A DISASTROUS END TO A DAY OF VINTAGE PERFUME SHOPPING

 

 

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On Monday, I hooked up with my perfume-adoring friend Catherine for a day of scent hunting in Tokyo. Having moved up to Yokohama from Osaka, where she lived with her husband for a long while, she was yet to visit any of the troves I occasionally frequent to plunder for old vintages and any other bargains of that nature, and was eager to see what we might find.

 

 

 

Me too. The excitement of finding a beloved classic in some cabinet never abates, even if such moments are getting rarer these days as the sources gradually dry up. Still, although I was worried about disappointing her in case she had grandiose images in her mind of veritable Aladdin’s caves overflowing with abandoned, boxed, pristine Guerlains (“Will there be L’Heure Bleue?” – no there will not, of that I am sure; only Mitsouko in all its possible vintage forms, if ya pleasey – but neither of us is particularly bothered by Mitsouko); I was a little apprehensive that the day was going to turn out a big bore and that there would be nothing to buy.

 

 

 

First stop was the arcade in Jiyugaoka, where Catherine immediately found a pristine, perfect Caron Narcisse Noir extrait for 500 yen. She had never smelled it before and proffered it up for my inspection to check if this is how it should be (me being The Black Narcissus and all), and it was – a sickening bargain at five dollars. Beautifully glinting, fresh, and as unique as ever, she snatched it up without a second thought. Now let’s get the slightly gruff  shop owner to open up the very cabinets. Where all of the main treasure is to be had….

 

 

 

 

Not having worked out how we would, er, divide any of the loot were we to come across any, only a few minutes had passed before the linguistically-envy-inducing polyglot interpreter’s hand alighted wantonly on a Le Galion Violette parfum (exquisite! sheer powdery, swooning violets cold as the earth), also for 500 yen. I also wanted it but no I want it insisted Catherine in a tone I couldn’t argue with – we were like siblings arguing over cake, getting ready to shove each other out of the way in the event of coming across a Vol De Nuit – but no, only Mitsouko-ko-ko-ko, always that bloody perfume……. but I had found a  vintage Obsession parfum (heaven! can’t wait to apply it to a cashmere scarf) and a Rochas Femme parfum, a scent I like to wear at night sometimes for its deep tapestries of fur and fruit; C had spotted an unopened Givenchy Interdit, a scent I had never really liked for some reason, not entirely, until we later retired to a coffee shop and she prized open the wax top of the bottle and the most gorgeous ylang, rose, jasmine and iris top notes wafted out and I was in heaven, finally appreciating this perfume for the first time in its beautiful, pristine edition. Audrey and Hubert would have been proud.

 

 

 

 

 

The scent of aldehydes that had been released from decades of imprisonment in their glass bottle and floated their way across the mille crepe and cafe au lait of the table was joined, and contrasted, in an anti-intuitively stunning blend of that Interdit and a rare bottle of Donna Karan Black Cashmere that Catherine had bought in a shop in Asagaya,  the frankincense and dark woods and musks of which Catherine was sniffing at her arm like a madwoman in love, and whose sillage, from a mere spritz, filled up all the air around her brilliantly. What a great scent ! (and why, on earth, are such perfumes discontinued? We all know the usual tedious answers, but still – women in woods, yes please; so much more intriguing that the vulgar, IQ lowering pink sludge that is the current scent trail of many current ladies’ favourites). She smelled great and was enjoying the proceedings : yes, we were pleased with our bargains – this was about 35 dollars, but considering how much this scent can go for on eBay now, it was definitely a steal. Plus, the way C was swooning over the perfume on her hand – such fun to be out with a true perfumaniac like her- the pleasure is real – you know that this is going to be a perfume that she wafts about her as she interprets for the upper echelons of society, politicians,  and even the visiting European royalty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So. Where next. I had been saving the best til last. We would do bargain recycle stores in Asagaya, and then there would be the crowning glory, the legend that is MARISOL. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It is strange, but I haven’t written about this place before until now for some reason, even if I have mentioned it in the introduction of my book as an incredible old vintage perfume emporium that stocks practically anything you might want as a teasing detail of how much fun it can be in Tokyo; floors and floors of precious Carons, Guerlains, perfumes from the eighties and nineties; wrapped Jacomos, a repository of your teenage dreams. Still there. Tantalizing stacks of boxes reaching up the stairs to forbidden floors; the most amazing old perfume shop in the metropolis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I had also been a bit disingenuous though. The big (and it is a big, a really big) problem with this shop is that the owner, pictured, is an extraordinarily ‘difficult’ woman, to say the least. Famously so. I was of course aware of this, but as I have bought a couple of things from the shop before – Jacomo Parfum Rare Extrait and Lancome Trophee, I know that once you butter the old bag up a bit, or if she happens to be in the right mood, she becomes more personable and guides you around the contents of her treasure house and introduces you to some of her fabulous wares. Also, seeing that Catherine speaks impeccable Japanese, of a level I could never attain in a thousand years, with all the nuances of register, politeness, grammatical accuracy – I come across like a grunting chimpanzee in comparison – which Madame Marisol scorns openly, pretending not to understand a word I am saying – I thought that as I was gingerly entering the holy premises with not only a bona vide perfume connoisseur but also someone with the language skills to negotiate the croc-infested waters, we would succeed in gaining access to some of the hidden preciousnesses – I dream of a Caron Poivre parfum with the studded glass tears; or even just to look at and gaze with my retinas at some magical Guerlain extracts glowing silently from their boxes begging secretly to be opened and worn on the skin, but………………………..…sadly this was not to be. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having been in Marisol before, which is situated in completely the wrong area of Tokyo – bang in the middle of the youth district, where twenty year old couples smooch on down from the 109 department stores geared to their age group, and pancake houses and cinemas and jean shops and cheap izakaya to get drunk in – and, passing the inviting windows full of cute looking perfumes, once entering, quickly get sent packing, I kind of know what to expect.  I have seen this happen before: an innocuous and sweet young couple came in and politely asked the proprietress if she had any fragrances that smelled like tea, only to be told nai’a very abrupt way of saying ‘there aren’t any’, that NO regular person in any form of customer service would dream of uttering in a million years, this being the apex of refined, artificial politeness in the world, comparable to none, which is what makes it all so surprising and even upsetting: I remember the look on their faces (but what did we say wrong? ).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The answer is nothing. The woman is as bitter and twisted as a hag in a fairy tale: the witch in the forest you feared as a child, just that this is a perfume shop instead, and Catherine wandered in as innocent as Red Riding Hood knowing none of this. Should I have warned her? As I said, I honestly thought that given her Japanese and fragrance credentials, that we would be fine. Also, I didn’t want to spoil the surprise : I thought that we would enter, gaze in awe at all the potential perfumes we could buy, and then charm the fuming, chuntering  psycho-hag into ‘letting ‘ us buy one of them.

 

 

 

 

 

Watching two young people go in as we climbed the street towards the shop, I waited for the expected thirty seconds before they were sent out (!!I know – what kind of shop IS this?!!), and out they came, right on cue, looking perplexed – what just happened?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We entered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And the air was immediately hostile (in fact, it felt as if there was no air). Unwelcoming. Compressed. Sat on her chair, the owner of Marisol sat leviathan-like, unmoving, emitting  silent, noxious fumes of hatred – like an old cobra awaiting death.

 

 

 

 

Despite the plenitude of cabinets of perfumes we were both fascinated by, she clearly didn’t want us in there. You felt an uneasiness in your chest, a strong sense of discomfort, her eyes piercing into yours and yet clouded over at the same time with foregone, spiteful conclusions.

 

 

 

 

 

‘How much is the Leonard Tamango?’ I asked.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘I don’t know’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

(?)

 

 

 

 

Catherine:

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Do you have L’Heure Bleue?’

 

 

 

 

 

‘I do, but it’s expensive.

 

 

 

 

 

(?!!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘How much is it, if you don’t mind my asking’?

 

 

 

 

WE DON’T HAVE IT.

 

 

 

 

NOW SHUT UP AND GET OUT !!!!!!!!

 

 

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hissed the creature vituperously to Catherine’s utter shock and astonishment. Completely taken aback, I could feel her heart beating just standing behind her; the sheer stupefaction of the situation, and I immediately regretted not having given any warning or instruction on how to proceed in ‘Marisol’ beforehand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘But what did I do wrong? Have I said something untoward’? said Catherine in very polite, even poignantly soothing tones.  ‘This shop was recommended to me by a friend who said you have some wonderful things to buy, which is why we came here’

 

 

 

 

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‘then you should have asked that person why I am such a bitch beforehand and learned what to do in here ‘  spat back she at Catherine’s gobsmacked face; with really horrible breath, too, which only added to the true vileness and rudeness being displayed in the ‘shop’

 

 

 

 

 

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‘I just wanted to know if you have any L’Heure Bleue!!” protested Catherine.

 

 

 

 

If you really wanted that perfume, you wouldn’t say it like that 

 

 

 

 

spat the witch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

–  – – and I wanted to show you this, said I stupidly , taking my book out of my bag, which mentions this vile komodo in the introduction as a place to look for vintage perfumes if you are ever in Tokyo – now I kind of wish it could be redacted-

 

 

 

 

 

TAKE. IT. AWAY.  !!!!   

 

 

 

 

 

DON’T SHOW IT TO ME !!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

shrieked the crone as Catherine was getting more and more upset and trying to reason with her, asking why she was being so hated in her fluid and intelligent Japanese, at which point the woman was momentarily silenced –  perhaps even slightly embarrassed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was obvious we would have to leave (the drama queen I am, I was partly loving all of this, I have to confess – am I a terrible person? I let it linger on than I should have; but it was as though Catherine was slightly hypnotized :::::::::::::)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was the language. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which she kept repeating.

 

 

 

‘SHUT UP.

 

 

 

LEAVE!’

 

 

 

GET OUT!!!

 

 

 

 

SHUT YOUR MOUTH !!!! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Urusai‘, which literally means ‘noisy’ in Japanese , is used as a way of saying ‘shut your mouth’ when said in a certain way; only with family members in a moment of anger – never, never never,  to a stranger, and certainly not to someone who has come to your shop, with only the best intentions, to peruse and possibly buy your wares.

 

 

 

 

 

‘Kaette !literally means ‘go home’, but in the context of where we were, it would probably be better translated as GET OUT for its rawness, particularly when combined with her dismissive, and very aggressive, waves of the hand towards the exit………….. and though dumbfounded, gobsmacked and horrified by the incredible rudeness we had just experienced – ‘I just want to slap the bitch!‘ exclaimed Catherine as we finally pushed the glass doors open, one final kaette and urusai was enough to convince us to leave (which we should have done, really, from the first moment).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the street, Catherine’s heart was beating in rage so badly I truly regretted having taken her there (even though I was doubled up in hysterics on the street – I don’t know, I just couldn’t help finding the whole thing H I L A R I O U S); but then I suppose I kind of knew what might – potentially – happen. Catherine had gone in as innocent as a doe, and been ferociously attacked and reviled by this obviously desperately sad woman who owns the entire premises and thus doesn’t need the money, but opens up each day so that she can insult people and make them feel dreadful: the camp side of me loves this: I often find the drabness of daily life so tedious that any drama, particularly surrounded by perfume bottles I so badly want, is curiously stimulating and at the moment, outside, as we gathered ourselves, I must say that I felt 100% alive. And couldn’t stop laughing.

 

 

 

 

 

But I couldn’t leave Catherine. She was too upset. I had been planning to part ways there,  and go to a club I know in Ebisu called Enjoy House as I want to book it for our Love Goddess Of The Cannibals party that we want to hold in June; a disco/ art performance event, something tropical and lush and amazing, based on the film Papaya from 1978 by Joe D’Amato, because at that point in the term I am always ready to really let loose and do something mad and amusing, gathering all our friends up and creating something lurid and exciting and memorable –

 

 

 

 

 

– but it was obvious that Catherine really didn’t want to be left alone. She was simply so  furious, shocked, and outraged by the terrible treatment she had experienced that she said she was about to burst into tears (what can be done about this monstrous woman, do you think? If you ever come to Tokyo, will you give it a go?!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So we took the train back to Yokohama together; processing and laughing, imagining glitterbombing the place and temporarily stunning Marisol (possibly even tying her up) while we scamper up and down those mysterious stairs making off with bags and bags of unbelievable loot (imagine the Nahema parfums I would run off with! I know she has it, because she has told me, as has her poor assistant, who occasionally works with her, but naturally she wouldn’t show it to me, as it is ‘too expensive’………)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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‘It was like Catherine and Neil’s Adventures In Perfume Heaven and Hell’ , said Catherine. One minute I was so zen and relaxed from the pleasure of buying all those perfumes and from just hanging out, and the next I was being harangued by a wicked witch, just out of the blue, and it shocked me to the core.

 

 

 

 

 

Horrible. I can’t believe it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I AM NEVER SETTING FOOT IN THERE AGAIN. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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62 Comments

Filed under Bitch, PERFUME AND PERFORMANCE, postcards from the edge, Psychodrama, Rare, SCANDAL, Uncategorized, Witchy

62 responses to “A DISASTROUS END TO A DAY OF VINTAGE PERFUME SHOPPING

  1. Gretchen

    Ah, but think…one day, the wicked witch will die, and all those perfumes will remain stacked and waiting, just waiting, for whatever comes next. Does she have family that will dump them just to get the shop cleared out to sell modern dreck to the youngsters? A veritable smorgasbord for the picking? Or a massive giveaway? Just gloat in the knowledge that one day, you might be able to shovel everything you want into a bag and pay by the gross weight! And she will be dust!

  2. I do feel I have captured this woman’s vile vitriol here, but I do, also, in some ways, feel genuinely quite sorry for her. Do you think this is a form of mental illness? Or is she just fulfilling the role of a cliched archetype?

  3. ‘I WILL BE THE PERFUME BITCH TO END ALL PERFUME BITCHES!’

  4. I never understand such behavior. Why have a shop??! But I do have to ask about the Le Galion Violette. I noticed on the eBay of Mexico there’s an unopened parfum for sale…that an a Le Galion Rose. You gush about the Violette, but is it wearable? And have you smelled the Rose? Vintage perfume here is so rare, I just might have to take the plunge, even though both are listed for $100 each.

    • I have loved the tuberose and the jasmine; this one is very Le Dix-like: : cold, clay-powdered, VERY violette – could work very well as an extra hint of violet added to another perfume or as a simple violet with a white shirt. The rose I think I have smelled and also liked. Basically, the vintage Le Galions are rather lovely – but also quite old fashioned. They might be risky to buy at that price unless you are sure you like the really old-fashioned types. Catherine loved it the second she opened it though.

  5. How awful! Have you ever been able to find out, maybe from the assistant, why the owner is so atrocious and doesn’t want to sell her wares? I think Gretchen may be right about waiting until she “goes to her reward” (evil laugh), but for all we know, she has left instructions that the perfumes are to be burned with her in a magnificent, fragrant, funerary pyre.

  6. Pinkdiamonds

    I am very sorry about this experience. Having close Japanese friends I find this unbelieveable. Being in the medical field, I think it is possible this lady has a psychological condition. Alas it probably makes her totally unsuitable for customer service esp so in Japan.

    • Don’t be sorry – the tone of the piece should tell you I find this utterly hilarious and a vivid experience I / we will never forget. It’s also important to puncture the myth that everyone here is polite – no country fits one stereotype, and by god, you had better believe that despite the general levels of exquisite politeness, there are plenty of the rudest, insultingest fucks to go around as well as there are in any place. Yes, you have given me some ideas for my next piece, actually. …..

  7. Cath

    I’m in tears now reading this. Tears of laughter. But on Monday it would have been tears of anger and indignation. The whole situation was unreal and unfair. I even had nightmares that night. Gosh, never again.
    Though I admit that part of me wants to know “what the fuck is the deal with this bitch?” I want to go in there and question her, like a psychiatrist would, trying to unveil the truth and reasons for her being such a horrible and obnoxious person full of hatred towards the world.
    Looking down on customers (intruders) because we don’t look like we can afford her treasures. If only she knew! I have a mind to go back and show her some pictures asking if she has this and that, and if she says no, I’ll retort with: of course you haven’t because THEY ARE MINE!!!
    But she’s not worth my energy. Let the old bitter bat spew her poison at others. I’m no masochist.
    It was definitely one of the weirder experiences in this crazy country and makes for a funny story to tell.
    Thanks for an unforgettable day dear Neil 🤣❤️

    • !!!!!

      You know, I think this is the best way of looking at it (but you see: even YOU have a slight desire to go back…..ol’ Marisol has that pull, because you WANT TO UNDERSTAND). xx

      • Cath

        If I ever DO go back (not alone though!!!) I’ll think of a few scenarios or approaches. I was so polite, hoping she would see I’m a genuinely nice person.
        That didn’t work. So I could try talking to her the way she did to me, show her I’m not scared and I won’t take shit from her. And if that doesn’t work I’ll go for the Osaka-ben, really nasty, mobster talk. I know how to do it and if she gets me all worked up it will come out naturally. Maybe that will shut her up. 😂

      • Oh god we are getting worse than her! An evil vicious cycle.

        ACTUALLY, the thing to do is, call up her assistant and ask for a specific perfume and order it. Once that has been done, you will be able to go in at the predesignated time and collect it.

        And then the python will have no words….

      • But you are right: you were INCREDIBLY polite – more than anyone could be expected to be in the circumstances. I was genuinely impressed by your conduct.

  8. Tara C

    She must be certifiably mad. For sure I would never go back! I would be traumatized for hours after such an encounter, although I do understand your hysterical laughter after such an over-the-top display of venom. I quite like the whole scenario of looting the place though, before or after her demise. 🙂

  9. Phyllis Ann Iervello

    What a great read! Catherine wrote a very short post in another blog several days back but I was delighted to read your in depth description of the perfume field trip. I am still laughing although if I were in that shop with the two of you, I would have been even more perplexed…especially since I know no Japanese whatever!

  10. S

    Two scenarios come to mind: 1) she’s a hoarder, in which case it’s unlikely anyone will ever be able to buy anything from her 2) lurking inside is someone who does really want to engage but, for whatever reasons, is unable to. Have you ever tried disarmament?—when you ask whether she has a certain item and she retorts “Takai!,” ask her, completely nonplussed, how many millions of yen it is that she wants for it. Would that break the ice, I wonder . . .

    • No. She loathed us from the moment we crossed her cursed threshold. If it wasn’t for all the young Japanese people she orders to leave upon entering, I would claim racism, but I think it’s probably more some kind of ‘policy’ she has built up in her mind over the years about selling only to the ‘right’ people ( whoever THEY might be ), as when people give away kittens to the right homes.

      Perhaps she has just built up decades of poisonous snobbery walls about this and, now that she is in her demented dotage, has no way out ….

  11. bibimaizoon

    Hmmm, having worked in healthcare for 20 years I am accustomed to dealing with characters that hiss and spit (even when not backed into a corner). I am reminded of an interesting concept from the French philosopher Emile-Auguste Chartier:
    ‘Never say that people are evil,’ he wrote, ‘you just need to look for the pin.’
    The “pin” being akin to the thorn in the lion’s paw in the famed fable of Androcles. There’s likely a reason for her rude behavior, and the hope is that you can muster enough sympathy to keep yourself from getting angry and rude, too. That being said, I am a native San Franciscan, and San Francisco is rife with shopkeepers such as Mdm Marisol. I recall a restaurant/bar in the Upper Haight district called the Zam Zam with a particularly surly Russian owner and barkeep. If the Russian liked you, you would be served – if not you would be refused service and insulted. He liked me, so I was soon dragged along whenever anyone wished to visit the Zam Zam and was jokingly referred to as its mascot. I truly doubt you’ll find Marisol’s pin without years of therapy though. My usual retort to these individuals’ abusive remarks is, “Are you having a bad day?”

    • I definitely do have sympathy. My first priority here was producing a good read, so I didn’t shy away from describing her villainous tendencies ( one detail I forgot to mention : she actually HIT me when I first went in and reached up for a tester; grabbing my arm and knocking it out of the way).

      Even so, you are right. Something is making her behave this way, and I don’t actually want to hurt her any further, even with all the joking here.

  12. Oh no! I was really enjoying the beginning part of this post. Focusing on this and not the latter, I was curious to know approximately how many bottles of perfume do you possess?

  13. Brilliant story, she sounds like a caricature of someone you would see in a movie- like that old guy in Big trouble in Little China, very rude and obnoxious and gaining pleasure from making others feel small. Perhaps you could ask her, if you dared go back, what she would be willing to part with that day? Also I had a thought that maybe she doesn’t like ‘happy’ couples…

  14. Nelleke Oepkes aka Booknose

    Drag Basil out from. Fawlty Towers and just let him do his thing …
    Sounds like a fascinating Encontre of obtuse West and raving East, but maybe fatal ?
    Ne
    Anyhow you made my day with your tale of woe; nothing like that to put me in quite a cheerful frame of mind.
    Maybe I am also a tiny bit like Mme Marisol …
    And is this her cup of tea for a satisfying karma afternoon …

    • How exquisitely you capture the actual ambience of her poisonous parlour – it is as if you are distant viewing, clairvoyant

      • Nelleke Oepkes aka Booknose

        it was your vivid description that made me feel I was actually being there standing at a distance, fortunately out of spitting
        Reach

        And this was so Rose of Cairo, I was spellbound

  15. I am seriously contemplating buying a ticket and flying there tomorrow to do this with you.
    She can’t snake venom someone who is shoplifting.
    Portia xx

  16. Zubeyde Erdem

    Ohh, I got similar treatment from her a few years ago. She is very rude person.

    • A similar situation ?

      How did you react?

      I can just imagine your sweet, shocked and dejected face ( to paraphrase the Pet Shop Boys and Pedro Almodovar ::

      WHAT THE FUCK HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS ? )

      • Zubeyde Erdem

        Yes, exactly I thought in that way. I was seriously a perfume hunter at those days. As soon as I entered inside she stared at me with her snake eyes full of negativity ,she was saying to me something like that what I was asking for was available but expensive while monitoring me from tip to top as i was saying to myself : “ it is better to go away before her poison reach out to me ! You can’t ruin my day. “
        The picture you took of her from the mirror is exactly what I have in my mind for her. !

      • YES ‘ snake eyes full of negativity’ is at PRECISELY

  17. Daphne Hume

    Neil, l read this out to Rod who laughed his socks off. Unbelievable for Japan.
    Dxx

  18. David

    How utterly horrible! I had to re-read the part where she actually admitted to being a bitch, and saying you should have learned what to do before coming in….that makes me think she is completely aware of her behaviour….so is she a sociopath? And I have to wonder what is the correct way to enter her store? I also wonder if she/her store has been written about in the Japanese media. Horrible and fascinating.
    I need to think nice thoughts after reading this….I remember finding a used junk store in Tokyo, mainly filled with used clothes and trinkets. The owner never put prices on his items, but he charged absurdly low prices for used Prada, Luis Vuitton, Celine. I’d scoop all that stuff up, go to the register, always scared to hear the total…and he’d say, “hmm, today 4000 yen.” He occasionally had perfume. I bought an unopened Jean Desprez Sheherazade there. I guess that was the rarest perfume I found.

    • I had wondered if you had ever strayed by accident into La Marisol, but obviously not.

      Yes, the think about admitting to being a bitch or whatever it was, Catherine translated immediately afterwards but I didn’t entirely understand the meaning of it either – but you are right: it suggests self-awareness. I think you are supposed to be so excited to be allowed into her hall of treasures that you research beforehand on how to proceed, look for the perfume in advance you want, and then go in without any fuss and just ask for it. Then again, that is kind of what we did, and her reactions could hardly have been more loathsome. She was NASTY

    • Zubeyde Erdem

      David you are brilliant person ! You got the pin point. All is about she is a old ancient cobra sitting on precious holy gems. She can talk our language but I believe her soul is like cobra we watch at movies. She is examining the hunters’ purpose ( errr willingness) before letting them have one. She is of course awere of her attitude but never minds at all. I don’t think so that she cares about of money that much. Somehow, it must be matter of satisfying of each other needs. That cobra has a unbelievable holy gems that must collecting for years. I guess,this is her mission as much as she is alive. Weird desho ???!

  19. Talk about the day coming to an abrupt crashing disaster. I would love to go into the store and try to speak French to her and see what happens. Especially after her comment to your friend concerning L’Heure Bleue.
    I would be so taken aback, because I am used to being treated very well in shops I’ve gone into.
    Thank goodness not a soul has of yet treated me this poorly, dismissive yes, but not blatantly vicious.
    Better luck next time.

  20. i am going to tokyo in a few weeks. can you recommend me a shop for vintage perfumes, which are nice to customers? I don’t speak Japanese, just some phrases….

  21. Matty

    I’m surprised that she’s got an assistant. It can’t be very pleasant working with her.

  22. empliau

    What a story! And are you a fancier of Tamango de Leonard? I wore it in 1980-81 — it was a great favorite of mine in college.

    Seriously, this is a dangerous tale – there’s no likelihood that I will be in Tokyo, but if I were, I’d creep in – and experience what you did, without understanding a word! You could start a Marisol challenge.

  23. This is utterly hilarious, fascinating, horrifying, frustrating, tantalizing. What a read! Thanks for this glimpse into perfume bitch madness.

  24. Lady Murasaki

    I definitely wasn’t expecting this when I saw the reflection photo in the middle of the article. The cursing words are especially surprising – there is a lot of tips on the Internet that this isn’t how Japanese people react when they are angry, unlike what is shown in anime and the movies, but she sounds exactly like Yubaba! I wouldn’t be surprised if the narrative ended with you lost in a fantasy dimension as soon as you got out her door.

    I like the theory she doesn’t like happy couples (or people she supposes that are a couple). Probably is unrelated to her behavior, but after this episode, who knows?

    • Well one detail I failed to admit was that while we were on the verge of leaving, a young American came in, hoveringly and with all the right levels of subservience, and we could see through the window that she was at the very least looking with him at his smartphone and providing some assistance. Yes. Maybe it was her vicious heterophobia that did us in, ultimately.

      And yes – a portal to another dimension – GUERLAINWORLD – did certainly seem possible!

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