When: March 25th, 2017
Some people might find their happiness, peace, or maybe inspiration at places like theme park, gym, library, bar, museum, mount, sea, coffee shop, furniture shop, kitchen, backyard, bedroom... and the list goes on infinitely. Of course, you're more than welcome to continue the list anyway! haha 😆
Except for gym and bar, I indeed found happiness at the rest of the places that I mentioned above. Well, I could say that I'm basically able to be happy just wherever I am. But when it comes to finding peace and inspiration, not everywhere that can make me happy, can give me that kind of "peace" or "inspiration", or that kind of therapeutic feeling that I need. Perhaps, you do also experience/feel the same thing.
One of those places that I'm lately aware for sure that it gives me inspiration and therapeutic feeling is: neighborhood! "Which neighborhood? what kind of neighborhood?" you might question. It could be just any! But you know, the more I'm unfamiliar with, the more thrilled I would be, because I'd feel like as if the place is spoiling me with lots of new findings, and pulling me to keep walking. New findings are always inspirational, and walking down without anxiety has always been so relaxing. So that's why, I can never have enough with this one.
I can't remember exactly since when I started to get obsessed with neighborhood strolling. But I'm pretty much sure that I started to develop this obsession and decided to religiously document it after I lived in Japan. Living as a foreigner is the key because I got to see differences on daily basis, and I can't help leaving them undocumented. Also, I won't lie, instagram plays a great, great role in shaping the way I see everyday life scene in a more showcase-worthy format.
Well, without further ado, because apparently I've gone too far already, lol!
I'm suuuper excited to show you guys, one of my favorite neighborhoods to stroll in Tokyo...
The one and only, the hipster and the oh so colorful KOENJI (高円寺)! ^^ Yay!
(Me screaming at heart: finally a Koenji Post!! It did take ages for me to finally post this, duh.)
1. The Vibrant Alley
It was a sunny 10 am when I arrived at the district. I didn't google much, just because I'm an avid worshipper of a happy-go-lucky and an I'm-going-to-figure-it-all-by-myself kind of stroll.
I was a bit hungry at that time, so I dropped by Mister Donut shortly after I got out of the station. Done with some donuts, I was kind of confused about which direction to go (this happened all the time, anyway), but then I chose to turn right after I got out Mister Donut, until eventually I found a shopping arcade named "Koenji Street".
After going straight and walking down some different shopping arcades, I finally reached this interesting alley that left me awestruck with the hustle-busle of this neighborhood. Decorated with vibrant colored paper lanterns all along the way, this alley instantly won my attention. Also, please take your time to look at and appreciate how beautiful those tangling power line cables are!
It was almost 11 am, but most of the shops were still closed. At this time, I kept wondering about the vintage stores that Koenji is famous of. "WHERE.ARE.THEY?" Till this point, I still didn't come across any, but I just continued to walk down the alley anyway.
And got amazed at these vibrant, color-blocked everything below...
Gosh, color blocking game's so strong here!!! Some are even collaborating very well with greeneries <3
2. The Calm Neighborhood Area
While walking down the vibrant alley, I casually turned right out of curiosity and found this serene residential area. While the vibrant alley was kind of jam-packed, this particular area was the extreme opposite.
According to my google finding prior to my coming here, Koenji neighborhood was rated as one of the best places to live in Tokyo. Although the reason about this statement wasn't written clearly, I could somehow understand it once I set my feet on the hood's ground.
Close distant to the station, bunches of shopping arcades as well as bars and live music venues surrounding it, green spaces... all and all, it's a very compact and convenient neighborhood. What's not to love then?
A cute tiny Lasagna shop
Spotted a coin laundry with some cute yellow washing machines inside <3
3. NA House by Sou Fujimoto
Here it is the "it" house within the hood that later I knew it had been featured in lots of websites, blogs, magazines, and of course it goes without saying, instagram tags! Honestly, I never knew that there would be an artsy house like this in the neighborhood, so it was completely a lucky find! If I didn't randomly turn to some random alley, then maybe I'd never get to know about this gem.
The second when I passed this house, I was like "Whoaaa... WHAT. IS.THIS!!". You know, this glassy house is very distinctive hence making it stands out in the hood. It's so transparent that every passer-by can easily take a peek at the inside, even when some parts of the house are covered with curtains. If you were here with me in this stroll, you could witness how silly I might look when I was struggling to peek every corner of this house. I might look more suspicious, rather than silly actually.
Again, according to my google finding (here), Sou Fujimoto always named the houses he designed by the initial of the house owners! Just like the NA here. Ahh, now I'm wondering if I could own my SH house designed by Fujimoto someday in the future, haha.
Anyway, try google "NA House by Sou Fujimoto" and you'll find tons of interior pictures of the house! And even the sketch, if you wish to made another one for yourself. But after all, heaps kudos to Mr. Sou Fujimoto for his ever brilliant design! Now I'm officially a fan of him, and you know what, I already planned to hunt some of his works in the town for my next strolls! This is getting so excitinggg <3
4. Meet My Koenji Plant Friends
Okay, this might not sound 100% sane to some, but I never really feel alone whenever I stroll, tho I've always been physically strolling without company. The reason? I could easily spot my plant friends everywhere I go and feel connected in just a matter of less than a second! lol. I spent some times stopping by and staring at them, wondering what their names were, before eventually took some pictures as mementos.
Alright, let's get the thing concrete here: I'm just particularly obsessed with Japanese gardening skill.
During my entire stay in Japan, I'd say I've spent 25%* of my accumulative time here, being a total stranger, standing for a freaking long time in front of Japanese people's houses, just to admire their gardens with all the plants and accessories they put in there! Say it on my way to supermarket, station, convenient store... And of course it goes without saying, during my casual stroll as well! Literally on my way to just everywhere ^^
*just a random calculation and I bet you knew it already, hahaha
Anyone knows the name of the plants above? They look so seductive in the most elegant way possible! I wish I had a green thumb so that I could buy some and plant them in my balcony. But unfortunately, plants and I aren't meant for each other...
I'm not practically a plant or gardening enthusiast. Just like I've written before, I'm not blessed with green thumb or at least that's what I've always thought about myself. But I do visually obsessed with the beauty of plants in general.
I'm literally [hashtag] flowergasm right now 💐🌿🌷🌱🌼
5. Vintage Stores!!!
Alright my friends, we finally get into the highlight of the hood: Vintage Stores! Woohoo~ 🎉
There's a large number of vintage stores in Koenji, that I couldn't manage to enter all of them during this stroll, mostly because some were still closed at that time. Also, I might miss some alleys and haven't perfectly explored the hood! Hopefully I can do more next time *fingers-crossed*
So please pardon me, as I don't perfectly cover everything here, but I do hope this post of mine can give you a foresight of what Koenji's vintage stores do look like!
This store focuses on womenswear and accessories. I fell for their earrings collections, especially!
hahaha, what a name.
This one was still closed at that time :(
My kinda happy place. Everything's so girly and sweet here!
Look at those Mori Girl inspired stylings <3 Loveee <3
Hi! 👋 It was just a few days before I drop my camera. So sad! But now the boys (the cam body and lens) have fully recovered <3
This one is for menswear! As from what I peeked, they got some dope band tees too 😉
This one's also for menswear!
I saw groups of fancy and stylish Japanese boys enter this shop. Idk why but I have a thing with boys who go shopping together, lol 😂
7. Peep Cheep
This place is HEAVEN, to me.
I'm a sucker for pleated skirts, moreover if they come in vibrant colors and prints! And this shop "Peep Cheep" got 'em all! Everything's here literally vibrant and patterned. OMG.
I'M DYING 😵
Look at these cute one-pieces! 😭
lol, my instastory 💸
8. Furugi Gaijin
The hobbyhorses did draw my attention, so I decided to drop by to take a closer look.
Just so you know, I found this shop's name a bit weird, lol. The word "Furugi" means used clothing, and "Gaijin" means foreigner. Umm, I just don't get it (?), lol. But they sell pretty cute stuffs, mainly on womenswear. I'm especially loving the coordinate on the mannequin tho <3
Womenswear, menswear and unisex.
Loving the vintage dresses and cute used yukata (summer kimono) here!
10. MAD SECTION
11. Other stores that I don't know the name
Well, well! I guess that's all about my Koenji stroll. Phew, finally I post it! I took literally gazillions of pictures, and wanted so bad to show it all off to you, so that's why it was extremely time consuming to finish this post.
Those are a lot of photos, I know. I guess it's going to be pretty heavy to open this page, but I do hope you enjoy this particular post just as much as I enjoyed the stroll! If you have any question regarding this Koenji neighborhood or just anything that you want to know about Tokyo, just feel free to comment down below!
I might not have all the answers, but I'll try my best to answer everything! <3
p.s.: Ramadan Kareem to all Moslems in the world! How's the first day of Ramadan going on? I'm on period until today (I guess, I hope), so I missed the first day of fasting already! But insyaAllah I'll start fasting tomorrow, yay! 😊 I wish nothing but a meaningful Ramadan for all of us who celebrate it, and a peaceful and joyful month for everyone!