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Shoe Plaza, 109 Men’s, Okinawa Festival, Nomihodai

Shoe Plaza, 109 Men’s, Okinawa Festival, Nomihodai

May 26th, 2013.

Japan is full of surprises. Just as we walked out the door, there was a flea market at our shopping street. Lots to buy, to eat and various play activities for the little ones.

I like Japan for its extended appreciation of old things (amongst gazillion other assets). Once I became aware of Japanese used stuff stores, Tokyo seemed to offer second hand shopping  in every district.

Now that I know that Tokyo does flea markets, there is no reason not to stay here for good.

I used to sell my stuff at flea markets in my hometown Cologne, being an equally passionate collector of the odd and old. Perpetual travel does not necessarily involve getting rid of all material pleasures.

The flea market in Setagaya.

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Umbrellas shielding from the sun.

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Having just arrived at Shinjuku, eager Japanese ladies invited us to do some 3D posing for their project.

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Main goal for today: clothes shopping (Tomek), shoe shopping (me).

First stop at Shoe Plaza – two stories of cheap women’s shoes, one for the male gender and sports gear on the top floor. My hopes were set high but sadly not only the prices were cheap but a lot was very low quality and had that weird smell of glue and materials soaked with some kind of chemical so specific for mass-produced shoes/bags. The store offered low key foot wear and not many unique looking shoes. But fake Doc Martens!

Location: 3-24-6 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, two-minute walk from Shinjuku Station

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At the corner next by, I tried the ABC Mart shoe chain. It had two floors but even though the prices were very reasonable, the shoe variety was also a bit on the conservative salary-men and women side.

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Obviously everyone knows what this Lion statue in front of Shinjuku Station/East Exit represents. Liberty, Intelligence, Our Nations Safety. It was even guarded by a uniformed man but I have no idea what it was.

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Paying for the drink with my metro/JR pasmo card saves time. And that’s all this card is. A time saver. When you are walking through the metro gates, you will be faster scanning the ticket than visiting the ticket machines. It does not give any discounts at all, monthly bargains or the like. In contrast, you got to pay a 500 yen deposit for the card. Japanese do value their time.

You can get pasmo at the ticket machines at any station and upload it at any time. The pasmo card is valid for 10 years. We decided to keep ours (just in case).

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Sometimes the way through Tokyo’s metro system is quite a trip. These moving walkways are so pleasant! It looks like we are at an airport but we are right in the city. We don’t have to leave till Saturday. Our tourist visa for Japan is almost up.

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Shibuya. 109 men’s is a fashion paradise for fashion conscious men. It is the counterpart of 109 for women, just across the street. If you are looking for gorgeous Japanese girls, this is the place to go. For men’s fashion cray, enjoy 109 men’s. Bear in mind that sizes in Japan are smaller and not as baggy as in American and other western markets. However, many brands will provide large sizes and loose fitting styles.

Location:  2-29-1 Dougenzaka, Shibuya-ku Tokyo

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Eight floors of Japanese ‘styru’ (style).

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Manly icons, such as Iron Man are shopping here, too.

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Well, there is a Hello Kitty stand on ground floor and girls come in to take pictures of boy-bands – inspiring and marketing Japanese fashion. Come to this place for some trendy manhood and do your fashion research.

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The man on this poster was actually selling the collection in person.

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Fashion in Japan is more than clothing to cover your body.  It is a form of standing out and differentiating oneself from the rest of society. People always look their best. Japanese men engage in fashion differently than western men, in a more refined, less casual-sports-wear oriented. Japanese men’s fashion is subtle and edgy. Many Japanese brands create a stimulating, sophisticated clash for the male gender. Aesthetics for men are more demure, at the same time unusual and nonconformist.

Tomek shopped at World Conquest, a company with many brands and at Civarize, whose Visual Kei fashion design is inspired by Japan’s music subculture.

New shirt, pants and a cardigan, that can be worn on both sides.

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Perfect match!

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Next store for a more dramatic style change. The sophisticated vest.

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Japanese men do wear accessories and look great.

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I married this guy for all the right reasons.

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New outfit take away.

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Looking (good) for food now.

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A final time, we went to the coolest Sushi place in Tokyo.

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Uobei Genki Sushi has good beverages, too. Beer and shochu lemon. And the freshest pineapple. I never really liked beer until Japan. It is always fresh and has a generous tall head with a creamy texture.

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No luck in games – lucky in love!

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For Alex. Found this super suit store – should suit you.

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In case you are on a tight budget or shall the unimaginable happen that you do not know what to do in Tokyo, try a festival. Mostly free and for some reason mostly touristy free as well.

This weekend, the Okinawa Festival at Yoyogi Park was promoting Japan’s Pacific island and its southernmost prefecture.

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Dogs rarely walk in Tokyo. They are either carried or pushed in a trolley, like kids.

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Lots of food to try at the festival.

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Queueing for the ‘Drug’.

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Judging by the line, this stand must have been good as well.

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Searching for a must try at the festival – Orion Beer from Okinawa. We have actually been to Okinawa last year but I can’t recall we had it. Had to come all the way down to Tokyo.

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Beer from Okinawa was sold out at all stands except some last cans here.

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Cheers Okinawa!

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Relaxed picnic-ers all around.

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Nice background.

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As we were walking back to meet our friend Alex, we came across Camper Shoes Tokyo, a shoe chain I liked back home.

Location:  4-30-4 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

The fourth pair on the left side are now mine. Beautiful black sandals. And most importantly, comfy!

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Mission completed. Always ask for tax free shopping and have your passport ready to pay with a 5% discount, saving on tax. The coolest thing is that we got the discount right away at the store. (The usual way is to take extra time to find the counter for tax refunds at the airport.)

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23,800 yen decorating my feet. Comfortable shoes are a perpetual traveler’s best investment.

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Did I tell you about Japanese gas stations… They store gasoline above your head. Hoses hang from above!

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I did tell you about animal torture in Tokyo’s public pet and petting stores. Apparently, this does not only apply to domestic animals. Above the glass cage with the dog under bright light, we saw a monkey to play with, for sale.

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Shocking to see, in a country far advanced than most countries.

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My favourite hot milk tea from the vending machine is ‘Fauchon’, so I was tempted to try the ‘Fauchon cherry’ counterpart.

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It was such a nice evening to just walk into the night and enjoy the full moon shining through Tokyo’s skyscraper skyline.

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Blurry picture but it is not easy to reach for the stars and catch the moon. With Alex. An American from Russia who became a Japanese salary men. After work, always in his best suit.

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Walking through Tokyo’s forest of lights.

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Until we got to a conbini. There was just no way around the ‘stylish bottle’.

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Kirin’s newest concoction ‘Cariboom’ beer with 10% of fruits.

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I love NY – we are still in Tokyo! In the heart of Shibuya at Shirokiya – a bar – which in Tokyo means that you will be served good food as well. Shirokiya is a cheaper izakaya chain with a pub like atmosphere and picture menus – fun and easy to order!

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Edamame is a delicious compulsory starter.

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Nomihodai is usually a good all-you-can-drink deal. Tonight it meant we could order as many drinks as we liked for only 1,000 yen each.

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My mango cocktail to the right.

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Kahlua milk. The awesomeness about nomihodai is that there are tons of delicious ‘girl drinks’ on offer.

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Asparagus.

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Shrimp with garlic butter bread.

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Japanese cucumber and peanut beansprouts (I assure you these are not worms).

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Fish.

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We also played a round of Japanese roulette. You get three sushi. One comes with an unbearable amount of wasabi – for the near-death experience.

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The game begins.

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Guess who got (the) shot.

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Hm, tastes more intense than usually.

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Oh, man.

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I can see bright light at the end of a tunnel!

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Will never play again.

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Okay, well maybe next time!

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Have a great day, smile and enjoy your day, folks!

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