… I was more than a little surprised when I recently entered the flagship Tokyo store of a multimedia chain called Tsutaya, and saw throngs of people eagerly crowding the magazine section. The store, in the Daikanyama district, felt like a testament to the continued power and relevance of the written word — a place where browsing, reading, and buying books and magazines was a popular and pleasurable experience.
It’s not just that Tsutaya feels more upscale than other bookstores. It’s that it celebrates words and books, and the people who read and write them, in a thoughtful, seductive, and ultra-contemporary way.
Don’t get me wrong: This is a business, not a cultural institution. It sells books from 7:00 am till 2:00 am every day of the week, closing only to clean and restock. And it’s always packed. This first location has proved such a hit that another site has already opened in the Kanagawa area outside Tokyo, with a third outpost soon to debut in nearby Futakotamagawa district.