Shoichi Nejime & Nejime

Being the most populous metropolitan area in the history of the world has both advantages and disadvantages. Tokyo has a spaghetti network of criss-crossing trains and subways that cover nearly every square metre of the city. And it is a great convenience. However, step into one during a rush hour commute and after a few…

Gorgeous Gallery of Handmade Household Goods

Beside the Kaldi shop, overlooking Asagaya’s Pearl Shotengai from the 2nd floor, is a halcyon shop and gallery of handmade Japanese tableware and miscellaneous goods (or zakka, 雑貨). ZAKKA 土の記憶 (Tsuchi no Kioku), or “Memories of the Clay”, is a shop and exhibition space with a constantly changing inventory of beautiful handmade goods. Exhibitions highlighting…

Thai Street Food

A few minutes walk out of Asagaya Station’s south exit and you can find yourself as close to Thailand as you can get in Tokyo — plastic chairs and all. Dao Thai is a small Tokyo chain of three locations serving up traditional Thai fare — everything from grilled meat to curries, soups and stir…

Asagaya Jazz Streets 2015

The 21st annual Asagaya Jazz Streets was last weekend. Construction at Suginami City Hall caused its stage to relocate to building’s side facing the much busier/louder street of Ome-Kaido. And while the space was a bit more cramped, the traffic wasn’t much of a factor. And it is a much sunnier spot. There were some…

61st Asagaya Tanabata Festival

Dating back to 755 AD in Japan, Asagaya has hosted its own annual Tanabata Matsuri (Seventh Night Festival) since 1954. Tanabata festivals are held throughout Japan, some held in July and some in August. While timing and traditions vary by region they usually involve some form of decoration display or competition. The Suginami-ku Tanabata Festival…

Sincere Gelato… and Damn Good Coffee

Gelato Master Nakai Yosuke wants to bring the experience of small town Italy to Tokyo. And he does so with his elegant gelato shop just north of Asagaya Station. It’s down the hill at the end of Shouwakai Shotengai, but definitely worth the short hike. With perennial standards like pistachio (the must-try flavour), Gelateria Sincertia…

Sugimoney Sold Out in 18 Minutes

We were fortunate to be having breakfast this morning at Victory Cafe, a small chain with 13 cafes across Japan, one of which is on Asagaya’s Pearl Shotengai. Noticing a line of people forming outside, I asked the girl behind the counter what was so special next door. She informed me they were queuing to…

Asagaya Morning Market

Next weekend is the Asagaya Morning Market (“Asaichi” or 朝市)on Shouwakai, one of the smaller shotengai just north of Asagaya Station. It’s a small street market with the shotengai shopkeepers as vendors, with everything from second goods to and locally grown food. There is also a Hawaiian Fest component this year taking place at the…

Soba by Day…

Izakaya by night, soba shop by day, Kakizawa Soba is located a few steps down a side street off the Asagaya Pearl Shotengai. They’ve got a great lunch set for ¥1,150 that includes three pieces of lightly fried tempura, soba, rice, tsukemono and tea. A high ceiling, modern interior and background jazz make for a…

Asagaya Swing Walk

The 5th Asagaya Swing Walk was a big hit on the Asagaya Pearl Shotengai. The shopping arcade turns into a music festival with small busking stations from beginning to end. The array of instruments include the banjo, mandolin, violin, accordion, saxophone, kazoo, spoons, washboard, and more! It’s a free festival (tip your buskers!) that runs from 13:00 to…

Hidden Handmade Soba

On a small side road running parallel two streets west of Nakasugi Dori is Yanoshin, a great little soba shop hidden among the neighbouring homes. The soba is teuchi (handmade) and the tranquil atmosphere conveys a similar unhurried, attention to detail. Two tables sit along large windows opening to a small yard with enough greenery to obfuscate…

A Cloth for All Occasions

I’m not a tailor nor a grandmother, but I appreciate craftsmanship and handmade goods. While there are many places to buy new swaths of fabric, Fujiya on Asagaya’s Pearl Shotengai packs the most punch per square metre. It is a small shop with a prodigious selection. This makes it both fun to explore and easy…