If you’re ever in Nakano, one stop on the Chuo Line from Shinjuku, I recommend a little music store called Nakano Meikyoku Do. It’s located on the second floor of the Nakano Broadway shopping mall hidden in a corner. Look for the little store with shelves of cassette tapes on the right, and rows of coffee cups behind the cash register. Don’t let the man at the store scare you. He’s an eccentric but nice man and will serve you the best cup of coffee you’ve ever had if you’re lucky.
My mom and I were shopping there last weekend. Despite it’s shady ambience, we spent a very pleasant and interesting hour there. We didn’t spend time going through the shop’s selection, which is solid but small, but we just hung out.
It turns out that my mom is sort of an old regular there, or at least as regular a customer as you can be when you live in New York. The owner didn’t remember her, but when she mentioned that he treated her to coffee once, he invited us to sit down and have coffee with him. He let us choose our favorite cup and served us better coffee than I’ve had in many cafes — he apparently goes through 10 kilograms of coffee a month although summers are slow because it’s so hot. While we sipped our coffees, he played a cassette for us with some old Japanese comedy routine/riddles and challenged us to guess the answer (we got one right and one wrong).
It’s nice to know this kind of old local store still exists in thoroughly modern Tokyo. If you would like a cup of coffee at this place, my suggestion would be to ask about his coffee cups. That should get him going in the right direction.