A bookstore is a special thing. I remember the first time I climbed up a few dingy flight of stairs and stepped into Mackie Study in Hong Kong - in that moment everything around me seemed to fall away, and soon I was surrounded by this magical feeling of being among books that might change my life.
It was my favorite bookstore for awhile but soon it too disappeared, like so many important but under-appreciated cultural spaces of a city too busy to slow down.
That was many years ago.
David and Monique, who run Shimokitazawa Generations, must have felt what I did at some point in their lives. Maybe that's why their independent bookstore, which started as a humble online bookstore and has since amassed quite a following among lovers of magazines and independent publishing, feels like it is more than just another store.
It feels like a place with soul.
The afternoon I spent with David and Monique was filled with talk of magazines and people who make them and Tokyo and how in Tokyo people care about such things. I went away from our conversation with the feeling that it's not easy to care about magazines anywhere in this world where most people care only about making money. And people who publish magazines don't make much money.
But out of love and passion the ones who do it keep trudging on. And that, to me, is special.