Japan... day one.

Going on holiday with the Mr is a little like training for a half marathon.  We spend the whole day from 7am through 10pm walking running at high speed between destinations with little more than a half hour sitting each day.  If I ever suggest that we stop and have a drink, he'll point out a vending machine on the side of the road or hand me a bottle from his bag like some kind of high speed relay baton pass.  Though it can get a little exhausting at times, at least we cover a lot of ground.

A few days before we were due to fly out for Japan, the Mr managed to fracture his pelvis in a surfing accident (seriously it isn't quite as dramatic as it sounds).  So I was thinking that for once we might slow down a little and smell the cherry blossoms so to speak.  I was wrong.  

Ours is certainly a marriage that fits into the stereotype of 'opposites attract'.  Though I do enjoy going for a walk, in our marriage I am definitely the bookish, sedentary one, while the Mr takes the role of the fit, sporty, outdoors type.  By the end of the trip my feet were covered in blisters and I was hobbling around like an old lady while the Mr was still powering around with no visible signs of discomfort.

Our first day in Japan was a Sunday.  It was incredibly quiet with many of the streets closed to traffic.  Families were riding down, what would usually be busy four lane roads, on tandem bikes and other old style push bikes.  We spent the morning exploring the imperial palace gardens.  The gardens are very tranquil, with everyone speaking in hushed church-like tones.  I came away feeling like some kind of raucous hooligan.  It didn't help that the Mr kept telling inappropriate radiation jokes.

Next we went to Oedo Antique Market.  It runs once a month so we were pretty lucky to be there on the right weekend.  Stalls were selling everything from antique gas masks, to what appeared to be embalmed foetuses, gorgeous antique lace, hundreds of kimonos and kimono fabric, exquisite handmade clothes from vintage fabrics, and a veritable sea of second hand camera gear.  At this point in the trip I was being restrained in my spending so I only left with a couple of vintage buttons (I wonder what the reaction would have been at customs had I attempted to bring home a foetus??).  I was struck by how incredibly quiet and calm the sea of people were moving around the stalls set beneath the dappled shade of the trees in the courtyard of Tokyo's International Forum.

From there we headed to Ginza, one of Tokyo's major shopping districts.  The streets here are closed to traffic on Sunday.  All the high end brands have stores there - Chanel, Louis Vitton, Dior, Prada.  Not really my cup of tea but interesting none the less to see.  The highlight was definitely Hakuhinkan Toy Park, a 5 storey toy store with just about every kind of toy you could imagine.  I also loved Tokyu Hands, a department store with so many cool bento accessories, and fun stationery too.

department store bedecked with liberty prints - heaven!

Left:Hakuhinkan Toy Park        Right: cute kids clothes in Ginza - great sewing inspiration!

We ended the day at Daimaru, which left me feeling very nostalgic for the days when we used to shop in Daimaru in Melbourne.  The most astounding discovery was to be found in the produce hall.  A boxed melon for 31,500yen (about $370)!!  Merry Christmas have a melon?


  1. Welcome back and wow what an amazing place. I hope you've got some purchases to show as well. Oh and I'm expecting a melon for Christmas this year... heh heh. ;)

  2. Wow, melons must be like gold there. How bizarre was that stall? Though that hanging patchwork was gorgeous.Looks like you had a lovely time over there.

  3. Wish they would close the streets in Melbourne to traffic on Sunday - what a great idea!