Crowds, cat cafes and Teleporting. / 30 May 2012
Tokyu Hands (pronounced Tokyo Hanz) was reviewed by the New York Times as 'the' department store for the serious home owner and hobbyist, it has also been described as a 'makers paradise'.
Floors of fascinating items, many only available in Japan, tempt me. Countless arts possibilities reawaken as shelves full of curious and useful items demand attention. I want to take one of the stores home with me.
We visited the flagship store at Shibuya, but at Ikebukuro they also have a cat cafe, with around 20 cats willing to be stroked and petted by customers.
Without my rose tinted specs I have to admit there is one gigantic flaw - the store is devided vertically into three sections, right and left sections have elevators, but access to the middle section is via steps.
The stores have free demonstrations and workshops as well as magazines and areas devoted to inspire and enable the newly creative. Next time I come I will bring an extra suitcase - maybe I said that last time?
Shibuya is a hilly place and getting around on steep slopes and uneven surfaces in amongst dense crowds of people takes patience and determination. It is also quite fun - if you have plenty of time. The famous Shibuya Crossing, where all the lights go red together, has pedestrians streaming in all directions.
We visited a newly opened shopping mall to sample their famous cakes and wasted about an hour waiting for lifts with enough space to fit the wheelchair in. Travellers squeezed themselves together and beckoned helpfully, but I guess most Japanese have a poor sense of spatial awareness.
I needed to lean forward to balance the skinny-wheeled chair in order to negotiate the long, steep hill to the Thai restaurant where we planned to eat our evening meal. But was then disappointed by the flight of steps that greeted us at the entrance. The restaurant has a lift - at the top of the stairs - people without wheels often overlook these little things.
High in the sky
warm and safe
its easy to loose
sight of ground level.
And deep down
layers make up
and down journeys
as necessary as
back and forth
progress. I find
ways to suspend
in favour of
cat cafes and
big city lights.
Keywords: access,other cultures,poetry,tokyo,wheelborne