Shinkawa san and Meika

I met my old pals Jim and Shana early Saturday Morning in Ginza where there were staying. Because our old weekend-coffee-beers-photography-brunch haunt around the corner, “Aux Bacchanales” didn’t open till 11, the three of us landed on some really lovely Eggs Benedict at METoa Cafe and Kitchen around the corner (which I can highly recommend), and right in eyesight of Leica Ginza. After brunch and having some time still to kill before needing to get back to weekend Dad duties, we took a leisurely stroll over to always-impressive Tokyo Kokusai International Forum, where we snapped a few nice shots before wondering what we should do with the little time we had left.

Jim and Shana, despite being avid vinyl collectors would be heading the next morning to Chiba and wouldn’t have a chance to join Tokyo Record Style Day on Sunday. Then an idea popped into my head – visit “Ginza Records” where I myself had never visited but have been meaning to for a long time. Not knowing the exact location, I looked it up to find out we were practically already there! We went up to the 7th floor of the Hankyu Luxury Department store, to find not only an entire floor of cool and well-curated vintage goods, but really approachable “Ginza Records and Audio” shop right in the middle of the floor. I’ve been following their Instagram for a while and immediately recognized their cool red hi-fi amp Pathos Acoustics Amp that I see in many of their posts. Soon thereafter I found Beastie Boys Ill Communication. Audible admiring it, Maika, the friendly shop staff asked me if I wanted to play it on the house system. “Well, as a matter of fact, Yes please, very much so.” Next thing you know I was blasting the entire floor with “Listen All Y’all it’s a Sabotage!!!” Hitting the crescendo, I cranked it to see how loud it would go, and you’d think every shopkeeper on the floor would have immediately darted me a disapproving glare, but a quick looked around and I could see them all smiling surprised, and laughing with me, a welcome interlude, I suspect.

Then Meika pointed out there was an even more Hi-Fi set up in an adjacent listening room and invited us to give a listen. After she shut the soundproof door, I cranked “Sure Shot” possibly louder than it’s been cranked, at least in a while, and the sound was absolutely smashing. Then Jim saved everybody by selecting an audiophile pressing of “Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone” and we pushed that one to the limit as well, this time on the beautiful British Rega P8 turntable and Exact MM Cartridge combo, EAR Phonobox Phono Equalizer, Norwegian Hegel 190 Amp, and the Japanese Tad Audio Speakers. Holy smokes, talk about luscious sound. Good grief what a thrill… And the fact that this listening room was in the middle of a nice but unintimidating department store, as opposed to some stiff Hi-Fi shop really made it easy to relax and enjoy. Great concept!

Jim insisted I explain to Meika about Tokyo Record Style, which I did, and we got to talking and more while customers seemed to start flooding in one by one. We were all talking to each other, and then more customers, young and old, Japanese and non-Japanese, and it really became quite the scene, overrun with customers and everybody holding a few records under their arms or listening to records on one of the rigs. I said to Meika, “Wow, packed house! Look at all these people!” She flattered me so much by saying “It’s never like this this early in the morning. I think it’s your energy that has attracted all of them!” Awe shucks. That can’t be, but thanks, Meika! Right then, the shop owner Shinkawa san appeared and introduced himself and told me about the shop and how it’s been there for ~3 years, and how he has been running the online sales portal for 20 years prior to this, a space for people and shops to sell and trade records. He also told me that in February of this year, they opened a new shop in up-and-coming (again, and for a while now) Kuramae. I’ll have to check that out! Lastly, he recommended to me, what he said was a super-underrated album and artist, Satoshi Ikeda’s 1986 album “Missing.” I’ll have to check that out. But gotta find an affordable Ill Communication first.

Jim scored some records and a tote bag and we said goodbye to the Shinkawa san and Meika and all the Hi-Fi and went out and took some TRS Portraits out on the boulevard.

Great times in Ginza!

More TRS on the way…

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