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GINZA SIX—Even If You Have Just Six Minutes

山崎贵之

GINZA SIX EDITORS Vol.75

I’m restless by nature, a trait handed down from my parents, one that’s given me nothing but trouble since I was kid. My job as the editor of a fashion magazines keeps me busy every day, with press events to attend and so on and on. But being so restless makes it hard to stay in one place for long. I get fidgety. I go around doing everything ahead of schedule. I get tired all the more because of these habits.

I’m in Ginza often. It often happens that I arrive 15 minutes before the start of some party organized by a fashion label at its Ginza boutique. That’s a little too long just to wait, but not enough time to go and relax at a coffee shop. Accounting for the time to walk there and back, you really only have 5 or 6 minutes. Even so, I’d like to forget about work, just for a moment. I find myself casting about for a reboot. That’s when I’ll often drop into GINZA SIX: GINZA SIX in Just 6 Minutes! So what to do, and where? I have a few ideas.

Slip down the escalator to Café Europe on the second belowground floor. The legendary café from 1920s Ginza revives the roaring era of “mo-boys” and “mo-girls” (“mo” being short for “modern”). Get the Ginza café jelly and coffee set (1,050 yen; all prices listed before tax). Even if the eat-in space is crowded, turnover’s fast. You almost always get a seat.

The coffee jelly is sugarless, so it has a nice, bitter taste. I sprinkle on some panela, unrefined whole cane sugar, for sweetness, and dig in.

The caffeine and sugar give me an instant lift. The jelly is served as soon as you order. The coffee is hand-dripped; it takes around a minute and a half to brew. You can gulp it all down and bask in brief satisfaction in as little as five minutes. In high spirits now, I head to my next destination.

I do my research fast, too. I look around a bit at Ginza Tsutaya Books on the sixth floor, but I’m not here for books or magazines today.

Window shopping is a perfect change of pace when you don’t have time to buy anything. Plus, it can really stir the imagination. I came to look at these swords, in fact. The Tsutaya here has an area that displays and sells Japanese swords, which continue to be made by swordsmiths even today. In other words, you can get up close to swords made by contemporary swordsmiths. If there’s one you like, you can buy it. “Alright, let’s go buy a sword!” I’ve never been one to go ahead and impulse-buy something quite like this, but I’m aware of a strange craving as I peer.

These two aikuchi swords in the middle with the Voronoi pattern design in black and red are designed by Marc Newsom. The set of two with sheath and grip is 35.0 million yen. The idea of buying them is dizzying—rapturously so. Perhaps it’s completely out of the question. But there may be a more affordable one I can buy if I stretch my finances a bit.

This short sword by Nara Prefecture master swordsmith Kunihira Kawachi is priced at 2.0 million yen. Given the price, I could take flying leap and… as I’m gazing glassy-eyed, my face pressed up against display case like a kid who really wants a trumpet, I hear a voice: “Would you like to hold this sword?”

The graceful, kimono-clad woman I hear murmuring in my ear is the bookstore’s Ms. Yoshimura. Wait a minute! You’re saying I can hold a Japanese sword unsheathed right here in the store? They let you do that?!? As I fumble for words, Ms. Yoshimura removes the sword from the display case and holds it out for me to grip—as a special exception, since I’m on assignment.

My, but it’s beautiful! I tentatively waggle the gleaming blade protruding from my hands. A chill runs down my spine at the idea—I’m holding a Japanese sword in the middle of Ginza! It turns out they actually sell quite a few swords here at Tsutaya, according to Ms. Yoshimura. “The popularity of Touken Ranbu has made swords really popular among young women lately,” Ms. Yoshimura tells me. “People say Kunihira Kawachi, the swordsmith, has women show up at his workshop clutching their savings and pleading, ‘Please forge a sword for me!’ Apparently, for the first time in the 800-year history of Japanese swords, women covet swords….” It suddenly occurs to me I’ve managed to be here well over 6 minutes. I return the sword, and I’m off again.

The words “Ginza gallery” tend to be a little intimidating, but stepping into Artglorieux Gallery of Tokyo on the fifth floor turns out to be no problem at all. As with swords, it’s fun to fantasize about being momentarily and deliriously irresponsible enough to make an impulse to purchase here.
When I visited the other day, I immersed myself in various stimulating hypotheticals involving decorating my house with an Alex Katz, an artist we previously featured in the magazine. Today’s exhibition is the Precious Coral 6 Color Collection.

Could this be the Red Stone of Aja? What I’m staring at here can’t be that famous gemstone from the world-famous JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, published by Shueisha, can it? It’s coral, as you’d expect. It takes a second to recover my balance. I calm down, look at the price, and my eyes pop out of my head: it’s more than 40 million yen!

Will the day ever come when I’m in the back room there with the Yayoi Kusamas on the wall discussing my latest purchase? The shock of the coral sets the spurs into my side. I pick up the pace and head to the last spot on my reboot tour.

I return to the second belowground floor and head to 10FACTORY. The Mikan Palace is based in Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture, a place you may recall from Natsume Soseki’s novel Botchan. Today I’m after the fresh-squeezed mikan juice (722 yen), a potent delectable drink that provides just the power boost you’re looking for in five or six minutes.

The fresh mikan juice is made with either the shiranui or kanpei variety. I go with the former. I have it squeezed right away in the low-speed juicer. Low speed doesn’t mean it takes all that long: it’s ready in just two minutes or so.

As I sit on a barstool in the eat-in space and drink the fresh juice, I feel my body revive. Normally I sit in silence watching the mikan remains being removed from the juicer, but today I’m on assignment. “The shiranui you’re drinking now also goes by the name Dekopon,” explains the shop’s assistant manager. “This variety of orange has a characteristic protruding bump. The other one, kanpei, has a firm, crisp taste, but is really sweet.”

It makes sense she knows so much; she’s from a family of mikan farmers in Ehime, she tells me. I follow up my juice with a glass of mikan beer (630 yen). Once again I’ve chatted beyond my allotted 6 minutes…

It’s great fun to immerse yourself in oh-so-brief dreams in Ginza, one of the world’s premier shopping districts. It’s also great to take in some speedy refreshment in the business district of Ginza. But no matter the establishment, if you spend the time, you’ll discover something new. Restless by nature as I am, I want to try wandering GINZA SIX at a nice, leisurely pace the next time I visit.

editors_yamasaki

山崎贵之

男性时尚杂志"UOMO"主编。生于1972年的。来自冈山县。在1995年进入集英社,分配到"MORE"编辑部。之后对"SPUR"变更,自2015年起担任杂志主编。自2017年起现职。
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Café Europe

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银座 茑屋书店

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Artglorieux GALLERY OF TOKYO

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十工厂

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2019.03.04 UP