As you will recall from last month's episode, I was taken to tea at Musica,
a long-established oasis of English tea in the center of the city, by the
poet Kitashukugawa Fukashi (also known as "Hakushaku," or "The Count"). The
shop's owner, tea specialist Horie Toshiki, is often cited as Japan's
leading authority on English tea. Along with this, he works in the shop.
For thirty years, he has been making trips to India, choosing his own tea
leaves and stocking them in the shop. Everywhere you look in Musica, there
is tea. Not only does the cafe offer a pot service, allowing customers to
drink an ample three cups of tea, the price is reasonable. It is a rare
place indeed that tries so hard to help you enjoy tea. After spending a
leisurely time at Musica, we made our way home through "Shinchi."
Some time after that, before an event at which Hakushaku had agreed to make
an appearance, I went to Osaka Station to meet a guest who was coming from
Tokyo. Together, we made a return visit to the shop. As we strolled down the
street from the station, I mourned the changes the neighborhood is going
through with each new building that sprouts up.
As with the last time, it felt as if time was standing still as we relaxed
and enjoyed our tea. In the evening, we stopped in at "do up," the
cafe/dining bar where the event was being held. The venue, which is operated
in cooperation with the Juso film theatre, "Nanagei," is such a classy place
that it wipes away all of the images you might have about Juso. There is a
dance studio on the first floor. And as the building is directly in front of
Juso Park, the view from the second floor is a nice one. The couple who owns
the place are also very nice.
Then it was time for the event....On the way home, Hakushaku showed me
around Doyama, Osaka's so-called "gaytown." It was right around that time in
the same neighborhood that a closing event for Ogimachi Museum Square (OMS),
one of the driving forces behind culture in Osaka, was being held.