Yuki Clothing

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Fabric shopping in Tokyo

There are so many different things that I love about Japan and the shopping is one of them. On the first trip I briefly explored Nippori Fabric Town in Tokyo and, while there are a lot of lovely stores there (Tomato is worth mentioning), my favourite store is called Okadaya. Since I simply refused to leave Japan without re-visiting Okadaya, I got to spend a couple of hours in my own fabric heaven :)

Street view, courtesy of Google Street View. A) Building with sewing material. B) Building with fabrics

Street view, courtesy of Google Street View. A) Building with sewing material. B) Building with fabrics

Finding Okadaya can be a bit tricky. It’s located (in 2!! buildings) in Shinjuku, a ~10min walk away from the huge train/metro station. I find their blue and white sign very modest compared to the neighbour’s and I think I walked past it more than 10 times the first time I was looking for it. In the first building you’ll find 6 floors filled with different kinds of sewing materials. They have a great selection of buttons, ribbons, threads, zippers, rulers, knitting material, you name it! There was sooo many beautiful ribbons and lace on one of the floors that I didn’t know what to do with myself. I wanted to get everything but the rational part of me talked me out of hoarding. This doesn’t mean that I left there empty-handed. I found a very cool black and white zipper (ok, I have no idea what I’m gonna do with it, but I definitely need it!). Then followed some regular hidden zippers. The price on these was amazingly a third of what I usually pay. The blue and orange thingamajigs from Clover are for keeping track of your knitting. At the moment I just use them to see how much I’ve knitted in one evening but I guess you could use them to keep track when knitting after a pattern. Next up is the magical “iron-on seam stabilizer”. I always use this to stabilize and prevent fraying around neckline and arm holes. The tiny clothes-pegs are for materials (e.g. leather) that you cannot pin together with regular pins. An awl may come in handy and the brown little thing beside the awl is a Japanese leather thimble. I’ve been using this kind of thimble for a while now and while it takes a bit of getting used to, I like it more than the regular ones in steel. On the bottom row are some corset supplies. I’ve wanted to make a corset for years and maybe it’s finally time I got started. Another thing that I’ve wanted to make is a recreation of an old bikini (that is falling apart now) and I got the padded cups for that reason. Last but not least, some buttons for a shirt and maybe a future Halloween costume.

The second building (just across the small street) contains 5 floors filled with beautiful and affordable fabrics. On the top is a rather heavy chequered cotton fabric that I intend to make a tight and rather sculptured dress of. The white cotton fabric under is very stiff and should work as a foundation for a corset. The brown/grey knit will become a top for a friend and the bright orange will become my new bikini! I’ve never even seen swim wear fabric in the stores at home so I’m very excited about this.Next up is something red and black that I was thinking of using for a Halloween costume. Can you guess what I have in mind? I this love the texture on the red and black fabric and I was pleasantly surprised to find this silk chirimen (crepe) in matching colours.

The shopping spree was finished with some tulle in black and some odd raspberry colour. At first I thought it was bright red but the lighting must have been a bit wonky. Not really sure what I should make of this but I always think of something.

Okadaya’s webpage: http://www.okadaya.co.jp/shinjuku/


Alice in Wonderland restaurant in Tokyo

When it comes to weird themed restaurants, Tokyo is the place to be. How about a Ninja restaurant? Or perhaps you’d like to dine in a freaky prison mental hospital? Or why not bring out your inner fisherman and catch your dinner, at the restaurant? Personally, I’ve got a weak spot for Alice in Wonderland so we decided to pay a visit to one (Shinjuku) of the (I think it’s) 3 Alice themed restaurants in Tokyo. Just finding the place was a challenge in itself but as always, I asked a nice woman if she could help me. At first I tried asking if she knew of the Alice in Wonderland restaurant but she didn’t seem to understand much of what I said. Instead I tried my best Japangrish, that is to say, speak English with the sounds used in the Japanese alphabet. I was pretty pleased with myself when I nailed the pronunciation of “Arisu in Wondarando” and she immediately understood what we were looking for. She was really surprised to hear that there was such a restaurant nearby and asked me several of times if she had heard me correctly. Meanwhile we were talking, some of her friends showed up and assisted in the search for the elusive restaurant. After much laughter and searching on their phones, they gave us directions to the basement floor in a nearby house. Judging from their reaction, I wouldn’t be surprised if we just found the restaurant some more visitors.

We walked all the way down to the basement but where was the restaurant? Of course it was hidden under the stair behind a sliding door that looked like a book. Inside the restaurant, the tiniest little waitress, dressed up as Alice, lead us to our table. She then heaved up a large book on the table containing the menu and also kindly told us about the special recommendations. We ordered drinks from the special recommendations menu and the rest from the regular menu.

Everything on the menu had names inspired by Alice in Wonderland, like Mad Hatter or Caterpillars and Alice of course. We ordered bread with avocado/scrimp dip and a caterpillar (avocado) on rice that also came with some sliced tuna + two different desserts. The portions were quite small and perhaps a bit on the expensive side but very tasty. All in all, this restaurant was a great experience! If only we had found it earlier, we would have stayed longer (I think they close at 23).

Website: http://www.alice-restaurant.com/ehon/

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Tokyo Disney Sea

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always wanted to go to Disneyland but never had the chance until now. Before the we left for Japan, I did some googling and as it turned out, there are not one but two Disneylands in Tokyo! One ordinary Disneyland and one called Tokyo Disney Sea. The latter was supposedly centered around water with areas inspired by steampunk and Jules Verne. Steampunk and Disney all at once, could it get any better?

The Mediterranean harbour, with volcano and all.

The Mediterranean harbour, with volcano and all.

You sure you're still in Tokyo?

You sure you’re still in Tokyo? (American waterfront)

We were warned beforehand that there probably would be a lot of people at the park so we decided to go there on a Tuesday. This particular Tuesday, the weather gods had decided that clouds + drizzle was a good idea. I think both the fact that it was a weekday and the weather wasn’t perfect contributed to keeping the number of visitors low. However, drizzle in Tokyo when it’s around 25 degrees means that the water dries pretty much instantly so for us, it was a non issue.

Was Tokyo Disney Sea as amazing as I imagined it to be? Both yes and no, I’d say. First of all,the scenery was amazing! Never in my wildest dream could I imagine that they would build a freakin’ volcano or recreate Venice with gondolas and all. I swear, Agrabah (yeah, they’ve built that as well) even smelled like it hosted camels!

Scenery-wise, I really liked the steampunk inspired areas, Port Discovery and Mysterious Island.

Secondly, I was expecting more roller coaster rides that would make me scream of joy and excitement. There were definitely fewer rides than I expected and they focused more on being visually appealing than speed. It wasn’t bad, just not what I was expecting. My favourite ride was, without a doubt, Tower of Terror. Since all the storytelling and everything was in Japanese and I understood like 10%, I was constantly surprised. I don’t want to spoil the experience for anyone so I won’t say anything more other than it was pretty darn epic.

Many of the rides were made for small kids which became painfully apparent when we squeezed us into a small roller coaster in “the little mermaid” area. We made it but it was a close call for my husband. :)

This is the entrance to the little mermaid lagoon.

This is the entrance to the little mermaid lagoon.

Inside the mermaid lagoon (or rather, cave).

Inside the mermaid lagoon (or rather, cave).

There are a couple of restaurants serving Japanese food aimed for families so I wouldn’t say that the menu was super exciting. But I love ebi tempura (fried scrimp) so I was happy anyway.

Mmm... Bread (!!), fried scrimp, seafood salad, cake and tea

Mmm… Bread (!!), fried scrimp, seafood salad, cake and tea

Before going home, we went for one last “ride” that was inside the Titanic, namely “Turtle Talk”. The audience sat down in a large room, much like a cinema where the animated turtle from Finding Nemo showed up. The cool thing was that the turtle was actually talking to the audience in real-time. As usual, I understood like 10-20% of what everybody was saying but still I enjoyed it. Only problem was that I was a bit afraid that the turtle would decide to talk to the only two foreigners in the audience, but we got away with just watching *phew*.

"Titanic" at night, quite a view.

“Titanic” at night, quite a view.