It was a busy one for me here last week. Not only have I upped the ante on my Japanese study, I’m still trying to figure out how to do laundry/shop for groceries/live here, etc., but I also discovered two – yes, two! – new-to-me craft stores.
Now those of you who are new to the craft scene (aka, all of you who come to this blog for the food and are tricked into reading about fabric) may think all craft stores are the same. Not so, dear friends. Some are like warehouses where you have to dig through piles of musty fabric for a scrap of gold, and some are classy establishments, like La Droguerie.
La Droguerie is beautiful. (No photos are allowed inside, so I snapped that shot on my way out.) It is probably the most beautiful craft shop I’ve ever seen, and I have seen many in my short craft life. Bobbles and buttons are kept in big glass jars on well-lit shelves, and colorful rows of ribbons hang amongst fabric and other notions.
La Droguerie is a French chain that sells mainly their own brand of yarns. I learned later that you are not supposed to rummage through the jars yourself, but rather wait for a salesperson to come over and do it for you. Whoops. I totally had my hands in some piles of felt. It just couldn’t be avoided. Also, everything was very expensive. I wanted a tiny bit of some trim that was unpriced, and thought, “How expensive can some trim be, anyway?” Well, expensive. Though, now I have a mighty fine improved-upon Ikea lamp to show for it:
La Droguerie was nice to look at, though I’m not sure I need to visit it too often. Especially because two days later, I found Yuzawaya ユザワヤ — eight buildings of crafts spread out along three city blocks. After the excited/frantic and perhaps unintelligible text message I sent to Dan, he reminded me to breathe and eat, advice I thankfully followed or I certainly would have passed out. In fact, as I inhaled some deep fried tofu skins (don’t cringe, it’s delicious!) while standing in an alley behind a 7-11, I realized I might indeed have a problem. But, more on that later.
I spent a lot of time at Yuzawaya that day and only made it through 1.5 of the 8 buildings before they closed their doors for the night. A felted wedding cake anyone? How about an adorable DIY stuffed mouse? Or a Hello Kitty kimono? It could all be mine!
It was while at Yuzawaya when I realized that making things is more than just a hobby for me. It doesn’t have to be a problem — why not embrace it?! (Cue light bulb.) Though this Declaration of Craft will not surprise many of my friends and family, I have somehow surprised myself. And so, I have a new focus for my time here in Tokyo — in addition to exploring a new city and learning a new language, I’ll be venturing on some other craft-related endeavors. Huzzah! I promise to share in due time.
For those of you interested in visiting these places yourselves:
La Droguerie Ometesando
Omotesando LH bldg 1F
4-13-9, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Ometesando station – behind Ometesando Hills
4-12, Nishikamata 8-chome, Ohta-ku, Tokyo
Kamata station – take a left from the West Exit, walk under the tracks, look for signs to your right
I’m currently compiling a Tokyo craft guide, so check back for that in a few weeks. Thanks!