Oi Racecourse markets

There are several large markets around Tokyo though depending on time of year, day and location, they can be cancelled with little notice so its always good to have alternative options up your sleeve. A lesser known one but one of the biggest is held in the car park of the Oi Racecourse.

Getting there: there is a direct line from Tokyo station to Tachiaigawa station. After that, its about a 15min walk.

From the station there are small lanes with a scattering of quaint shops which lead out to major roads where its easy to follow the trickle of people coming and going from the venue.

The carpark is mostly covered which makes it far more pleasant during the sweltering July heat. For those from Brisbane, I liken them to the Rocklea markets due to the vendors covering both end of the markets scale from small businesses with quality products and marketing to the Marie Kondo mum that grabbed the junk drawers and the kids toy box and poured them on to a tarp. Due to this wide variety, there are bargains to be had and there is a lot of stuff you simply wont normally see about.

Travel tip: while quite large its still possible to cover the whole venue in an hour or 2 walking at a slow amble even with a modest sized crowd
Travel tip: food and toilets are on site


Meguro Mipig Café

There wasn’t much we wanted to see in the Shinagawa area but to make the trip to the markets worthwhile we chose to take a slight detour to Meguro for the Mipig café on the way back. If you weren’t planning on venturing out that way, don’t fret, there are several mipig locations across Tokyo (:

Getting there: From Tachiaigawa station, change at Oimachi station then on to Meguro station or you could easily make the trip via Shibuya station if you’re coming from any other direction. From Meguro station it’s a direct route along Meguro dori Ave. however due to a couple steepish hills, the walk can feel a lot longer even though its under 2km. Being on a major road, there are however frequent buses if you want to save time and effort.

The Meguro location is a small two level store with reception area downstairs and the petting room upstairs via a small narrow staircase.

Travel tip: you must purchase a beverage on top of the session fee. Your order is taken once you’re seated.

Most people sit on the floor as chairs are limited, after the drinks are delivered the pigs are released and are free to roam the room. Don’t worry if they don’t initially come to you, the handlers will lead them to everyone for a chance to pet and hold at least one. The pigs are very tame, friendly and inquisitive but they are still pigs with hooves so take care if you have any exposed skin.

Travel tip: there is no food for the pigs, you can not feed them and you must remain seated for the session.

We stopped at Macca’s for brekky first and just had to try the maple syrup infused “waffle” bun McMuffin. Yep, every bit as sickly delicious as it sounds :p


On the way back to Tokyo we finally caught a great view of Mt. Fuji through what seemed to be a large window at a station along the way…(couldnt believe my timing to catch a shinkansen in the shot as well! :p )


Yoyoji Park

Not too happy about our other failed attempts at rummaging through a large flea market in Japan, this was our last chance. Weather was good, no forecast for rain, left Osaka early to try and beat the crowd… unfortunately the forecast said nothing about protesters! Not sure what they were on about but they were everywhere along with police and media. Foiled again. The park however was a nice consolation for a walk around and to take in some of the outrageously dressed people, dancers, artists and even a cardboard box town that looked like it was pieced together and built/painted on over many hours throughout the day.

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The park in itself is huge so even though it gets rather busy there’s always a nice quiet spot away from all the action.

Disappointed once again, there was only one thing left to do…. SHOP!

Takeshita Street and surrounds

We’ve covered Harajuku previously and you’d have to be researching the wrong country to have missed any mention of the place in reading up of Tokyo must-see’s so we’ll leave you with the knowledge that nothing much has changed… in the sense that everything changes all the time. They’ve spruced up the building fasades on Takeshita street and the major street that runs adjacent to it. Cat Street has also gotten a face lift and a few different shops have moved in. The best thing, most of our fave sneaker/streetwear stores have all moved together. Undefeated, Kicks Lab, Chapter, La Brea Avenue (and Supreme if you like extra hype with your purchases) are all within spitting distance of each other along with seizure inducing rainbow colour store 6% Dokidoki and Ninja Warrior champion sponsor – Rescue Squad. Also in the area, Nike Harajuku, the massive Harajuku Daiso and the irresistible Kiddyland.



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With Shibuya so close, its worth the walk to discover some new sights and places that you’d miss on the train, and that we did. We grabbed a bite to eat at Teddy’s Bigger Burger, a burger joint from our last destination, Hawaii with a guy serving that could only be classed as “quite the character”, which simply added to the great dining experience and tasty food :-‘9


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Continuing down Meiji Dori sees eye catching landmarks like the Audi Forum “crumpled glass” building, sneaker boutique, Atmos, familiar brands like DC, Burberry and local quirky tee store, Graphix. We also stumbled across a live graffiti art install outside a skate shop and swingin’ rockabilly greaser store, Temmye – Cream Soda on our way to our streetwear faves, KiksTYO and Santastic, then almost got caught in an interview with a lifestyle TV show at the Shibuya crossing.


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While we struck out completely with the markets this time, we at least added a few new “I’ll be back” spots to the list for future visits.

Next up we hit two of the biggest sights in Osaka, Osaka castle and the Umeda Sky building.

If you have any questions on our travels, where to buy, what to do, hit us up on the Soulbridge media facebook page.

Japan 2013 part #1 – Arrival
Japan 2013 part #2 – Tokyo International Toy Expo
Japan 2013 part #3 – Gotemba – Premium Outlets mall
Japan 2013 part #4 – Tokyo – Studio Ghibli Museum
Japan 2013 part #5 – Tokyo – Kichijoji and Nakano
Japan 2013 part #6 – Tokyo – Akihabara
Japan 2013 part #7 – Tokyo – Tamiya HQ, Diver City
Japan 2013 part #8 – Yokohama – Zoorasia
Japan 2013 part #9 – Yokohama – Ramen Museum
Japan 2013 part #10 – Nissan HQ and Yokohama
Japan 2013 part #11 – Osaka – Nanba Shopping
Japan 2013 part #12 – Kyoto
Japan 2013 part #13 – Tokyo – Harajuku, Shibuya
Japan 2013 part #14 – Osaka castle, Umeda Sky building
Japan 2013 part #15 – Osaka Aquarium and Tempozan wheel
Japan 2013 part #16 – Osaka Universal Studios

Last weekend we popped down to the Kustom Krafts market on a sweltering 29C (for almost winter!) but beautiful day. If you like a spot of swing dancing, old cars or just about anything from or inspired by the 50s or 60s then this is the place for you! Check out their facebook page for details of their next event or if you’d like to man a stall yourself.




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Kam Super Swap meet

The Americans love a good swap meet and Hawaii is no different. Unlike the polarising ones in Brisbane where its either junk that should be left for hard rubbish collection or small businesses peddling their wares (and knock offs), the Kam Super Swap Meet has a nice wide variety of items. The gaps between new and junk are padded a lot more liberally with quality used items and crafts and the standard of said items is a lot higher. Bless those hoarders.

Vintage shoppers and those after a weird relic souvenir will find plenty of treasures here as there are far more average Joes and families selling bits and pieces which can be over looked by locals but valued by us tourists. A prime example is a bicycle licence plate was a mere couple dollars but look for the same thing on ebay and it goes for $15-20 to the international market. Of course with the strong contingent of personal sellers a spot of light haggling easily brings the price down on multiple buys. Remember the flea market mantra, the more they sell, the less they have to carry back home!


Other items range from antique war memorabilia and household items to retail stores selling Dickies and other clothing. There is also a selection of food stalls, a big trailer with a roast chicken production line and quite possibly the best value shave ice on the island. $3 for a cartoon sized pile of ice means you’ll be sorted for the day… if only you didn’t have to race against the forces of nature to eat it!


Getting there

Getting there isn’t too difficult, once you’re within about 3 blocks, the traffic grinds to a halt as drivers are directed to the back of the venue through a winding path of raw uneven ground with bodykit and sump destroying ditches and rocks abound (Id hate to see (or go near) the place if it had been raining the day before). The movement is very slow but steady till a lead driver does the “I’ll wait to see where they’re headed then follow them back to their car” (only to have the person tell them they aren’t leaving or not having a car at all!) The key is to get past the initial dash for parks, this is still a bit of a walk back to the actual market so head back in the direction you came in, this will also give you a jump start on the stream of cars exiting.
But in saying that, I would say finding a park on an adjacent street or shopping area would be an easier and less frustrating way to go about it.

Aloha Stadium Swap meet


At the other end of the scale, you have the Aloha Stadium swap meet. If Kam was the Rocklea markets then this would be the Southbank markets. Gazebo’d/marquee’d stalls selling pretty much all new mass produced items, plenty of souvenirs and redundancy ad nauseam, not to say there aren’t some unique items. Kawaii printed kitchen wear (aprons, tea towels etc) were our favourite while tradition Hawaiian wear and shirts were put in the “but when would you actually wear it back home” column. “Everywhere!” I hear some of you exclaim, if this is the case, you’ll have a field day.
Another little gem we came across were Koa wood rings, made or trimmed with local Koa wood, which has actually been recently protected from mass felling.



The food selection follows the variety and quality of the stalls with anything from fresh fruit and veg and fresh cut coconut milk drinks to home made snacks and sit down pulled pork meals. The stadium’s fixed cafeteria and some of its toilets are also open to the public.



Travel tip: The markets are held in the circular carpark that surrounds the stadium and fills pretty much all of it so it doesn’t really matter where you park. Parking is available along the one-way ring road adjacent to the markets. Ample addition parking is available back near the entrance if you do a full lap.

Made in Hawaii Festival


This large annual event held at the Neal S. Blaisdell Exhibition Hall is a showcase of local arts and crafts and small businesses.
Quite a few of the usual souvenir items from the previous markets were rehashed here, some with their own unique flair but a lot were no different. The craft and art items were however definitely of a higher quality and originality highly likely due to being crafted by small businesses and not mass produced. Likewise goes for the home brewed foods. Shortbreads and potato chips samples were hard to deny, as were the closing time multi buy deals 😉



They even had every FM radio’s favourite game, the cash grab!


Travel tip: The festival goes for 3 days (Fri-Sun) each in around mid August and is open till 9pm (Fri. Sat) and 5pm on Sun. We got there around 8pm and found they had packed up the entry ticket booths so it was a nice price to get in 😉 Entry fee is normally only $4 anyway so its not going to break the bank if you have to pay. Speaking of bank, look for $1 off coupons at First Hawaiian Bank branches.

If you have any questions about our adventures, feel free to hit us up on facebook.

Hawaii 2012 part #1 – Arrival
Hawaii 2012 part #2 – Waikiki
Hawaii 2012 part #3 – Honolulu shopping – Part A
Hawaii 2012 part #4 – The Big Island – Volcano tour
Hawaii 2012 part #5 – Shopping Honolulu – part B
Hawaii 2012 part #6 – Tattoo Honolulu / Boardshorts: A Perfect Fit art exhibits
Hawaii 2012 part #7 – Pearl City area
Hawaii 2012 part #8 – Swap meets and Made in Hawaii festival
Hawaii 2012 part #9 – Cook offs and Car shows
Hawaii 2012 part #10 – North shore
Hawaii 2012 part #11 – Windward shore and Sealife Park
Hawaii 2012 part #12 – Chief’s Luau at Sealife Park
Hawaii 2012 part #13 – South shore – Diamondhead crater, Hanauma bay

With a little time to spare we caught the black line from Chalk Farm to Old Street (just make sure you get the one going through Kings Cross, not Euston) to make a stop at an “in the know” sneaker collector spot Kazmatazz.  Walking past, you’d be forgiven if you thought it was just one of those discount .99p stores with items stacked along its front window but on further inspection of the unpacked boxes and seemingly random grouping display, you’ll see a method to the madness with a lot of unique pieces of clothing and sneakers.  A lot of items weren’t in multiple sizes or colours and quite a few I had never seen in the States let alone London or at all, another very good sign.  On the down side, you would have to trust his taste and selection to really benefit from the “uniqueness” as some colourways and styles were questionable to say the least.


Watching, who I assume was the owner, stand firm against a middle age guy trying to haggle 60%+ off a pair of jeans was amusing to say the least.  While firm with this guy, he was only to friendly to have a chat and point out new arrival stock to me.  Chat a bit more and if you know what you’re talking about he may suggest you to have a look at the “good stuff out back/behind the counter”.  From the quick look I had before he went back to Mr. Lowballer, it seems he may have access to a Tier 0/1 account and possibly a collector’s collection from the colourways and models I saw.  Either way, stock was very limited, no idea on sizes but it would be one of those places where frequent visits would be required on the off chance you nab something you’ve been chasing.

Unfortunately with thoughts of overweight luggage looming, we left empty handed and headed down Bishopgate.  Getting towards the business districts, it was eerily quiet on a weekend but a nice walk to see some stark contrasts of modern skyscrapers amongst period architecture.  To cut across to Brick Lane, by pure chance we wandered down Brushfield St where we stumbled across the Old Spitalfield markets.  While not huge, it still had quite a few rows of stalls, “classier” or more elegant styled arts and crafts, jewellery and hand crafted clothing sat amongst the market staples of novelty tees and souvenirs.

Arriving at Brick Lane was like walking into a music festival.  Normally its full of expats and backpackers looking for the cheapest curry deals but come the weekend they’re looking for the cheapest of… just about anything else.  The food stores still have their “hey buddy” “come have a look” staff on the street but towards the northern end, Dray Walk is where the random street vendors and market stalls start cropping up. The bulk of the stalls lie in the Old Truman Brewery building with the majority being at the cheaper low end of the market range.  The selection of food definitely makes up for it, its just a matter of finding somewhere to sit (or stand) to eat it!

The surrounding lanes is where things look up a bit with a few nice boutique stores and Casio G Shock East store (pretty much identical stock to their West store).  Prior research also revealed another sneaker spot called “Gloria’s” at shop 6 Dray Walk but I’ll be darned if we could find it!  Quite possibly no longer existing or just wasn’t open on the day hiding behind one of the many vandalised rolla-doors.

Travel tip: We took the scenic (re: long) route down to Whitechapel station (Aldgate East is closer) but we did come across another JD Sports store which was perfect to grab a couple last minute items to fill the few spaces left in the suitcase.  Moral of the story – JD Sports stores are everywhere so even if you miss one or change your mind there isn’t one too far away.

That’s just about it for our London visit, we wind down next with a spot of tranquility at Hyde park.

London 2011 part #1 – Arrival, Soho Shopping
London 2011 part #2 – Central London sight seeing
London 2011 part #3 – Chelsea Flower show
London 2011 part #4 – Shopping – Hammersmith
London 2011 part #5 – Shopping – Covent Garden and Soho
London 2011 part #6 – Shopping – Camden
London 2011 part #8 – Hyde park, Piccadilly Circus

London photo gallery here
Chelsea flower show photo gallery here

Imagine every market you’ve ever been to… all at once, and you’ll be coming close to what Camden is like, but first, getting there.

The busiest days are on the weekend with most of the shops open, because of this and the influx of around 100,000 people every weekend (and the dire need of an upgrade to the station) Camden Town station is “exit only” for most of it. Check the posted signs or London Underground website before hand for in and out times so you don’t end up trying to push your way against the current and REALLY look like a tourist 😉

Rest assured, not all is lost if you cant make it out on a weekend, a fair percentage of the fixed stores are open during the week and will be much more suitable for those that aren’t fond of crowds.

Exiting the station on to Camden High St. you get a plethora of sneakers with JD Sports, Footlocker and Offspring. These are all decent sized stores with plenty of stock, variety and sales. If you’re going to buy up big straight out the gate, consider asking the store to hold your purchases to collect later otherwise you will quickly lose patience and strength trying to get a couple armfuls through the bustling crowd.

Heading north, take your selection of Converse and Dr. Martin stores along with kitsch punk, rockabilly, vintage clothing (Punkyfish, Rokit Vintage), leather goods and a secondhand music and video store.

The Camden markets themselves start just after the river crossing with Camden Lock and The Stables traditionally being THE markets but there are smaller groups of stalls in surrounding lanes and streets. In general its a mixture of fixed stores, large warehouse style areas and temporary pop up stalls that cover all manner of arts, crafts, fashion, food, brick a brac, novelties and souvenirs. There’s really no good place to start or any kind of system to get you round the place with so many things to see (and taste), its more a matter of taking your time and going with the flow (literally most of the time). If things get a little too hectic for you, there’s plenty of nice spots along the water-way to take a breather.

Stand outs were the smaller designer stalls with unique tees (these are the ones that don’t have the same designs as the last 10 stalls you just walked past!) and the cute vintage style dresses. There is a couple places stocking a few toys but the only place worth a mention is a small stall in the Stables hosted by some old dude. Pretty much all vintage items, most rather worn or in boxes that have seen better days. A few Star Wars and He-man items but you will have to get your fingers dirty to really find something amongst the cluttered shelves.

Finally, no visit to the Camden markets would be complete with out visiting Cyberdog. Quite possibly your worse nightmare if your kid brings you here and you have very little knowledge or experience with the dance music scene but for everyone else its pretty much like being at a rave. From the entrance with the giant “people of the future” statues you are bombarded with strobe lights and a barrage of hard style and hard trance. Its very dimly lit apart from neon lights and all manner of glow in the dark and flashing novelties like coloured contacts and light up face “neurons”. The rest covers everything you’ll need for a night of laser reaching with the staples of phat pants and light up tees to full space suits and girls outfits which shakily stumble the line of “cute raver chick” and Fortitude Valley hooker. There is also a good selection of DJ gear (CDJ’s, mixers, headphones etc).

The biggest set back is the pricing, which goes from “whoa!” to “ok, lets get outta here”. Also keep your camera holstered, the staff may look like they’re “best night eva”-ing but be aware of the ones that are already on to their “Terrible Tuesday” (plus there’s “no photo” signs at the entrance and around the store).

From my research there is also supposed to be a “good” sneaker store right near Cyberdog but with very little recent online presence I’d dare say it has since closed as it was no where to be seen.

Since the Camden Town station was exit only, we took a short walk to Chalk Farm Station which was stark quiet in contrast and an easy boarding to head out to our next stop, Shoreditch.

London 2011 part #1 – Arrival, Soho Shopping
London 2011 part #2 – Central London sight seeing
London 2011 part #3 – Chelsea Flower show
London 2011 part #4 – Shopping – Hammersmith
London 2011 part #5 – Shopping – Covent Garden and Soho
London 2011 part #7 – Shopping – Shoreditch
London 2011 part #8 – Hyde park, Piccadilly Circus

London photo gallery here
Chelsea flower show photo gallery here

Brooklyn Markets

Like a lot of NYC, if you look beyond the stereotypes you’ll find tight knit communities and lavish culture in the most unexpected places. A prime example of this is the Brooklyn flea markets. Catch the Coney Island subway to Flatbush Av. Station. (side note: Coney Island wasn’t on our list of destinations as it was in the middle of a be refurb scheduled to reopen towards the end of 2010)
The markets are held every weekend, out doors on Saturdays at Fort Greene and Sundays at the multi-level lush (ex-bank, complete with vault) space of Skylight One Hanson. During the cooler months they stay completely in doors at Skylight One Hanson.

Forget the thought of bootleg clothing, loud rap music and hawkers trying to hustle you for your dollars, think of it more like a combination of the Southbank and New Farm park markets (in Brisbane). It’s a huge blend of antiques, repurposed furniture, vintage clothing, collectibles, jewellery, art and crafts and designer items. It even has its own fresh food and food court areas with plenty of free taste testing. Check the website to view vendor layout on the Friday prior. Depending on your tastes, seeing the whole indoor venue may only take you a couple hours.

Sticking with the grown up theme on the day, we caught a bus down Flatbush Av. to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens (note: they are on your left heading south. Easily confused (until after 15min of walking and not seeing any exotic plants) with the normal park on the right hand side). Entering the southern entrance, after the $12 fee, its instantly another world. Peaceful, quiet.

The best thing about fully fledged botanical gardens is there are always flowers in bloom all year round. Being the end of winter, we were treated to a field of Cherry Blossoms. Remember these only flower for a couple weeks a year, so if you plan on seeing them, time your trip accordingly. The Aquatic House houses a pond and a rainforest area with tropical type plants that thrive in humid conditions, like orchids. The Bonsai Museum is right next door with many of the tiny guys over decades old.

Further along there are collections of Magnolia’s and Daffodils leading to the Japanese pond and garden feature. Roses, Lilacs, Tulips and Pansies round out the top section of the gardens.

Back to the real world, Flatbush Av. is one of the “main drags” of Brooklyn so there are plenty of shops to venture into. You may, like us, wonder how some of the smaller stores stay open with the poor quality of their service and stand over tactics, we figured it was just their charm.

Speaking of shopping, we round off our holiday with one last bash at the Manhattan stores!

New York City 2010 part #1 – The flight in…
New York City part #2 – Shopping: Midtown
New York City part #3 – Bronx Zoo
New York City part #4 – Sight seeing – Manhattan
New York City part #6 – Shopping: Soho

New York City photo gallery here
Complete Brooklyn Botanical Gardens photos here

What a day! A proverbial rollercoaster ride of ups and downs, but it just goes to show that not even crazy torrential sideways rain can ruin a good vibe!

Much love to all those that turned up and showed their support for our talented locals!
We’ve already got some big plans for next years bash! In the meantime, stay tuned for spin off events 😉

Shout out to all of those that made the event possible…

Production Team:
Lisa – Performances coordinator
Eve – Promo and marketing coordinator
Mel – Art cordinator
Kym – Production assistant and advisor
Knovell – MC and Stage manager
Sholto – Stage manager
John – Production manager
Dion – Production assistant
Alicia – Administration
Katie – Stall assistant

3D World Magazine
Urban Wear
Postal Entertainment
Paul from Reliabledesigns.com.au – Banner and stickers
Dave from Speaker Wrath – Advertising material

Support the businesses that support you and your scene!

Postal Entertainment
Yungrif – designer tees
Andy DeLore – designer tees and canvas art
Eve – kicks
Nelson – kicks
Afro Denim – designer tees
Chamellieon – photo art, custom toy art
Ben – photo art
Ryan – kicks, bags, tees
(and of course the soulbridgemedia/Fresh Out stall with all the Kidrobot items 😉 )

If you want to chase up any items that you may have missed out on during the day, or couldnt make it on the day, give the sellers a yell on the Fresh Out facebook page.

Kuts and Drops
Mark Lowndes
Cat Thompson
Fergie aka H1pe
Karmin Lyricist
Macbeth dance crew
Dastardly Kuts
Morgan Macmanus and Omegachild
Rola D
The Drone Tree
Elements dance crew

Like what you heard/saw on the day? Add your favourite performers and get along to their next gig for a full set!

And finally James and all the top staff and organisers of the Chinatown Mall and Markets!

Fresh Out 2010 Festival photos here