An Afternoon in Aoyama


I leave in the middle of the afternoon, and take the subway to Aoyama, accompanying Yuko as she heads out to Todai. I decide to get off at the Gaienmae station, as there are a few things in the area I want to check out. Things don’t start off so well. I start by going to the Cibone shop, only to find it closed. My next stop is supposed to be the +81 shop, but I’m unable to find it (I checked the Superfuture map before leaving, but I should have printed it out; looking at the map now, I’m sure I walked in front of it, but still couldn’t spot it, so I’m wondering if it still exists or not). Since I’m in the area, I drop by the Watari-Um bookshop, drooling over some of the beautiful, yet expensive books.

Next up is Nadiff, and as I walk in that direction, I pass in front of Lotus (cafe/bar), which now seems to have a second floor area called Pond. At Nadiff, I’m surprised to see an exhibition by Yamaguchi Akira, whose t-shirt I recently bought. The works are really nice, showcasing his beautifully detailed illustrative style. Again, I spend a lot of time mesmerized by the beautiful books/magazines, but end up only picking up the first issue of the 3WWW guide (the content is available online, but I wanted a hardcopy for the archives). Amazingly, and with relief, I make my way out while having spent only 100 yen.

I then try to visit Gallery 360, only to find it closed. They’re currently between exhibitions, and the next one will start towards the end of the month. Next up is Spiral, where there are currently no exhibitions (the next event is the Kyupi Kyupi Grand Kayo Show Cabarotica), but I spend some time listening to CDs at Spiral Records (and am tempted by a few).

Going down a few back streets, I end up at the Bapexclusive shop. At the Bape Gallery, located on the second floor, there’s an interesting exhibition called “Autograf: New York City’s Graffiti Writers,” by Peter Sutherland. The show comprises of photos of graffiti artists (most of them hiding behind something, to keep their identity secret), with an autograph written on the picture with a marker by the artists, in their respective styles.

Continuing through the back streets, I end up at the Colette Meets Comme des Garcons collaboration shop (which is to last until December). The first floor has some nice objects, but nothing I can afford (I’m tempted by the COLETTE 6 compilation, but it’s a bit pricey at 6000 yen). The second floor currently hosts the Genevieve Gauckler exhibition, and the works are really fun. I’ve seen the images on the Colette DVD, but here they’re presented with with funny subtitles. The t-shirt for the show is already sold out. While I’m there, popular TV celebrity YOU (who my wife loves) shows up. She talks a bit with what looks like one of the organizers (he’s French, and is sitting there with a laptop).

I’ve been in the area for close to 4 hours now, and getting tired, I start making my way back to the station. I drop by the Rocket Gallery, where they are hosting an interesting exhibition called “Summer Printing Pool.” The gallery space transforms itself in a silkscreen studio, where you can get artwork (you can view the designs here) from various artists printed on any piece of clothing you bring in (or even hats and bags). At the store on the first floor I pick up the new issue of SAL. The final stop before leaving is the And A select shop, where Audrey has recently sold some fashion designs.

Back in Ikebukuro, I meet up with Yuko, to then go to Pause, and cap the evening with a delicious bowl of tonkotsu ramen at Tonchin.