Rebecca Suzuki ◆ August 5, 2015
Not too long ago, a friend and I stumbled upon a huge antique/thrift shop in the middle of nowhere. The shop was built to look like a mock castle, with its Kawara-tiled roof. In front, there was a big sign that said something along the lines of: Mysterious Objects from Around the World in an outdated Japanese font. So naturally, as we biked past this place, we decided to stop and step inside.
The sign didn’t disappoint—it was indeed a place filled with mysterious objects. It was like stepping into a cluttered attic at your grandmother’s house—highly disorganized but highly fascinating. After the friendly staff handed us cups of cold tea, my friend and I began walking through the maze between piles of framed artwork, toys that my mother probably played with as a baby, and violins that were missing all of its strings. My favorite room was perhaps the cash register room: it was filled with countless cash registers from before modern computerized ones were invented—even equipped with wooden drawers. I wondered what anyone would do with old-fashioned cash registers—perhaps they would make good décor for hipster cafés or something?
Although I frequent thrift stores in New York City hoping to snag brand-named items donated by Upper Easterners, I was never really interested in antique shops, so I don’t have a great source of comparison. However, for whatever reason I am not sure if American antique shops casually sell full Samurai gear or Japanese WWII memorabilia like this place did. Sitting in the glass casings, one could easily mistake the place for a museum had there not been price tags on all of the items. There were old guns, uniforms, badges, medals, boots… Let’s just say I did a double or triple take on most of the merchandise there.
Unfortunately, I did not bike home that day with a full samurai gear tied to the back of my bicycle. I didn’t actually purchase anything there, but the experience of the visit was perhaps worth more than actually taking any of the items home. Besides, what would I have done with an urn?