|Freemans Sporting Club, Harris Tweed, Alex Mill|
I came back from Japan last year with a handful of memories and a suitcase-full of new purchases - some of them new and many bought from secondhand stores, also known as "recycle" or "reuse" shops. I wanted to share what I brought back with me in the hopes of encouraging more guys to consider it, be it online or on vacation as I was. Truth be told, I was a bit wary of shopping in Japan as I've heard it many times considered a particularly "expensive" destination in many regards, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it really doesn't have to be. I've mentioned it before, but one of the highlights of my Japan trip was the secondhand shopping - and not just in Tokyo, but in every city we traveled. I have more I want to cover about secondhand shops, but suffice it to say for now that if you're on a budget and traveling in Japan you should definitely consider looking into stopping into a few.
The Blue Blue Japan indigo wool zip sweater pictured above was bought at a reuse shop in Osaka, if memory serves me right, for roughly $115 USD, with the other accessories (a couple pairs of socks and a handkerchief) from the Okura/Blue Blue stores in Kyoto and Tokyo.
I also found this belted Tomorrowland cardigan and a Buzz Rickson herringbone twill shirt (with the tags still attached) at a Jumble Store in Shibuya, Tokyo for about $70 and $50, respectively (I also randomly snagged a pair of Alex Mill moleskin chinos (pictured above) along the way at 80% off).
|Gussetts and chainstitch run-off|
But my favorite piece is a Freemans Sporting Club jacket my wife bought me in the Kyoto Urban Research store (low $300s USD at full price). I'm still in love with the indigo sashiko - a texture that's uniquely Japanese but reimagined in the format of an unstructured patch pocket blazer, and a fabric I wish we'd see more of in the West. I've been wearing it with a piece of Harris Tweed as a pocketsquare cut from a bigger piece I bought in a Kyoto fabric store for around five bucks.
Some people buy refrigerator magnets or shot glasses as a reminder of the places they've been. I much prefer it this way - glorified versions, if you will, of an "I <3 New York" shirt.
|Ukiyo-E Japanese woodblock prints from Kyoto|
If you're planning a trip soon, shoot me an email and I have a Google map I pinned with several in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto I can send you. If you found this post interesting but are wondering how it may be applicable to those outside Japan, I'd point out that using a proxy service from Japan does not seem as complicated as I had initially feared. I've been spending a lot of time lately looking through Japanese auctions and online sales portals, and it's something that I'm getting more interested in trying out myself, hopefully soon.