Yesterday I went to explore Tokyu Hands department store. Tokyu Hands is a chain that has stores throughout Tokyo (and other cities as well). It is a variety store that has things like housewares, tools, stationary, and stuff you didn’t ever know you needed. It is a great place to find only-in-Japan items. I wanted to buy some lotion and I figured I’d use the time to explore the floors and see what kind of weirdness I could discover. The few times I’ve been there, I was with The Professor who is never interested in slowly perusing their seven floors of wonderfulness. I decided to head to the one near Shinjuku.
After leaving the station—which is HUGE—I headed off in the direction I thought the store was located. I wandered around aimlessly for a while with no luck. I then wandered back to the station area, and over to a wall map that was posted there to see if I could find the store listed on the map. Apparently, I stood there long enough for a helpful official guy to come over and try to help. I see these guys all over the streets of Tokyo—I’m not sure if they are affiliated with the train stations or the highway department or if they are cops of some kind, but they always have on their blue uniforms and matching hats, and they look very official looking.
Anyway, the official-looking guy started pointing at the various buildings on the map and then in the direction they were located. I used my typical toddler-sentence-making ability to say, ‘Tokyu Hands?’ But he understood me.
He started speaking in Japanese, pulled out a piece of paper, and then started drawing out a map. He was trying really hard to be helpful and I just kept looking at him like I was a moron from another planet. To be more helpful, he guided me over to the other side of the plaza area and kept drawing and redrawing his little map. All I could understand was a) I needed to head in the direction he kept pointing at, and b) I shouldn’t turn left.
Armed with that bit of information I headed back off in the direction he had pointed. Though I had been that way already, I had only gone about a block—so I kept walking and was determined not to go left.
Imagine how excited I was when I eventually saw the sign!
For some reason, they have this wonderful department store hidden in a huge store with several high-end stores around it. It’s particularly weird to walk through a Louis Vuitton store and similar expensive names on the ground level to go to this variety department store that begins on the second floor. But you do.
Anyway, check out all the wonderful things I found. If you stand in front of this screen, the facial masks pop up and show what they look like if you were going to use them.
Check out the giant squeezable tortoise. Only around $45 .
Love the vending machine things--like the cat hats, cat sushi, or these weird little egg yolks with faces (almost enough to turn me off of eggs). Or you can collect salamanders or mushrooms or hamsters.
Check out all the beautifying machines and contraptions. Guaranteed to either keep one pretty busy or to always sleep alone.
Not sure why the Happy Face Trainer comes in two colors. I saw a young Japanese girl buy one of these. And she wasn't laughing while she did it!
Or you could buy fake tofu or pets that repeat what you say, I think. Or giant stretchable sausage logs.
Or how about making your own happy potato chips or ice cubes that look like Mt. Fuji?
And so much more!
After a few hours of mindless wandering I headed back to the train station. I got to again use my toddler-speak when I asked a JR worker, ‘Yamanote?' Again, he was another helpful guy as he switched to English, ‘Where you going? Okay you’ll want Track #15.’
Yay! I was so proud of myself! Except I forgot to buy the lotion.