Nostalgia To Opportunity…

One of the few joys I find during the Christmas period is to be able to watch classic children films, such as Walt Disney’s Pinocchio or Cinderella, first thing in the morning. Obviously, I am not a BBC’s intended pre-school viewer, yet, the programme lets me relive the delight of my early childhood in the hue of Instagram filters and I love the Christmas TV listings because of it.

Another object which inspires a pang of nostalgia is Britain’s iconic red phone boxes. Sadly, they are one of those endangered spices in the modern British street-scape which are fast disappearing due to the encroaching tide of modern technology such as mobile phones, WiFi and competing rival phone companies.
As universally recognisable red boxes with glass panes, which remind me of a musical box or a bird cage, recede from our view, the spots vacated are left empty, or worse, replaced by ugly nondescript industrial looking boxes in a shade of black or grey.
Even though I am one of those who have embraced a new life style offered by modern technology such as iPhone, and as the result, have directly contributed to the demise of the telephone kiosk, I am saddened by the disappearance of the red boxes which used to be dotted around London.

Then, I came across a delightful article in a copy of the Evening Standard the other day…

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/0ed/36473391/files/2014/12/img_3318.jpg

Some of the disused phone kiosks are to have a second lease of life by being converted to coffee stands, sweet shops and shoe shines! The Red Kiosk Company, who are behind this fantastic project, hope to work with charities for the unemployed for generating job opportunities as well as adding new “crowd magnets” on our streets.
There are more than 12 planning applications already approved by local authorities. Which means it will not be long before the beloved red kiosks reappear on our pavements to be a part of our daily life again. Yippee!!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Danchi-Do @ Gondo

Oh dear, what a miserable weather we have been under in recent London. How much I miss a cold but sunny wintry sky of Nagano!!! It’s so depressing to find every morning that an endless blanket of texture-less grey sky spreading above us…
While antique shops in Nagano was a disappointingly minor affair, I was very happy to discover their used book trading was alive and kicking. Like the aforementioned vintage bookshop, Yureki-Shobo, unique used bookshops were spouting all over the city.

A used bookshop, Danchi-Do, was located in the middle of the Gondo arcade…

20140130-185459.jpg

This place used to be a fruit seller…

20140130-185630.jpg

The shop was filled with used magazines and books but also with some unexpected objects…

20140130-185912.jpg

A shallow conical object hung on the upper left was a braided straw hat and a stick with inscription propped against the wall was a cane. They were traditionally carried by a pilgrim travelling from a temple to temple.
And a pile of the boxes on the right were cigar boxes! It was ¥300 each.

Some books were bundled-up and on top of them, there were old suitcases. And above them, I found two masks and a cluster of dolls in the box…

20140130-190023.jpg

Those masks were of Ebisu (恵比寿) – the Japanese god of fishermen, luck, and workingmen, as well as the guardian of the health of small children. Their smiling face is infectious, don’t you agree? A small blue chair was a typical swivel chair found in any Japanese children’s room.
The shop floor resembled someone’s attic stuffed with all sorts of bygone items.

A tray of toys…

20140130-190117.jpg

Toy cars, ¥300 each…

20140130-190209.jpg

Comparing with Yureki-Shobo, books were displayed in rather a haphazard manner. However, it increased a sense of treasure hunting…

20140130-190356.jpg

From the ceiling, charts and theatre posters were hung…

20140130-190454.jpg

The shop also dealt with framed artworks too…

20140130-190538.jpg

In spite of being a cold afternoon, locals were showing keen interest in what Danchi-Do offered…

20140130-190704.jpg

People were flicking through pages of old magazines, studying covers of books and stroking spines of the books with their finger tips. A good supply of nostalgic books would be a perfect antidote for Nagano’s long & cold winter. I bought a book for my mum and a magazine for me and headed home, carefully treading over icy pavement…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Blog at WordPress.com.