Sunday, 19 December 2010

Omotosando Illuminations

I've managed to survive three Christmas parties. (Yokohama's last week was a REAL struggle getting home I can tell you). Number three, although an almost total sausage fest, was entertaining enough for me to stay and get drunk.

At all three, I participated in the "secret santa" gift exchanges. Two out of three were bath products. This "Otome No Nayami" one was by far the scariest. Eww..It's going to take a while to get that visual out of my mind.

Anyway, let's just say I wasn't as hungover as I normally am, so it was that we decided to go to see the "unmissable" Omotosando Illuminations.

In my mind Omotosando is like a lesser Ginza. It has quite a few classy and pricey boutiques like Ginza, but nicely bypasses the snobbery. It's a stones throw too from both the more youthful Harajuku and Shibuya.

Apparently from 2009 someone decided after eleven years to put up a whole lot of Christmas lights on the avenue of trees lining Omotosando once again. There were lots of people taking photos.The authorities inconveniently blocked off the overpasses, likely to prevent the shutterbugs from clogging them up taking photos from above.

I'm sure it's a real PITA to put the lights up, but it'd definitely have looked a lot more impressive with a bit more colour.

Off the main thoroughfare there are a whole of small clothing shops. As we made our through the back streets I walked into "Sevens", a 700 yen clothing store.

I saw this Batman shirt on a mannequin. I thought it looked pretty cool, so I tried it on. For the loose change, I thought it wasn't a big expense so I got it. At the counter I quickly learned, just like the 100 yen shops that aren't, these guys conveniently left out the extra 5% tax you have to pay. 735 yen though, I can live with that. Just keep it honest, right?

One store i really like here is the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) store, in the Gyre building. They have a lot of cool stuff that would make great presents. It was here that I first saw my Issey Miyake watch.

Right next door there is an "Eye of Gyre" art space where they often show a free exhibition. On this occasion we saw the photographic work of Mika Ninagawa.

Most of the photos had a lot of saturated colours which really made the images pop. If you're in the area this is definitely worth checking out.

In the basement of Gyre there was a small food shop that gave out coffee and food tastings. Sampleman™ definitely got his fill.

Just before we were about to leave, I wanted to see the temporary Kiddyland store. They are doing a major renovation, so they have relocated to smaller premises for the time being.

Sadly, it doesn't have the "magic" that the old store had. This abridged version kept me wanting more. It feels like how "Blister" in Shibuya shrunk down and relocated in Harajuku, them too losing what made them great in the first place.

+1 to the lightsaber chopsticks and Heely's roller sneakers they had, but a big boo hiss to leaving out the Domo-kun toys.

What's up with that?

By this time we were both really hungry. At the moment Macca's are doing 200 yen Big Macs, so we had that before being on our merry way back home.