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Karako' Asian accents



Leaf-shaped celadon plates from Change Mai, Thailand
Leaf-shaped celadon plates from Change Mai, Thailand

If jet-setting around Asia to find the pièce de résistance for your genkan or tatami room is too time-consuming, then head to Karako. This week
Pam Stoikopoulos discovers a homemade remedy to Asian shopping fever.

"Kawaii!" chime a pack of young women huddled around a wall-mounted shelf, displaying about 50 miniature clay pigs - one of those stores, is it? I quickly scan the room for bunny rabbit aprons and teddy bear cookie jars and am relieved to see that the pigs are as cute as it gets. Kawaii in fact, doesn't really accurately describe Karako at all. The store's emphasis is on unique household goods from everywhere in Asia, and it has successfully managed to acquire some of the most inventive, quality pieces that often elude the common traveler and at fair prices that often elude Tokyoites.

Chinese horoscope candles
Chinese horoscope candles

Best of Bangkok
In Bangkok, for example, the streets are flooded with low-grade woodcarvings and cookie-cutter copies of the same souvenirs. But Thai pottery? Karako has discovered some beautifully simplistic collections including hand-made serving dishes you wouldn't find on Kao San Road. Particularly attractive are the traditional leaf-shaped celadon dishes from Chang Mai.

While more classic Japanese yakimono are on offer, the speckled robin-egg finish and glaze of some of the clay works further explore the traditional-with-a-twist theme that permeates the store. Perhaps you're looking to get truly rustic with your dishes and so might want to pick up the heavy-duty primitive-looking Indian iron plates on display (we recommend weight-training before attempting to lift one).

If the light in your life is beginning to grow a little too dim then Karako's illuminating array of paper, wood and wicker lamps will no doubt help to brighten your spirits. The more "scentimental" of shoppers will no doubt appreciate the selection of candles whose aroma is designed to specifically match the needs of your inner pig, monkey or dragon by complimenting your Chinese astrological sign. Want the fire, but don't have the place? Then throw on your flame-retardant clothing and cuddle up to a giant candle log (JY45,000).

Sprouting bamboo shoots
Sprouting bamboo shoots

Wicker wonderland
Furnishing your home can be a wickedly enjoyable experience at Karako where the beauty and versatility of wicker and bamboo are embraced in the baskets, shelves, tables and chairs that are woven throughout the store. Bamboo plants are also available, for those who aspire to grow-your-own furniture in the future. Woven hammocks (from JY6200) might also encourage you to kick back and hang out with a good book.

A simple rock fountain might help boost your room's feng shui rating and the negative ions the running water releases will certainly help reduce stress.

On a grander scale, is the curious and costly Dynasty curio shelf (JY158,000). This versatile incarnation of a traditional Chinese palace - not to mention all of the other wondrous wares at Karako -  will no doubt leave you feeling that you're the king or queen of your very own castle.

Karako has three locations in Tokyo: Sesame Jiyugaoka Bldg, 1-25-9 Jiyugaoka, Meguro-ku, 03-3717-5965; Kichijoji KS Bldg, 1-8-4 Minami-cho, Kichijoji, Mushashino-shi, 0422-40-1655; Aqua City S401, 1-7-1 Odaiba, Minato-ku, 03-3599-5081.


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IN STORE
BUYLINE
HEALTH AND BEAUTY:
349: Come slither
Reptile skin is in
348: Snow how
Strap on your snow shoes and get fit
347: White out
Getting whiter and brighter with cosmetic dentistry
346: Check it out
The pleated tartan skirt
345: Smarty pants
The unique pants of Thoma Kawakami
344: Keeping abreast of cancer
Breast Cancer Awareness month
343: Pashmina passion
The Himalayas most stylish accessory
342: L for leather
Get leathered up for the fall
341: Cosmetics Garden
Shiseido's unique showroom
340: Protein power
Does protein help build muscle?
339: Karako's Asian accents
Homemade remedy to Asian shopping fever
338: Gold Rush
Go for the gold in fashion
337: Sight for sore eyes
LASIK eye surgery
336: Body Heat
Keeping your cool while working out
335: On the tube
'70s style tube tops
334: Heal Your Soles
Foot reflexology
333: Jet Lag Drag
Tips on avoiding jet lag
332: Big is back
Sunglasses fashion
331: Capsule Cafe
Vitamin cafes - the latest spin on cafe culture
330: Tan Technology
Tanning without sunbathing
329: No More Sleepless Nights
The ways to improve your sleep
328: Mid-Summer Chills
Protect your body from an aircon attack
327: Hello Dolly
Scarves are the must have for the summer
326: Knotty Business
How to wear a yukata
325: Slaves to craves
How often do you succumb to your craves?
324: Surface Issues
"Facial remodelling treatment"
323: What a wash out
The fast track to inner cleanliness
322: Studs
Punk is back in studded belts, chokers, bracelets and jeans
321: Keitai couture
Accessories for your mobile phone
320: Big is beautiful
Gaijin-sized fashion
319: Get Personal
Get in shape with a personal trainer
318: Color me happy
How makeup can change your life
317: Out of joint
Dealing with arthritis
316: On your head bead it
Two hair salons that cater to all corners of the community
315: Fitness
Exercise myths
314: Pet Projects
Pampering your pets
313: Mad City
Getting therapy in Tokyo
311: Say cheese
Cosmetic dentistry in Japan
310: Common Fitness Mistakes
Know the proper exercise sequence
309: Sahaja yoga
A kinder, gentler yoga
308: Antenna Dome
Curious hair salon in Harajuku
307: Keep the Faith
Ways to beat Tokyo winter
306: The Berry Latest
Dishing out the juice about berry health benefits
305: Positive energy
Healing duo incorporate therapies for the mind, body and spirit
304: Stress-Free Sephora
A beauty store that gives you the freedom to shop
303: Fashion to Fit the Season
MaxMara's autumn/winter collection
302: Cyberstyle
Internet beauty sites
300: Body and Sole
Tender loving care for your feet

ISSUES 350+

ISSUES 299-

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