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…..my 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.