Last week, I introduced Follow, a shop selling gorgeous handcrafted leather bags, housed in a converted old wooden townhouse in the center of Osaka. Mei is located in the same building, although the entrance is outside and not through the courtyard.
Mei, named after owner Mei Iwasaki, offers antique kimono and Japanese accessories.
“I always try to find everyday kimono from the Taisho Period (1912-1926),” Iwasaki-san told me when I visited. “But they are becoming rarer and more expensive all the time.” I could still find a lot of Taisho kimono at Mei, though.
Before WWII, kimono were worn every day. But these days, kimono are basically only worn on New Year’s day, graduation and some celebrations. They are expensive and seen as a luxury. These are the kimono that I am used to wearing. They are very different from kimono of the Taisho Period.
So these Taisho kimono, although Japanese traditional wear, feel very new to me. I find them unbelievably attractive. The colors and designs are truly distinctive.
Antique kimono at Mei.
The colors of the kimono at Mei are especially beautiful. Iwasaki-san explained that she always searches for typical Japanese colors like red, purple and black. Recently, kimono with quiet colors sell very well she told me, particularly black ones.
Before, loud colors sold better. Maybe, this is because of the recession?
What I liked about Mei is that the shop also sells metal accessories for kimono. And the shop is tiny—just a few customers fit in at one time—so Iwasaki-san can spend a lot of attention on you.
This is really helpful if you don’t know how to wear kimono, or how to choose one. Iwasaki-san will help you. She doesn’t speak English, she told me, but she can explain with gestures.
A customer tries on a kimono.
On the 21st of every month, you can find Iwasaki-san at the Toji Temple market in Kyoto as well. On the 25th, she sells at the temple market at Kitano Tenmangu. Also in Kyoto. Kjeld is planning to introduce these temple markets on JAPANESE STREETS soon, so keep your eyes open.
Mei also offers a small surprise. Iwasaki-san’s husband Junichi is a fortune teller and body healer and offers these services at Mei. The name of his business is Jun.
I actually used his services. I have no idea how he did it, but when he told me about my past he was right on the mark. Also, his healing powers took away the pain from my shoulder and swollen legs. It was just amazing.
Visiting this interesting little shop really made my day. I hope you have a chance to experience the special services offered by Mr. and Mrs. Iwasaki, too!
Name: Mei (芽依)
Address: 6-17-43 Tanimachi, Chuo-ku, Osaka 542-0012 (大阪市中央区谷町6丁目17-43
Hours: AM 11:00- PM 8:00
Access: Take exit number 3 of the Matsuyamachi Subway Station on the Nagahori Tsurumi-Ryokuchi Line (just two stations away from Shinsaibashi!). Walk straight for three minutes.