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.
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Finding MUJI on my first trip to NYC was a one of the things I was most excited about (and still love). It was like a happy reunion! LOL
I know! But it is a sad and far cry from Muji Japan. Did you know there are something like 206 international Muji stores and still not one in Canada?!
definitely putting this on my list...
i might have to find the one in new york though, as japan isn't on the radar quite yet;)
ec- however small and wherever they may be, I will always check a Muji outlet. Lol. The one in NYC is fun and well worth the effort if you are in the area.
It is my husbands dream to live in Japan one day...so maybe we will be so lucky one day.
Cheri, I spent some time reading your blog today, beautiful, inspiring. You have such a beautiful way with words. Thank you for sharing your gifts and talents.
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