japan: paper goods

i should really put each of these following items in separate posts, but it's just so much quicker to dump everything all at once. so here goes. too bad i'm lacking motivation in make separate posts, because i really was trying to save the best for last. and japan's paper items were definitely my favorite. oh well.

papierium in ginza is two floors of paper mania. the ground floor is very much like paper source, down to the color collection and shape selection for cards and envelopes. the second floor is geared towards scrapbookers with shape punches, fun scissors, scrapbooking papers, stamps and more. reminded me a lot of scrapbook territory out in berkeley.

the only thing i picked up there was some brown flower tape by space-joy or o-check design graphics. very difficult to tell which, since the websites aren't very straightforward. i'm going with a joint effort.

another fun set of tape i came across was mt masking tape. it's basically masking tape made from washi-type paper that comes in 20 or so different colors, plus several seasonsal patterns. and you can also order custom logo tape. they're sold in single rolls, two-packs, and ten-packs and fun coordinating variety five-packs. i was about to buy the pastel ten-pack but thought more practically and ultimately went with the gold and silver combo two-pack.

and i know i'm not the only one enamored with this masking tape. because there are entire books (multiple) and blogs dedicated to the many uses of mt masking tape. and i've also come across a few japanese magazine articles featuring the tape.

the main stores that carried mt masking tape were loft, ito-ya and papierium. other fun stuff we found at ito-ya were animal d-clips by midori japan. those japanese folks are so innovative though, that the site no longer features the cow-shaped paper clips we picked up. found some pics online though.

source: bundoki

these shops also had tons of calendars. ito-ya even dedicated their 9th floor to all calendars. here's a quick look at the calendar section of shibuya loft's basement.

my favorite paper store though was winged wheel in the omotesando area. there's a huge column right by the front door where they display a portion of their cards.

and the perimeter of the store is made up of shelves holding various papers and cards, but mainly their "plainer" stuff.

and then there are two long display cases in the center of the shop where you can see their designs through the glass.

the extra special surprise is that below each display case is another three or so drawers that you can thumb through. they featured their entire lines of designs as well as example books for inspiration. so basically i studied all 48 drawers in addition to the shelves on the wall.

i left with a few choice cards and envelopes, the distribution of which will require careful decision.

postcards, with the pretty bag they came in in the middle.

little business card sized cards and envelopes

the cutest shop card ever. folded like an envelope, revealing the shop info inside.

and finally, i thought their bookstores were fun too. they print a good portion of their books in small handheld-sized versions so it's easier to read on train commutes. they also color code the books, although i'm not sure what the color system is. or if there even really is one.

but unfortunately, when you buy a book, they wrap it neatly with a bookcover. so much for the cute colors! and i noticed shops sold lots of bookcovers, so many folks just like to keep their reading materials private.


japan: faces stamp

we saved the bulk of our shopping days for the last couple days of our trip. one of the fun things we came across was this faces stamp that was released about a year ago. and i think it may have won some awards or something.

it's basically a silicon cylinder with a face at the end. and the face is easily manipulated by squishing the tube however you want. i figure the main application for such a stamp would be for grading school papers. but the way the original face is cut out, it's easier to make funny/angry/sad faces than happy ones. i bet this would be a mean teacher's dream.


japan: 100% chocolate cafe

i was enamored with the concept, design and drink & snack offerings at 100% chocolate cafe. they offer a different chocolate each day throughout the year, so in one year they'll make 365 different types of chocolate. they also keep in stock another set of 56 chocolates that you can buy whenever. i'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking. seriously, if i had the resources, i'd open up a shop like this over here.


japan: takazawa

since it's a holiday week, i figured i would cover some food presentation we saw in japan. this first example was my overall favorite.

the chef's dream is to one day have his own farm. but until then, he'll continue to present his dream in a scaled-down version on the table. here, we have a sweet little glass milk bottle, topped with his dairy cap, tied with twine. and a farm fresh eggshell holding scrambled eggs with truffles.

the surprise though, is that it's not really milk in the bottle. instead, it's white corn soup. delicious, at that.

he also presented a cross section of his dream root vegetable garden. a bunch of vegetables including carrots, radishes and even potatoes were "growing" out of edible soil.


japan: 45 rpm

and the other denim trifecta of shops we visited: 45 rpm in the minamiaoyama area.

the badou r in minamiaoyama is THE location to go to if you see only one 45 rpm store. it's tucked away off the main streets in a japanese-style house, so you have to switch your street shoes for comfy slippers once you step into the front foyer. you feel like you're browsing through a friend's huge closet because of the comfy factor as well as the super friendly staff.

the entrance from the street

the indigo-dyed paving stones leading up to the shop entrance

details of the exterior

full sliding glass doors to the patio

one of several "rooms", this one being the showroom for women's wear

the fitting room, with chestnut floors

source: life of seisho

the other badou r in the area, badour r ai is on a main street with a more urban feel

and the third one, the smallest of the three was 45 ai indigo, or maybe it was an umii908 store. not really sure. but all these brands are under the same 45 rpm family.

and this is a scarf that showed up in every location. as if it were asking for me to take it home.

there are a couple us locations of 45 rpm if you're interested. both are in manhattan.


japan: kapital (part two)

and oh, how could i have forgotten?! at the kapital duffle shop, i spotted a few rolls of packing tape that had bandana designs on them. but the shop folks were milling about, so we couldn't snap any photos. then we saw the same tape at the legs shop and asked to take a picture. they said ok, as long as that was the only thing we took a picture of. so here it is!

kapital is known for their indigo dye, which they use for their denim as well as for making bandanas every season. so i thought it was pretty clever of them to make bandana packing tape.

i was so excited too when we bought a few pairs of jeans, because i thought they would use it to tape up our bag. but they didn't. so i wonder what they actually use the tape for?

japan: kapital

among the various fabrics produced in japan, denim is high up there on the list, in terms of having a huge/fanatical following. and kapital is one of the finer denim makers around. i'm no denim expert, nor part of their cult following, but i do appreciate fun design when i see it.

so here's a quick look at their cluster of three shops just south of ebisu station in tokyo. fun "shop cards" and bikes and merchandising. since we ended up at kapital past sundown, our pictures didn't come out all that great. so i've supplemented with daytime pictures from their site.

first off, each location has a different shop card, printed on thick chipboard, about the size of a poker chip. on the back of each is a little map showing the location of the shop, printed on the raw chipboard. shown here, we visited the legs, ebisu and duffle shops.

ok, so let's go in order of the shop cards. first up, legs. this location focuses on carrying a ton of the styles of denim kapital makes. there are stacks and stacks of jeans all over the store. and every single stack is not just a stack of one style in different sizes, but rather a stack of all different styles. on top of that, there are shirts and jackets and socks and hats and scarves and bandanas hanging all over the place.

next is the ebisu store, with a whitewashed wood exterior studded with horseshoes and a plastic curtain as the front door. there's also a little teddy bear to great you at the door. and again, you'll see a bike outside. this one has two floors, more or less the same feel in terms of merchandising. but then again, there's no way to tell what's what since there doesn't seem to be any order in how stuff is stocked. but i guess they're trying to recreate the feeling of rummaging for vintage goods at a flea market. it's definitely not for everyone.

the third of the kapital trifecta: duffle. this one is set up like a house, in that all customers have to take off their shoes before entering the tiny door. and most of the floors are covered in tatami mats. the entrance is a converted garage made to look like, well i'm not sure what it's supposed to look like, but it kind of reminds me of the prop room i had back in high school. except this one had a cluster of birdcages as lighting fixtures. and the merchandising in this store was a little more organized that the other two shops, with goodies spread out among three floors.