Tokyo day seven: chopsticks, textures and tea

On day six I wanted to get some chopsticks and found the most incredible shop. It was described as a ‘dizzying’ amount and that felt about right as I entered.

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The ramen place we ended up you ordered from a machine, getting a ticket print out of your order that would be brought to you. It also had a little pot of hair elastics, because of course if you have long hair flowing it won’t work out with ramen. The little details like this I now expected, whilst still delightful to note I was pretty sure would on coming back to England be frustrations – why wasn’t everything trying to make my experience as easy as it had been in Japan.

After a little wondering the Issey Miyake store appeared. It wasn’t a planned visit but on walking inside the same curation of every molecule of the experience I’d had in Harajuku embraced. The creases, the guides in cloth of how to hang each piece; it was effortless but precision.

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Shapes seemed to guide me today. The roof of the triangle shopping area had a triangle lawn to compliment. The wood glistening in rain and carefully curated blades, a pleasant breath of calm away from the bustle of shopping.

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On walking through a train station I noticed a travel book with stickers you could buy. The idea was each station or place you’d get the stickers and mark your travels in it. This mark of passing and adventures was something I’d not seen before.

In the afternoon it was time to experience tea. I’d had a lot of tea this trip but I had a goal of going to Ippodo and it didn’t disappoint. I ordered a matcha (the most expensive I’ve ever had), it was everything I hoped for. The ritual whilst was strict and guiding. You started with warm water, to clear your palette. Then the matcha, it started with frothy lightness and as you drank intensified. A small delicate bean treat of the season (Autumn) accompanied. Then to finish a small cup of tea that smelt almost too intense of smoke but tasted of delicate breeze, no hint of the smoke in taste.

Once completed the tea left a gentle trace in the bowl. A hint at what had been. It was about then the textures struck me again. The space of the tearoom was filled with a wide but complimentary range of textures. Textures had guided me through the entire trip and continued to be something I experienced. From the walls, through to paper and even the matcha bowl – soft sided but with a rough base.

That evening during our meal the bag boxes involved a napkin being placed over the top of each box. It was to dry them as it was raining, but it seemed as if they were tucking our bags into sleep, delicately placing napkins like duvets over them. The bags dozed whilst we ate.

 

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