Tokyo Wanderings- Omotesando and Nakameguro

It was windy, cold and a Saturday, which sometimes means I just want to relax and unwind from the week.  But SMS and I both got up early and we decided to make the most of the day and head into Tokyo!  I wanted to stop by a cute gallery I had read about on another blog and look for a few places I read on a list of Tokyo recs but other than that, plans were pretty loose.

We headed out after lunch and took the train to Omotesando.  We went out exit A2 and followed the little map on Galerie Doux Dimanche’s webpage.  We took a detour into Flying Tiger, Copenhagen.  It’s a store that my Mom showed me in Denmark (go figure).  It’s a mix of dollar store, inexpensive Target for home goods and IKEA-like accessories.  In short, it’s awesome.  There were many things I wanted but did not pass the “Will it be cool or clutter in a month?” test.  I did, however, buy a nose pencil sharpener for my colleague and I.  You stick the pencil up the nose, ha ha ha ha.  I also bought several ear paper clips for my future fellowship colleagues.  I am very excited!

L to R: 1. Gallerie (Sorry SMS!); 2. Coffee break; 3. Cool vertical mosaic mural

After the shopping trip in a very crowded store, we continued on to the Galerie.  It was a little smaller and cutesy than I thought but there were some decorations and items that I liked.  The best part was SMS’ reaction to the gallery/store when he asked, “Wait, is this the gallery we took the train for?  I thought we were going to a museum.”   I realize this does not sound funny, but the look on his face combined with the understanding of the sudden collision of expectations and reality was pretty awesome.  It was like when we went to the Fuji museum and I thought it was the Mt Fuji museum.  Again, I realize this doesn’t translate very well typing it out onto the blog but it’s funny when one of us plans the adventure and the one going along finds the destination unexpected in some way.

SO!  MUCH!  FUN!!!

So, yes, we were done with the Galerie fairly quickly.  We were walking back towards the station to wander through the neighborhood and towards Nakameguro when we came along something awesome!  It was the Walking Bicycle Club!!!  It’s a storefront for a bicycle made only in Japan that’s pedaled through a stepping motion.  These bikes are so cool and I really want one.  They are really expensive though, especially for a novelty form of transportation but it is really, really awesome.  SMS and I both got to ride one down the street and back and it was so cool.  The salesmen were really nice and I felt badly that they weren’t going to get a sale out of us but the test-drive was awesome.  Maybe not quite to level of SMS test-driving a Tesla but still, a lot of fun.

With our hearts racing from the coolness of WBC, we decided to keep our heart rates elevated and  stopped for a quick Kona coffee break at our favorite coffeeshop, Honolulu Coffee Co.  We had looked for another shop I had read about, but the webpage was a few years old and it looked like the other coffee shop wasn’t there.  So, we went to HCC and ordered our favorite French Press coffee.  We first went to a Honolulu Coffee Co in Waikiki and since then, have been to the one in World Porters, Yokohama several times.  We didn’t realize there would be one in Omotesando but it was a welcome surprise!

After our coffee break, we walked past the Prada building to see if it caught SMS’ photographer eye.  He thought it was cool but we pressed on as we headed towards Nakameguro.  We stopped in several stores which were a funny mix of Eastern European antiques and prints combined with modern Japanese artists’ work, mainly in jewelry and print-making.  We hit shopping gold near Daikanyama station.  First, we into WakuWaku where I wasthisclose to buying a solar-powered Queen Elizabeth II royal wave doll (I decided I would think it was crap in a month…I know, what was I thinking?!?!).  SMS bought us a cool owl doormat for our future California abode.

CW from top left: 1. Street Art (do you see SMS’ head in the mirror man’s head; 2. Pop Culture/Musician Kokeshi
Dolls with a strange assortment of “honored” artists; 3. Cool Blackboard Mural; 4. Nakameguro Canal

A few storefronts down was a leather goods store featuring a Japanese brand Sot.  I’ve been wanting a versatile black leather bag for awhile and I found it there!  It’s a gorgeous bag with butter soft leather, perfectly sized.  It met all my specs for what I wanted in a new bag (I’ve been thinking about it for a bit), so SMS bought it for me.  Yay!!!  It was wrapped up when we left the store but I’ve been walking around with it in the apartment looking like a crazy person.  I’m so happy with my purchase!

We walked to the Nakameguro canal and it’s pretty crazy how there’s a gorgeous, peaceful canal only one street over from a busy, crowded, brightly lit with many signs Tokyo street.  We wandered into Cow Books.  I looked at a San Francisco walking tours book while SMS peaked through a few photography books.  We decided it was time for dinner and went to a restaurant off the canal.

L: SMS R: Me at N_1221

The restaurant door labelled itself as vegetable teppanyaki.  It’s name was N_1221 and while it wasn’t strictly vegetarian, the menu mainly focused on seasonal grilled vegetables.  There was an English daily specials menu, which was just a copy of their Japanese menu with handwritten English translations.  The regular menu was also translated so it was really nice and very easy to order food.   Everything was well-prepared and delicious.  We had lotus root slices, a tapas platter of the daily recommended veggies, bitter greens, Welsh onion and a grilled mackerel.  It was a lot of plates to order but the veggie dishes had 4-5 slices per order so while it wasn’t outrageous, we were a little surprised.  Given the portion sizes, SMS and I felt that it was on the pricey side. Reading online, though, it states that there’s an emphasis on organic vegetables so I’m sure that adds to the price.

Anyway, the service was excellent and everyone was really nice.  SMS used his excellent Japanese and overall, it was a wonderful experience.  We headed to the train and headed back to Horinouchi.  It was a wonderful day meandering through Tokyo with SMS!

However, I will leave you with Sad Thoughts, Tokyo-style

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