From Tokyo to Fitzroy with the help of a Magic Lantern

For most people, the silly season and its subsequent socialising is over, but mine seems to have only just begun, with friends dropping in from all corners of the globe – a few weeks ago I caught up with a friend who is just back from flying around Europe with her man in a plane they built themselves (yes, you read correctly: you can read more of their crazy antics here) and this weekend it was time to catch up with friends from Tokyo, who went the old-school way and got someone else to fly the plane.
I got to meet their new addition at lunchtime… 
As Nicole is Australian and Keith is Canadian (via Hong Kong), little Olivine is a fellow halfie, but she didn’t seem to be enjoying the sisterhood.
 
I often have this effect on kids, whereas Gen had the magic touch with her nephew Max.
 
Maybe Olivine didn’t like the outfit I made her a few months ago…? 
After our leisurely lunch reminiscing about old times in Tokyo, we took a stroll along Brunswick Street and stumbled on this gorgeous window display… (sorry about the crappy pics with all the reflections, if you sit back from the screen when you look at these you are somehow able to see them better).
 
Can you see the Sylvanian Families rabbits in the pic below? I LOVED my Sylvanian Families!! They are still living happily in my dollhouse. I can’t let them see the garden that these ones have or they’d be extremely jealous. 
 
With a window display like that, and this debonair dude next to the doorway, how could we not venture inside?
The shop is called Magic Lantern (details below) and it only opened about two and a half months ago, according to the charming Argentinian proprietor, who was the most puppeteer-like person I have ever met (think modern day Geppetto in a Western shirt and you’ll get the general idea). Seeing as the shop is all about puppets and plays, I suppose that’s rather appropriate. I didn’t get his photo so you will just have to go and visit him to see what I mean (or check Nicole’s blog in a few weeks when she gets back to Tokyo and probably does a blog post on this with better pictures than me, thanks to Keith’s photography skills!).
For those of you who can’t wait for Nicole’s post, here’s my own little tour of the shop…
Nicole and Olivine in front of the tropical garden set which partially conceals the puppeteer’s atelier (he was working on something with an animal skull head when we were there).
There was an interesting selection of reissued books, all of which I thought were very reasonably priced, especially considering that you are unlikely to find a book that shows you how to make your hands into shadow puppets of Shakespeare, Fagin from Oliver Twist, a cockatoo, etc anywhere else…
If you’re looking for interesting gifts for kids or friends with a taste for nostalgia, you’ll find it here. The “pre-cinema toys” include things like make-your-own cardboard theatres for $29 and a variety of puppets and quaint curios. It’s pretty rare that a shop really transports you to another world, but this one certainly took me back in time to an era when “special effects” had nothing to do with holograms and digital remastering and everything to do with pulling the right strings.
Magic Lantern is at 155 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia, The World, The Universe, etc. There’s no website yet but the email is themagiclanternstudio@googlemail.com 

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