Hello Tokyo! (Part 3: the Souvenirs)

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Not too long ago, I resolved to live my life surrounded by, burdened with less stuff.   But how can you travel to wondrous places like Tokyo and not buy anything? The only way to balance out my resolution is to buy souvenirs that I can incorporate into my everyday life.  Not surprisingly then, my souvenirs from this trip are related to either kitchenware, cookware, stationery or fabrics.  不管去什麼地方, 美國, 歐州或是日本 我大部分還是喜歡逛四大項的東西: 書, 文具, 廚具,跟布料。 去日本簡直就是來到天堂的感覺 選擇很多, 而且有好多我喜歡的colors 跟 patterns!

For instance, this spoon cookie cutter was just one out of the thousands that I saw that I wanted to add to my collection.  There were a few stores in Kappabashi-Dori  that had tables and tables of cookie cutters in a variety of shapes (anyone want to make a Vespa shaped cookie?)  I was a little overwhelmed, so I just bought one i because I remember being charmed by this dessert earlier this year.

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I find cookie cutters fulfill my requirements for a fantastic, yet still useful souvenir . They are light, unbreakable and really easy to transport.  Just as fantastic, but slightly less practical, are sampuru, or plastic food samples.  I couldn’t resist buying a few plastic sushi from one of the stores in Kappabashi-Dori (Kitchen Town).

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I also bought this enamel bowl.  The bowl comes in 5 or 6 different sizes, and I now wish I bought a few of the larger and smaller sizes.  It’s a lightweight bowl, with a convenient spout on the rim, which makes it easy for pouring liquids or batters.

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In addition to cookie cutters, sampuru, Kappabashi-Dori has an enormous selection of crockery, utensils, cookware, knives, bento boxes, etc. Eventually, I want a set of Japanese kitchen knives, but I didn’t do enough research beforehand to purchase them during this trip.  Instead, I purchased items such as wooden trays, small plates, to complement the dishes I already have in my collection~ and I’m happy to report, every item is currently in heavy rotation in my kitchen!

From Nippori Fabric Town, while I was mesmerized by the sheer quantity of buttons, lace, trimmings and other sewing notions, I narrowed down my choices to items that are unique to Japan. I selected two prints from Sou。Sou, a Kyoto based textile company.

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Out of the sea of fabrics, these prints from Sou Sou caught my eye, because one of my favorite scarves is from this company.  The scarf is made from cotton from the Ise region of Japan, and gets softer after each wash.

I discovered that Tokyo has a fabulous selection of unusual fabric prints. One of the many stores near the Sensoji Temple was filled to the brim with pre-cut (expensive!) fabrics, that could either be made into scarves or hankies or placemats.  I  chose one that at first glance just looked like triangles.  If you take a closer look,  the triangles are actually onigiri, which are either topped with seaweed, sesame or ume.  So fun! I haven’t decided what to do with this tiny piece of fabric yet, but I’m sure you will see it pop up from time to time on the blog.

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Of course you can’t go to Tokyo without browsing through at least one or two stationery stores.  The stores that we went into were Tokyu Hands  and I-toya , both of which were multi-level stores, filled with all different kinds of stationery items and items for both your office and home.  I was hoping to also go into Loft, but we didn’t come across one during our trip.  Stamps and washi tape are two items that I use frequently for both work and creative pursuits, so I also added a few to my collection during this trip.

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If you still have Yen leftover by the time you get to the airport, I also found the airport to be a handy one-stop shop for last minute gifts.  I bought several food items to take back as gifts for friends and family, such as Tokyo Bananas, green tea flavored Kit-Kats and these french fries.  These french fries were a surprising hit with my 87 year old grandmother.  I daresay she liked them the most out of all the gifts I brought back for her from this trip.

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There is also a fabulous selection of cosmetics, and my favorite finds were from Jill Stuart and this yuzu flavored lip balm from Yojiya, (also a Kyoto-based skincare company).

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Last but not least, even though it’s not a terribly practical object to lug around when you’re traveling, I can’t imagine going (many) places without my Fuji Instax Mini Camera.  While it’s definitely easier to snap photos with my iPhone, I also like to take polaroid photos, because someday, someday I will organize and create a really awesome, one-of-a-kind display piece, like this one for my home.

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20 comments

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  2. I used to frequent Loft as there was one near my work; definitely worth checking out! I, too, bought a couple of plastic sushi pieces before leaving Japan. Even though there was no practical reason for me to have them, I simply couldn’t leave the country without picking up a couple to bring back with me. Looking forward to seeing more posts of your future trips to Japan!

    • HT-Sorry, I missed this comment earlier! I haven’t really found a practical purpose for the sushi pieces either~although I do occasionally use them as paperweights. I mostly just enjoy looking at them though. Hope you’re doing well! 🙂

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