through my job, I have come to know the poet Kitashukugawa
Fukashi (known as "Hakushaku" - lit. The Count)
who, having been born in Hyogo and raised in Kansai, boasts
that he is a Kansai nationalist. At first glance, he has the
air of a salaryman about him, but on closer inspection, you
notice that he has dyed brown hair and a pierced ear, and
is openly gay.
Behind Hakushaku's appearance lies a man with a remarkably
sharp tongue. His profound knowledge of architecture is also
notable. And it was him I asked to take me to the shop of
his choice. Musica was what he came up with, a place he has
been visiting regularly for the last twenty years. It was
in the early afternoon of a weekday in February, after a stroll,
stopped into the shop.
getting off at Yodoyabashi Station, we made our way along
the river toward our final destination, with Hakushaku providing
a variety of information about the buildings we passed. He
expressed a particular liking for the Dai Building (Osaka
Building) that has been subject to a series of ongoing crises.
As we walked along, he stopped to take pictures again and
again with his digital camera. And since we weren't in any
hurry, after coming upon the "graf" building in
that same Nakanoshima neighborhood, Hakushaku took me inside
and showed me around. Apparently, the building, with its neo-romantic
style, dates to the Taisho Period. Entranced by the exquisite
decorative touches and interior, I was amazed to find that
the building still functions as an office building.
a splendid building is still standing, eh?....Once I had satisfied
my curiosity, I followed Hakushaku on to Musica. Surprisingly,
it was located on the third floor of a newer building in Dojima.
Once inside, I realized that the shop wasn't just another
tea room with sumptuous English tea. As a tea specialist,
the owner-cum-manager, Horie Toshiki, is known to one and
all in the industry.
Musica was the first English tea specialty shop to be opened
in Japan. It was founded fifty years ago. There is also an
original Musica brand of tea. Inside, the shop is brimming
with a variety of materials related to tea. On Hakushaku's
recommendation, we ordered the shop's speciality, the three-tiered
Afternoon Tea set. It was tea time.
(to be continued next issue)