Back from Tokyo where the cherry blossoms were in full bloom and everyone was in a particularly good mood. Grateful to have got the timing just right, as if we’d arrived a week later it would probably have been too late to see this:
Or the sight of this poor dude whose sole responsibility for the day must have been to secure a good location under the blossoms, hours in advance of the drinking and debauchery scheduled for later in the evening:
But as this blog is not supposed to read like the travelogue of some JET, I will refrain from indulging myself further in posting pictures of the Nat Geo variety. I didn’t have too much time this time around to “braille the culture” as we used to say back when I worked at Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve, but I did manage to sneak in my usual tour of the design floor in the Matsuya department store in Ginza, where they had their usual selection of stunning housewares by Yanagi Sori and ±0 with a smattering of neat new things I hadn’t seen before like these memo sheets from D-BROS designed to look like wedges of apples and pears.
Also got to check out the much buzzed-about store called Pass the Baton that just opened a few months ago in the new Marunouchi Brick Square complex. Started up by the same entrepreneur behind Soup Stock Tokyo, Pass the Baton takes the concept of recycling to a whole new level by combining the trend towards all things vintage with the public yearning for storytelling and community. The way it works is that customers can submit “formerly loved” items that they want to sell at Pass the Baton, alongside a requisite introductory description of who they are, what they are selling, why they want to sell it and what the item meant to them, etc. Once accepted as resale-worthy, the merchandise gets posted online alongside the owner’s profiles, and select items get chosen to be displayed in-store.
So instead of the experience of merely coming across old knickknacks at a flea market, you get a much more comprehensive sense of the “life” each object on sale had before ending up in Pass the Baton’s exquisitely curated shelves. The prices are relatively high, but the sense of specialness that the stories of prior ownership imbue each item makes the experience worth the premium. Pure genius!