The morning before we visited the Parasite Museum, C took me out to a neighbourhood in Tokyo called Shimokitazawa. It's kind of like a laid-back Harajuku. It's popular with students and young people and there are tonnes of handmade and vintage shops scattered around. The entire suburb has the feeling of a market town, with narrow laneways and tiny nooks full of interesting bits and pieces.
After scoring some neat handmade goodies, we made our way to the Village Vanguard diner for lunch. Village Vanguard bills itself as "an exciting bookstore", which I guess it is. It's full of books, yes, but also novelty items, souvenirs, toy cameras, homewares, Americana, stationary and so much more. You can easily walk out of there with something under 100¥ (around $1) if you are on a tight budget.
It's a fairly dizzying experience wandering through the tightly packed store, I think you could spend an entire day inside and not see every little item they have stashed away. There are lots of Village Vanguards around Tokyo, but the one in Shimokitazawa is the first :)
The diner was pretty fun, too. We tucked into some burgers and onion rings in fairly standard diner surroundings, which is a bit of a novelty in Japan.
If you're ever in Japan and need a quirky gift for someone (or yourself), definitely pay a visit to a Village Vanguard, you won't leave empty handed!