On one of my breaks I wandered around Meguro station and stumbled across a row of building facades that resembled a New York tenement, and then a Paris row house. It was cool and unexpected, snuggled up against a run-down dress-making school, over the rumbling Yamanote Line.
I entered and found three floors of mostly furniture, every kind of furniture. There was furniture you might find in an antique store, an Ivy League library, a chic hippie café, or in a dusty attic.
Aside from the furniture, there’s every kind of household paraphernalia you might find in a typical American garage sale. I saw everything from gumball machines to surfboards to books organized by cover color.
The business is separated into two themes housed in the two main buildings. Ease New York houses Americana, and Ease Paris has all things European.
It’s just a crazy jumble of everything and nothing has a price tag. And that’s because nothing there is for sale. I was approached eventually by one of the casually dressed employees who started chattering away in Japanese. When I explained I didn’t speak Japanese, he proceeded to speak Japanese anyway but more slowly. What I understood was that everything there is for rent only. Most of their customers were photographers for magazines and ad companies who needed access to a variety of things that would be difficult to get and expensive to buy, especially since it’d be used only once.
I realized that even the building facades could be used in photo shoots. They could be customized, repainted or fitted with different doors as needed. There was even a charming little provencal garden between the two buildings.
I enjoyed nostalgically perusing all the things that reminded me of home, common to me but completely exotic in the heart of Tokyo. Foosball tables, nerf balls, banana skateboards, big wheels, and bean bags. It was all there. And for a furniture design fetishist, it’s hours of museum-quality exploring. For more pictures click here.
Directions: From Meguro Station, it’s a 3 minute walk. After exiting the station, go to the Atre 2 building. Go down the little street to the building’s right for a few minutes. It’s on the right.