Thursday, January 28, 2010

Japan: Tokyo Part 4 - Omotesando

The walk up Omotesando towards Aoyama (previous post) on Jingumae is lined with designer stores sporting incredible architecture...

The Christian Dior building by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa

I borrowed the picture above to show you what the building usually looks like, I think the Dior building was red especially for Christmas...White stripes are printed on the acrylic walls so that the building's appearance changes beautifully depending on the light during the day and the level of penetration of lighting at night.

The Louis Vuitton store by architect Jun Aoki

Tod's store by Toyo Ito - its distinctive exterior is made from two contrasting materials of seemingly bare concrete and glass. Just like the branches of the zelkova trees along the street, the pattern on the building’s façade get finer as it reaches upwards.

What better way to recover from all the walking than with Sushi train!!! This restaurant was opposite the Omotesando Hills shopping complex (where hubby enjoyed a sake tasting afterwards)

Hubby's favourite: ikura (salmon roe)

Hubby was puzzled as to why the 'wasabi' was given in powder form, and added some to his soy sauce, and was quickly told by the waitress that it was green tea instead, haha! So glad it was him and not me!

Maguro sushi (tuna) - the tuna in Tokyo has to be the freshest ever...

How cute is this mural/wall?
Pictured: Nina Ricci silk goosedown-filled teardrop jacket by Olivier Theyskens

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Japan: Tokyo Part 4 - Aoyama (inc. THE Prada store)

Aoyama is another area near Harajuku Station, with incredible architecture and designer stores:

Herzog and de Meuron's Prada Epicenter:

Please excuse the 1001 photos I took of this building, it was absolutely superbe! I was intrigued by its incredible architecture (both outside and inside), a definite must-see in Tokyo! I had to see it twice, as the first time I saw it was when it was closed, at night...

LOVED the geometrically trussed, bottle-green coloured, bubble glass fronted building...


We could not figure out what this 'hall' lead to, please excuse the silly pose...hubby told me the light was shining directly on my face otherwise, making me look freaky in the photo...

On our second visit to Aoyama we realised the 'tunnel' was the exit from the basement floor of the Prada store

click to enlarge (I drooled over the Chloe Paraty in black Python)

You can see a little of the incredible interior structure of the Prada store in this picture

Stella McCartney - spreading a little Christmas cheer

Loved the accessories at Miu Miu! I still long for a Miu Miu bow bag... I love thee...

As do I love thee, Pierre Herme...

Coat:Burberry Prorsum quilted military coat
Scarf:Burberry alpaca fine-knit scarf
Gloves: Coach kid leather gloves lined in cashmere (so warm and so so soft!)
Bag: Chloe Ava bag in Mocha
Dress: Ilana Moses deep purple slip dress

Unfortunately the range of macarons available was quite limited, and the many flavours I had fantasized about trying for so long were not available (e.g. green matcha, jasmine, or white truffle and hazelnut, olive oil...)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Japan: Tokyo Part 3 - NHK Flea Market and Yoyogi Park

On Sundays, next to Yoyogi Park (i.e. next to Harajuku Station), you can find a flea market next to the NHK hall...

Donna Karan Signatures wool jersey dress
Chloe buckle boots
Nina Ricci silk goosedown-filled jacket
Chanel 5159H sunglasses

Loved this guy's style, from his cute vest to his dusky pink corduroy overalls....

I usually do not fare well in markets, as I get overwhelmed with the volume of items, but on a men's rack I found this vintage bomber embroidered jacket for a mere 500 yen (roughly US$5)...score! I will take some close-up pictures someday...

Not for sale
and too cute for words!

I was tempted by this vintage leather coat with fur trim, but the weight and bulk of it made me put it back on the rack...

Yoyogi Park is one of the largest parks in Tokyo, next to Harajuku Station and Meiji Shrine in Shibuya. The park is a popular hangout, especially on Sundays, when it is used as a gathering place for people to play music, practice martial arts or theatrica plays, etc. It also boasted the cutest dogs I have ever seen.

It was such a delight to watch this Japanese man bring so much joy to little children in Yoyogi Park with a plethora of different nets creating bubbles of various shapes and sizes...

Bringing joy not just to the kids...silly me burst the bubble wearing my silk Nina Ricci jacket, so it's now off to the dry cleaners...

On Sundays you get to see the cute & crazy fashion of Japanese youngsters

The Japanese dogs also often wear the cutest outfits

Early afternoon the 'rockabilly groups' come out to well as guys dressed up as Elvis.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Japan: Tokyo Part 2 - Meiji Shrine and '5 things' I LOVED in Japan

Just West of the railway tracks of Harajuku Station you will find Meiji Shrine, one of Tokyo's major shrines, in a large green oasis shared with Yoyogi Park (which I will share with you in a future post), it is a beautiful and peaceful place to visit, which seems worlds away from the hustle and bustle of Harajuku...

Washing hands is part of a ritual purification before entering a shrine.

I was so excited I got to witness a traditional wedding procession...

Dress: Akira blue silk/wool dress
Jacket: Nina Ricci silk goosedown-filled teardrop jacket (so warm!)
Boots: Chloe black leather buckled flat boots
Bag: Chloe Ava leather bag in Mocha

Another happy couple (love her wedding kimono!)

We got to wander in the Meiji Garden (within the Shrine complex) - unfortunately no flowers were in bloom, but we were lucky to catch a few last red leaves before they fell...

The autumn leaves of red and gold...

Thought I would share 5 things I loved in Japan:

1. Vending machines - you find these everywhere in Tokyo with cheap cold and hot drinks/coffee. There are even beer-vending machines, which hubby loved (they used to have them in Tokyo when he was last here 10 years ago, but we could not find a single one until we went to Kyoto).

2. I loved the variety of different coffees available, and could not resist trying a 'Hello Kitty' cafe au lait...just so I could photograph the cup and show it to my sisters

3. These 'sealed' sandwiches were great for breakfast or a snack (tried to always have one in my bag in case of 'emergency' - ie. if I got hungry), peanut butter and the chocolate flavours were my favourite (the chocolate included a slab of chocolate and chocolate cream, yum!)

4. Sushi!!! Or Sashimi...or really, the incredibly fresh raw fish in Japan...amazing!!! The tuna (maguro) simply melts in your mouth, and I adore scallop sashimi (hotate sashi).

Hubby had never tried scallop sashimi/sushi until this trip, and fell in love...

5. The toilets.

Laugh all you want, but the toilets in Japan are incredible (and so clean)! The one below was a simple model in my hotel room (I stayed at the Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku, and highly recommend it! Great price, convenient location - 3 minutes from Shinjuku station, yet still quiet, small (well, it is Tokyo/Japan) but great rooms, great service, will stay here again for sure). 99% of public toilets had a fancy 'seat' (fancier than this one) which could include: bidet (including a setting for girls), warmed seats, flushing sound or music, air, etc...