GINZA SIX EDITORS
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We spell way of enjoying that we found on foot.
Is secret in the middle of Ginza, for freedom. We drink walk and one A Quiet Spree in Mid-Ginza: A Walk and a Few Drinks Alone
GINZA SIX EDITORS Vol.53
Bench more in town of Tokyo! Whenever several degrees returns home in year, we think so. We take a short break and check address of destination and. It shows rhythm and expression of coming and going person if we sit on bench of world city apart from reason. Of town and person whom there is now as for bench time of a time there is, and can show with state objectively just a little, and is strange because let feel close at the to same time. When bench is "oasis of small town" open to every person free.
Introduction had got longer, but it was a large number of benches in hall that we were attracted first in GINZA SIX. Of each floor is leather (blow a lot, and surround space) in passage, and there is wide slightly luxurious bench. Therefore figure of couple talking about shopping with and elderly woman taking a short break seems to see natural scenery of street corner. We are reminded of the corner of store block by layout in hall such as alley inviting person to point bow not right angle without passage and store being divided straight if I lower stability, eyes and look. Coziness hid behind in such a place.
Pleasure of walk of GINZA SIX is not only bench. This spring, one like work "flight of gray starling" of French present age artist Daniel Buren who blows, and appeared in space of the center in hall. When collected data on before in Paris; "my origin taking characteristic of place and space in work remembers "making use of the surrounding landscape in the design of a garden" of Japan and charming smile of great master who did wink small. His work entrusting person watching with free discovery asks whether "saa, you watch how". If you change angle and direction and look, you must be able to show various expressions.
In expression that gangs are different in again to be downstairs, and to have looked up if we look at slope where work which installed red and all triangular pennant huge rectangular frames which dripped 1,675 pieces of blue stripe in space of colonnade diagonally is air Lee from floor for the middle. By position and angle to see, overall voluminous feel and shape, red and blue ratio change and are interesting because they give different impression.
We have seen formation of gray starling which turned in sky in very large grassy place of the country of France. It flutters instantly and "such feel by movement such as group dancing to repeat expansion and contraction if we see close on the sky" Imagination swells out. We want to take a deep breath so badly in the sky in near big space when we do it this way. In such a case to rooftop garden "GINZA SIX garden" of GINZA SIX pride!
Rooftop garden that both turf and tree root from the opening well in summer after one year, and green is dark, and grows thick. Basin playing water to slate which we spread all is quite popular with small children.
Of the roof that is very large in the promenade that central open space opens out in the sky and looks at street and building of Ginza, and to hand surround around. Furthermore, green path to arrange shrub of the pitch for aside of open space appears and lets you forget that you are on the roof of 10 meters of number of the ground, and anyone spends favorite time at lunch and place to like in walk and reading, the shade of a tree. Consent goes in landscape architect which said, "person becomes land breathing lively of the sky let alone green", smallness of garden design of Shunsaku Miyagi.
It is said that roadside tree of Ginza that appeared in Japan for the first time in the early period of Meiji was provided with with tree in Japan ancient times when cherry tree and colored leaves are beautiful. Against a backdrop of such a history, tree of rooftop garden, all the flowers are comprised of Japanese native species. Any place other than the Japanese garden standing out of "the sum", garden only for native species is extremely rare. We feel that I who am ignorant about plant learn from one one of the florets to see (according to the billboard flower of "podocarp").
We are worried about design of bench, too. Hitting part of knee is gentle design of comfort representing curve. Bench varying in material by the design including tree, gray granite and yellowish brown stone is majority in garden!
Aperitif which drops in alone aimlessly if pleasure of further walk is evening. However, Tokyo where there are unexpectedly few individual shops without hesitation without reservation of dinner even if we leave with one cup of wine. We have a lot of nameless cafes in all areas in Paris to live in for many years, and it is often that we put up the night plan on counter and terrace. For a free time without this restraint to cafe & bar of the second-floor "wine shop Enoteca" under the ground.
Of mind called shop space same passage spreading out to Shops put, and at first lack is mentioned specially. It is attractive that seven kinds of enhancement begin with 500 yen if we peep at list of glasses of wine (including sparkling). Of bitter sparkling (Spanish cover) that akasakamubeutsuri of wine selector pours in sommeliers saying "renovate on every Wednesday" is refreshing, and feeling bounds in rich taste.
If seat at a table along wall is filled up, at round table and counter stand, and drink is all right. High quality of wine betraying the look of a shop which is not eager (in good meaning) is precious cafe & bar. Is vest simple as for the snacks of good prosciutto ham and parmesan cheese of moist flavor.
We are particular about one cup without hesitation of reservation (?) Then another one which went for "bisutoroozami." Is right attracted with 19:00-limited "furenchisaku drink menu" from half past 17 by title of service as requested; and to the sixth floor.
Because, on pronoun of openhearted bistro, the tablecloth of plaids of red white, snow-white cross is hung; in preparation for "after all dinner" "burandado of whitefish, with melba toast" (all 600 yen ※ lower than + tax price) and white "chateau du bread" of Bordeaux of glass (500 yen) that chose are carried to other place in to doubt guri me who am deep by "case drink menu".
We return salt dollar, and, in burandado to be creamy, and to work out, elaborate professional works despite snacks. Let feel white wine of Bordeaux with mild acidity plumply, and good affinity. It is aperitif to Chloranthus japonicus! Fun in evening when what we call nohazudattanoni, friend of the work end and think of variously when dinner is good here is free.
For location hunting of next dinner……We try to convince ourselves in this, and "we stew domestic beef, red wine of hoho meat", and (2,800 yen) is ordered by a la carte. Butter fragrant slightly invites appetite to thick sauce in relation to hororito Exit melting hoho meat. From red wine of glass which always prepares six kinds, attach "coat de nyui Virage" of hometown Bourgogne of dishes (1,200 yen).
"bisutoroozami" which copes with customer who makes "change of heart" like me, and is left for dinner immediately if seat has room. Full-scale bistro cooking and wine and comfortable service are very tasteful.
On the other hand, it was place that corner that displayed craft which collaborated with Japanese craftsmen in the store side of "Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten" which brought about tool of living utilized industrial arts in Nara since its formation for 300 years wanted to visit. What is handwork of craftsman living for modern living? The significance and exploring of demand are because they felt with problem of Crafts Manship whom nationality does not matter to for many years now.
We develop "tea service set box of house holder" which designed tea ceremony so that all the basic tea service sets fit into box of paulownia of square casually in more houses in main now between the popup sky of new brand "tea theory Mise" (from August 1 to October 31). Even if do not learn manners of tea ceremony, it is surely said that can enjoy cup casually if take out this box; idea. Small jujube, glass drawing, small vase, (individual selling) including food formed by wrapping and twisting of the tea cloth into a bag shape pipe, compact appearance are extremely modern from bowl.
If we occasionally take a rest on foot and walk again, for walk of Ginza meeting anything new which we did not notice until yesterday, in GINZA SIX, it seems to be in course not to be able to take off.
Text: Chiyo Sagae Photos: Tomo Ishiwatari Edit: Yuka Okada
Tokyo should have more benches. That’s what I think each time I return to Japan, which is several times a year. To take a little break, to check where you’re going—the reasons vary. But sitting on a bench in an international city brings the rhythms and expressions of passersby into focus. A few moments of bench time give a detached perspectives on fragments of the city and its people. At the same time, these moments draw you closer to those passing by—it’s strange, actually. Benches are like small oases in a city where one is free to rest awhile, free of charge. So, why not, Tokyo?
My preamble has gone a bit longer than expected. What first struck me about GINZA SIX was the number of benches inside. You find wide leather benches with a touch of luxurious elegance in the hallways of each floor, most surrounding atrium space. You see couples discussing their shopping or an older woman taking a break. The impression is of a completely ordinary scene on what could be any street corner. I settle on one of the benches, lower my line of sight, and see how the hallways and shops stray from straight lines; how the corners of store blocks depart from rigid right angles; how the interior layout resembles the angles found on small side streets, inviting people to press on and discover. The appeal also lies in aspects like this.
The fun of walking GINZA SIX isn’t limited to benches. Another joyful find is “Like a flock of starlings: work in situ,” the art installation by French contemporary artist Daniel Buren that alighted in the central atrium space this past spring. I interviewed the artist previously in Paris. I remember the charming smile of a master, who winked when he said: “My starting point when I incorporate the characteristics of a place or space in my work is the Japanese idea of ‘borrowed scenery.’” Buren’s works characteristically allow viewers room to make their own discoveries, asking us, “So what do you see?” There’s no question his works present various when you look at them from different angles or directions.
The work in the atrium space consists of 1,675 red-and-blue triangular flags on a gigantic rectangular frame, installed at an angle. When you view the airy slope from a middle floor, it offers up something different than from a lower floor. Depending on your viewing position and angle, the overall sense of volume and the shape and ratio of red and blue all change and create a different impression. It’s fascinating.
Once, in France, I happened to see a formation of starlings in the countryside circling above a wide field. The movement of the flags, like a flock fluttering for a moment and expanding and contracting, makes me wonder if this is what it would look like if I could get up close and look from the sky. I picture this. I feel myself wanting to take a deep, deep breath in a wide-open space close to the sky. At times like this, I go up to GINZA SIX Garden, the rooftop garden and the pride of GINZA SIX.
A year has passed since GINZA SIX opened. It’s summer once again. The grass and the trees have taken firm root. The growth of trees and grass in the rooftop garden is thick and dense. Stone slabs have been spread, and water is flowing over them in the water feature, a popular play area for small children.
The central plaza opens to the sky. The promenade circling the expansive rooftop offers a view across the way to Ginza’s streets and buildings. A small path through the greenery appears at the corner of the plaza lined with trees and bushes of varying heights. You forget you’re on top of a building several tens of meters above the ground. Everyone spends their time exactly as they prefer for the passing moment in their favorite spots: walking, reading, eating lunch in the shade of the trees. The landscape artist Shunsaku Miyagi has said of his work here: “To seek to create a place not just for plants and trees, but for the sky, a place for people to come to breathe with a sense of vitality…” I’m in complete accord with the thoughtfulness of his design.
At the start of the Meiji period, around the 1870s, Ginza’s streets were said to be lined for the first time in Japan with trees native to the country, like cherry and maple. Given this historical backdrop, the rooftop garden is composed entirely of trees, plants, and flowers native to Japan. With the exception of gardens that are self-consciously “Japanese,” gardens composed entirely of native species are rare. I know relatively little about plants, but I’m interested in learning about each of the little flowers I see. In the photo, according to the sign, this is an Inumaki flower.
I notice the design of the benches. The area at your knees is comfortably curved, an appealing touch. The garden is filled with benches of the same design, but made of varying materials, like wood, gray granite, and stone of a certain mustard shade.
Another joy of a walk at GINZA SIX is the opportunity for evening aperitifs, should the fancy strike, as you sit in contemplation. Tokyo actually has very few privately run establishments where one feels totally free to drop in for a glass of wine in the evening, with no dinner reservation. I’ve lived many years in Paris: Every district has a million no-name cafés. I would often go to one and sit at the counter or out on the terrace, even if I had other plans for later in the evening. Suddenly longing for just such an unencumbered moment or two, I make my way to the café and bar at Wine Shop Enoteca on the second belowground floor.
The friendly atmosphere of the establishment is the first noteworthy impression. The hallway leading there is part of its interior space. Looking at the list of wines by the glass (including sparkling wine), I see a full seven varieties priced from 500 yen—also appealing. The list is updated every Wednesday, I’m told, as sommelier and wine selector Nobue Akasaka pours a dry sparkling wine (a Spanish Cava). Its profound effervescence and flavor lift my spirits.
If the tables along the wall are full, you can stand and drink at one of the round tables or at the counter. The elegance of the wine gainsays—in a good way—the casual interior and confers a special quality on this café and bar. Simple is best, argues the tender and fragrant dry-cured ham and parmesan cheese appetizer I find myself ordering.
If you prefer drinks without worrying about reservations, another destination is Bistro AUX AMIS. Limited items from the French Evening Drink Menu are offered from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Intrigued by the title of this service, which sounds like exactly what I want, I head to the sixth floor.
I see pure white cloths placed on the red-and-white checkered tablecloths, the classic visual welcome of the unpretentious bistro. I think for a moment, turning skeptical, that they’re of course preparing for dinner. But my selections from the Evening Drink Menu—the White Fish Brandade with Melba Toast (600 yen; all prices listed before tax) and glass of white Chateau du Pin Bordeaux (500 yen)—are graciously accepted and duly brought to my table.
Brandade is made by rehydrating salt cod and processing it into a thick cream. Technically, it’s an appetizer, but it’s the meticulous work of a professional. Against it the gentle tartness of the white Bordeaux is light and buoyant—the pairing works well. A quiet aperitif alone! That was the plan. But I find myself thinking all sorts of things…maybe I’ll invite a friend who’s done with work for the day to have dinner with me here. Being free to think all sorts of things is one of the joys of evening.
I tell myself I’m simply location scouting for my next dinner and order the Japanese Beef Cheeks in Red Wine Sauce (2,800 yen) from the à la carte menu. The faintly aromatic butter in the rich sauce over meltingly tender beef cheeks piques the appetite. Six varieties of red wine by the glass are typically on offer. I choose the Côte de Nuits-Villages (1,200 yen) from Burgundy, the home of this dish.
If there’s space, Bistro AUX AMIS immediately accommodates patrons, like me, who have a change of heart and decide to stay for dinner. Authentic bistro food, wine, and pleasant service—perfect!
One of the places I’ve wanted to visit is a space displaying handicrafts made in collaboration with Japanese craftspeople in the corner of Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten, which, since its founding 300 years ago in Nara, has applied craft techniques to produce implements for daily life. This is based in part on feeling for many years that the significance of handicrafts made by craftspeople living in contemporary society, and the effort to connect these craftspeople to consumers who appreciate their work, are issues of craftsmanship transcending nationality.
The store currently features pop-up space (August 1 to October 31) for the new brand Saron Mise, known best for making tea utensil boxes for the home, designed to store all the basic tea utensils in a square, paulownia wood box. Even if you’re not studying tea ceremony formally, bringing out this box and enjoying a little tea break is certainly a fine idea. From a tea cup to a small tea caddy, glass candy container, single-flower vase, tea cloth case, and more—all sold separately—the impression created by the compact dimensions couldn’t be more modern.
Walk and rest from time to time, then walk again. If you do, you’ll find something new you didn’t notice the day before. For a quiet walk in Ginza, you can’t go wrong with a route through GINZA SIX.
Text : Chiyo Sagae Photos : Tomo Ishiwatari Edit : Yuka Okada
Journalist. Moved to France in 1986 after working as a production assistant for TV and newspapers while studying specially cultural and expressive sociology. Researches and writes primarily on food, architecture and design, and travel for magazines like Casa BRUTUS, BRUTUS and The Cuisine Press. Involved since last year in editing the Hanako Travel series and is currently training as an editor.GINZASIX_OFFICIAL Instagram