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New but Nostalgic: Wandering the High Profile Stores at GINZA SIX

山本 晃弘

Ginza Six Editors Vol.32

Ginza-roam used to be something people would say, but you don’t hear it much these days. Still, taking a stroll through Ginza remains a delight. Wander down Chuo-dori street from the 4-chome intersection toward Shinbashi; the stately profile of GINZA SIX comes into view.

I decide to roam GINZA SIX today. My first stop is British Made, a store that carries famous British products like Joseph Cheaney shoes, Lavenham quilted jackets, and Drake’s neckties.

With a history stretching back more than 130 years, Joseph Cheaney is a well-known brand, established in Northampton, a virtual holy ground for British shoes. I first pick up a pair of loafers (Hudson, 57,000 yen; all prices before tax). I choose the loafers because the Japan Sports Agency this spring is encouraging people to commute in sneakers. I want to recommend loafers to businessmen reading this who may rebel at the idea of switching from dress shoes to sneakers. These aren’t as rounded as American shoes and not as slender as French shoes. The volume of these very British loafers feels just right.

The store clerk then proposes a different pair. “These derby shoes (Cairngorm II R, 60,000 yen) have a slip-resistant Commando sole, so they’re very easy to walk in.” Moreover, they’re made with Veldtschoen construction, which helps keep rain from permeating the seams. Of course, when I visited the factory in Northampton before, I’d done my research on the Goodyear welt process. I wish I’d also had them show me the intricate stitching process required for Veldtschoen construction.

I found an interesting item in the Glenroyal leather goods showcase, a money clip with a coin pocket and card holder (29,000 yen), an article equally well-suited to businessmen. As I mumble this to myself, the clerk gives me some more helpful information: “If the clip that holds the bills breaks, you can replace just that.”

You find new things like this if you wander about a store in Ginza: things you discover in the district and things you learn at the store. This also prompts the next magazine feature.

Next, I visit Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten. As you can see from looking at the sign, the store was established in Nara in 1716. It’s maintained its linen fabric traditions for more than 300 years without interruption. And Japanese artisanship is the equal of British artisanship.

My eyes alight next on the section with motta handkerchiefs. The dry-feeling linen fabric feels cool to the touch. It makes me want several or more for summer business attire. Hey, here’s that same handkerchief (from 1,200 yen) I bought several years back while wandering Shibuya! I remember thinking, “Wow, this is great!” I mentioned it later in Aera Style Magazine.

The vision at Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten is to bring greater vitality to Japan’s traditional crafts. To this end, the store carries a large range of merchandise. It’s a good place to shop for souvenirs and small gifts to take on overseas reporting assignments or business trips. For example, incense from long-standing Kyoto incense supplier Kungyokudo (Rouzanbyakudan, 2,500 yen) wrapped in a linen handkerchief (1,200 yen) would make an excellent gift.

Knowing you’ve bought something nice as a gift for someone is even better than buying something for yourself. Don’t tell me you’ve never smiled to yourself imagining the look you’d see on someone’s face if you gave them a particular gift.

Time for a little tea break. This is Nakamura Tokichi, a tea purveyor based in Uji, Kyoto, that also has a long history, having been founded in 1854. There’s a story it could tell you, I think, and so is perfect for Ginza.

I order green tea (600 yen). Around the time I started or was about to start elementary school, I would go with my mother to town. Each time, I remember she’d let me drink sweet green tea out in front of the tea purveyor. The green tea I’m having here comes with matcha you can add to rein in the sweetness, giving it a refined flavor that will delight adults as well.

Our editorial office is in Tsukiji, so I often come to Ginza, which is right nearby. My favorite spots are Confectionery West and Fugetsudo on Miyuki-dori. Now I’ve found another good spot for tea and sweets here, so I can see giving myself more opportunities for a tea break.

Just now, it occurs to me I should probably bring back a souvenir to the office now and then. The matcha sponge cake (1,100 yen) makes the most of the matcha aroma, and it’s soft and moist. So, perfect. Now, time to dash back to the office. I leave the store, visions in my head of the office staff exclaiming “Delicious!” I find myself smiling!

The best products from around the world, long-established Japanese purveyors, and small specialty shops—wandering GINZA SIX, I remember my excitement as a child before we set out to the arcade-style shopping streets. GINZA SIX is on the cutting-edge, but there’s also something pleasantly nostalgic here. And these thoughts make me want to return once again.

Text:Teruhiro Yamamoto Photos:Masahiro Shimazaki Edit:Yuka Okada

editors_yamamoto

山本 晃弘

「アエラスタイルマガジン」編集長。男性ファッション雑誌「MEN’S CLUB」「GQ JAPAN」などを経て、2008年に朝日新聞社の設立に参加。同年、編集長として「アエラスタイルマガジン」をスタートさせる。新聞やWEBなどでファッションに関するコラムを執筆する傍ら、トークイベントでビジネスマンや就活生にスーツの着こなしを指南するアドバイザーとしても活動。著書「仕事ができる人は、小さめのスーツを着ている。」を、3月に発売したばかり。
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2018.03.12 UP