Weekends are for dreaming.









And the last two, I must say, have yielded treasure.





























Yesterday I woke up totally exhausted from the week’s intense, high octane teaching, and it just had to be a day of Isezakicho, the most run down, real, and distinctly, wonderfully unfashionable area of Yokohama that I often mention on the Narcissus for its utter lack of pretence: its multi-Asian humanity and its troves of junk and tat that D and I love to sift through at leisure, preferably after a drink or two in a bar on the way.



And so that is exactly what we did yesterday.


The evening’s plan: to go and see ‘Dario Argento’s Dracula’ at the Jack & Betty cinema, one of the few remaining repertory cinemas that sing of a bygone age with their satin curtains and dusty seats and play the kind of obscure and torrid films that we tend to like. Before that: go to this new (but actually very old) Thai restaurant, we have discovered – Tawanrung – that does amazing food and also lets you sing karaoke for all night afterwards (there was something quite electric about singing Lady Gaga’s Aura in there just a few weeks ago, and the moment when Dominique was singing Edith Piaf…….)


We are thinking of having a ‘Beau Thai’ party next, possibly at the end of July: all neon, coconut, and Bangkok elegance….gotta keep that imagination flowing, live the life, escape the mainstream pressures and societal respectability that deep down in my heart, and on its surfaces as well, I despise.




But before that, let’s hit our junk shops.



Just on this street there are at least four ‘recycle’ stores that have all kinds of things from ultra-expensive Louis Vuitton bags, to hair scrunchies, old ties to perfume. Yesterday it was a Chanel Nº19 parfum tsunami: you couldn’t escape it: a mix of the current (pale leaf green – no interest), and the darker hued vintage, ranging from 4,000 (half full)to 12,000 yen (40 dollars, 120 dollars), which I find a bit pricey. Practically every shop we went into had some, so I know that when that moment comes again, when I find myself craving vetiver iris aloof, I have a steady source.




I am just not in the mood for that kind of thing right now, though. I am all about rich; big: exotic (in fact, I forgot to mention the three sprays of Comptoir Sud Pacifique Coco Extrême that I added to the Datura Noir, the coconut body lotion, and the sprays on the hoodie of D + G’s divine jasmine tuberose – I smelled just like a beach)…



That first shop, Crystal, had a few other things (vintage Poison Esprit de Parfum), Paris in edt, but nothing that grabbed me personally, so after traipsing through another place that was selling everything from dolls to death metal 7″s to washing machines and where I got a few cheap DVDs and one’s partner got a shirt, we landed at Opal, a place I am constantly going to as their stock is regularly replenished and you never ever know what you might find. Stuff disappears as well: people do come from all walks of life perusing these curious shelves, and I suppose the fact that things do get snapped up only adds to the excitement. Yesterday’s selection was a mix of newish things and old: there was a bottle of YSL Cinema I was curious about as it has mentioned on here whenever mimosa comes up.


At 3,000 yen, it probably seems cheap to you but I couldn’t quite manage to hand over the money. Being totally profligate with money and buying everything on sight takes away some of the pleasure for me: there is a delicious tension in holding back as well, in depriving oneself, the niggle of loss. Go on, tell me: I was a fool not to go to the Cinéma.




Still empty-handed perfume-wise, we went to a beautiful book shop that has fascinating old prints and magazines of every variety: old film programmes, novels, news cuttings……there is something about Japanese bookshops, with the proprietors usually just sitting there unobtrusively in the backdrop that invites dreamy speculation and relaxation – escape from the dreary rigidity of commerce and education – and D was there sifting excitedly through some old pictures when I decided to just briefly check yet another Louis Vuitton/Chanel second hand emporium next door (seriously, the amount of used handbags and purses around is incredible: those ugly, brand for brand’s sake contraptions that you buy just so someone thinks you have a bit of money – I never have any desire to go in such places, usually, but then you see they do sometimes have perfumes (Chance, Mademoiselle Extraits etc, in the glass cabinets, and you obviously have to go in just in case.)




Yes. Let’s see anyway.




AGGGGGGHHHHHHH LOOK AT THOSE TWO GLASS CABINETS FULL OF PERFUME!!!! JESUS !!!! (rushes back next door to tell Duncan he may be a while…..)






And……NO …….only five minutes before closing time…..quick, what have we here…… God – that 250 ml splash of Guerlain Jardins De Bagatelle is so beautiful. I must have it. But 10,000…. can’t afford that right now. So rare though. I have to go back. Will it still be there?


And a Vol de Nuit spray vintage parfum spray…..Every time I see that box, those words, my heart leaps………but the last week at the Jiyugaoka arcade in Tokyo I had got the bottle of Vol De Nuit you see pictured…..a 14ml tulip-glassed bottle of pristine, divine smelling parfum for 4500………I LOVE LOVE LOVE that perfume. One of my absolute holy grails…..



What else…..Masses of vintage Joy, Madame Rochas, Mitsouko, enough Chanel parfum to swim in, but none of it especially cheap. Surely the thrill comes from the bargain as well. For some strange reason I don’t buy the Lagerfled KL parfum, which I always loved, especially for its orange spice in the top, that fan bottle…..why didn’t I get it? It was only 1000 yen. 8 pounds. 10 dollars. I might never see it again.



I can’t decide. I also want that vintage Mimosa Pour Moi. Partially used, but in the old bottle….the version I have has definitely been reformulated – where is that cucumber freshness? Strangely, I quite fancy the Diptyque Eau De Lierre as well just for my collection. But 4,000… juices don’t turn correctly at that price. I have to get a JOLT, the surge of red corpuscles….




They are closing. Oh then I just have to get that vintage Infini parfum for the time being. Perhaps boxed I will actually manage not to spill it. And only 1,800.




Such beauty. Such perfection. That aldehydic cedar, vetiver, calibrated to immaculation, ceding like a line of water to peach and glinting flowers, like the wind blowing liberally on a beach. That will do for now.






The others, hopefully, will just have to wait.









Filed under Flowers


  1. Missionista

    Your second hand store posts are the ones I enjoy the most. As a fellow thrifter, I’m salivating over here on the other side of the world. 🙂

    • Excellent (not that I am trying to torture you!)

      What wets thy gills the most?

      • Missionista

        It’s not any one thing–it’s just that there’s this incredible, delectable, embarrassment of riches out there. Makes me want to go back to Japan!

      • There isn’t always…..often you come out empty-handed, but it is true that I have honed in on some fantastic treasure troves. Next time you are here let’s have dinner and go hunting, ripping each other’s hair out, gouging out eyes as our hands and arms extend in maniacal competition for that trophy extrait.

  2. ninakane1

    Great finds!

    • I can’t remember what you thought about Vol De Nuit. Didn’t you quite like it? Such a weird scent. It captivates me.

      • ninakane1

        I did, but for some reason it never totally registers with me. I have a feeling it’s lurking under my radar and at some point will totally grab me and become iconic for me, define an era or a moment. But it hasn’t happened yet. Does it have violet in? I think I need to sample it sometime far away from L’Heure Bleu, which is my defining Guerlain and then I might be able to form a connection with it.

      • Not violet. Weird, ambiguity of moss, jonquil, galbanum, vanilla, spice….a really anti-intuitive scent: lurk, and murk, are exactly the words for it, actually. I have managed to get my hands on the book it was based on, Vol De Nuit by Saint Exupery, which is exciting, and intend to explore it further. L’Heure Bleue is divine. Vol De Nuit is a mystery.

  3. Natalie

    SHUT UP!!! Shutupshutupshutup. 🙂 I can’t believe that Vol de Nuit find. Congratulations!

  4. carole macleod

    You have made my day! And i love the Dita Von Teese striptease you did-First, the back of the pristine box, complete with serial numbers. Then slowly, slowly, the rest…

    This was a perfect post-i love the descriptions of your days out. The descriptions of each shop and its wears-just perfect!

    I won a bottle of the new Jour de Fete, and surprisingly it has the old style cap. I don’t know what JdeF used to smell like but I feel lucky to have won something. Actually I won 2 things-I won the J de Fete, and a bottle of Magnolia Grandiflora Michel.

    Congratulations on your purchases – you did well!

    • As did you. I smelled the Jour De Fete new rerelease the other week in Tokyo and it smelled gorgeous. That vanilla, that cassia tree top note….really unusual. Top notch.

      I am very keen to smell the Magnolia as well. How did you win them?

      Glad you enjoy my meanderings.

      • carole macleod

        I won them through a canadian blog called perfume niche. It’s run by two lovely women from Toronto. They sell decants of fragrances they love.

        Jour de Fete-i do get the cassia tree top note. And it lasts all day on me. It’s just a very special scent!

        And the Magnolia – wowl You can tell that M. Roudnitska grew up in a household with Parfum de therese. It’s so beautiful. You can smell the garden the magnolia grows in, a bit of pure citrus, and the jasmine-my god, the jasmine. I can smell the same sort of jasmine that is in Diorella, and P de T. A different version, and even more heart breaking. The bottle is perfect, and the box is sublime. I was extremely lucky to be given these two treasures.

      • You certainly were, blimey. I love Diorella: I need to smell this!

      • emmawoolf

        Ah, here you are, I knew that you’d mentioned Jour de Fete somewhere. Looking at the packaging, I realise that I’ve just managed to procure a fully wrapped huge 100ml bottle of the original formulation for fewer than 20 of your English pounds. It’s lovely, very sweet (of course) but the almond/iris/bay combination is divine and delicious. Can’t stop smelling my wrist, it’s almost making up for the fact that it’s still two hours till dinnertime, thank you, TK Maxx

      • From TK Maxx? God I love those kinds of bargains. That only those in the know would know. It’s wonderful to have a new scent that feels right and is immediately addictive.

  5. Such auspicious fragrant finds! I wish I were there, I would be in heaven.

  6. Lilybelle

    I love your 2nd hand shopping posts too! I get so excited. I don’t blame you for holding back…it isn’t just the bargain, it’s finding a holy grail at a bargain. It must make your heart pound. Personally, I would have grabbed that KL parfum. On the other hand, would I wear it? Probably not. Best to leave it for someone else to find. We mustn’t be too greedy or the 2nd hand shopping gods will punish. Congratulations on your finds, Mr. Ginza!

    • Arigato, although that KL is preying on my mind. That is quite a rare one, no? And there was always something so right, and so wrong, about the grey box and the orange bottle.

      • Lilybelle

        Yes, I think it is rare, particularly the parfum. And you’re so right: the box and bottle, so right…and so wrong. I loved that orange spice. Maybe you should go back and see if it’s still there. I mean…if it’s preying on your mind. 😉

  7. Lilybelle

    I often dream of stumbling across forgotten caches of perfume, tucked away in old wardrobes and dressers. The bliss of it! And the disappointment upon awakening.

    • I have very similar dreams as well. These perfumes are not in such romantic, beautiful settings – they are often actually set among rather tacky surroundings- but the principle is the same!

  8. Oh my.. how I want to join you on a scent mission! That little Infini bottle is so very beautiful. I have a little parfum version of Fleurs De Rocaille on it’s way to me, for which I’m rather chuffed but I’d love to have rooted it out in some chaotic little quirky junk shop.

    • I have my eyes on a full parfum of Fleurs de Rocaille, which I want for my collection even though it would never suit me (such a plangent, emotive, musky little lilac rose), though it is 7500 and I can never quite face paying for it. Some day another person will have pipped me to the post and I will regret it.

      Infini, though: I find it very androgynous with the animalic woody base, and it does really quite suit me. It just puts me into an elegant, dreamy state. Do you know it? I ADORE Infini.

  9. The inspiration of embroidery shoes comes from life. The theme is the folk culture and custom. The basic reference patterns are birds, flowers, insects, fruits and even the drama character. The auspicious references symbolize the beauty of life. China has more than 20 ethnic minorities wear the embroidered shoes as a national characteristic. So, embroidered shoes can be called Chinese shoes.

  10. If I went to Japan, I would have to go with empty suitcases!

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