Thanks to multiple recommendations and quite explicit directions, I made it to the legendary Tomato fabric store in Nippori Textile Town. That's the cotton floor, above.
I had a great time in Tokyo. There's something exhilarating about being completely on your own in a strange city where you don't speak a word, not one single word, of the language. All it needed was for me to be pursued by shadowy underworld figures out to kill me for it to be a major motion picture. (Although having the plot be "shadowy underworld figures try to stop Erin from buying fabric" probably wouldn't make it past the first script meeting.)
Anyway, despite having to take the slow train back to Narita late Monday night (I missed the last express), I managed to go everywhere I wanted *and* get back to the airport in time to make my flight to Taipei.
Here's what I bought:
And some more:
Whoops, almost forgot one piece:
(Boy, am I glad I packed the spare duffel bag!)
So, from the top down — probably the most "Japanese" of the fabric I bought, the little birds and trees on heavy cotton. Heavier than quilting cotton, anyway. I deliberately didn't buy anything self-consciously Japanese: no kanji prints, no geishas, no "Engrish" writing. I wanted cute, but not "kawaii!", if that makes any sense. Also, as hard as it was to resist, I didn't buy anything Hello Kitty.
The gray dot is probably has a good bit of polyester in it, and it has a small flaw, but it was 100 yen/yard and the dots are really nice, not the bad printing I usually see in the US.
The autumn-leaf print is very heavy, almost upholstery weight, so I think that will be a skirt. It think it would be cute with an orange corduroy jacket and green tights in the fall … although in 90+ degree Taipei, it is *very* difficult to think about fall!
The black and gray leaf print just *spoke* to me, which black fabric hardly ever does. And who am I not to listen when Japanese fabric wants to emigrate? I had to buy it.
The browny-greige wallpaper print has a really interesting texture, almost matelassé. And since I'm never afraid to look like a combination wallpaper/bedspread, I figured I had to have it. I thought it would make a nice structured dress — something with stiff tailored details. We'll see …
The stripe is a shirting stripe and it's green/gray on one half and yellow-gray on the other. I thought I was hallucinating when I pulled it out; I pulled out the green side and, then, clutching the bolt, only saw the yellow; I enjoyed a brief moment of panic while I wondered where the green fabric went! Do I have any idea how to sew this? No, I do not. But for 100 yen/yard, I figured it would come to me. Someday. I'll wait.
The last bit is the orange/yellow sunburst cotton. I'm betting I'll make that up first; If I work it right it'll be a perfect Indian-summer dress, the yellow changing to orange towards the fall, just like the falling leaves …
Despite the notorious expensiveness of everything in Japan, I think I spent less than $125. Although I probably spent at least half that on train tickets ….
Here's a street-scene photo, just to help you get your bearings the next time you're in Tokyo:
Thanks again to all the folks who sent me recommendations and directions for my all-too-brief time in Tokyo … I can't wait to go back!