When we moved to Tokyo in 2004 we made the decision to travel light. Take nothing (or at least very little) with us and buy whatever we might need to feather our new nest. It sounded exciting and fun - a dream come true. It was kind of fun .... but more just a lot of work and a little frustration. We were not outfitting for the long term - three years was the plan - so no point in spending a fortune but dorm-room style was not on my list of options. I didn't know the city, I didn't know the shops, and I didn't speak the language. A blank slate but no carte blanche. After I wrapped my head around the limitations I scoured the city and found some wonderful stuff. One of my very favourite finds was Muji. I discovered the flagship store near the Ginza and found smaller satellite shops in every neighbourhood I frequented. I beat a path in the pavement between our apartment and the flagship store. Seriously.
Muji sells cool stuff. Furniture. Housewares. Clothing. Stationery. Bikes.. and more All seriously cool. None of it branded. All minimally packaged. All designed with a beautiful purity and simplicity - with craftmanship. Muji’s founding principle was to develop new and simple products at reasonable prices by making the best use of materials while minimizing their impact on the environment. I have heard Muji described as a Japanese IKEA. No disrespect to IKEA but no. Muji is smaller but more, and just... cooler.
During the excursions to Muji over the three years in Tokyo I bought a little bit of most everything they sell and quite a bit of some of it. With one notable exception we have loved every item. The clothing I have from Muji are among my favourites and the stationery dept is a must. I have to confess that we bought a black leather sofa and chair there that was Bauhaus cool but was incredibly uncomfortable - David vowed to throw it over the balcony railing more than once. But it did look great. lol.
Sure wish we had a Muji in Canada. If you go to Tokyo be sure to find your way to one of their shops and if you can, go to the flagship store in Yurakucho. For me.