Bargain Huntress

Happy Mother’s Day! My little mik-moks (that’s not Japanese…just a St.Clair family exclusive word) gave me beautiful cards made at home, a mini canvas, and a promise to buy me something special from…my favourite place on earth…a second hand/antique/junk/flea market!

I’d scoured the net to find different markets in both Tokyo and Kyoto while we’re here. Most run on a Sunday, and most are held in the grounds of temples. The thought of poking through the left-overs of another country thrilled me, and after a bus ride, and looooong walk, we found our way to Tokyo’s largest Hachiman shrine, founded in 1627, “Tomioka Hachimangu”.

As soon as the word “antique” is thrown into the mix when discussing markets, there’s always the risk of it being gran’s overpriced doilies, cracked china and plumped velvet furniture. But no, no, no. This was bargain central, root-through-boxes-on-the-floor stuff. You could flick through old postcards (I LOVE old postcards and family photos), touch and feel everything, and we got a real glimpse of what Japanese people must have laying about their homes.

If ONLY we didn’t have to worry about luggage! There were massive timber water carriers and bamboo ladles, pots, opium pipes, fans, maps, magazines, and statues. I found an amazing second hand silk kimono (no, I do not need it), for 1000 yen. That’s around $13!!!! Stuff being a stoopid tourist and dropping $100 on a dodgy cotton Made-in-China one! This is just so beautiful, and I may have to swan about pretending to be a geisha just to give it another life.

Cam and the girls found me a beautiful hair pin, which the stall holder reduced by 500 yen as it was getting late. So 2000 yen, or about $26. We saw similar (although this one is about 30 years old) pins in Asakusa last week for over $100. And when she wrapped it in that paper (and it might be a dodgy newspaper, who knows), I welled up at how perfect and beautiful it looked. We also bought a traditional Japanese kokeshi doll from Northern Japan. She is quite unusual, but I love her.

There was a wedding going on inside the temple itself, and while of course we didn’t want to be too nosey with it, well, I was.


Out to dinner with my family, and it was one of the most lovely Mother’s Days ever.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Maria says:

    What a wonderful picture you create with your words Dani. Loving reading about your journey and immersion into the amazing Japanese culture.

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