Wallpaper* Launches Shopping and Retail Resource Guide.

bottega veneta store, tokyo, japan.

Many of you might already know Wallpaper* as the resource for its design features, and some of you might even be familiar with its city guides. Today Wallpaper.com launched an online retail guide that will cover “the best and newest in showmanship” in design. These not only include some of the well-known brands such as Moroso, Hermès and Barneys New York, but also smaller outlets that you might have never heard of, including an optician in Japan and a pâtisserie in Monaco.

Check it out by clicking the link below!

barneys new york in dallas.

MetroLive: Tokyo Days Four and Five.

Shiodome.

This time one of the places I wanted to visit was Tokyo’s Shiodome district, one of Tokyo’s latest developments. At the center of Shiodome is the Caretta Shiodome, which for the most part is an office building complex occupied by Dentsu, Japan’s largest advertising company. This building also houses a 1,200 person theatre and a shopping mall on the lower floors, and a series of restaurants on the 46th and 47th floors. For the ordinary tourist like you and me, the best thing to do is to take the elevator directly up to the 46th floor and take in the view to the south side of Tokyo, but note that there is no official observation deck available. To see anything else, you will have to dine at one of the restaurants, as the best views are saved for customers.

view of tokyo from the top of caretta shiodome.

Next door to the Caretta Shiodome is the headquarters for Matsushita Electric, more commonly known for its Panasonic brand worldwide, and the National brand in Asia. The building is also the site for National Center Tokyo, which is a showcase for all of Matsushita’s products on four floors. This is a great walkthrough if you are into home appliances and furnishings. Refer to the links below and experience the center for yourself.

front entrance to the national center, tokyo shiodome.

One of the most interesting things that I saw was the A-La-Uno toilet, which is a self-cleaning toilet bowl that also conserves water. The toilet also features a sensor system in which the toilet cover opens when someone is near, and automatically closes. The most interesting yet bizarre feature is its 3-D sound system located at the base of the toilet bowl, which plays up to 16 different types of tunes according to the time of day. Of course, you can always turn the feature off…

the a-la-uno toilet from national’s website.

Tokyo Midtown.

Opened just in March of this year, Tokyo Midtown is the latest development in the Japanese capital. This multi-use complex houses offices, residences as well as a hotel, shopping mall, park and museum. The first thing that I went for was the new 21_21 Design Sight museum designed by the offices of architect Tadao Ando and Nikkei Sekkei. The name “21_21” was chosen to indicate vision into the future of design, beyond the “perfect” 20/20 vision.

entrance to the 21_21 design sight, tokyo midtown.

At the moment, there is an exhibition called “Chocolate,” which is the first exhibition for the museum. Inside you will find chocolate and chocolate-inspired installations that are enjoyable yet inspiring. One of the best installations is a room of 30 different chocolate art that range from rose stems to peanut shells to cityscape. Again, no photos inside, so you will have to come to Tokyo to experience this for yourself. The exhibition ends July 29.

outside view of the 21_21 design sight, tokyo midtown.

After viewing an exhibition based on sweets, I went straight for the Pâtisserie Sadaharu Aoki inside the shopping mall at Tokyo Midtown. Walk into the store and you will find all kinds of eclairs, cakes, macarons and other sweets and cookies. I just had to buy a macaron (or two) and some mini green tea madeleines to satisfy my sweet tooth. There were quite a few other shops that are worthy of mention, including a fun-looking cooking school where you can make and eat your own cooking, from desserts to main dishes, right in the middle of the shopping mall.

view of the pâtisserie sadaharu aoki paris, tokyo midtown.

On the ground floor, you will also find a limited touch-and-feel exhibition of Japanese designs, including the “Handsome Tofu” (Otokomae) pictured below and a host of other designs. It’s a great place to come face-to-face with fun designs that you would otherwise feel intimidated to touch and feel at stores.

love & touch design exhibition at tokyo midtown.

On my way out, I also found a high-end 7-11 store. Just had to share this.

a high-end 7-11 at tokyo midtown.

Roppongi Hills.

Roppongi Hills is probably the first mixed-use complex of its kind in Tokyo. Opened in 2003, Roppongi Hills integrates work, living and lifestyle all in one place. My main purpose here was to visit the Le Corbusier exhibition at the Mori Art Museum on the 53rd floor of the Mori Building in the complex.

The exhibition itself features many models of his works, as well as full-size reproductions of his famous “Unité d’Habitation” apartments and his wooden house “Le Petite Cabanon” that was in the French Riviera. It is amazing to see how someone has thought of something that we consider “modern” today back in the early 1900s. The exhibition ends September 24th. If you buy a ticket to the exhibition, a free entrance ticket to the “Tokyo City View” is also included, from which you can see beautiful views of the city.

entrance to the le corbusier exhibition at the mori art museum, tokyo roppongi hills.

On my way out, I also ran into this fun parade, where children and adults alike were participating. Storeowners along the parade route also came out to join in on the fun.

parade outside tokyo’s roppongi hills.

Minami-Aoyama and Omote-sando.

The last area of Tokyo I visited was the Minami-Aoyama and Omote-sando areas, where street style meets luxury. In Minami-Aoyama, you will find a mix of luxury shops along the side streets such as Vivienne Tam and Kate Spade, and as you walk up towards Omote-sando you will find the famous Tod’s Building along with Dior, Louis Vuitton and more. Make a turn to the right and you will find many small shops that sell used clothing for young people. It’s truly a dynamic place to people watch.

shopping at minami-aoyama, tokyo.

I am going to take a few days off, and will return again in about 5 days or so. More updates when I return!

MetroLive: Tokyo Day Three

There seems to be this conception that Tokyo is quite an expensive city, but I don’t always agree. There are quite a few bargains to be found here in the city, and the resources are out there for you to find them. Of course, having some Japanese language ability will definitely make that easier.

shibuya station, tokyo.

Ramen at Ichiran: 780 Yen (US$6.50).

This was a recommendation from a friend of mine. Ichiran is actually a chain ramen shop that serves only one thing: ramen. Walk into the store and you will find a machine from which you buy tickets for what you want to eat. Don’t speak Japanese? Not a problem. There are always pictures there to help you out. Once inside the restaurant, look for empty seats indicated by a lighted number and sit down at the corresponding booth number. Your wait staff will then provide you with an ordering form (available in English) so that they may make your ramen to order. Select from the type of soup stock to the firmness of the noodles, then give your wait staff the tickets — and wait for your soup. It’s that easy.

ramen at ichiran, shibuya, tokyo.

All-you-can-eat Dessert at Dessert Kingdom: 1300 Yen (US$11).

While walking through the train station, my friends and I picked up a coupon book called “Hot Pepper” and found an endless amount of coupons for restaurants around the Shibuya area (editions also available for other areas of Tokyo). The one that caught our eye was “Dessert Ohkoku” (Dessert Kingdom) in Shibuya, which offers an all-you-can-eat menu for just 1300 Yen, and with the Hot Pepper coupon drinks are free (expires 7/31). Note that you only have 90 minutes from the time you enter the store to take advantage of the wide selections of desserts, pastas and sandwiches. Don’t forget to bring an empty stomach! This place will be crowded on weekends, so do plan ahead.

hot pepper coupon magazine - free.

dessert kingdom all-you-can-eat desserts, shibuya, tokyo.

Dinner at Tsuki no Shizuku: 4000 Yen per person (US$33.33).

This is another Japanese food chain that offers a series of tofu-based dishes and more. What’s great about this place is that it’s actually not extremely expensive (drinks included). English menus are readily available for those who don’t speak Japanese, or you can simply order your food and drinks directly off of the touch-panel menu — complete with pictures and prices — in the comfort of your private room. We had quite a few dishes, ranging from homemade tofu, fatty pork, Japanese-style fried eggs to horse sashimi and fresh fish carpaccio. At the end of the meal, all of us were quite stuffed. Remember that you never have to order everything at once, so pace yourself so that you may try more things on the menu.

touch-panel ordering system.