Tokyo is relatively crime free. You never worry, feel threatened. In a way it’s an urban paradise – a megalopolis with all the
stimulation and virtually none of the usual, expected dangers.

Still, when it comes to certain areas, venues, clubs, theft of bags and wallets is not unheard of. It’s happened several times to our friends recently – a night out on the town ruined by the extraordinary hassle of cancelling credit cards, reporting in minute detail to the grim looking officers at thepolice station, the inconvenience of having to borrow money from your friends…and last night it finally happened to Duncan ( it once happened to me also , a long time ago, when a ‘knife wielding maniac’ stole into the school when I was teaching some morning classes by myself and made off with my bag containing my passport, my wallet, and a brand new bottle of L’Occitane’s Verveine, a perfume I always associate now with minor criminality).

Mind you, Duncan WAS dressed how you see him above, not exactly the most practical outfit for a night out and taking care of his belongings – an all night weirdo shebang with a big group of friends at a strange but legendary event called Department H ( which I once wrote about on here in my piece titled Tokyo Through The Looking Glass if you care to find out more about it).

He came back this morning at 9.30am, and said ‘ I’ve done something stupid’, and here I am now : my first outing anywhere interesting since my confinement to accompany him, and I am loving the warm, fecund smell of the city and its thrumming, neon glow. It’s quite hard walking on my two sticks, I will confess, but it feels like a breakthrough. He is wearing the stately lemon of Penhaligons’ Blenheim Bouquet: I am in a strange but not entirely unsuccessful combination of the original Marc Jacobs Eau De Parfum – all wet gardenias on asphalt- and the vintage parfum of Cacharel Loulou for a woozy, tropical realness. The night is young. We are going to go for Chinese. Even if curtailed by my current, physical limitations, it feels wonderful to be part of the world on this hot, glittering, summer evening.






Filed under Flowers


  1. Tuskanny

    Dear N, God how I enjoyed this post ! Hilarious, delightfully well written and very specific when it comes to what matters: perfumes. How great and creative is your ” strange but not entirely unsuccessful combination”… the really enjoyable part being your own delight of going out etc… a modest but so vivid account, thank you for sharing it. I can picture it, smell it too. ça a l’air d’aller bien, Neil. xx. F

    • Un peu! I like these random outbursts of feelings and moments sometimes, and yes, perfume IS always considered. There was something indescribably stressful and traumatic I had to face last August, which felt like it could have destroyed me, but I still decided what perfume to wear in order to face it (Naheme parfum). Sometimes perfumes can really galvanize you like hidden angels.

  2. MrsDalloway

    Sorry to hear about thieving scumbags, but great you’re unleashed on the outside world again! Enjoy the Chinese.

  3. I love reading your random outburst of feelings and moments, as well as your adventures and always, the perfumes.

  4. David

    For a police station visit in Japan, I would wear something “good gaijin-ish” maybe Happy by Clinique (I think you may have written that it appeals to Japanese sensibilities). Here in SP, I’d amp up the raunch… The police officers here are hot a.f. I’ve been experimenting with Lui by Mazzolari, even though I promised myself no more skank.
    I’m happy you are getting out a bit!

    • Thanks.

      And god yes, Brazilian police officers, I can imagine…do they smell good too?

      Spot on with the Happy- I think the Marc Jacobs has a similar vibe ( but the left wrist spot of Loulou was my necessary rebellion).

      • I have a very positive image of Brazilian hygiene/ scent culture, actually. As you know from personal experience, J-men can be woefully oblivious in that regard. Would you agree?

      • David

        I wish I knew how they smellled! I’d love to get up close and personal, but, like most good Southerners (USA), I instinctively stay clear of the police, no matter what the country.
        Most Brazilians shower twice a day. And they have impeccable dental habits. Some public restrooms have dental floss dispensers.
        Perfume is expensive here because it’s taxed to high heavens. I don’t much like Brazilian perfume from the likes of Natura, Granado or Boticário. But some people rave about a Boticário perfume called Malbec. When Brazilian men visit the States, it’s pretty likely they’ll come back with Carolina Herrera’s 212. Niche fragrances are very rare here, but I once saw an Eccentric Molecules pop-up in one of the upscale malls.
        When I go out to the flea markets, I usually find lots of vintage perfumes. Yesterday a vendor had some old things by Salvador Dali, Rauch, Louis Feraud. One vendor has the biggest selection of unopened vintage Caron and Guerlain that I have ever seen, but she will not give discounts. She charges the same as the USA eBay– she told me that’s how she sets her prices. No one in Brazil is going to pay her prices, but she won’t budge. I’m not spending much on perfume this year, to atone for the other thing I used to spend so much money on.

  5. “The night is young. We are going to go for Chinese. Even if curtailed by my current, physical limitations, it feels wonderful to be part of the world on this hot, glittering, summer evening.” Brilliant ending to another highly enjoyable read, N.

  6. So thrilled you were out, so saddened that Duncan had his stuff stolen though. Your perfumed combination sounds quite intriguing. I would wear No 5 Chanel to the police station, just because it is such a great “take me someplace elegant” fragrance.
    Hope the Chinese was delicious.

  7. MrsDalloway

    I was going to say I’d wear Sycomore or Roja Vetiver because they’re elegant, boosting and not overtly feminine. But I’ve seen people say Sycomore smells of weed – I think their noses may be broken but what if the cops share that problem? There’s a Via del Profumo perfume which contains hemp and the website says not to wear while crossing borders – sniffer dogs! So not that one (it’s called Sensemilla iirc).

    • Hilarious. I can’t stand the smell of weed personally, but Sycamore might be good actually as long as it doesn’t have that effect ( and in Japan, VERY risky ). Self assured and invisibly intelligent.

  8. rosestrang

    Heehee, I love ‘what pefume to wear in the police station’ – that one hasn’t come up on the Fragrantica forum as yet! That’s a great costume too – like the unravelling innards of a golf ball perhaps. I hope all is resolved well for Duncan.
    To the police station, I’d wear Ponte Vecchio by Nobile 1942, it has a sunny, relaxed, contented feel – I’d hope it would render the police sympathetic.
    Glad to hear you’re venturing forth once more!

    • Ponte Vecchio : don’t think I know it, but I have seen it at a department store in Ginza- will check it out next time.

      Glad you like D’s costume – he is very good at assembling things from his imagination using the simplest and cheapest materials. He does shamanic, mysterious art rituals that can entrance a room.

      • rosestrang

        It’s been a busy time, hence delayed reply. D sounds a true artist, you clearly make a lovely couple. If you do try Ponte Vecchio, let me know your thoughts. I find it pretty gorgeous. I think you’d like it – plenty of iris, but a very sunny rendition, slightly sweet, but not sugary. Actually if you’d like a sample I’d like to to send you a few mls just to hear what you think, good or bad. So let me know your address if so. I bought a full bottle (which means definite ‘love’ for me perfume-wise!) It’s more traditional than my usual style, more sunny, but that reflects my curent mood. Hope your recovery is going strong! Best wishes

  9. Great title. I live in Johannesburg, so crime is all too familiar. Good to hear you are more mobile.

    • God, such completely different crime rates ! Tokyo is ridiculously safe usually, to the extent that people will leave their phones and even bags when they go to the bathroom in a restaurant. I think it is my kind that is being targeted actually.

      • Oh to be able to leave your belongings unattended. International visitors always notice how on edge we South Africans are. And yet life goes on. Hopefully you will not have to choose a police station fragrance any time soon.

      • You never know. I am a tad on the naughty tip.

      • This is my image of Johannesburg (and incidentally possibly my favourite pop video of all time):

      • Very keen to know what that image of Jhb is. Please resend link or name of video. This link ain’t working.

      • Die Antwoord – Fatty Boom Boom. It’s ridiculous but I love it. They also did that film set there, Chappie by Neil whatshisface who did District 9 (which I loved).

      • Yip, know the video and the band you are talking about. Very OTT. Tee hee! It does reflect a bit of the Jo’burg (and South Africa) madness. I also loved Neill Blomkamp’s District 9. Very Inventive.

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