Hello RLD readers!
I’ve returned from my stationery safari in the far-away wilds of Tokyo, and am happy to report that pen, paper, and ink are alive and well. On this particular trip, I was able to spend time at some of my favorite usual haunts, (Seikaido, Yuzawaya, Tokyu Hands) as well as visit some new hideouts (Yamada Stationery, 36 Sublo).
Let’s face it: flying economy class isn’t as glamorous as flying first class. However, on this flight, I managed to have a middle seat all to myself, so I could spread out and work on projects for the entirety of the 11 hour flight – that felt pretty first class!
Once you get through the hustle and bustle of Narita customs and all, it takes awhile to get into Tokyo proper (about an hour and a half.) By the time I made it to Shinjuku, the evening lights of the neighborhood were going strong. Under the main train tracks, Yakitori and ramen stalls were in full swing; everything smelled delicious and wonderful and exactly as I remembered it.
But a girl’s gotta stay awake those first few hours in town, no matter how badly she wants to go to sleep! (this is the best way, trust me…) So it was off to a handful of within-walking-distance train stations, to look for “eki stamps” (駅のスタンプ) – large sized rubber stamps which reside at Tokyo Metro stations.
Like a scavenger hunt for people like us, these rubber stamps are often hidden out of the way near a ticket booth or the exit gates. You can stamp in specially designed Tokyo Metro collector books or (if you’re like me) you bring along sheets of paper which later become postcards which you send to your friends! Here’s a tip: I always have an ink pad with me, because the “public” ink pads are usually pretty dried up.
More walking, picking up a snack from the convenience store and heading back to the hotel. I was noticing a lot more sticker slapping this trip: all types and kinds of stickers by global graffiti artists appeared on the sides of vending machines, tunneled walkways, posts and poles.
And as always: beautifully arranged items, on display in alcoves and alleys. These are labels from saké bottles…
I made it back to the hotel and immediately fell asleep, dreaming of all the bento lunches and ink pens I was sure to discover during the next few days.
(of course! I passed a cat café the next morning – you too can have a pet for a few hours…)
Upcoming: strolling through Jinbocho (used book town), mail art at Tokyo’s postal museum, and riffling through vintage envelopes at 36 Sublo – stay tuned!
to read more about Japanese rubber stamp/hanko culture, take a look at Densha de Japan‘s write up…