Star Speak is an ongoing series of columns, penned by celebrities we are used to seeing on these pages. This is their space to write about their take on fashion, the fraternity and whatever else catches their fancy.
Actor, television show host, columnist and now the newly appointed Brand Ambassador for Japan Tourism, Koel Purie is our guest columnist this week. It’s only fitting that she talk us through her favorite shopping spots around Tokyo and spill some insider secrets. We don’t know about you but we sure are taking notes and paying close attention. Read on! And when done, you can follow Koel on Twitter here and find her on Instagram here.
Shopping In Tokyo
Did I tell you I have the best job in the world? The Japanese government has hired me as an ambassador to promote tourism. Instead of listing out all the tourist attractions (and there are more than you can imagine), I’m going to give you the best reason to book your flight to Tokyo – shopping. You’re about to read my carefully collated and personally experienced shopping spots. Feel fortunate, this is classified stuff.
Tokyo is like Delhi – nothing opens before 10.30 -11am and when you’re in a once in a lifetime place such as this your day has got to start earlier than that. So, get your sleepy butt to Shibuya (it’s the busiest crossing in the world). Park yourself and your yummy latte at a window seat on the 2nd floor of the Tsutaya/Starbucks (beautiful library-cum-bookshop-cum-café) and marvel at the discipline and orderly pace that 2,500 people cross every time the signal changes. Then walk or jump in a cab to Harajuku Takeshita street – this is home to all the whacky, tacky, young, cos play, Japanese fashion. It’s cheap and teenagey but if you have a good eye it can be heaven for a few statement pieces. It is here all the crazily dressed blonde gothic Lolitas known as “Harajuku girls” find their stash. Walking through Harajuku is also a great study of what’s trending in the world of cool in Japan. I went for a themed birthday bash to Moscow last year and the insane costumes I grabbed from here, outdid everyone else.
After getting your fill of nonsense must-haves, walk down Jingumae street heading towards Omotesando. This is the high-end chic lane (a la Knightsbridge), full of stylish shops, cafes and restaurants. Don’t forget to look at the modern architecture of the buildings. Go into the Comme de garçons store, Prada, Issey Miyake and Hugo Boss just to check out the cool layout. If you don’t want the world brands, then veer off right onto Cat street which has lovely little boutiques where you can pick up a quaint, delicately crocheted dress or a military jacket that fits just right or red faux fur flatforms. Back on the main road Settimissimo is an unassuming basement shop with delightful clothes, accessories, bags, shoes. I went a bit nuts in this shop, greedily ‘overshopping’ and have since worn on repeat everything I bought from there. Walk on further and enter GYRE building to find the Moma design shop with super funky things. In the basement of this building is the famed cupcake bakery from NYC, Magnolia Bakery. On the same side of the street is Oriental Bazaar – a 3 storey one stop shop for all Japanese souvenir goodies; from Sake sets and tea pots to kimonos to origami earrings to Japanese doll book marks to paintings, antiques, wind chimes to furniture and elaborate Japanese screens and gorgeous goodies you didn’t even know existed. Great place to pick up gifts and stuff for back home. Pass The Baton on the other side of the street is a vintage shop of wondrous little accessories, clothes and curios. Winged wheel has divine handmade stationary. Stop and have a break at the Aoyama flower market tea house for a coffee or wine and then onwards.