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GINZA SIX EDITORS

Here, we bring you some of the fun and interesting things found by our editors, each of whom bring a fascinating perspective and expertise to fields ranging from fashion to jewelry and watch, lifestyle, beauty, food and more, as they wander through GINZA SIX and make new discoveries.

Conveying Japanese Essence and Innovation at GINZA SIX

Aya Ito

Ginza Six Editors Vol.1 (Food)

I’ve lived in France for 22 years and return to Japan three times a year. I always enjoy walking around Tokyo. The big news this year was the opening of GINZA SIX. I’ve loved Ginza forever and its cultivated Showa-era atmosphere. But from its appearance alone, you can see that GINZA SIX has set itself the mission of conveying the Japanese essence and innovation. I pass through the entrance façade, reminiscent of traditional eaves and shop curtains, and find myself drawn to the soft light descending from the atrium ceiling and emanating through traditional Japanese paper. I feel that I can see what lies ahead, how Japanese traditions will be broadcast afresh to the world from this sacred ground of Ginza, a long-time generator of culture and the latest trends. I run DOMA, an online media site based in Paris, and work in various ways to deepen understanding between Japan and France through food. So GINZA SIX’s mission, as I walk here, really hits home.

I was especially taken with Imadeya Ginza on the second basement floor. Starting with the flooring and furnishing, wood and wood tones are prominent throughout the space. And within this warm and inviting space, one senses the disciplined craftsmanship of true artisans. This likely stems from the high-value that second-generation president Shuichi Ogura places on sake itself, from his meetings with sake producers and his desire to tell the story behind each and every bottle, straight from the breweries that produce them.

Imadeya inspires frequent and repeat visits because it’s designed to create unique encounters that allow customers to experience the enthusiasm of the company president himself. At the kaku-uchi tasting counter, you can pay to sample a rotating daily selection of local sake. On the day I visited, one could sample six types of recommended sake from Takijiman, a brewer in Mie Prefecture. Also offered was a selection of seasonal sake based on the 24 traditional divisions of the solar year. The shosho (end of summer heat) season featured Hoken Ryokaginjyo (a cool summer sake to stand in for beer) and Hitotsubu no Mugi (a mellow, yet crisply flavored barley shochu made by Nishi Sake Brewing). The haiku-like descriptions on the name cards pique the imagination for the day’s meal.

Having opened up its own cellars in spring 2017, Imadeya perhaps displays its true strengths in offering aged sake. Ogura, who has also taken the initiative in pursuing business overseas, acutely perceives the potential of sake vintages, as with wine, based on the characteristics of each sake and is taking on the challenge of drawing out new possibilities for Japanese sake appreciation. Under the expert guidance of store manager Shohei Okawa, you can experience the depth of sake’s appeal in ways you may have not appreciated before.

Another place I recommend highly is Mixology Salon, a cocktail bar on the 13th (restaurant) floor. It’s owned by mixologist Shuzo Nagumo, who’s opened five establishments in Tokyo. Mixology is a new technique for creating new cocktails based on innovative concepts. Nagumo has already held a dinner event in Paris pairing cocktails and cuisine, to which I’ve personally had the good fortune to contribute. That event was a major success, with some Parisian connoisseurs, notoriously difficult to please, commenting on how the cocktails made them forget about wine.

At the Ginza establishment, Manabu Ito, author and influential personage in the world of classic cocktails, serves as chief bartender. Ito is passionate about cocktails and tells me he wants to seek out new challenges on the Mixology stage. It’s this passion that helps bring Nagumo’s recipes to life.

Ginza Mixology revolves around the idea of the Japanese tea. Homemade soba tea is steeped in vodka to bring out the aroma and to create a liquid base, to which the mixologist adds fresh pineapple and a sprinkle of miso powder. This is the Soba Tea Cocktail. The Gyokuro Martini is mixed by steeping copious amounts of high-quality gyokuro green tea in vodka to bring out its flavor. The Green Tea Fashioned is an exquisite fusion of bourbon whiskey and Uji matcha green tea. These and others are masterpieces that refine and underscore the appeal of tea.

People capable of opening new pathways have the ability to create new value and culture precisely because they’ve mastered traditions and made an exhaustive study of materials and ingredients. Imadeya Ginza and Mixology Salon are both places where, through world-renowned cuisine, visitors can encounter the future potential of Japanese culture.

Text:Aya Ito Photos:Masatoshi Uenaka Edit:Yuka Okada

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Aya Ito

Food writer and translator. Author of “En souvenir de la tour de France des bonbons” and “Porquoi pas, une promenade dans Paris en Vélib'?” and translator of “Manuel des amphitryons” by Grimod de la Reynière, “Le carnet de route d’un compagnon cuisinier” by Joël Robuchon, “Aux innocents la bouche pleine” by François Simon, and other titles. Ito’s most recent book is “Dining on Paris Counters” (published July 2016). She’s the proprietor of DOMA, a bilingual French and Japanese online food magazine and event production agency (http://domapress.com). Starting at the end of September 2017, she began publishing a new column in MAG2: “Weekly Food-Related News from France, a Gourmet Powerhouse.”
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2017.09.13 improves