Who Wants to Open a Cafe?

Would you like to run a mountain cafe with a pizza oven in the Hiroshima countryside? I know of an opportunity for you to do so for the reasonable rent of 40,000 yen a month. The amazing man who is putting this together has designed a little art and farming community in Shiraishi, Higashi Hiroshima. Kuwata-san  is the owner of the stained glass gallery Mu (“nothingness”) which I wrote about on this page last year.

The other day, I drove to Mu and Kanae and I had coffee and chatted with Kuwata Kazuko, wife of the artist. I enjoyed seeing his work again and this time we even got to go up into the tree house! it was kind of scary going up the steps. There are two rather large rooms, and it is possible to sleep there as I saw several futons being aired out in the back room! The view of yama tsutsuji and green leaves was lovely.

Tree House at Mu

Tree House at Mu

Front Room of Tree House

Front Room of Tree House

I noticed a bee hive in the garden and she told me that they had started keeping bees a year ago and the honey was wonderful!  I wonder how Kuwata-san has time for all these projects but I imagine his wife is a big support to him. I asked her if she didn’t have a hobby of her own or create things herself, but she seems to be happy to run the cafe at the gallery, hold down the fort and to help with his workshops! They say every great man has a great woman behind him, and this is a clear example!

Bee hive

Bee hive

Kazuko Kuwata in her cafe

Kazuko Kuwata in her cafe

I just want to share a couple more photos inside the Mu gallery and cafe where I am enjoying music!

Just groovin' to smooth jazz

Just groovin’ to smooth jazz

Music selection

Music selection

I was disappointed not to see Kuwata-san himself. Kazuko told us that he was in the mountains of Shiraishi working on his new project, a sort of artist’s village with a renovated Japanese farmhouse, fields to be lent  out and several shops or galleries. So we decided to go and find him.

She gave us directions to Shiraishi and when we reached Shiraishi Post Office, we called Kuwata-san to get detailed instructions. We found him atop a steam shovel moving earth. He paused in his work to show us around and that’s when he said,

Do you want to open a cafe here? 

Kuwata-san in front of the farmhouse Cafe

Kuwata-san in front of the farmhouse Cafe

Cafe Kitchen

Cafe Kitchen

He plans to use organic vegetables from the fields outside

He plans to use organic vegetables from the fields outside

Telling us his plans for the art village

Telling us his plans for the art village

This used to be a farm house but he has renovated it, keeping the rustic feel, original mud walls and old beams. The kitchen is all set for a cafe! And in the stone naiya, he is planning to build a brick oven for pizza. He is looking for someone who wants to have a cafe there.

“There is a field to cultivate, beautiful scenery, other artists to hang out with…and a place to eat good food. A person can spend the whole day here!” Kuwata tells us.

On the way here we also met an interesting character who is gradually cycling all over Japan. The first thing I noticed was his cowboy hat and then saw the sign on his bicycle. I pulled up alongside him and asked if we could talk.

Kanae with Mr. Saito

Kanae with Mr. Saito

69 year-old Biker cycling around Japan

69 year-old Biker cycling around Japan

Saito-san is from Osaka and was on his way to Shimonoseki. I asked where he sleeps and he told us he usually finds a cheap business hotel but sometimes sleeps outdoors. He was hoping to make it as far as Kure so turned down my offer of a bed for the night. Hiroo and I sometimes provide food and a bed to travelers. I was impressed because he is 69 years old and having great fun!

Kanae Chillin' at Mu

Kanae Chillin’ at Mu

As usual, we met many amazing people on our journey today and were inspired by them!  If you are interested in opening a cafe here, contact me and i’ll put you in touch with Kuwata-san!

Electric Fan from 1950's

Electric Fan from 1950’s

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. beckynielsen
    May 02, 2013 @ 00:26:30

    You do meet the most interesting people! What did the sign on Mr. Saito’s bike say? Is he travelling around for a particular purpose or just for his own adventure?

    Reply

  2. leahmama1
    May 02, 2013 @ 08:08:51

    I took a picture but for some reason, it wouldn’t uplaod. It was in Japanese but said something like. Preserve the beauty of Japan: mountains, rivers, seas, forests. Cross country challenge by bike!
    Yes. I really feel that there are so many amazing people around me! I just need to take the time to stop and chat!

    Reply

  3. labellestudio
    May 02, 2013 @ 11:21:49

    Your blog has just been nominated for the Shine On Award: http://labellestudio.wordpress.com/2013/05/02/shine-on/
    Congratulations! 😀

    Reply

  4. Vividhunter
    May 02, 2013 @ 12:49:58

    I have a friend who just might be interested in that cafe. I will forward your post to her ^^

    Reply

  5. cgaylemarie
    May 09, 2013 @ 17:55:40

    This is so amazing!! I’d love to travel there and meet these people someday!

    Reply

    • leahmama1
      May 11, 2013 @ 12:54:36

      Yes! You should come. It is cool to talk to people here and find out each unique story! I enjoy reading your biographies!

      Reply

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