1. February 2019. Tokyo’s trendy Harajuku District is one of the city’s most popular shopping neighborhoods, with street after hipster-inhabited street of cool cafes, upmarket boutiques, hobby stores, clothes shops and more, more, more. Normally I’d have little to no interest in a shopping street but this is Tokyo after all, where everything is somehow effortlessly cool and there’s bound to be a surprise or two around each corner. Having been underwhelmed by the depressing Harry Zoo Café, I found myself right on Cat Street where, as fate would have it, I was hoping to further bolster my flagging wardrobe with an injection of much-needed T-shirtage.
2. February 2019. Don’t expect to see any actual cats on Cat Street, it’s just a name. But do expect to see Tokyo’s trendiest folks (cool cats if you will) strutting about with pop-culture-referencing apparel, multi-colored hair and… if you’re luck’s in… some wacky cosplay. My first stop that sunny afternoon was the very cool B-Side Label, a hobby shop specializing in stickers, badges, posters, t-shirts and all manner of stylish knick-knacks.
Sticking purely to my T-shirt mission, I had my heart set on this gorgeous, almost psychedelic piece in the T-shirt section right at the back of the store. In fact, I liked it so much not even the price tag (4145JPY £28/€33/$37) could deter me. B-Side Label is well worth a visit even if you’re not buying. From its chic design to Japanese indie music this place just oozes a cool vibe and the staff are super friendly and willing to help you with anything.
3. February 2019. An altogether more old-school atmosphere prevails at Parisien, a Cat Street clothing store run by a trio of exceptionally sweet middle-aged ladies. At first I found one of them quite annoying, as she wouldn’t leave me alone when all I wanted was some quiet time to sift through their many T-shirt designs. Thankfully, after an emergency meeting with Wonderboy (who set about expertly distracting her), I was able to pick out a couple of pieces I really liked.
They were really helpful and patient in letting me try everything on, take my time, play around with sizes and even do a few photos. When we finally exite half an hour later, two of the old Parisien dames sent us on our way with wide beaming smiles, an enthusiastic wave and a beautifully melodic “konnichiwaaaaaa!!!”
4. February 2019. With Mission: Cat Street T-shirts accomplished, the rest of my time here was spent dipping in and out of various stores that caught my eye. A special mention goes to the hideously fantastic Gremlins jacket at the oddly named Blakichy Boutique (yours for JUST 26,800JPY/£181/€212/$240) and a funky hat store whose name I sloppily failed to note down. Just look out for the amusing, misspelled counter that I’m guessing should read: “IF” it’s not fun, it’s not a hat.
5. February 2019. At a considerable length of 1.2 kilometers, Cat Street can be accessed by a number of subway stations, including Harajuku Station, Meiji-jingumae ‘Harajuku’ Station, Omotesando Station, Shibuya Subway Station and Shibuya JR Station. Cat Street can be accessed 24-7, while the shops have long opening hours from about 9-10 in the morning right through to 21:00-22:00 at night.
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