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Tokyo Underground :: A Solo Mission & Guide

Tokyo Underground :: A Solo Mission & Guide

By David Rasool

Over the next few days in Tokyo (you can read part 1 here), I took the chance to roam around Tokyo solo.

I walked around for hours looking at residential homes, whips, women, the way people were dressed and made my way to a few shops to see their buildout and how they laid out their product. My hotel was in the relatively chill district of Chiyoda and I was only a couple blocks away from Suidobashi station. After a 30min train ride I got off at Shibuya Station and decided to meet up with Hiroshi Sawada who owns the chain of Streamer Coffee shops.

Two of my daily walk around staples which I’d grab every morning from Japan’s version of 7/11:

Pocari Sweat and a salmon rice ball wrapped in seaweed.

For those unfamiliar with Hiroshi-san, he’s like the Michael Jordan of latte art.

This was the first time I had a chance to stop by one of Hiroshi Sawada‘s Streamer locations and he was kind enough to meet me and another friend there so we could catch up. For anyone that knows me, they know I’m a big fan of camo and olive drab is one of my favorite colors. So I had to try out the Military Latte and Hiroshi-san insisted on going behind the counter and making it himself, which was a great honor.

I also finally found the elusive camo donut. No joke I’ve been looking for this donut for like four years ever since I saw a photo of one on a random blog. Hiroshi-san’s work was a lot cleaner than this, but I was so eager to try the latte I took a sip immediately instead of getting a flick of it first. Needless to say, this was the best latte I’ve had.

The glass they give you for water which looks like a plastic cup with a dent in it. It’s made by a company in Spain.

Bodega x And A pop-up shop

After roaming around for a bit, I came across the pop up store Bodega and And A did. The cats from Bodega are like family so I’m glad I was finally able to see the bodega/boutique buildout in person since I have yet to go to Boston. I wish I could have taken more photos but the lay out and product selection was on point.

Wtaps is personally one of my favorite brands and I’m honored we carry it at the shop. Stopping by the GIP (Gorilla Incubation Period) store and seeing that in-person was on my list of things I wanted to do.

While roaming around Harajuku I came across a piece by ESPO:

While walking around Harajuku a couple Japanese street style blogs asked to photograph me which was a honor.

Pretty much everyone I saw on the street was very friendly, and even though there was a language barrier in many cases, some things are universal.

Another thing I wanted to check out was a Katsuhiro Otomo exhibit at Bape Aoyama.

The buildout for the Aoyama was very fresh to see in person, on the top floor was the exhibit by Otomo. For those unfamiliar with the name, if you’ve seen or read Akira or Domu then you’ve seen his work. His ads for G-Shock are also crazy.

Dover was so fresh I had to walk around each floor twice.

You had a staff that was spread out across 9 floors and everyone was dressed fresh as hell. EVERYONE. As with all the spots I went to everyone was friendly and inviting, they let you know that they were there if you needed help, but didn’t pounce on you so you could really walk around and take in the surroundings.

KAIKAYA

For dinner a few friends decided to meet at Kaikaya which I’d heard about from a few friends and am glad I finally got to see in person.

Good food and conversation with Yagi and T and the sake was flowin’.

After dinner Shin and T took us by JBS (Jazz, Blues, Soul)…

We walk into a small room with records on both walls and a bar. Behind the counter is Kobayashi-san who acts as DJ and bartender. He has owned and run this spot for 30 years and learned a little English by coming to work and talking to tourists and listening to records. This spot left me speechless. While I sat there sipping Japanese whiskey, Kobayashi-san played Marvin Gaye, Jay, Pete Rock, Barry White, Mobb Deep, Herbie Hanock and a few other records I didn’t even recognize. He’d walk by and see me nodding my head, nod along with me and then go back to serving drinks and cleaning glasses. Definitely a ill way to end the night.

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