September 03, 2004

Article at Wall Street Journal

The Card: Fish Tale (Wellington, New Zealand)

One of the great joys of traveling in Japan is finding highly specialized local shops that sell superb products impossible to find elsewhere. Except some such products might also be found in one other place: an improbable shop in Wellington, New Zealand, with the improbable name Three Second Goldfish (the name refers to the supposed memory span of the fish and is meant to remind us to view life with a refreshed mind). Nestled in the alternative Cuba Quarter, the shop imports home, clothing and lifestyle products. Owner Louisa Talbot, who lived in Osaka for eight years, spent four years laying the groundwork for her business, building relationships with small shop owners throughout Japan before opening in June last year. So you'll find silk kimonos (US$105 to US$1,960), Japanese-style Hawaiian shirts (US$155 to US$230), hand-crafted floor lamps (US$280 to US$425), hand-made greeting cards, pottery and sheets of washi paper.

The shop also has designs of its own, such as a 1940s-style single-breasted wool jacket with kimono-like styling and sleeves (US$295 to US$490). It's unlikely you'll find that product, at least, anywhere but at Three Second Goldfish.

Three Second Goldfish, 57 Ghuznee St., Wellington, New Zealand; open 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (until 7 p.m Thursday and Friday; closed Sundays and Mondays). Tel: 64-4-803-3474. Email: