Wednesday, December 31, 2008

okadaya, tokyo

Japanese Narrow Goods
Yesterday I made it to Okadaya, a five-storey fabric store across from the East exit of the Shinjuku train station. I had a 35-minute window of time before I needed to regroup with my family and head back to our apartment in Nakano.

I walked up the stairs to check out the merchandise on each floor. If I had known in advance that all the quilting (pronounced "kilting" in Japan) fabrics were on the first floor, I could have saved ten precious minutes. There were elaborate Liberty of London cottons, Michael Miller and other American designer fabrics, and cutesy Japanese novelty prints galore.

My big find was a collection of narrow cottons (approximately 15 inches wide) that are hand-printed in only one or two colors. They took my fancy because their simple motifs looked genuinely Japanese. I bought 8 meters for 8,000 Yen each (approx. $9 US), plus a couple of remnants at a good discount. The cutter was very generous as he added about 3 inches to each meter, something that is never done at my local Seattle stores.

FYI: Be advised that there are two Okadaya stores within a half block of one another. The one for quilters has bins of fabric outside it.

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