Antique Shows

Tokyo Jinja…in Doha

doha corniche

So I have been here three weeks now and settling in fairly nicely. The house is getting unpacked, albeit more slowly than I might like. There is not an inch of hanging room left anywhere and three wardrobe boxes yet to unpack. Amazing that my much smaller Tokyo house had much better storage, isn’t it? The girls have found their way at school and both are happy – even the teenager has admitted (in front of me no less) that she is liking it here. My sweet husband is just so glad that we are all together again and brought me such joy today by surprising me with reversing the refrigerator and freezer doors so that they open the correct way. Such a small thing can make me happy, especially in these early days. And everyone said it couldn’t be done so trust him to make it happen!

The part that is taking longer is figuring out exactly how to start reinventing the Tokyo Jinja side of me – my blog, my business, my personal identity, so that I can grow but keep you all traveling with me. I’m not going to let go of the Japan side of things and if you pop over to the Shrine Sale/Antique Show Schedule, you’ll see that I have updated it. I’m timing this post so that all my devoted readers in Tokyo can wake up on Sunday morning to a fresh fall schedule. But as a shout-out to those readers – I can’t do it alone! I look forward to hearing from you about life at the sales, whether it be stories about favorite dealers, photos of finds or news on the ever-changing schedule front. You are now my eyes and ears and I am happy to spread the word. I’ve also updated the About Me page, which was long overdue.

On the shrine sale front I have to mention a few things, including what seems to be the closing of the beloved Oedo Antiques Market (more here, here and here) at the International Forum in Yurakacho at the end of 2013. Right now I don’t know if that is temporary or not and I will get back to you with the news as soon as possible. The smaller market in Yoyogi will still be taking place once a month on an irregular schedule and it is unclear to me whether all the dealers may flock there. Details in the new schedule, but let me know if you hear anything please!


Before I left Tokyo I had a few chances to visit one of the newest sales in central Tokyo, but never got around to writing about it. Mid-way along Kotto-dori a small and very decorative market has opened.

kotto dori market

It is mostly European and American vintage goods and collectibles, but sometimes you need a fix of those. You all know how I feel about vintage luggage…


…not as hot for the antler craze, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t.


So in many ways nothing has changed. I’ll continue to be out there at the forefront of the search for the antique, the handicraft, the artistic and the artisanal. Tokyo Jinja is a state of mind no matter where my body may reside and I hope you’ll stay with me along my journey.

Provenance…Byobu and the Race to Acquisition

provenance byobu

prov-e-nance ˈpräv-nən(t)s, ˈprä-və-ˌnän(t)s
noun. the place of origin or earliest known history of something.

This month over at my Provenance column on Krista & Tami’s blog Cloth & Kind I could not resist writing about byobu, those wonderful folding Japanese screens which have been entrancing the world for centuries. I have long loved them and purchasing an antique one was on the top of my list when I moved to Tokyo almost nine years ago.  I knew the perfect spot to hang it, just above my 18th century Shanxi region bamboo altar table. Early on I found many byobu of the right age and patina to be priced beyond well beyond my reach, but perhaps in my second year I stumbled across this small one, made from the fragments of a very very old screen, at the Heiwajima Antiques Fair. This instagram photo does not begin to do it justice as it doesn’t highlight the delicate gold leaf confetti in the left corner or the fencing around the chrysanthemums in the right. Unfortunately, everything is all packed now, so I can’t show you a better photo – you’ll have to wait for the unpacking at the other end.

antique Chinese bamboo altar table byobu blue and white procelain

It seems like perfect closure then that at the very last Heiwajima show I would be attending for a while this past May, that I found my dream byobu! I’ll give you a tantalizing detail but for more on it and on byobu in general, please click over to read the post on Cloth & Kind.

pine byobu detail

I know these last few posts have been all about my stuff, but there is something about leaving a country that one has lived in for a while that sends everyone on a frenzy of acquisition! I can’t tell you how busy I was with antiques for other people this spring (antique stone statue everyone!) and along the way I caught the bug myself. Honestly, while hundreds of items have passed though my hands these last years, I have always been good at letting them go on to their new homes. Here at the very end, I felt the need to tick off some boxes for myself. Has this ever happened to you? What did you buy when abroad, either living or traveling? Are there things you regret not buying?

Related Posts:
Beautiful Byobu…Japanese Screens at The Nezu Museum and at Home
Ogata Korin’s Iris Masterpieces Reunion Postponed
The Altar Table Reimagined…From Worship to Workhorse
Shrine Sale/Antique Show Schedule

Instagram…Another Bandwagon I’m Getting On

Today was a crisp and very cold day at the Oedo market at the International Forum, but as usual there was lots to see and plenty to buy. I have been wanting to find a way to start sharing what I am seeing at the markets every week, but when there isn’t a theme or cohesive feeling about the merchandise I find it fairly boring to post about. I have been thinking that real-time photos of what I am buying, both for myself and for sale, might be more fun and more interesting for both me and for my readers. So as of today, my plans are to start instagramming (is that a verb yet?) while I am out and about at shrine sales and antique shows. So if you would like to keep up with me, you can follow me on Instagram on your mobile device here.

One of the fun parts of Instagram if you haven’t tried it is playing with the filters and the framing to add special effects to your photos. Typical me, I like all the filters that give an aged feel…


…and I am a sucker for those old-fashioned photo borders…


…or burned edges.


I already made a faux pas in editing this photo down so that it didn’t fit the Instagram format.  Won’t make that mistake again.


The photos have the perfect format for a blog post – a nice big square. There is also a very effective exposure button, used to fun effect here.


This art deco mirror glows like a jewel using one of the filters.


Kasuri kimonos seem lit from within.


As usual Oedo was full of European goods, these lace patterns being some of my favorites.


No lack of British goods either. This collection rivals any I’ve seen in English antique shops.


Couldn’t resist these door knockers – just for Steve at An Urban Cottage.


And you know you want it…If you see items you want to buy, just let me know via email.


I made a couple of wonderful scores for myself, including this handmade folksy heart chair. It has a beautiful grey-blue wash paint and is soooo much prettier than it looks in this photo – the only find of the day that the Instagram filters failed to enhance.


I know just where this sweet little baby is going to go…

beach house living room

I have also been finding the most irresistible and inexpensive art lately which deserves a post of its own. But this little oval print (nothing better than a few art pieces with circles or ovals to break up a lot of rectangles) is headed to my youngest daughter’s room at the beach…


…along with this chiyogami you may remember from here. She begged me to hold it back for her from the sale so I did.

chiyogami 5

Won’t they look so sweet in here?

miss p beach bedroom

I am going to try to add the Instagram button to my sidebar, probably right below the Pinterest one. But I am including the link here again, in case I am not successful.

Related Posts:
Like La Brocante…French Day at Oedo Antiques Fair
Paper for a Thousand Years…Vintage Chiyogami

Like La Brocante…French Day at Oedo Antiques Fair

It all started with this painting of the Eiffel Tower. A Japanese artist tourist had painted it along with a whole portfolio of Paris scenes in a kind of sumi-e (ink brush painting) meets watercolors style. It was the first of many items on an unofficial “French Day” at the Oedo Antiques Fair at the International Forum in Yurakacho. A big trend I have been noticing at the markets, but most particularly at Oedo, is the influx of Western antiques, most particularly French or French style, and a distinct style of displaying, even curating them. Unlike the regular flea market jumble you usually get, wares are set up neatly on a blanket or table and sometimes styled even further with props that are not actually for sale. This European shabby chic aesthetic is immensely popular here and for those of us who love a global mix, it is fun to have a change up from the usual Japanese items.  Oedo is about 50% non-Japanese these days and that area seems to be growing.

We saw lace, thread spools and buttons.

Vintage enamel ware, canisters and luggage.

Printing stamps.

Pewter, grainsack hemp and antlers.

Lace, buttons in a hatbox and ephemera.

White faience (better known as ironstone in English).

Herbiers and boots.

The Alexander Platz booth had more of a German bent and no, that vintage mannequin was NOT for sale!

Botanicals, German candy molds and vintage teddy bears.

There were stacks of French textiles too.

We spied an antique red toile curtain under dishes and some cool accordion sconces. Turns out there were two – making a pair – and the dealer (who lives in Belgium but travels to the French markets regularly) seems to have misplaced a zero on the price. While many of the European antiques can be overpriced, these were an utter bargain. Antique toiles are normally so pricey! In a moment, my friend had reimagined her yet to be purchased Maine cottage to include these as a core of the design plan.

They are trimmed out with the prettiest ruffle and have a charming seersucker lining. I am still wondering if the dealer got his English numbers confused, but he happily took the bills she handed him!

Faded red toile always reminds me of the amazing Penelope Bianchi‘s California bedroom, with its 18th century toile coverlet…

…and ottoman across the room. I really need to add this one to my post on favorite pink bedrooms.

And my own purchases this weekend? Well I scored the mommy mirror to the baby version I found here.

And right before the CWAJ Print Show closed Sunday night I went back for WATANABE Kanako’s amazing print. I had been dreaming about it all weekend which finally meant I had to have it. No idea where it will hang, but the mysterious Alice/Red Riding Hood figure caught me and would not let go!

I am always a sucker for an atmospheric woodcut.

Media Madness…Tokyo Podcast, Advertising and My City Antiquing

Exciting news here at Tokyo Jinja! Anthony Joh of Tokyo Podcast was lovely enough to feature me on his newest Podcast! While there is nothing worse than listening to a recording of your own voice, it really was exciting to do a live interview. I am the appetizer to a longer feature about Bobby Judo and his cooking show on Japanese television, but I come first in the Podcast, so please take a moment to listen to it by clicking here. There are MP3 and iTunes links as well.

I don’t often write about the technical side of blogging, but it is one that I am increasingly thinking about.  I’d really love to escape this standard WordPress template I have been using for many reasons, the first being that I hate clicking into another blog using the exact same one. It denigrates the quality of what I am working so hard to achieve. But I do love the easy format provided by the WordPress platform and my html skills are definitely not ready to do it on my own! So if anyone out there knows a graphic designer well versed in creating blogs and websites, I’d love to hear about them.

Another reason I am interested in spreading my wings is so that I can consider advertising. Most of the other design blogs are on Blogger, the Google platform, which has built-in advertising available. WordPress just started their own automated ads, called AdSense about a month ago and I signed on as an early user. How many of you have noticed that my new posts have an ad box at the end? What do you think? Does it bother you? If you think about how much time and effort I exert on this blog I think you would agree that earning some money from it would be reasonable. I know some bloggers believe it can compromise their journalistic integrity, but if the ads are selected by some computer algorithm, how would that be the case? In all honesty, I think ads for apartments in Japan and language lessons (which is what has been springing up on my site) are not geared to my target audience and I cannot imagine that any of my readers have been clicking them.  I think this is borne out by the fact that I earned $6.71 from them last month.

I would like to think about taking individual ads from sponsors on related themes and have actually been contacted by antique dealers and others about advertising. For example, take a look at the ads in Joni‘s left side bar and you will see what I mean. That kind of advertising seems to make more sense, but as it stands now, it is not possible in the WordPress platform I am using. On the other hand, the push from sponsors to feature their products in posts might be just the kind of compromise I am not willing to make.

I have also been recently contacted by a Wiki project aimed at creating a comprehensive worldwide directory of antique shops and market places. I really love the idea of all that information gathered under one roof so I have gone ahead and linked some of the articles they requested. Take a look at the bottom of this post to see the “Featured Review” button and let me know what you think! There is even an iPhone app with built-in GPS, which seems like an amazing tool for travel.

I know everyone is busy with summer, but I’d love comments and suggestions, including negative ones about the advertising or anything else, as I consider what direction Tokyo Jinja should head in. I’ve received some wonderful personal emails from readers in the last months and I think of this blog as being your and theirs as well as mine.

Related Posts:
Tokyo Jinja on CNNgo Today

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