Tokyo Part 3: How Much is That Battery-Operated Doggie in the Window?

Nearing the end of our stay in Tokyo, we walked through the bustling doors of Tokyu Hands and stepped out of the cold into a seven-storey repository of humanity’s late-night brainwaves. Here was every ‘cool’ idea that ever made it all the way from delusion to rolling off the production line in China.

Shopping is something of a Tokyo pastime. With every international designer label and major department store parading its wares (usually in numerous locations around the city), there is plenty of space for everyone to get involved and spend big. While clothes shopping isn’t exactly my favourite activity and op shops, while stocking a fantastic array of second-hand stuff, were ridiculously overpriced (I saw one moth-eaten T-shirt asking about AU$150), it was hard not to be awed by the sheer scale of consumerism on display. The real excitement came, however, when we made it to the famous Tokyu Hands.

Nominally a DIY and interior design store, Tokyu Hands houses floors dedicated to games, toys, accessories and stationery that are filled with zany creations, from furry hamsters that repeat everything you say to them (only in a high-pitched squeal), to miniaturised digital cameras, crazy paper clips and an impossible array of alarm clocks.

We effortlessly spent a couple of hours browsing the floors and collecting a plethora of inappropriate souvenirs. On making our purchases and receiving them in several sets of wrapping and bags (irritating Japanese paradox: irrepressible love of excessive packaging meets complete dearth of street-side rubbish bins), we made for the crush of Shibuya station. Another tiring day in the overstimulated capital. Next stop, Kyoto.

Next instalment: gaining spiritual fulfilment, nasally


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