Big Red Underwear

This store is called Red Underpants, and as you can see, we’re not talking lacy thongs, here. It’s in Sugamo, a neighborhood that caters to the post-retirement crowd. Wearing red after you turn 60 is considered auspicious here in Japan, and thanks to this shop, no matter what size or shape you are, if you’re over 60, you can get lucky.

The more full-fashioned, the better

These beauties may be a little scratchy, but they’ll keep you warm in your traditional wooden house.

This store is on a street called Koshinzuka, lined with shops that sell goods from a bygone era. If you go on a day that ends in “4” there’s a fab street market with vendors selling everything from custom-blended shichimi spice to homemade squid snacks. If you’d like to visit Koshinzuka Street the next time you’re in Tokyo, a map is on my website, The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had.

Read a novel set in Tokyo

A young woman dressed as a Gothic Lolita is found dead in a car with two strangers. But the more Yumi Hata learns about her friend’s death, the more she’s convinced it was murder…read more