Careful readers might note that the Gifts and memories post related to girls in my life. What about the boys? One son has somewhat eccentric and colourful clothing tastes, and the other is most happy with new and used soccer shirts from around the world. The future son-in-law is very sporty.
And so I came home from Japan bearing shirts as gifts for each of the boys. But how I got them is long story that ended up at a great t-shirt shop in Mishima called Esuno-ya.
At this point I want to say ‘arigatou gozaimasu’ to Esuno-ya’s friendly manager Chizuru* who politely and patiently found a selection of t-shirts matching the personalities of the 3 boys.
I know that lots of you will want to find this place, so it is at 6-2 Shibahon-Cho Mishima-Shi, Shizuoka-ken. Only 300 metres from Mishima station on Route 51. I don’t have a photo but good old Streetview in Google Maps will show it for you.
So how did these purchases occur? And how did I connect up with Chizuru* again?
Close to half a day was spent unsuccessfully moving around shops in Shizuoka, firstly on the endless trail for a local soccer shirt. Found a few trendy second-hand stores. No luck. After traipsing out to the Shimuzu S-Pulse fan store at the bizarrely named S-Pulse Dream Plaza, I realised that not even the XXL will get near my rather tall son. And anyway – what is this Dream Plaza bit? Just seemed like a shopping centre repeated in 1,000 places in Japan. So soccer shirts are off the plan.
Then it got easy. With 4 nights in Mishima (about an hour south if Tokyo) I got to walk the streets a fair bit. I could say I was out with my friends, but that was not true. Particularly in early evenings, I would be on the prowl for that special place to eat alone in a corner after a long day seeing and doing.
On my search, I did pass by the closed Esuno-ya t-shirt shop and was struck by the mix of 60’s psychedelia, thrash-metal, J-Pop and politics jammed into this tiny place. It sang ‘my boys’.
Walking into Esuno-ya the next afternoon was sensory overload. After explaining my dilemma, Chizuru* rummaged around and said ‘what about this?’ while holding a rainbow coloured tie dyed shirt that sang ‘Tim’. Purchase number one.
What about one showing a traditional Japanese activity? Guy in festival gear drinking from very large sake bottle! Purchase number two. This buying stuff is easy.
Liam is into Star Wars. Chizuru replies with a smile only, and disappears behind a bank of shelves, to return with the prize. Controversial and nerdy. Black power salute and storm troopers. Now that is Liam.
There is a famous photo from the 1968 Olympic games in Mexico City where American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos make the Black Power salute, supported by Australian Peter Norman. An important image, and reflective of tumultuous times in the United States and elsewhere around Civil Rights.
By the way, upon opening his gift at home, Liam exclaimed: ‘sweet, controversial and nerdy!’ I knew my job as a parent was complete.
Before I left the store, I did get to chat briefly with the manager. Sharing the usual niceties about travel, why I was in Japan, following the football, and how well Chizuru spoke English – or American atleast.
Chizuru is the real name of the manager. When I write posts that mention people I see or meet, or get helped by, I try to find contact them so I can let them know of my post. For example, nice service from a Tourist Office, or a great tour from a Volunter Guide.
In this case I was interested in mentioning Esuno-ya, so googled up something like ‘t-shirt shop in Mishima’. And then the fun started. Amongst the hundreds of search returns, one was a video. Dangerous as it is sometimes to load up random videos from Youtube, there was a shop much like Esuno-ya in all its 25 minute glory, filmed by Gekkou FuuKa. Before you watch the video – be warned – there are many sweeping shots of t-shirts, t-shirts and t-shirts.
Anyway, I contacted Gekkou FuuKa and asked whether this shop was in Mishima. It sure was, it was Esuno-ya, and it turns out the manager Chizuru was her friend. Small world. I should have been a detective.
You have been warned: