This installment of Store Spotlight takes us to Tokyo, Japan! Having lived in Tokyo for a few months back in my glory college days, I have been especially stoked about this posting on Commune. Serving as part gallery/part cafe/part store, Commune definitely sets itself apart from your everyday cafe. Owner Mikuki Kawabe opened Commune in 2009 and has since been impressing everyone from the goods she sells to the events she hosts. Read more to find out!
Q: What is Commune’s aesthetic?
A: The look of my shop has wide windows on all walls. [It’s] always widely open to everybody. I just want to have things I believe [to be] “nice”! It doesn’t have to already be famous or very indie, it just has to be something new and good…always.
Q: Any fun or interesting facts you’d like to share?
A: Commune is a gallery, cafe and shop. And also sometimes a small venue and club. There are acoustic lives every week and a DJ party every month! You never know what’s coming next!
Q: Tell us about your city/neighborhood. Why do you love it?
A: Commune is close to Shin-Daita, which is very close to Shimokitazawa, where it is popular for many artists from several genres to live. From young students to old/mid-age people, they have all been active in the art community here. There are lots of venues, record shops, theaters, used clothes shops and etc. As you can imagine, it’s a very interesting place!
Q: If it weren’t for your store, where is the next most likely place you’d be?
A: If it’s in Japan, I would be in Kyoto teaching calligraphy. And if it’s anywhere in the world, I would love to live in Helsinki. I fell in love when I traveled there.
Q: What’s your favorite restaurant in your neighborhood?
A: City Country City. They serve great pastas! They also sell used and vintage records.
Q: If there is 1 thing someone “must do” when they visit your area, what would you recommend?
A: Oh, it’s hard to choose one , maybe I would say, “find delicious ramen!” There are lots of ramen shops in the area.
Q: What blogs/magazines do you follow?
A: When I have the time….my friend’s photo blog. She is one of the most promising photographers in Tokyo. She also writes another blog that talks about her husband, who is a famous rapper in Japan (ECD), and their two sweet daughters. Sorry that one is only in Japanese.
Also, handmade craft artist Ebony’s blog: Hello Sandwich. She is from Australia and loves Japanese culture and Tokyo. Her blog is very useful when you want to know what to do or where to go in Tokyo! She knows more Japanese than me!
Q: Where do you find all of your products?
A: All over the world, especially in U.S., North Europe (Sweden and Finland) and South-east Asia. We also sell some goods made by artists that had exhibits previously at Commune.