Finally it's starting to get warmer in Tokyo and signs of spring are seen everywhere, it's the simply joy. Mimosa trees outside my shop are having adorable little yellow flowers, Christmas roses and Muscaris have come out and flowering so beautifully as if all promised, it's all so much slower this year but it's all so lovely. Soon it will be the sakura season, my favourite time of the year to be in Japan. I can't wait!

It started like this, it was supposed to be just another day, it was cold like today. The plum garden behind our old apartment must be so pretty right now with blossoms. It was quiet and peaceful, just like today.
I've been thinking about that day all this morning, that day 3 years ago, the day that was going to be a normal day not going to be looked back.

It's not something that just happened then and is okay now.
Because it really is still not okay.

Thinking of Tohoku and the victims of the tsunami & earthquake including the 267,000 people still living in temporary housing after 3 years.

There are some interesting towns along Chuo-Line but I have never really been so familiar with this area, the west side of Tokyo. Last week for the very first time in my life I finally got to set my feet on Nishi-Ogikubo a fun little town with many lovely and unique small shops for zakka and antiques. There still are so many great places I haven't been to in Tokyo although I am from here. Ros showed me some of her favourite spots in Nishi-ogikubo, like when she showed me Yanaka Ros always introduces me to a new and exciting parts of my hometown Tokyo. 
Ros has a very deep understanding and excellent appreciation for the Japanese culture both modern and traditional and how she sees Tokyo and Japan is always very interesting and inspiring to me. Many people think she is Japanese but she's from Singapore who manipulates Japanese and Mandarin (and Cantonese too?) on the equally high business level to her native English. Such an amazing person!

Ros is also a great fan of Kokeshi, a Japanese folk art wooden doll, and she took me to this really cute cafe called Nishiogi Itochi Tea & Kokeshi seen in the photos above. It was a perfect spot to end our Nishi-ogi rendez-vous! Pop over to Ros's blog to see great shots and read about this place.

And here are addresses for some shops we went:

ていねいに。Teineini - cafe
1-18-1 Nishiogi-minami Suginami-ku

FALL - gallery & zakka
3-18-10 Nishiogi-Kita Suginami-ku

Poefu - selected women's clothing
3-2-3 Nishiogi-Kita Suginami-ku

There are many more to check out, Mogu-chan gave me some of her favorites too so I really need to go back again hopefully soon!