On Monday of our adventures, we had planned to conquer Nippori’s Fabric Town, a street with dozens of fabric stores, notions stores, etc. Both my friend and I love fabric, so this was going to be the highlight of our visit. Was.
Oh, yes, O-Bon. Little did I know when I was scheduling my trip back in June that O-Bon was such an important holiday. I think almost as many shops are closed during O-Bon as during the New Year celebrations. And everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) seems to be on vacation, so Tokyo seems even busier than normal. Monday morning I checked the hours of the shop we both most wanted to visit, Tomato, and it was closed from August 10th – 16th! If we had known that, I would have gone during my summer and my friend would have gone the day she arrived from the States. We were, and still are, disappointed. Maybe it was the universe telling us we didn’t need more fabric?
We decided to head over to Fabric Town anyway, just to see if anything was open. Not much was, but we both found a couple of things we couldn’t resist. In one shop, we spied this bolt of fabric and looked at it, wondering what in the world it was. It looked like a cool cityscape border print, but on closer inspection…
Yes, an oil refinery border print cotton. Found in a random little shop in Nippori. What the heck?! My friend and I had never seen anything like this before, so of course I had to buy some. I’m already planning what I want to make from it. I have a wearable muslin in the works, so hopefully this will become a dress soon. (I’d love to have it done for my birthday.)
After Nippori we headed back to Kamata, so my friend could pick up this fabulous Hello Kitty Liberty of London lawn that had been haunting her since we spotted it on Saturday. Purchases in hand, we ended the afternoon at Ladureé in Shinjuku for some macarons. I had to sample their new gelato: rose gelato with raspberries and crumbled macarons. Such a smooth and subtle gelato… fabulous! We then got some macarons to go and headed back to base camp.
The next day, Tuesday, was adventuring in Ikebukuro. We were reserved for lunch at Cafe Swallowtail, so we did some shopping before. (And after.) The meal was fantastic, I thought. I think my friend was less impressed. That’s ok. We both got to enjoy their house-made Earl Grey scones; I enjoyed them with some orange Darjeeling jam. The combination is one that will haunt me until I can replicate it. (I just reproduced the scones yesterday, more or less, so now it’s just figuring out a recipe for that jam.)
Last item on my “must do” list was heading to Tokyo Station to buy some castella from Fukusaya. Castella is a specialty cake famous in Nagasaki, and Fukusaya makes the best. When we were last in Nagasaki, we tried several makers, but none was better than Fukusaya. I hadn’t been to Tokyo Station in years, and it seems to be under renovation, so I was thoroughly confused. Information desk to the rescue! I asked in my polite Japanese if she could direct me to Fukusaya. “Yes, it’s…” I’m amazed at the knowledge the Information ladies (because in Japan they are always ladies) at stations and malls can call up at a moment’s notice. That’s Japanese customer service for you.
We found the shop, they had some castella left, so I bought some for home and some for gifts. Mission accomplished. Now it was time to pack for leaving the next day.
And that’s when I discovered I needed a bigger bag to travel home with. I’d brought two duffels along with my (carry-on sized) suitcase, but that wasn’t enough. I guess I accumulated more than I thought over six weeks. I blame my textbooks. So, with an hour before I’m supposed to meet a friend from PSU at the Nippori station so we can all have dinner together, I’m dashing out of the ryokan and off to Akihabara for more luggage. This wasn’t the first time this has happened, so I knew exactly where to go and took a couple of minutes to decide what to get. 45 minutes later, I was back a the ryokan with my new luggage. Yay!
The favorite okonomiyaki shop I wanted to go to was full (again!), so we tried out the Indian place in the neighborhood. Not bad. A good evening chatting and relaxing, then back to packing.
On Wednesday, we checked out, left some of our luggage at the ryokan and put some in the lockers at Nippori. A last lunch at Coco’s in Akihabara, then it was time to schlep the luggage up to Nippori and head to the airport. The Girls Fun in Tokyo adventure was over.