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Friday, June 24, 2016

Commune 246 - here today, gone tomorrow

Side entrance of Commune 246, Minami Aoyama, Tokyo
Side entrance to Commune 246, Minami Aoyama, Tokyo
Omotesando is the centerpiece of the ultra-trendy Harajuku/Aoyama district. Omotesando intersects with Aoyama-dori which connects the area to Shibuya a little over a kilometer to the south-west. Very near the intersection, and just off Aoyama-dori is a colorful jumble of more or less permanently set up food and drink booths and stands called Commune 246.

Commune 246 is the successor to the 246 Common that occupied this spot until a couple of years ago.

The side entrance to Commune 246, Minami-Aoyama, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo.
The side entrance to Commune 246
The fairground look of Commune 246 is only what meets the eye. There are several parts to Commune 246 that deserve a little nosing around. The prefab-style Midori.so2 Gallery that hosts cutting-edge art exhibitions, a "free university" talk space, and even Caravan Tokyo, a trailer home for hire as a hotel, that make it truly "community" as opposed to just commercial. Commune 246's catchphrase is "Curate the City."

But, for the casual - and especially the non-Japanese speaking - visitor, Commune 246's food options will be the main attraction.

Under the big white dining arch at Commune 246, Minami-Aoyama, Tokyo.
Schmatz - subtitled "Fresh German Food" and "Beer Dining" offers a selection of German beers along with hearty but imaginatively created fusion-style morsels to accompany it like Schitzel Parmigiana (pork schnitzel with parmesan and tomato sauce), salmon carpaccio and wild boar sausages, to name just a few. Schmatz hours 11:30 am to 10 pm.

Antenna< >WIRED CAFE (there's another one in Shinagawa) is more of a regular cafe than a stand and is a place where you can hang out for a while. It has its 600 yen "open dogs": White Gravy Dog, Guacamole Dog, Indian Curry Dog, Kitsune Dog, and more, with tea or coffee for just 200 yen more, as well as smoothies, chocolate drinks, draft beer etc for around the 500 yen mark. Antenna< >WIRED CAFE hours 11 am to 10 pm.

Caravan Tokyo trailer home hotel in Commune 246, Minami-Aoyama, Tokyo.
Caravan Tokyo trailer home accommodation in Commune 246
Cori. Japanese Vegan Food ("No meat, no eggs, no milk, no animal seasoning") is just what the name says.
Hours 1 pm - 9 pm, Tuesday to Sunday.

Ichimame is all about soy: non-GM organic soy grown without agricultural chemicals, for delicious 700 yen soy milk smoothies like komatsuna and banana, strawberry and raspberry, mango and pineapple, and ginger and orange.
Schmatz and Fish Co-op stalls at Commune 246, Minami-Aoyama, Tokyo.
Schmatz and Fish Co-op stalls at Commune 246

There's Breton kushiyaki, with green salads on the side, and Tonpai Kitchen for "Thai Food and Beer," Bharat Spice Labo for great-tasting Indian food, Brooklyn Ribbon Fries with its cross between French fries and crisps and that come in a range of surprising (and surprisingly good-tasting) coatings and dips, Fish Co-op for deliciously prepared Japanese seafood, Avenue B Soup & Veggies
for organically produced vege soups, and more.

Main Entrance to Commune 246, off Aoyama-dori, Minami-Aoyama, Tokyo.
Main Entrance to Commune 246
True to it's catchphrase "Curating the City," Commune 246 holds a string of events throughout the year from book launches, to starlight markets, to loft parties, so check out the Commune 246 website to stay tuned.

Finally, all good things must come to an end, and Commune 246's days are precisely numbered: 159 days left as of today: clearly displayed at the top of the website. But 159 days is still plenty of time to enjoy lots more of this funky, happening - and welcoming - village inside the city.

Commune 246 is in Minami Aoyama 3-13, Shibuya ward, Tokyo.
Commune 246 is in Minami Aoyama 3-13
Getting to Commune 246: From Omotesando Subway Station, go right out of Exit A4, go up to the Omotesando/Aoyama-dori intersection and turn right. You can access Commune 246 down the first little alley on the right, which takes you to the side entrance after about half a minute's walk. Or, you can enter by the main entrance by taking the second alley on the right. The Commune gate is a little way in.

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