Craig’s report on his “Jazz Kissa Tour” is one more reason to move up the next Japanese visit on the priority list. When I read articles like this, I realize how much I miss these profound cultural experiences. For now, I have to make do with the ambient sounds Craig recorded at each “kissa”. That way, I can get a glimpse of the atmosphere at these places and escape my world for a moment.
Mostly defined as: Mid-20th century “listening cafes” for jazz music. But there is a lot of variance in this definition. Lots are coffee-focused cafes, fitting into the broader “kissaten” universe. But some are more bar-like, and some even jazz clubs (but for the most part, live music is rare). You can tie yourself in knots splitting hairs over this stuff. Though they’re traditionally known as “jazz kissa” — the shortened version of “kissaten” (fear not: even if you call them “jazz kissaten” you won’t suddenly turn into a pillar of salt). Some are seventy years old. Some forty. Some are five years old. The important defining element is simply: A presiding and effusive ever-abiding love for jazz, jazz, and more jazz.