At 3 p.m. precisely, a staffer in meikyoku kissa Lion in Shibuya quietly announces the start of today's "concert." Silence descends as she places a record on the player. A gray-haired customer puffs on a cigarette at his corner table.
A Beethoven piano sonata soon permeates the dim interior (thick curtains shut out the outside world) where a few solitary figures are seated at tables, illuminated by orange lamplight. Nobody is talking -- the only voices heard are whispered orders for coffee.
The hush is almost reverential, and indeed the meikyoku kissa (a "tearoom for musical masterpieces") is a shrine to the twin passions of music and coffee. In addition to the twice daily so-called concerts, you can request your favorite pieces of classical music. The tables and paired seats are arranged in rows facing the speakers, the effect is oddly like a theater.