Beady eyed bird looking for collectables and design stuff
You may have noticed that the owl has been pretty quiet over the past couple of weeks. That’s because we have been owling… on the other side of the world! It’s pretty exciting as we’ve always wanted to go to Japan but our trip last year was postponed by the awful earthquake and tsunamis so we made the decision not to cancel our trip, but to postpone it to April of this year and also try to catch the blossom season. We were lucky – it was stunningly beautiful!
We didn’t manage to find any vintage or antique spots in the metropolis which is Tokyo city. That’s not to say that there aren’t any, it’s just that a week to get acquainted with the city isn’t always quite enough time to uncover the hot spots, especially in somewhere so unfamilar! Tokyo certainly has a thriving flea market scene, shaped by the huge passion for fashion and subculture there. But unfortunately I didn’t manage to sniff any out in the short time I was there.
I was happy then, when after taking the amazing bullet train, to find a selection of cute little antiques pottery shops and thrift stores in historic Kyoto!
We visited the Tokyo National Museum and spent a fair amount of time looking at armour and samurai swords. The detail and effort required to make a sword is astounding so it was amazing to see an actual shop selling the real thing close to Kyoto castle. These bad boys cost around £600 and up!
The same shop had a range of sword guards, a work of art in themselves. The Japanese are the masters of customisation so once you’ve got your sword then you obviously have to choose a suitable guard which will match!
We’re newfound fans of Astro Boy (known in Japan as Mighty Atom), having known about it but never actually read it until we picked up a copy (in English) at Kyoto’s Manga museum. On our way back from a shrine in the west of Kyoto we stumbled across a little thrift store with a number of clothes and (amongst an inexplicable number of Louis Vuitton bags in cabinets) there was a little shelving unit at the back of the shop with a few pieces of home wares etc. Would have loved to bring this home with us!
I also spotted these retro pieces, a white ice bucket with mint green and a retro enamelled saucepan, if I’d found these in the UK they would have come home with me. Damn luggage!
We also stumbled upon this little antiques store on the west side of Kyoto , it had dozens of little sake cups, bowls and plates…
I particularly loved these little shrimp plates with their scalloped edges and cute shrimp motif which is obviously hand painted. I love ceramics so it was a dream for me; that said, these bits don’t come cheap in an already expensive country. These plates were 4000yen each, thats just under £40 per plate!