First priority in Tokyo was fabric shopping and the best part was being able to meet up with old friends and get all caught up. First up, I met Julie Fukuda (My Quilt Diary) at the train station and we headed for Yuzawaya (sprawling fabric and craft store), in Kamata. I love keeping up with Julie via her awesome blog, but there's just no substitute for an afternoon together to talk, shop, talk, eat lunch, talk some more.
Great price on this adorable bear fabric designed by Naoya Hata, a Japanese illustrator. We still sometimes call Tommy (our 20 year old) "boo bear" and he loves bears, so, ya, bears holding umbrellas!
Back at the hotel, mission accomplished. Tired feet, jet lag, worth it.
I was doing some fabric shopping for my sister in law too. I love spending other people's money, ha ha. She wanted a sampling of taupes, novelties, and just Japanese stuff hard to find in the U.S....
Also found plenty of sashiko supplies and with Julie's help, just the right woven fabric for teaching my beginner sashiko classes.
On another day, I went back to my old neighborhood Azabu Juban,
and met my sashiko buddy Kazuko Kawachi there. (Kazuko also has a blog but, google translate doesn't help me much;). We stopped in to Blue and White where we both took sashiko lessons in the past from Kazuko Yoshiura. Sadly Yoshiura-sensei is no longer teaching. This is Kazuko on the left and the stylish outgoing store clerk on the right:
Blue and White is a gorgeous shop, a gallery really. Everything is so special there. Pricey too. I did spring for a length of cotton indigo. Here are some lovely bits of sashiko:
If you are familiar with Blue and White over the years, you will notice that they have moved, just upstairs, into a light filled modern space, accessible by an outdoor escalator.
Another shop I adore in Azabu Juban is a bakery called Mont Thabor, very near exit 4 on the Namboku Line. Oh... the many days I'd stop in here to buy round loaves of sweet milk bread for my kids' after school snack...
We ended up in "the Juban" several times to eat. It's a quiet neighborhood that still feels like home. We even bumped into some sweet friends we knew from church. Five years melt away with a hug and a smile!
And to round out my fabric shopping, I did manage to get myself to Nippori (fabric district). Same as from five years ago, except that the Nippori train station has been completely renovated - so nice!
The real destination at Nippori is Tomato, a fabric store spread out over several buildings. The main building is where the goods are. Especially on the fourth floor:
This is the point where I'm thinking ya, I would live in Japan again. ;) I mean look at this fabric!
Found some really nice wovens suited for sashiko:
First floor discount floor, impossibly crowded:
Next up, the fabulous field trip we took to an indigo factory!