Aiyo coffee / 愛養 

Tsukiji, Tokyo, 2016.


Aiyo Coffee is a Tokyo institution. It's definitely been around since before I was born, affectionately serving simple yet perfect milk coffee to the workers and vendors of Tsukiji fish market. And the name says it all; 愛 - ai, love 養 - yo, nourishing. A glass of nourishing love. There nothing complicated about it, but they've speicalized in one particular thing and know exactly what they're doing. Years of practice makes perfect. Not to mention the authenticity of a place which has been unchanged for so long. The tape recorder/radio, as old as the regulars who've been frequenting the place for years, plays classical music and it feels like time has been standing still since the small coffee bar first opened. However there might not be much time left. The fish market is currently moving to a new location and even though it's been decided that the Tsukiji area will stay open for a bit longer noone seems to know until when. And thus the fate of Aiyo coffee is uncertain. They might have to close at the end of this year, or they can stay open for another few months. Not even the Ojiisan behind the bar seemed to know.  I feel privileged to have been able to sit among the regulars, having that perfectly balanced, velvety, not-at-all-bitter and extremely hot milk coffee. Like I was let in on a secret piece of Tokyo history exquisitely kept alive. 

Aiyo Coffee
Bldg 6, 5-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku