Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Scavenging in Japan: Flea Markets & Antique Store Finds..

Going to flea markets & scouring for goodies in mom & pop style antique / vintage store in a country where you don't speak the language can be quite challenging...  The extent of my negotiating skills was as far as  saying "ikura desu ka" which means how much is it, trying to understand denomination & price named by the seller and then writing a figure that I was hoping to get on my notepad. So notepad & a pen was essentially my biggest asset when I was trying to negotiate a price. As clumsy as it sounds, it works!

While I love to ogle at gorgeous wares in design galleries & admire interiors in beautifully designed stores, nothing beats a good deal when you know where to find it. :)

Scavenging in Flea Markets

We have initially planned to go to the Oedo Antique Market, the largest in Tokyo, but the market was canceled when we were there. We did however manage to go to the flea market at the Toji Temple in Kyoto & a few smaller flea markets in Tokyo. Oedo Antique Market will have to be reserved for our next trip.. :)

Be careful of fakes when visiting some of these flea markets & antique markets though. Apparently there has been an increasing number of  fake antiques trickling in from China , so it's buyers beware when you buy from the flea market.

Also if you're visiting Toji market in December or January, try going there as early as you can. It gets really crazy as soon as it hits noon.

Toji market at noon
Flea markets are also a great way to buy beautiful bolts of Japanese fabric & second-hand kimono. Second hand kimono costs as little as 1000 yen (about AUD12), extremely affordable. Kimono for wall hanging anyone? :)

We seriously thought of  buying one of these vintage Japanese signs /boards.. 

Antique Store Finds

I love those little antique stores off the beaten track because it is usually away from all the chaos. We were lucky to find a quaint little gem in Kamakura that we absolutely love. We scored an old Japanese abacus with the company name carved at the back; an old ice skate (literally a Japanese slipper with blades underneath) & a supposedly Meiji period blue & white porcelain plate, all for under AUD50. :)

Score this pair of Japanese slipper style ice skate!

By The Quirky One