OCCUPATION: Founder of Abi Loves…, designer for Eliza J
MY STYLE: I love being a jeans and t-shirt girl—specifically, Acne skinny jeans, a Zambesi top, Dries Van Noten jacket, Julien David silk scarf, Patrick Stephan clutch, and custom jewelry from Saiki Paris or Kiyoshi Tokyo.
I LOVE TOKYO BECAUSE: It’s clean and safe. I can leave my handbag on the seat of a café while taking care of the kids, and no one would ever steal it. But it’s tricky because we forget to worry when we travel! The city is functional with subways and taxis everywhere, the best restaurants in the world, and a nice, always-changing international crowd. Kids learn to be open-minded and make new friends easily. Most days are sunny with a blue sky, and I love the way the people’s traditions are often connected to natural seasons. We all get spoiled by this city from time to time, for different reasons!
You can get just about any variety of flora or fauna at Nicolai Bergman, but the florist is best known for boxed arrangements—a trend that grew, as legend has it, out of Japanese men being too bashful to carry bouqets in public. At the Tokyo location, the adjoined café feels much like a secret garden, complete with plants growing down the walls and exquisite arrangements on the tables. As for the actual food, Abigail Mary Terrien enjoys the fresh salads, Smørrebrød (Scandinavian open-faced sandwiches) and teas.
Whether you’re into light and fluffy cream puffs or dense, flourless cakes, this chocoholic’s haven is a necessary stop in Tokyo. “I’ll grab coffee and croissant from Lindt after driving the kids to school,” says Abigail Mary Terrien. “The shop is so small and cute, and the chocolate is amazing. I can’t resist picking up a few treats for the kids to have after school. Most importantly, the café opens early (8 am), which is hard to find in Tokyo.”
A true man for all seasons, Nezu Kaichiro was a businessman, politician, philanthropist, and serious art collector to boot. In his will, he specified that his collection was to be preserved. The result, the Nezu Museum, opened in 1941 and houses pre-modern Asian paintings, calligraphy, sculpture, and ceramics. Outside, you’ll find a traditional garden and teahouse (Kaichiro was also a tea enthusiast!) After a three-year renovation, the Nezu Museum reopened in 2009 in conjunction with the opening of a new building designed by renowned architect Kuma Kengo. In the fall of 2012, the museum will host an exhibition of paintings of fans titled “The Tale of Heike.” Photo credit: Fujitsuka Mitsumasa
This sweetery is best known for its artisanal wagashi, a Japanese confectionary made from flavored mochi (rice paste) and fruit. About the size of a sushi roll, the bite-size treats are especially great for young kids, but the whole family will enjoy Higashiya’s drinks and seasonal snack foods. “Once the kids get out of school, we’ll come here for hot buns and afternoon tea,” says Abigail Mary Terrien. “It’s catching up time with my little sweethearts.”
You won’t feel misled by the name of this eatery, as the tonkatsu dishes (fried cutlets served with cabbage and soup) are considered some of the best in town. “Housed in a former bath house, Maisen Tonkatsu is famous for its black pork cutlets,” says Abigail Mary Terrien. “It’s an institution. Plus, it’s close to the Omotesando fashion district, and perfect for a weekday or weekend lunch.”
Piping hot French bread with butter, chicken liver, scallops with a pesto mushroom risotto, carpaccio, sorbet. These may not be the dishes that usually come to mind when you think Tokyo, but that doesn’t mean they won’t blow you away at the cozy Pignon. “My husband and I are always so impressed by Rimpei, the Japanese bohemian chef who has travelled the world preparing great food and returned with the secrets to Morrocan and French cuisine,” says Megumi Nakajima-Caldwell. I recommend sitting at the counter and doing Omakase—just give your chef your budget and he will whip up something fitting.” Omakase is even an option for Western visitors, as Rimpei is fluent in English.
This salon boasts an extensive list of services—from facials to gel manicures to eyelash extensions—and caters to English-speaking foreigners in particular. “Beauté Absolue is the best manicure/pedicure I’ve ever had,” says Abigail Mary Terrien. “It’s one of the few places around that does waxing, too.”