Be forewarned all ye who enter here: Strange Love is the spookiest store in the world. And I don’t mean cute-spooky, I mean spooky-spooky. The owner combs the flea markets, haunted estates and Transylvanian castle garage sales of America and Europe to bring together the weirdest, creepiest and most awesome collection of odd-gothic memorabilia I’ve ever seen. From headless dolls to stuffed gophers wielding machine guns, it’s your one stop shop for all things macabre.
Incongruously tucked behind the parade of cookie cutter fashion shops at the Venusfort mall in Odaiba, Strange Love sneaks up on you like Narnia in a coat closet. Suddenly, after endless displays filled with tasteful togs, a series of windows stuffed with dismembered mannequins, encoffined Barbies and genuine gargoyles. And there’s no front door. In order to be admitted, you have to find the red footprints in front of the blue light and hit the big brass bell in front of you with a hammer (provided). If you pass muster with the owner (who checks you out from the murky depths of the store beyond), he’ll admit you through a locked door that can only be opened from the inside.
Everything inside this Goth Aladdin’s cave is for sale. If your decorating taste runs to Addams Family (or you’re propping a horror film), Strange Love had better be your first stop off the plane when you land in Japan.
If you’d like to visit Strange Love the next time you’re in Tokyo, get off the Yurikamome Line monorail at Aomi Station and head into the 2nd floor of the Venusfort mall. Make a beeline for the Lego store, but keep going, and you’ll see the forbidding windows of Strange Love on your right. Also, the owner gave me special permission to take pictures in his store, but usually they’re not allowed, so please respect his wishes and don’t get me in trouble for telling you how to get there! (> <)
Read a novel set in Tokyo…
Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!