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a coolhunters’ reserve

13 September 2016

13 Sep’ 16


a coolhunters’ reserve

Rabat - Tokio - a coolhunter reserve

Tokyo is one of the most amazing cities in the world. A place where trends are born and exported to the big names in international fashion. The city and its native fauna, Tokyoites, are a coolhunters’ reserve.

In an hour I’ve arranged to be in Shibuya -one of the most popular shopping and leisure districts with Tokyo’s young people- to meet Cristina, a coolhunter who lives in this fascinating city, so that she can show it to me through her eyes, rather than those of a hurried tourist. We’ve arranged to meet in the Shibuya 109 shopping centre, the most popular one among the kogals and gals, young people and women obsessed with beauty and the fashion. There’s no better place to begin the hunt.

  • Rabat - Tokio - Shibuya coolhunters
  • Rabat - Tokio - Shibuya coolhunters

But earlier, and to save a bit of time, I went to Tokyo’s Central Park, the gigantic Yoyogui Park, an authentic green lung in the middle of this bustling district. On Sundays, Cristina tells me in a WhatsApp, this is where Tokyo’s rockabillies get together to show off their enormous quiffs and dance frenetically in front of the visitors, who stare open-mouthed at such unrestrained rhythms. But today’s Friday, so there are no quiffs in sight! During the week, the best is to stroll a while and then sit on a bench on one of its paths hedged by cherry trees. The surroundings are an unquestionable invitation to relax and I begin to understand why the Japanese are such masters of meditation.

But I’ve arranged to meet Cristina, so I leave the tranquillity of the park to immerse myself in the maelstrom of the shopping centre. Shibuya looks like Times Square at rush hour. I can’t avoid the comparison with the famous New York square, but what is different here, in the eyes of the visitor, is the number of people and their variety.
There are many different species in this reserve of fashion trends. Each with its own style: lolitas, ganguro, visual kei, gals… Cristina’s mobile phone takes photos non-stop, and between selfie and selfie, I also add some files to my Instagram account.

As always, every neighbourhood or district has its own fauna. Cristina, who knows this trend jungle well, tells me that the coolest teenage fashion brands are found in Shibuya and Harajuku, and Tokyo’s women love the big fashion brands. Gals and kogals like Aoyama, Omotesando, Ginza and Daikanyama.

  • Rabat - Tokio - gals y kogals
  • Rabat - Tokio - Omotesando hills

We decide to go to the shopping street of Omotesando, which has the best establishments and the swankiest shops. More than 100,000 vehicles drive along this street every day. The interior design of the establishments is as spectacular as the architecture of the buildings. There are impressive shops from Dior, Tod’s and the Omotesando Hills shopping centre with its 130 establishments dedicated to fashion and luxury. It is obvious that East and West meet in this district of Tokyo.

The search for new species has given us an appetite. Cristina suggests dinner in the Sukiyabashi Jiro. I can’t believe it! Jiro is the most famous sushi chef in the world, and the most long-lived –he’s 90 years old– and there’s no better place to taste nagiris, sushis, tempuras, etc. There’s barely a world-famous personality who has visited Tokyo and has not found themselves seated at the bar of Jiro’s small restaurant. It has three Michelin stars and is in the shopping arcades of the Ginza metro station! Cristina is the perfect hostess and had booked a table as soon as she had confirmation of my trip, months ago. I’ll never be able to thank her enough: I believe it’s one of the most amazing gastronomic experiences of my life. Only now I have a problem, I’ll have to compare it with Koy Shunka in Barcelona, with Hideki Matsuhisa, the best sushiman I’ve ever known. It will be a pleasure to return and check out the difference.

  • Rabat - Tokio - Sukiyabashi Jiro
  • Rabat - Tokio - Shinjuku

We round off the evening by strolling through the centre of Shibuya again. The hunt continues, but we’re more relaxed now. Tokyo, just like New York, never sleeps. Walking across Shibuya crossroads is an experience not to be missed. The statue of Hachiko, the dog who waited nine years for his dead owner to return, is the meeting point for hundreds of people. It is a spectacular sight to see how car drivers wait patiently as hundreds of people walk across its pedestrian crossings and vice versa. At night, a spectacle of light, music as a soundtrack, and people who look like extras make me feel like I’m an actress in a film. Not as Scarlett Johansson in Lost in Translation, where she was lost, but as a character in Akira’s NeoTokyo, Katsuhiro Otomo most famous manga movie. Paradoxically, I don’t find the most densely populated city in the world oppressive.

Back in my room in the Park Hyatt –the hotel where some of the scenes from Lost in Translation were filmed– I allow myself to be carried away by the magnitude of the views. The hotel is in Shinjuku, the administrative and commercial centre of Tokyo, and Cristina has sent me a WhatsApp to remind me of the plans for the next day. My head is full of ideas and images. Surely inspiration will come to me while I watch the most surreal adverts on a Japanese TV channel. Tomorrow we’ll continue our safari.

Rabat - Tokio - Park Hyatt


3-7-1-2 Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku-Ku
Tokyo, Japan, 163-1055

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