Although I’ve been back in SF for a couple weeks now, I can’t stop thinking about the highlights of my trip. Tokyo is a city that constantly inspires — around every corner is a different shop to be discovered, someone to meet, another neighborhood to explore. Unlike any other city I’ve traveled in, Tokyo has a certain aura around it — call it synchronicity, or fate, or what have you. I always end up falling into things (art shows, openings, mail art shenanigans) in a way that never seems to happen anywhere else.
So when I first read about the store SCOS (short for “small circle of stationery”) in Tokyo’s Hongo neighborhood, I knew I’d visit one day, although it took me one or two trips to actually make it to the store. Down a long road, past a McDonald’s and a police station, and then turn left (got lost the first time I tried to find it…). Half a block down a tiny side street, a bright yellow bucket cheerfully props up a chalkboard sign sporting a drawing of an envelope. You must be in the right place.
As you walk through the sliding glass door, you cannot help but be charmed and overwhelmed to the point of swoony-ness. Turn, close the door behind you (don’t want that air conditioning to escape!), and you are now sealed inside a forest of stationery delights. There is a riot of color which cannot be tamed. Paper goodies are jam-packed on shelves, hidden away underneath boxes, placed on every available horizontal surface.
SCOS has a great variety of items, mostly of the European (German) variety. This gent is a fave:
This summer, I’ve been on a search for Italian airmail envelopes – sort of hard-to-find, as it turns out. An Italy-bound friend went hunting for me, but didn’t have any luck. However, SCOS pulled through!
Of course I couldn’t leave empty handed. Between the airmail envelopes and then some disposable fountain pens and don’t forget that decorative Czech tape…well, I just had to have it all. Store manager Eiji Teramura wrapped up my purchases in a funny German bag used for carrying bread, topping the whole thing off with a vintage ticket that had the SCOS logo (a rabbit in a vest!) on it. Exclaiming over the general adorable-ness of it all, I asked if it would be alright to take some photos. Eiji graciously agreed.
This is the sort of store that “people like us” want to linger in forever; you wish that you could roll out a little cot at the end of the work day and sleep surrounded by rolls of packing tape and pencil cases. Since the staff might be weirded out by that, I’ll have to be satisfied with yearly trips to visit. I’m thinking about it like this: it will be like visiting a beloved relative who lives far, far away — a treat that is savored and looked forward to, with lots of letters and postcards exchanged in between visits.
That’s all of my stories for today; I have a few more Tokyo things/stores to tell you about; then we’ll return to our regularly scheduled programming — I promise!
PS: many many MANY thanks to those of you who have been writing/emailing in and telling me that you’re enjoying the RLD blog! It’s great to know that folks are following along and equally passionate about all things postal. YAY for all of you!