Wrapping Paper That’s Too Nice For Any Present


Cats at the public bath!

There’s one problem with shopping at the chiyogami store in Yanaka – in a matter of  minutes, my shopping basket was stacked with ten times the number of sheets I came for, and all of them were whispering, “Frame me!” Even though the paper isn’t expensive, I knew when I got home I wouldn’t be able to bear cutting up and sticking a piece of tape on any of them. In fact, I wasn’t sure I could give them away.

This store’s designs are so wonderful, Van Gogh immortalized one of them in a painting. If you ask, the cashier will show you a book with a picture of the painting, and sure enough, the paper in the background is recognizable as one that they still sell in the store today! I guess Van Gogh had the same problem.


An Edo Era toyseller’s stand that also never made it to the cutting room floor. I’m sorry to say, my friend got a birthday wrapped in a piece of boring old tissue paper I managed to scrounge from the back of my paper drawer.

If you’d like to go to the Isetatsu chiyogami store 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

In the wake of a deadly earthquake, fans erupt in a frenzy of mourning when it’s discovered that their favorite pop star is among the dead. But when Detective Kenji Nakamura is sent to investigate a death at a local shrine, he finds evidence that suggests the impossible: How could the head priest have been murdered by…read more