Saturday is a people-watching day around 原宿 and 表参道, so that’s where we spent most of it. We started off at Spiral Gallery, which always has something interesting on display, but more than that, is just an interesting place to be. The building itself has always been the main attraction to me. The exhibition on display when we were there was clothing by a Turkish designer, which Gwen was very interested in. Then we went to the museum shop upstairs. Calling it a museum shop is kind of an understatement, since it is sort of a super-sleek lifestyle-supply boutique. Various skin-care potions, tableware bits and household accessories, stationery, etc. I bought some postcards that are too nice to send, and will be framed instead. Given sufficient funds, I think Gwen would have cleaned those guys out. Instead, she contented herself with some paper.
We stopped by the nearby Anderson bakery, bought various airy goodies, and perched ourselves on the rails along Omotesando to snack and watch the world go by. We then headed into La Foret, which is the department store of the young, alternative, and well-heeled. Many small boutiques, each catering to a specific look. Several EGL shops, one cyberwear shop called Fötus, many retro-70s shops, etc.
The people-watching was excellent. Gwen mostly remarked on the shoes that women were wearing: mostly painful-looking high heels, especially mules: many women had toes that looked like they were on the verge of being pinched off, were wobbling on the heels, or were generally having trouble walking. The platforms that were so plentiful a few years ago had become scarce, although we did see a few shops (one in La Foret, one on the outskirts of Shibuya) that still specialized in them. Gwen stopped in one on 竹下通り where she picked out a pair of platform sandals (when we asked for a business card, we were given something that had been run off on cheap paper stock on a cheap inkjet printer). Lots of other goofiness on that street, which is home to much trendsetting in Tokyo. We found a store up a flight of stairs, with the sign Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling Federation, housing various punk and goth accessories. We were most taken with a line of gruesome teddy bears that all had bloody fangs. We also stopped in the completely outrageous Takenoko, a shop tucked off to the side that goes on and on with rooms full of sparkly costumes. Some of these are the sort of thing that ビジャルー系 band members wear, others are sort of like fantasy stripper outfits, though perhaps a bit more discreet. (Pictures of the shop: 1, 2, 3). This place has been there as long as I can remember, but somehow I had never been inside. I was surprised to discover that, as elaborate as many of the costumes looked, they were pretty cheap. Despite that, neither Gwen nor I bought anything there, though Gwen was tempted by a sheer green top.
On towards evening, we moved on to Shibuya. Gwen had heard of Tokyu Hands before, and was interested in checking it out, so we did. It’s a department store specifically for hobbyists of all stripes; it also has housewares, some sporting goods, office supplies, etc. Gwen was intrigued by the sofa section, because all the couches were low enough that she could sit on them comfortably with her feet flat on the floor. She was also generally impressed by the assortment of stuff throughout the store, which is divided into something like 18 levels, each with a different focus.