Arvid Logan and Milah Libin are the founders of Dizzy, a print magazine focusing on the arts: painting, writing, film, music, style, and beyond, all with an intergenerational span. In addition to the magazine, Logan is a painter who also makes airbrushed shirts and runs a gabber-centric radio show on the online station Know Wave. Libin is the founder of the Smart Girl Club collective and has directed music videos, including the clip for the Princess Nokia single “Tomboy.”
For this very special edition of Consumer Reports, we follow Logan and Libin to the always exciting city of Tokyo, where Dizzy executes a pop-up at the Harajuku store Domicile Tokyo and Logan airbrushes shirts live at Fifth General Store, a clothing shop located in the Nakameguro neighborhood. All this and a lot more, including plenty of shopping and eating and also, perhaps most importantly, a visit to Tokyo’s legendary Robot Restaurant. —John Chiaverina
Friday, October 27
Arvid goes to 7-11 and gets us some vitamin drinks and onigiri for breakfast. Arvid has grilled salmon and Milah has tuna mayo. It’s a sunny day! There was a typhoon only a few days ago.
We go to a 100-yen store and got some goodies. Arvid gets two pens and Milah gets a Doraemon toiletry kit. Then we go to Don Quijote, a huge building selling anything you could think of, from dildos to beautiful stationery, skateboards, groceries, socks, Halloween costumes… You name it. Arvid gets two toy trucks and Milah gets tape for their moms and a Baikinman plushie. It is overwhelming and kawaii!
Finally Mandarake is open. Four flights underground, we explore aisles and aisles of manga and vintage toys and models. We will go back to buy something towards the end of our trip.
We go back to our Airbnb in Shibuya to rest before Arvid’s airbrush event at Fifth General Store.
We head to Nakameguro to Fifth General Store. We’re early so we walk around the area and discover an amazing secondhand bookstore called Dessin. Milah gets an issue of Olive Magazine from 1998 and Arvid gets a vintage Japanese children’s book. We take lots of photos and talk about living in this area. There are lots of antique stores and we see a garage sale selling clothing for 500 yen. We eat some food from the grocery store. Arvid has sushi and Milah has a sandwich with some sort of meat and mayo. Arvid gets us apple juice boxes with Anpanman on the label. He also gets the coolest Baikinman toy ever from a capsule machine. We plan to go back to it and get more for our friends.
Arvid’s airbrush event starts, and already there are many people waiting to get shirts airbrushed. Some people bring their own things—totes, army jackets, a baby onesie. Arvid airbrushes 18 shirts in five hours and his back really hurts but we are so happy, and everyone is so nice. Our friend Yuji, who helped organize the event, serves his homemade apple cider with whiskey. Our new friend Miri helps translate all of the orders and we bow and say Arigato!
The airbrush event is finished! Miri, Yuji, and Masa (the owner of Fifth General Store) take us to dinner at a restaurant filled with cigarette smoke (everyone smokes inside in Tokyo so as to not pollute the air, and to prevent littering). We eat sashimi, onigiri, agedashi tofu, fried chicken, rice, and some new things that we don’t get the name of. Arvid gets one of the biggest mugs of beer we’ve ever seen, Milah and her friend Cai drink sake, and everyone else drinks shōchū with tea. It’s so radioactive green it looks like absinthe.
Super tired after a long day, we take the train back to Shibuya. There are tons of people in the streets, all dressed in Halloween costumes, and very drunk. It feels like a dream.
Saturday, October 28
Very lazy morning. It’s very cloudy today, and supposed to rain later. We hang out at the apartment until we have to head to DOMICILE TOKYO in Harajuku to set up for the Dizzy Magazine launch and pop-up at 1:00 p.m.
We set up the magazines and t-shirts we brought for the DOMICILE TOKYO pop up. Yusuke (who works at YAR and is helping us with the event) takes us out for lunch at a curry spot. Outside there is a crowd of people in the rain waiting for an idol. He walks through the crowd and everyone screams and runs behind him. Then he goes into a store and they close the gate, so everyone leaves. We go back to our Airbnb to rest before the party.
We pick up some wine at a Lawsons (which is just like a 7-11) and head over to DOMICILE TOKYO. Milah DJs for a little, streaming it on Know Wave, and then a DJ named Mayu comes and does an old-school vinyl set. Not that many people come, but everyone that does is super nice.
The event is over and we go to a Thai restaurant for food. The tables are super small, only fitting three people, so Milah sits with Cai and Yuji, and Arvid sits with Esteban and a guy we just met. We eat shrimp toast, fried rice, pad thai, and ramen.
We head over to Bloody Angle, where some of the people we met at the launch are gathering. The owner was also at the launch, and is super nice. He shows us his Michael Jackson “puffy stickers” and a cube-toy that rotates different Ice Cube album covers. The bar has a huge collection of vinyl, all of which you can buy. All of the records are behind the bar, so we ask Yusuke how you choose, and he says that the bartender / DJ will just ask you what you like and curate a selection for you. It’s getting late, so we head home. Walking through Shibuya there are a ton of drunk people dressed in Halloween costumes again.
Sunday, October 29
We’re both very hungover and don’t do much for the first half of the day. It’s typhoon weather again, so constant rain storm. But we have really nice, big clear umbrellas so we decide to go out for some food.
We go to a “sushi train” restaurant for the first time, and it’s the coolest thing ever… You sit in a row with a personal screen, where you can choose one by one what sashimi / rolls / other treats you want. When you order the food, it comes out on a conveyer belt and stops right in front of you. Everything is only 129 yen, which is so cheap. We both get five plates of sashimi and rolls, and Milah gets a parfait for dessert. Each meal comes out to around $7.
We decide to go back to Mandarake, since the first time we only really looked at the toys, and we want to get some manga. On the way we stumble upon Village Vanguard, an underground maze of a store filled with lots of toys and knick knacks. Milah gets a Jiji stuffed animal (the cat from Kiki’s Delivery Service). When we get to Mandarake we find some amazing, affordable vintage manga. One is from the ’60s, another from the ’70s, and Arvid gets a horror manga from the ’90s.
We head out in the rain to go clean up the pop-up at DOMICILE TOKYO. It’s pretty torrential, and although magical, our shoes and pants get completely soaked.
We skip dinner and go to sleep.
Monday, October 30
Arvid has to go get new shoes because his has holes in them and are completely soaked. Milah stays in and facetimes with her parents while Arvid goes to Don Quijote to try to find some.
Arvid doesn’t find any shoes in his size so we do our best blow drying them. We go to Nakameguro to walk around before Arvid has to finish airbrushing four shirt orders at Fifth General Store. Nothing is open yet, and it kind of feels like Spirited Away… There are speakers on every street light playing some kind-of cheesy jazz music, but it’s really nice paired with how quiet the streets are and how sunny it is. Shops start to open, and people walk to work. We find a little bakery and get some bread and pumpkin soup.
Arvid airbrushes the last of the shirt orders. The four shirts are Casper, Felix the Cat, and two Mickey Mouses. He then airbrushes a portrait of Mobb Deep onto a beautiful piece of cloth for our friend Yuji who helped orchestrate the event.
We go to Nakano Broadway with Yuji. It’s a huge indoor mall with tons of tiny toy stores filled with old capsule toys, stickers, models, and other trinkets. At some stores they just have bags of toys for only 500 yen, so we get a few of those, and some other little things. We run into Julian (Consuegra, of Stray Rats) by chance. It’s crazy because the mall is so big, and we probably could have both been there the entire day without seeing each other. We walk around with him and his friends from Florida for a while, and share a strawberry milkshake at a Murakami cafe in the mall.
We go meet our friend Cai in Shinjuku to get a little bite before going to the Robot Restaurant.
We hang out in the lounge before the Robot Restaurant performance. Milah has wine, Arvid has beer, and Cai has a crazy green matcha cocktail that she doesn’t like very much. The show is about to start so we all take our seats.
That was the craziest show we’ve ever seen… It wasn’t like anything we could have ever expected. We could try to explain it, but it’s something you need to go see for yourself. A mixture between storytelling, dancing, animatronics… Wild. Milah gets in a fight with some drunk American sitting behind her who “can’t believe” Kevin Spacey is gay.
We get a late night snack at a sushi train restaurant (the same one we went to yesterday). Yum.
Tuesday, October 31
We go into Harajuku to pick up the rest of our things from DOMICILE TOKYO. We eat Okonomiyaki, pumpkin, and eggplant—all which we have to cook ourselves on a little griddle installed into the table.
We walk around Harajuku and discover a cool thrift store with lots of California surf culture patches, mushroom paintings, and California raisin toys. Milah gets some vintage handkerchiefs for her mom.
We visit an awesome little zine store and press called Commune that our friends from back home told us about. The owner, Miyuki, had come to both of our events. We bring them some copies of Dizzy Magazine and purchase a publication they put out by Jen Shear and Vinnie Smith.
We walk around Shimokitizawa and go to a bunch of secondhand stores. Our friend Cai comes to meet us for dinner. We have shrimp tempura and rice.
We head back to Shibuya where it is a complete madhouse because of Halloween. There are moments that we can’t move because we are squished between so many people. Seriously maybe the most people we’ve ever seen out on the streets.
Wednesday, November 1
It’s our last day! We’re sad. We have onigiri for breakfast.
We have to ship some magazines and shirts to a shop in Taiwan, so we go to the post office. It’s really easy and we feel super satisfied and proud of ourselves. Everyone at the post office is so nice!
We make one last trip to Don Quijote. Milah gets a bag, because we need more room to pack all the things we got, and some more gifts for our parents.
We meet a new friend, Koto (who also works at YAR with Yusuke), at the Breakfast Club in Nakameguro. She brings a friend and Cai joins us too. The Breakfast Club is super cute and our friend India has a drawing on display. We meet the owner, Mama Luli, and she’s very nice and welcoming. The woman behind the counter has similar style to Faye Wong in Chungking Express. Arvid has a cured mackerel sandwich and Milah has meatballs with a chickpea salad. Koto takes us to the YAR studio, which is just down the road from the Breakfast Club, and shows us around.
Our friend Mimi meets us in Nakameguro and we walk back to Dessin Books. We get more books than we should, and spend a long time looking around at all the amazing children’s publications, vintage magazines, and art books.
We get some pastries and fresh bread at a little bakery and hang out for a while.
We head back to our apartment… our day went so fast and it’s kind of sad! Cai comes over to hang out with us while we pack.
Some of the things we bought in Tokyo back at our apartment in Brooklyn: