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Fujiya Avic headphone festival 2015: Saturday sights & sounds

  • FA_2015_autumnFujiya Avic (“Foo-jee-ya Ay-vik”) aren’t an independent audio show organiser but a headphone store located in Nakano’s Broadway shopping centre. Getting there from Shinjuku (“Shin-joo-koo”) is a snap: journey a single stop along the Chuo Rapid line before exiting Nakano (“Na-Kar-no”) station to the north. Walk across the street and you’re into the high-ceiling-d mall…

    …Fujiya Avic are tucked away on the third floor. Well stocked with headphones, DACs and amplifiers, this is one of two must see head-fi shopping destinations in Tokyo – the other being Akihabara’s e-earphone – and twice annually Fujiya Avic host their eponymously titled headphone show at the adjacent Nakano Sun Plaza Hotel.

    The Sun Plaza itself plays hosts to cultural events throughout the weekend as the headphone show quietly goes about its business in the hotel floors above. Journey to the uppermost show floor (15th) and take in the view – see photos above and below – it’s breathtaking. No matter how high the floor, trying to spy the city’s outer edges is a fool’s errand. Tokyo is home to almost 14 million people and stretches for miles beyond the horizon.

    Before DAR show coverage gets down to brand specifics, I’ve put together a short video summarising the look and feel of the show. Notice how some rooms are quite sombre affairs (Sennheiser) whilst others see their buzz bolstered by enthusiastic chatter.

    And like the city itself, the Fujiya Avic headphone show is busy but never feels overwhelming or overly hectic; which is quite astonishing considering the number of people getting about. Attendees queue patiently and quietly. Which is good because there’s often quite a bit of queueing to be done, even to get a seat at an exhibitor’s table. Those wanting to get hands on the with new DAPs from Pioneer and Onkyo were required to queue for a queue for a queue that took up to ninety minutes to clear during the show’s peak. FiiO’s Japanese distributor could be found offering scheduled appointments for the Chinese company’s forthcoming DAP, of which only a single prototype unit was available.

    Numbers at the headphone show are boosted on the first day (of two) due to the host store offering numerous-but-limited show specials, the queue for which snaked down several flights of the hotel’s fire stairs. And again, rather than simply telling you, I can show you:

    Notice anything unusual about the attendees? They’re super young. I’d peg the median age at under 30.

    In spite of seeing next to no promotion outside of Japan the show is very well attended. It also attracts a good number of overseas visitors. This year I shook hands with Dan Clark of Mr Speakers, Andy Regan of JH Audio, Thorsten Loesch of AMR, Ken Ball of ALO/Campfire as well as AudioQuest’s Skylar Gray, Shaun Schuetz and Steve Silberman.

    I won’t spoil your appetite here though. Expect to read this commentator’s observations and thoughts on cultural differences between Japanese and US/European audio shows published in an upcoming issue of Stereophile magazine.

    Further information: Fujiva Avic


    Written by John

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram

    Tokyolo #2 – Audio Union, Shinjuku

    Fujiya Avic headphone festival 2015: Sunday sights & sounds