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 BUYLINE
Shibuya’s Zenmall (29-4 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku; 03-3770-1641), known for offering large clothing for men, is holding a two-day Early Bird Pre-Summer Sale. The sale will take place on the mornings of April 12 (Sat) and 13 (Sun) for three hours (9am-noon) each day. During these times, nearly everything will be marked 20-80 percent off. Some of the bargains include suits with a spare pair of pants for \9,800 (sizes 3-8L), and summer casual jackets for \8,000 (3-6L). Imported designer suits by makers like Calvin Klein and Boss are also marked down to \39,000 and \59,000, respectively. Those who spend over \10,000 can take part in the Cash Grabbing Contest, where shoppers can dig into a box full of cash. Spend over \30,000 for two chances to grab, and \50,000 for three. Don't miss this rare opportunity, as it could be one of the few chances for those looking to buy large sizes in Japan, especially at affordable prices.
 PAST ISSUES
ADVERTISERS:
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Hayato New York 03-3498-9113
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Japan Electrolysis Clinic (Ginza)
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Who Ga 03-5570-1773

IN STORE ARCHIVE:
535: Anything goes
Add a little spunk to your life at Tokyo's zakka housewares shops. Hanna Kite visits five of the best.
531: To a tee
Tokyo’s hottest T-shirt shops boast designs by some of Japan’s top talents. Hanna Kite dresses down.
527: Treasure chests
Hanna Kite checks out five Tokyo jewelers that offer the perfect setting for your next shopping excursion.
523: Arts and crafts movement
Trina O’Hara goes in search of the Japanese creative spirit.
519: Bra-vo
Move over, Hello Kitty. Sexy has finally replaced cute in Tokyo's lingerie stores. Hanna Kite reports.
515: Bowled over
Trina O'Hara tracks down the latest tableware to suit any time of day.
511: East meets nest
Trina O'Hara finds that Tokyo's flea markets and shrine sales suit all types of personalities and interests.
503: The write stuff
Hanna Kite takes notes at Tokyo's finest pen and paper boutiques.
499: Blasts from the past
Tokyo trendsetters have a knack for making old fashions new again. Jennifer Au goes back in time at the city's coolest vintage clothing stores.
495: In the bag
From haute to mass-market, designer to dowdy, Tokyo has a tote to suit every taste and budget. Jennifer Au tracks down the best.
491: Paper chase
Steve Trautlein goes on a search for Tokyo's best English booksellers.
487: Happy trails
A love affair with the great outdoors is easily consummated at these Tokyo retailers. Steve Trautlein gears up.
483: Top hats
Whether it’s a rooftop barbecue, a riverside picnic or an afternoon stroll, there will be times this summer when you’ll want to keep the sun off your face. †Martin Webb hunts down Tokyo’s best headwear suppliers so you can stay shady in style.
479: Oriental express
This summer, all things Asian are hot stuff. Martin Webb finds out how to get the look without breaking the bank.
474: Haute haven
Forget Roppongi Hills’ aspirations to be the city’s cultural hub. This is the consumer capital of the world, and it’s all about shopping. Martin Webb reports.
468: New kit on the block
Backed by street-wise fashion chain store Beams, these seven new stores are upping the style quotient in Daikanyama. Martin Webb sizes up this brand new shopping experience.
463: Can buy me love
Stuck for ideas about how to make Valentine’s Day extra memorable this year? Martin Webb shops around for some great gift ideas for lucky ladies.
452: Perfect timing
For the rushed residents of our fair metropolis, keeping an eye on time is one of life's little necessities.
448: House of style
The newly open Marunouchi Building is drawing legions of eager shoppers from all over Japan
445: Present perfect
Tired of wasting your yen on last-minute gifts at duty free?
441: Toy story
Martin Webb tackles every parent's annual ennui and finds playthings that could earn you more peace and quiet than you bargained for
437: Natural selection
Seven new "select shops" are giving style seekers an excuse to keep spending
433: Window shopping
Stephen Cotterill indulges his yen and peers into the retail oasis that is Glassarea Aoyama
429: Jet, set, go!
With the holiday high season just around the corner, trendy travelers are in hot pursuit of packing accessories
425: Loud and clear
No home is complete without a sound system, and for audiophiles, time at home revolves around those little black boxes
421: Red brick revival
Once at the heart of Yokohama's bustling port industry, Akarenga Soko has a new lease of life as an exclusive entertainment and retail complex
417: Eye browse
An eyewear boom has seen new stores open and old favorites prosper
413: Sporting goodies
Shibuya sportswear
409: Go Figure
An army of action figures
405: Puff 'n' Stuff
Tokyo's best cigar shops
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In the bag

From haute to mass-market, designer to dowdy, Tokyo has a tote to suit every taste and budget. Jennifer Au tracks down the best.

There are two kinds of women in this world: those who love shoes and those who love bags. If, like us, your penchant is for the latter, we'll let you in on our little secret-handier than a clutch, more practical than a baguette, more aesthetically pleasing than a backpack, the humble tote is a versatile carryall. It's the accessory du jour for men in Japan as well, and while there's a proliferation of "man-totes" in Tokyo in a range of colors and prints, one word of advice for the boys: keep it simple.

 

Head Porter and hp*annex

Since its inception five years ago, this cult domestic streetwear brand has specialized in sleek, simple and multi-functional cotton and nylon totes. Make sure to visit both stores-located just across the street from each other, and bustling with hordes of customers-as they carry a different selection of stock. While jostling your way through the slick and sparse interiors, you'll notice a selection of unisex totes ranging in size from the very small to those large enough to fit that ubiquitous Tokyo accessory, the miniature dog. This season, totes take on muted tones of black, charcoal, brown and beige. If you're looking to splash out on something with a little more color, try pinstripes and traditional tartans or, for the daring, a brushed metallic silver. Our must-have? The python print numbers. In case you're after a matching set, Head Porter also carries a wide assortment of complementary wallets, key purses and even cigarette cases. And while the staff may appear to have a too-cool-for-school attitude, get them talking and you'll find that it's all just a front.

Head Porter 3-21-12 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5771-2521; hp*annex 4-27-6 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5772-8540. Both open daily 11am-8pm. Nearest stn: Harajuku.

 

LeSportsac

This American company revolutionized the accessories industry with their fold-in-a-pouch parachute nylon bags. While lightness and functionality were LeSportsac's original selling points, their elaborate array of hues and vivid patterns has set them apart. This year's extensive fall/winter collection boasts every shade and print imaginable. Apart from the standard monochrome totes in pastel pinks, flashy golds and metallic blacks, LeSportsac's offerings come embellished with bows, alpine motifs and oversized polka dots as well gaudy, but oddly appealing, parrots. And while lately every label appears to be endorsed by celebrities-think Madonna and Missy Elliot for Gap-look out for the Gwen Stefani L.A.M.B. collection, a set of limited-edition designer bags the chic rock star has helped create. Special features include leather trims, woven guitar straps, colorful lining and signature silver lamb charms. An added bonus: the exceptionally obliging staff help you select from a multitude of optional extras, ranging from coin purses to make-up cases.

6-3-9 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3407-4343. Open daily 11am-8pm. Nearest stn: Meijijingumae or Harajuku. www.lesportsac.co.jp

 

Kate Spade

If your style is traditional as opposed to trendy, and if your taste is more upmarket, this US import brand has the perfect tote for you. Kate Spade, the Ÿber designer who got her start as a fashion editor at Mademoiselle, is celebrating her company's tenth anniversary with exquisite red leather totes embossed with graphic geometrical prints and trimmed with stitched black leather ribbon ties. Also of note are the soft suede totes in stone beige and pristine white. Men's totes come courtesy of the diffusion label, Jack Spade. With more functional appeal than the women's models, the men's line offers utilitarian nylon bags with features such as interior mesh pockets, metal clip closures and detachable straps. For those who have an unlimited budget, take a peek at the label's supplementary stock, varying from wallets to sunglasses. While four Kate Spade stores are dotted around Tokyo, the very polished and chic Shibuya store, tucked away from the busy streets, is a welcome respite from the crowds.

1-4-8 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03 5458 0347. Open daily 11am-8pm. Nearest stn: Shibuya.

 

Via Bus Stop Accessory

For high-end import totes with an edge, Via Bus Stop Accessory, situated on the first floor of the department store Parco 1, is the ultimate stop. The shop carries crafty knitted wool tote bags, quirkily fashioned to resemble cats, by the Italian label Exquisite J. For a more casual tote, try the canvas Claudio Orciani bag. It has a strong military vibe, with embossed silver rivets and buckle detailing. If your look leans more towards streetwear, French designer Karine Arabian offers black and gray jersey totes with sparkly silver lame trimming. Jeannete Lehr has also crafted beautiful bags in a khaki corduroy, with leather straps embroidered with sequined flowers, and embellished with delicate feathers. A preemptive warning for all those die-hard fashionistas: the totes start at ¥47,000.

1F Parco 1, 15-1 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3477-5956. Open daily 11am-8pm. Nearest stn: Shibuya.

 

Loft

Best known as a low-cost housewares haven, Loft also boasts an ample selection of men's and women's totes. Particularly enticing are the cheap and cheerful canvas and cotton models on the ground floor. Priced at a mere ¥1,000, they come in a wide variety of prints, from geometric swirls in primary colors to subdued pastel florals to loud polka dots. Take the escalator up to the fifth floor and you'll find the streetwear label Manhattan Portage, renowned for its durability and functional appeal. Above, on the sixth floor, is a medley of totes, notable also for their practical and utilitarian designs. Japanese brand Portage provides one particular standout, a khaki nylon bag adorned with an abundance of handy compartments.

21-1 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3462-3807. Open Sun-Wed 10am-8pm, Thu-Sat 10am-9pm. Nearest stn: Shibuya

Photos by Sascha Keane

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