Monday, October 27, 2008

Crafting in Japan (Part 2)

For my last full day in Tokyo, I decided to go and have a full breakfast buffet at the hotel. I wanted a full meal in my ample stomach so I could stave off the hunger pangs that I was sure to develop while conquering the mega DIY store called Tokyu Hands.

The are several branches of Tokyu Hands including three in Tokyo alone. I decided to go to the biggest store available—the store at Shibuya. This was a relatively easy decision for me because Shibuya is at the end/beginning of the Ginza subway line. The only thing that I had to do was jump on the orange line (Ginza line) and be sure that I was heading in the right direction. All of the subway stations are numbered. I was already at station 7 and I needed to go to station 1. At every subway station, there are illuminated signs that show the current station and the next station. So as long as the numbers were getting smaller, I knew that I was going in the right direction.

The last time that I was in Tokyo, I went to the Tokyu Hands in Shinjuku and I was overwhelmed by the amount of stuff. So, for this trip, I donned my life preserver (really my backpack), plugged into my MP3 player and convinced myself that I was ready for this adventure.

In all honesty, I was still unprepared for the enormity of the store. The store is a free standing structure which is incredible in the commercial real estate market of Tokyo. The main structure is Building A which is the center structure and is connect by a series of walkways to the other TWO structures (Buildings B and C). The biggest problem is that you can only access Buildings B and C from Building A and the walkways only connect on certain floors. In other words, you cannot access Building C from Building B. If you are on floor B6 and want to go to Building C, then you have to go to B3 to connect to Building A, and then go up to A4 to connect to Building C.

Between the three buildings, there are 25 different floors which include a restaurant on 7A. There is anything you want for a house/apartment at this store. Think of the bastard child of Home Depot and Wallmart on steroids and you get the idea.

Of all of the 25 floors, there was one quarter of a single shelf dedicated to Gocco supplies. They had 14 boxes of ink, 5 packages of small screens, and about 20 packs of 4 pack bulbs. The bulbs in Japan are averaging about $2 a piece. In other words, a four pack was running about 800 yen (about US $8). The paper selection was a disappointment in that they didn’t have a wide selection of full sheets of paper. Of the sheets that they did have, I already had the same patterns. I did buy some origami squares that I hope to incorporate in to a holiday card.

So, for the most part, Tokyu Hands was a bust.

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