Stephane Danton

The appeal of Tokyo for Stephane Danton

Tokyo is a huge megalopolis, yet it's bursting with natural beauty. Its biggest plus for me is how new things keep happening all the time.

However, this "sense of speed" can often cause problems. For example, commercial facilities are often built in front of train stations in the name of urban revitalization or some such, with the result that the older commercial districts, the shotengai, are disappearing one by one.

In the long-serving shotengai, the owners of each store are specialists in their crafts, dealing with customers as true professionals. With the "malling" of Japan, these experts are steadily being replaced by staff with scant knowledge of the products they sell. When a part of town is taken over by chain stores that can be found anywhere else, the unique character of the city flickers and disappears.

When that happens, a town may look vibrant at first glance, but now there's no reason to take the trouble to visit.

Some places that are still a jumble still remain in Tokyo, and the imbalance among different parts of town are part of what makes it fun. That's why I've been living in Tokyo for over 20 years now. It's a city full of potential, and I hope that potential is never burst.


Stephane Danton

Owner of Ocharaka, a tea shop specializing in Japanese tea. Born in Lyons, France in 1964. Majored in Hotel Management.
1985: Earned certification as a sommelier.
1992: Arrived in Japan and began working at tea shops while beginning to study a course to open up possibilities for Japanese tea.
2005: Founded Ocharaya in Kichijoji, Tokyo. Develops and sells Japanese teas and original flavored teas based on Japanese teas.
Opened a second shop of Ocharaka, the Coredo Muromachi shop, in October 2014.