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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

WJAAS - An afternoon in Akihabara

After a walk in Akihabara's main street you understand where you are: if you're not a fan of manga, "anime" (short for animation = cartoon) and cheap, chinese-made accessories for yr. i-Pod, you, audio-freak, tube-lover or, plainly said, music-lover would be better quit this District in a hurry!

The cosy-players, gals in funny Minnie-like clothes or the discount shops are, literally, everywhere for kilometers... BUT, at the outskirts of this huge area, some exceptions still exists for us, die-hard searchers for beautiful stuffs.

I had an address, taken from MJ - Musen to Jikken magazine, of Eltus Audio, one of the older audio shops in whole Tokyo (and Japan, as well).

Thanking hotel staff precious advice, I took the Chiyoda Green Metro Line, stopped at Yushima station and after some hundreds meters walk I found it... closed, of course!

In the meantime, why not going to the nearby Tokyo's branch of the always great HiFiDo?

Among a mighty pair of Vitavox CN-191 speakers, a Tannoy GRF, an (Hiraga) Legend with WE 300B amps pair and hundreds of MJ and Stereo Sound second-hand magazines, I shopped for the MOST beautiful (and cheap) classical music japanese pressings of the whole trip!!!

Superb way of waiting for Eltus' opening, indeed...

Jokes apart, the HiFiDo stop was a great stop in itself... the friendly and helpful staff, despite the usual communication troubles, made my day.

After they recognize me as an overseas customer, they called for Mrs. Munetika - Export Manager, only to say hello and, to my surprise, without asking for, they heavily discounted discs I bought and promptly issued a Customer's Card, good for more discounts also when shopping from home... something ALWAYS possible;-)

When after one hour I returned on my steps to Eltus'... Holy Shit!!!

I never, ever saw something like this!!!

Western Electric and Zeiss Ikon's BIG movie amps, Western Electric replicas of WE 594,WE 597 and WE 555 and horns, BIG horns and tubes and dust, awfully kept floor with garbage and not room enough for my long feet... BUT when Honda-san showed to me 80 years old Western Electric literature, I was in tears!

Only cheap chinese disk-players and a sound not truly of the highest fidelity, BUT this old man in his 75+ was among the very first to import from Hollywood ol' cinema gears, more than 50 years ago, period!

I met in the shop a couple of guys who showed from their i-Phones screens the pixes of their GREAT systems: big horns, triodes, etc. - they were coming from Saitama-ken to meet the old master, looking for new stuffs or, maybe and most likely, oldies;-)

Ali Baba and his cave were beginners vs. Honda-san's shop... not hi-end, not hi-fi, BUT like a living museum, an amusement park where see and touch those treasures from the past!

Saw about half-a-million yen spent of that old needle-speaker (the one with the ship on "grille").

The old Honda-san smiled at the "youngers" in his shop... I saw him!

... for an instant it looked like an audio Delai Lama... quiet, peaceful, friendly.

Long may you live, Honda-san.

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