Winter felt like it came late this year. My hometown got some icy weather, while all the chances of snow I had in Tokyo ended up not happening.

Early morning Shimokitazawa before almost any shop is open. Many stores in Japan open rather late.
Early morning Shimokitazawa before almost any shop is open. Many stores in Japan open rather late.

I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s the cold weather, but I’ve been exhausted these last few weeks. S and I have been having extra busy work weeks. I’m trying to study for the Japanese language test in July. Between those two things, I’m mentally drained most of the time. We try to escape the house for a few hours on the weekends. One of the things we’ve been doing has been checking out various cafes. We’ll go for breakfast or lunch and then after we’ll read, journal, or study for a bit. Then we go walk around or run some errands. It’s been a lovely weekend thing.

One of the cafes we were planning to ended up being closed. We turn the corner we see the shop name and then we notice the shutters are closed in front of the shop. Odd to be closed on a Saturday. Tokyo has cafes and shops coming and going all of the time. And seems that cafe may have given up the ghost. We start googling for cafes in the area. Despite being probably 50 feet away from a large chain cafe. We never discussed this, but I think we’re both intentionally avoiding all of the copy-paste chain cafes. They’re fine I guess, but nothing interesting. We end up finding a cafe across the 8 lane road. The cafe was in the basement of the building. It’s a jazz cafe. We walk down the spiral staircase to the entrance. If it wasn’t for the music, it wasn’t immediately obvious if this shop was open either as you couldn’t hear anyone. This became obvious a moment later when we asked for a seat and the host replied: Of course, but there’s no talking allowed1. So we find a seat and sit down. S and I are in a bit of a shock with the no talking. We reactively go to the extreme of try to make as little noise as possible. In the situational confusion, we end up sitting a little too close to the nicest sound system I’ve listened to in years. The atmosphere felt very.. solemn. Very library like where everyone has a drink and something to read. They’re soaking the music. The elderly man in the corner is either very much into the music or very much about to fall asleep. No one else in the cafe is obviously younger than us. We spend some time reading and journaling. I finish reading some manga, and quietly pay for the expensive cups of tea.

If you’re in Tokyo try to find a Jazz cafe.

  1. Apparently, it’s no talking until 6pm. Then they transition to a sort of Jazz bar instead. ↩︎