MY SINFUL STASH: : : : this week’s gorgeous haul of rare, pristine, delectable extraits at the vintage Tokyo flea markets ..








At the beginning of every month, after just getting paid, I skim some money off the top of my salary as my ‘free for all splurge’; a guilt-free sum I can just go out and spend on something I really want. This month, as I am very much back in a vanillic, comforting amber kind of mood, I was considering getting the Van Cleef Vanille Orchidée perhaps, just as an easy (if possibly pedestrian) vanilla scent to see me through the coming colder months, or, maybe, another bottle of Serge Lutens Louve, that syrupy, gooey cherry-almond vanilla scent I find so enjoyable when the occasion is right.


As luck would have it, though, Sunday and Monday brought different, even more luxurious, dividends. It’s funny how intuition (or premonitions…) can work: when a place suddenly comes into your mind for no reason, somewhere you haven’t been for a while, and you suddenly have a yen to go there. It happened with Jiyugaoka, an area of Tokyo D and I like for its winding backstreets, intriguing little eateries, second-hand bookshops and cafés, but especially for the old-fashioned shopping arcade near the main station that houses endless stalls run by old-school, elegant Tokyoites : sushi, silks, haberdasheries, cosmetics, bento; stationery, wigs, coffee, anything. If you are after a particular kind of button, an old, traditional brand of shampoo or shaving cream, a fedora, a sequinned gown to do the cha-cha, then this is the place for you.

It also happens to have two amazing vintage perfume shops. Good lord. One, downstairs in the underground passageway, is run by an astute, immaculately presented woman of a certain age who really knows her stuff and sets her prices accordingly. She has everything: a whole cabinet of vintage Guerlains, a stunning glass case of Patou parfums (a big, alluring bottle of Moment Suprême extrait, mounted on a plinth, 28,000 yen, about 290 dollars, or 180 pounds), alongside Vacances,  1000, and of course Joy: plenty of lustful curiosities such as a large bottle of Balenciaga Prélude parfum, all treasured and catalogued items that she will certainly not be letting out of her finely manicured clutches for a song. I like to go in ogle her treasures and flirt, leaf through her exquisitely illustrated Guerlain encylopaedia, but usually somehow always leave without buying anything.

This is because, I usually, like this time, have a gorgeous swag bag of goodies in my possession that I have bought from the far cheaper place upstairs, a small and very cramped, eclectic, shop selling bags, accessories,  and various other sundries, that just happens to also have a glass cabinet crammed to bursting with perfume, things you want, all vintage, stacked on top of each other with no rhyme or reason, the kind of deal where you have to get the shopowner to open it with a key (he watches you like a hawk), feel it; remove this, remove that, until you have a WHAAATT!! in your heart  and head and take out, slowly, a perfume you have wanted for years, suddenly, there, in your hands.



Funnily enough, one of my holy grails, something I have been dreaming of finding for so long, was found not in this treasure trove, but just near the top of it, there by some old piles of material, the place where he keeps throw away perfumes that he doesn’t imagine to be  particularly noteworthy or covetable. And there it was: Caron Nocturnes, in extrait…….













I pick it up and can’t believe my eyes. I have wanted to own this gorgeous perfume, the only Caron I can wear with ease and regular pleasure, in its strongest format, for god knows how long I can’t even tell you. And there it is, for 1500 yen (under ten quid!). I will admit that I was disappointed that the bottle wasn’t made of black glass, as I had always envisioned, but merely of black plastic (perhaps there is a glassier, heavier, better bottle out there for me to find…..) but ,you know, as I carefully (for me), pulled off its glass pearl of a stopper, I could smell that wonderfully inviting stephanotis/mandarin aldehyde, that viola-like vetiver, the gentle caress of vanilla in the base that in this headier, more concentrated version surrounds the wearer like the luminous rings of Saturn, and I no longer cared.


Gorgeous, and  it really suits me. Shame I am using it up in such large amounts already. Need more self-control.




But already I have asked the man to open up the cabinet. Yes.




Back-to -back vintage Chanel Nºs 5 & 19, the former in cologne version (two bottles) and tons of extrait, the latter in big bottles selling for 7,000 yen. One day I will be old and poor probably and wishing I had bought up every N°19 I have ever come across as it is so precious, but I have bought so much of the stuff since living in Japan, giving half of it away as well (Marina, Helen, my mother loves it now as well), as well as spilling tons too, so it no longer excites me in quite the same way. I always want it, know how precious the vintage is, but I know for a fact that there is a LOT of it circulating still in Japan so it can wait.

Yes, yes. Cabochard (but in spray: I find the vaporisateurs don’t age well), two or more bottles of vintage Mitsouko parfum, lots of Madame Rochas, L’Air Du Temps as always, and wait a minute, is that… that….    those zebra stripes….




















So strange. I had literally the day before taken out my empty, identical bottle of this and thought, god I wish I could find this again. So mysterious, so enigmatic, so damn beautiful and priceless. I hate the fact that I have none left: this is a perfume I always want to have, just, late at night, to apply to the back of my hand and dream…..

This extrait was not that cheap, 6,000 or so I think, but there was no way I was not having it. Where the new version of Vol De Nuit makes an interesting, spicy, angular, mossy chypre, quite masculine and intriguing in its own right, it is not like the vintage, which I still haven’t managed to properly review yet as I find it so….elusive. How brilliant to have it in my possession again.
























EXACTLY what I wanted, more than anything else. A vintage parfum,  F U  C    K !!!!!!!!!!!!    And not in spray, but in that old, classic, heavy glassed bottle, the one that fits in the palm of your hand, weighty, delicious. Again, I am very low on Shalimar ( I gave my bottle of vintage edt away to our translator on the vanilla plantation, would you believe… I had been explaining about the kind of vanilla perfumes that exist, and Rizal seriously couldn’t stop sniffing his arm: almost in a trance…I don’t think he had smelled anything like it before so I had to), and anyway, there, suddenly, is the parfum, in all its animalic, husky,  sensual glory. A filthy and delicious scent if ever there was one. Not cheap (7500), but not really expensive either (let me know what you make of these prices, how they might compare with other vintage emporia.)




I should stop now. Spoiled. Too indulged.



I REALLY want that bottle of vintage Caron Infini parfum, one of my all time favourites, and another one I actually wear (Nuit De Noel, Narcisse Blanc, Narcisse Noir, Bellodgia and Fleurs De Rocaille I have in the collection, but more to contemplate their beauty than actually don myself: I am gender-free when it comes to perfume, but don’t want to smell like some octagenarian, musky dame). Yet, one of those musky dames is there, right there  in a beautiful box:  Fleurs De Rocaille, a stunning scent, and as this one has some particularly tender memories for me and Helen, it is has been preying on my mind. I think I might have to go back and get it.



What I did get, and have been having a SPLENDID time with, even though I shouldn’t really have spent that extra 8500, is Chanel Gardénia, in, get ready, a 28 ml parfum  !!!!!!!!




My eyes were simply feasting on its glory, self-contained and above it all on that shelf. How could I not? So beautiful. Just those words, Chanel Gardénia, with the French accent over the ‘e’; Gardenia, in its immaculate, pristine white box.






Look at it. I shouldn’t.


I have to (still within my designated ‘skim’ money, you see……such perfect timing! Everything I bought added up to less than I would have paid for the Van Cleef, for one niche perfume….)




And though the Shalimar, Vol De Nuit and Nocturnes extraits are all to die for, pristine and olfactively perfect, precious, to be enjoyed drop by drop, it is, surprisingly, the gardenia that has proved the most exciting. After we had left the arcade, Duncan having bought a nice little dress for his niece, we went to one of those posh Tokyo cafes that try to out-Vienna the Viennese, for overpriced cafés au lait to a backdrop of mournful classical music and European painting. Refined with a capital R, a touch ludicrous actually, but the perfect environment for unstoppering my treasures ( I know I should wait until I get home, but I just can’t). The last one to be opened was the Chanel. I know the edt intimately, having got through two bottles of the stuff (see my review: I think this is a very underrated scent, personally, though I suppose I can understand the accusations that the perfume doesn’t actually capture the smell of a real gardenia).


Not so with the extrait : W O W !!!  Huge, blowsy, narcotic white gardenias unfurl from the bottle , almost headache-inducing, despite the perfume’s immaculate subtlety. Practically a different scent entirely to the one I know ( and VERY far from the current version offered at Les Exclusifs ): fuller, rounder, more musky, more intimate, far more lovely. Spiced; green, living. In fact I have been going a bit nuts for it, to be honest these last few days, splashing it about like a nutter, and I have already half-destroyed my box and bottle. If part of the beauty of a Chanel lies in maintaining its perfection intact, then I am evil. My existence should no longer be condoned.















How can you bear to wreck a Chanel, I hear you shriek?


I can’t. It just always happens. Firstly, I have never mastered the beautiful ritual of tearing off a Chanel perfume’s waxen hymen, always complicated by that pesky black string that surrounds the bottle’s neck. Being the excited, clumsy oaf that I am, on this occasion I managed immediately to spill some, got black stains all over the box, then, at night somehow knocked the box over making some leak. I  have wrecked what should have opened carefully, dabbed on elegantly, worshipped on a pedestal. Will you forgive me?



Anyway, all of this adoring vintage madness happened last Monday, and I, as I am sure you also, think that that is probably enough.



However, Duncan then suggested going to the Shinagawa flea market on Sunday, as he was hoping to get some material for an art performance he is planning this coming Saturday, and even though I had been forsworn to stay at home and practice the piano (a lesson with the terrifying/hilarious Ms Tanaka the next day when you haven’t done your homework is always rather taxing), but as you can imagine, because you are also a perfume freak if you are on here reading this, and you love perfume as much as I do, then it is quite difficult to resist going there. How can you not go there EVERY WEEK, I hear you cry? Well, firstly, I would end up broke; Kamakura is not that far from Tokyo, but it is not exactly on the doorstep either, and quite often there is nothing there anyway.



But that is always part of the excitement. I am GLAD there is often nothing there, as I don’t actually want to be spending all my money. Still, when you get to that building, and you go through the sliding doors, and you see the stalls, the excitement NEVER DIMINISHES.  This time, though, was, fortunately, not a bonanza. We did get some snazzy ties, though, and I couldn’t resist handing over 4,000  yen for a 14ml N°19 vintage parfum as I don’t actually have that much at present.



Trying not to open it. See that plastic, covering the box, in the picture? Isn’t it lovely? I wonder how long it will last…..



There wasn’t much else. But one thing I want to tell you all about is how eccentric some of the people are here. Back at the aforementioned Jiyugaoka arcade, last time I was there ( I have only been about four times in total I would say, though I can see it increasing….that Fleurs De Rocaille is really plagueing me), there was one shop that surely can’t have made any money at all. Do you know what she was selling?  Some frankincense crystals, a few ‘ethnic’ knick knacks, and aside that, just great piles of P A T O U. Yes. Tons of the amazing 1000, in parfum. In that covetable, beautiful jade green bottle in the brown velvet box…..just divine. Tons of Joy, in all varieties of bottles. But SO expensive (about 40,000-50,000 each). She had an incredible Dioressence parfum in a giant bottle as well that I got to smell, but unsurprisingly, her little stall, though wonderful, just couldn’t have survived. How often is some little old Tokyo lady, shopping for her soy-sauced pumpkin and marinated salmon for lunch going to say, ah yes, how about a Jean Patou 1000 parfum while I am at it?














At the flea market in Shinagawa two days ago there was another Patou man, look, who is selling, exclusively, Joy (all vintage, in those gorgeous black and red bottles you see in perfume encylopaedias). The thing was, though, was that he was asleep. And even though I expressed interest in what he was selling, and the man sitting next to him was trying to nudge him awake and he opened his eyes briefly, he couldn’t be bothered to engage with me or sell his wares (not that I would have anyway, I just wanted to know how much they were going for….I have seen SO much Joy recently you wouldn’t believe it…) Hilarious. Someone who doesn’t actually want to sell what they are selling… (closer inspection of this photo reveals the reason: he is drunk. You can see a can of the very strong grapefruit-flavoured shochu liquor there at his feet…) There is another woman there, at the fleamarket, a flinty old dragon who always has an incredible booty bag full of loot (I have seen Lanvin, Coco extraits, bought a vintage Jardins De Bagatelle edp from her as well), but she is so busy selling clothes that she refuses to open it (bitch!) even though I assure her that I am likely to buy something, that she will make some money. Boxes full of vintage extraits, just bundled up in some old kimono material.


Oh well. At least I know that they are there.


It will just all keep me going back for more…..


Filed under Flowers

67 responses to “MY SINFUL STASH: : : : this week’s gorgeous haul of rare, pristine, delectable extraits at the vintage Tokyo flea markets ..

  1. What a ‘mouth watering’ post!!! Love it..And I’m laughing because this is such a coincidence- I was drafting a post about my saturday which also included randomly walking into a vintage store and finding perfume. I was pressed for time so I just bought a partial bottle of chanel no. 22 eau de cologne (is that the vintage version?) telling myself that I’d come back for some of the rest, but unfortunately can’t go back till next weekend..we’ll see..:)
    Did I already say that I loved your post?..:-)

    • Ah, vintage 22 cologne, so strong as to practically be an extrait…..I think that is the perfect edition of that one, actually, which I also found you know where, as well as the extrait!!!!!)

      Tell me more, please. All such stories are mouthwatering to me as well. Which city?

      How MUCH?

      • Most of the stuff I found including the 22 was unboxed and partial which is why I think the prices were reasonable. The 22 cologne was $15 + tax which I thought was a great..I’m not sure if it is vintage- but the cologne must be vintage no? It isn’t that strong on my skin though pretty strong on the cotton ball. But very nice.

        They had stuff all over the store arranged by dealer and I had a brain freeze and couldn’t think. Not everything was vintage though. They had the black and Joy in edt and edp, micro minis of private collection parfum and knowing parfum (which I wanted to get and might go back for); vintageish L’air du temp, they had some stuff I didn’t recognize and can’t find online info on including this lovely chypre micro mini called l’fruit defundu but it look like the rosine; then vivienne westwood, a small partial joy parfum (which I might go back for), prince machabelli..A Miss Dior (the frosted bottle not the houndstooth one so not too vintage but old enough, so still contemplating that one), Ma Griffe (though I’m not sure of the vintage). The chanel I bought without thinking as that one would definitely have gone soon.

        btw- since you asked, I think that’s a great price on the Shalimar extrait..That is probably the lowest it goes for on evilbay. I know Dee got it for around that on ebay but when I was looking/bidding it always ended up going for way more- so I think you got a good deal..:)
        And that was sweet of you to give away a vintage edt bottle so you deserved this find..:)

      • This is very interesting to hear, and thanks for the thumbs up regarding Shalimar.

        Ma Griffe, when it is in a good condition, is just heavenly in my view, green and diaphanous, sly, intelligent, yet freeing and innocent as well. What was the bottle/box like?

      • ooh- Ma Griffe sounds wonderful. I don’t remember the bottle (no box)- next time (if it’s still there) I will ‘register’ the bottle..:)

      • arrgh- sorry about the many typos and missed words..for e.g : I meant- the red and black joy bottles..

  2. Dubaiscents

    I am ready to hope on a plane to Tokyo right now! Any mention of your flea market (or discount shop) finds always makes me so jealous (but please, keep them coming). And the added bonus of the descriptions of the proprietors of said shops / stalls makes these posts even more wonderful! I hope the dragon lady at the flea market is saving those vintage extraits in her bag for me! Yet again, wonderful insight on the Japanese culture. And congrats on such wonderful finds!

  3. efemmeral


    The evil, the sin, would be if you were not there to enjoy them.

    Gardenia all about the place and greedy drunk scents overload.

    Well done!

    What I would give for that Vacances!

  4. What a wonderful post. As I’m relatively new to your blog, is there a reason why Tokyo is such a good place for vintage perfumes? Sorry if you have already explained that elsewhwere.

  5. Renee Stout

    You always make me feel like I’m right there with you (smile) and I’m as excited (and a little envious) as you are!

  6. Sandra

    Thank you for this wonderful post. I am enjoying your blog. Now, how about that bed and breakfast? 🙂

  7. Lilybelle

    OMG, OMG, OMG!!!!! Paradise! What a virtual thrill. I adore Joy. And to think it’s just everywhere there. I think it’s wonderful how you enjoy your perfumes, opening them immediately, spoiling the boxes, spilling some. Your enthusiasm is contageous, and I love your description of the people you encounter, Tokyoites. That read like a book chapter. xo

    • Delighted you enjoyed it. I was thinking of you specifically when I took the Joy pictures.

      If you need vintage Patou, Japan is the country. Are you well stocked up, or do you need me to hunt you out a bargain?

      • Lilybelle

        Were you really? I’m thrilled! You are so sweet. I have Joy edp, edt, and the spray deo/body mist, which I just discovered this summer. It’s wonderful. But I would dearly love a vintage black glass with red stopper bottle of the extrait, IF you should run into it. I bid on one on ebay but it got away from me. If you see one of those at a bargain price I would love you forever and ever. Well, I would anyway. 😉

      • I will, then .

        You NEED the vintage

  8. Ana

    Oh , bloody hell, you know I hate you right now! LOL! God I wish I was there! I can only dream of ever finding L’heure Bleue vintage extrait at a reasonable price or Bois des Iles extrait. Really happy that you’re happy with your finds.If you ever come across of L’Heure Bleue or Bois des Iles or both let me know and I’ll send you the money to buy them for me.

    • The BLEUE is one of my absolute holy grails, so no can do, bebe:would adore Bois Des Isles for completionist reasons, but could relent/ compromise/ find deep perfumist passion in my heart…

      You know I found a 14ml Cuir De Russie extrait for 2500 and practically died from the thrill and the shock
      ( not sure I like it, though: a bit like soiled diapers dipped in talc and rosey ylang ylang )

      • Ana

        I’ll live vicariously through you then and if you ever find that L’heure bleue I’ll know it because you’ll write your most beautiful review ever right here on this blog, which I always read.

  9. What fun to shop in your virtual presence. And I was sick with envy over your gardenia orgy. Gardenia is my grail flower when it comes to scents, and I am one of those who rejects the Chanel EDT as prim, uptight, and altogether not a real gardenia. I am so imprinted by a recent memory: after being with my father when he died in hospice, the next day I was packing for home at my mother’s house and impulsively filled the top of my suitcase with gardenias off my mother’s bush. When I arrived home hours later and opened my suitcase, the blast of fresh gardenia was intoxicating, almost shocking. It is still immediately present for me every time I think of gardenias, or grief, or joy. I have spent a small fortune on gardenia perfume samples, trying to replicate that experience. Sounds like that vintage parfum might do the trick. If only it existed outside Tokyo! But I will look. It was such a pleasure to share a virtual flower-orgy with you.

    • well you know, i still haven’t sent off your package. might have to put a sample of the chanel inside, now.

      Gardenias, yes. so pungent and mind-altering in many ways. What you have written reminds me of something that Amy Tan wrote about them, also in the context of grief and funerals, so poignant, like what you have written here.

      regarding the Gardenia, I am wearing it again tonight post-work, post-shower, and it is now reminding me of prime Dior Poison. Would that be a good or a bad thing?

      • you see I only know Japanese gardenias: I don’t know how they compare to the ones in the US, if they are the same. The Chanel is famously NOT a gardenia, as you know, more like a glitzy, 80’s tuberose, and it does have that, but seriously, in that cafe my immediate impression as the fumes arose out of the flacon were that it was really really like rich, thick gardenias. We shall see.

      • I think that would be a good thing. I have a lovely colleague at work, all of 28 years old, who wears Poison in the office and on her, it smells amazing. I admit I’ve never tried it myself.
        I haven’t read much of Amy Tan. Do you happen to recall which book that was in? I’d love to read it.
        I am making a real effort to be an adult about this and minimize whimpering. I realize that the Chanel is a real treasure, but will also add (in a small high voice) that a drop would do. Just want to see if it’s worth pursuing. There, I refrained from saying Ohpleaseohplease.

  10. fleurdelys

    OK, that does it, I am hopping the very next plane to Tokyo, and will make you drag me around to every perfume shop and flea market!

    • I would be very happy to. Except that I must reiterate that THERE OFTEN ISN’T ANYTHING….

      The arcade, though, yes. They would definitely have some bottles. The flea market can literally be a case of going home with nothing, and then suddenly there being so much that your eyes start melting in their sockets and you want to scream.

      But I love the idea of taking people round, actually.

      • It’s a lovely image, the eager perfumista ducklings dabbling behind their drake through the market, snorting up vintage parfums with their tails in the air, perhaps massing around the dragon lady until she sinks in defeat, her bag opening like a flower to the avid beaks….
        And later, your flight home to Java, as your former charges hurry to their home countries, full of tales that send others in search of the Precioussss.

      • fleurdelys

        That’s the fun of flea markets, though – the excitement of the treasure hunt, not knowing whether you will leave empty-handed or with your heart’s desire.

        FeralJasmine, I’m just worried that we perfumista ducklings would all hanker after the same vintage bottle, and there would be a melee of flying feathers!

      • I reckon so….

        L’Heure Bleue extrait is one case in point….that would REALLY be daggers out for me, seriously…

      • Fleurdelys, I hadn’t thought of that, and it’s a very real possibility. Maybe Ginza will have to lead one perfumista at a time, which doesn’t sound like a paying proposition, and then what if his charge spots his grail bottle of L’Heure Bleu before he does? She would be stranded in the back streets of Tokyo, minus money, minus passport, minus L’Heure Bleu. Scary scene.

  11. Rafael

    “I have wrecked what should have opened carefully, dabbed on elegantly, worshipped on a pedestal. Will you forgive me?”
    How clumsy and awkward. Can’t take you anywhere.
    Great, sweeping waves of jealousies reading of your plunder!!! What a catch! To think there is more to be had. If I take the cost of a R/T ticket to Japan, divided by how much I spend on perfume a year would it be an economy to fly there and be wildly indulgent? Congratulations!

  12. OK… this is heaven…

  13. Actually, you have sinned and gone to heaven!

  14. Dearest G
    The Dandy doesn’t generally do envy.
    Here, I will make a pea-green exception.
    I am so [gulp, tense, tight, smile] for you and your good luck.
    Please don;t expect more in the way of magnanimity: you have your purchases to keep you warm so won’t have need of my kindnesses.
    Yours ever

    • As ever, Dandy, you are utterly delicious in your observations. Oh, to be the person who felt none of the green-eyed monster’s claws lighting upon her shoulder as she read of Ginza’s good fortune. “Rejoice wholeheartedly for the luck of your friend” I told myself, and I did, really I did, except for this one glowing green corner of my id…
      I have recently been on the receiving end of some envy, more vigorously expressed. I won an entire bottle of Neela Vermeire perfume in a drawing, and another perfumista messaged me “Fine! Well, then, fine! Congratulations! And all that! Wear it in good health! Maybe!”
      And that, dearest Dandy, is how we do it in America.

      • I would be very happy to receive a bottle of La Neela, Bombay Bling for instance, but somehow nothing compares to the sheer beauty and LUXE of vintage finds, like the Vol De Nuit for example, which is honestly breathtaking in my view. Preciousss indeed.

        Also, I remember when I first started reading the original Luca Turin Le Guide from 1992, although I didn’t first get my hands on it until about 10 years ago or so, and I know full well that that stomach clenched lust I felt when reading about all these distant and impossible to own perfumes was an absolute thrill in itself; a kind of steadfast, eye-hardening concentration that comes into the brain, and for me, probably only from perfume. If this post elicits any of that feeling, that blood-thickening, pulsing, grabbing want (but humourously), I am happy.

        Actual envy is a horrible thing. And something I am prone to, actually.

        But I also realized one other (obvious, somewhat facile) thing: in some ways, it’s all ABOUT the lust, the chase. Now I actually do have the Nocturnes extrait, it is just there, and I have got used to its presence rather too quickly. And this, it strikes me, is what happens to the rich, trapped in their gilded cages.

      • I think that on some level we all know the feeling of a sought and cherished find fading to something scarily near commonplace, and we offer our laughing envy as a way to string out the moment when you were radiantly encased in luck. True envy can be hateful and destructive, but there are also happy kinds of envy that say “Here, my friend, look back at just how lucky you really were.”
        Or, as we occasionally say to children, “It’s complicated.”

      • Dearest Feral
        I shall have to sharpen up my brusqueness… perhaps there’s a distance course from an American College I can take!!
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

      • Dandy, I believe that there are several American TV series from which you can learn the general technique. Currently it seems to center around a word that, to spare your elegant sensibilities ( although I think it originated on your shores?) I will express as “darn.” Now use it a lot, shifting fluidly from exclamation to verb to adjective, however unimaginative it may seem. “Darn, Ginza, how did you darning find all those darning extraits? It’s unbedarninglievable. And I haven’t got a darning one of them. Darn it, you darning darner!” You’ll sound like an American in no time.

    • Senor De Vil

      Which in particular causes the toenails to curl upward?
      I shall be on the lookout for you!

  15. Oh my God, I am in LUST. You just made New York City sound like the most boring place in the world. You didn’t say it, of course, but come on, who can surpass or where else can one surpass all your vintage finds?

    • I was imagining that NYC would have pretty good vintage/thrift stores….but then again there’s probably a whole lot more perfumistas…

      Sometimes I feel that I can just go and take my pick, but then I make the mistake of thinking ‘I’ll go back later” and of course my coveted trove has gone. There are others out there, too, and a Japanese ‘otaku’ or maniac, is unsurpassable.

      You know what, though? The reactions to this post make me feel that the ability to find such finds as these is more amazing than I had perhaps realized.

  16. Cath

    Ooooohhhh!!! I’m wishing I were living in Tokyo too, then I could go shopping with you, and we would have fights over who would go home with what bottles 🙂
    No, seriously, you’ll have to take me there one day.
    Or do you know if there are any such shops in Osaka? I wish I could find some delectable little store full of treasures at affordable prices, like the store in the Jiyugaoka arcade you mention. If you come across information on such a cavern of Ali Baba in my whereabouts, please let me know. I could go hunt it down and share my findings.

    • You know, these places will definitely exist in Osaka too, you know. Even more so, probably. They weren’t advertised, and I have only discovered a handful. And that was just from wandering and exploring down the back streets, which is something that the D and I just have always loved doing, just to see.

      But I would LOVE to take you round. For god’s sake, why not just do it. We can have lunch, wine, do the Shinagawa flea market, go to Jiyugaoka, it would be fun. And I will go for a you first policy, as far as I humanly can (though I like the idea of the maniacal gaijin, fighting like tomcats over their guerlains, and their Chanels…..)

      GO FOR IT!!!

      What’s a day trip? Compare to most of the people on here, we are practically neighbours!


  17. Lilybelle

    Thank you, Mr. Ginza. You are extremely kind. And you’re right: the ability to make finds like you just did (and I understand it’s feast or famine at the flea markets) is becoming a real rarity. You are blessed to be in Tokyo where you can still scarf up all those preciousssses. And I’m (truly) very happy for you. And for me. Potentially. Tee hee. 🙂

  18. ninakane1

    Divine divine divine xxx

  19. Reblogged this on The Black Narcissus and commented:

    Rereading this old piece on fleamarket finds from exactly four years ago, I realize how things, in a short space of time, have quite a lot changed; there I am yesterday raving about these relatively vulgar perfumes that I like quite a bit but couldn’t get, and which are getting rarer and rarer, and yet I read through this entry from 2013 and I was practically SWIMMING in precious, vintage gorgeousness. It just reminds me once again how much a truly finite supply these old perfumes are….and that can only, ultimately, make them more precious.

  20. It is always so exciting for me to read of your treasure finds. Most of what you found I have only read about, but I do have two favorite vintage perfumes. Caron Tabac Blond and Schiaparelli Shocking Perfume. I am always looking for them, and maybe, someday I will have a fantastic treasure bonanza like this one. Well done, Neil!

  21. I’ve actually had dreams where I come across a dark, dusty little shop stuffed to the gills with extraits of Vol de Nuit, Tabac Blond, Nocturnes, the great Chanels, Patous, Diors. I always hate to wake up. I agree. There’s nothing like that feeling (“WHAAATT!!”) when you spot a masterpiece, and then the extra rush of feeling (if you’re lucky) of seeing it priced insanely cheap. I think if you checked our vitals our blood pressure and heart rate would have kicked up a few notches. The clutch in the gut and heart. And that exquisite kick of adrenalin and serotonin. The best kind of high. I love that vision of you guys at the capital R cafe unstoppering your new hoard. I tend to make a mess of things, too, in my nerve-y impatience.

    Ah, so sad. What a difference four years can make. “One day I will be old and poor probably and wishing I had bought up every N°19 I have ever come across as it is so precious, but I have bought so much of the stuff since living in Japan, giving half of it away as well (Marina, Helen, my mother loves it now as well), as well as spilling tons too, so it no longer excites me in quite the same way. I always want it, know how precious the vintage is, but I know for a fact that there is a LOT of it circulating still in Japan so it can wait.”

    Were you right about N°19 still being in copious supply? I do hope so.

  22. John Seasly

    Do you remember where these shops are in Jiyugaoka? My wife and I are visiting Japan in September and we collect fragrances. We’d love to stop by these stores if possible.

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