Following my post earlier this week on Japan and its unique relationship with nature I wanted to do a follow up. Something of a demonstration of the character of its people which is evident during the current earthquake/ tsunami/ nuclear crisis.
So this post is about a coffee shop you will never go. This is not for any horrific reason related to the earthquake/ tsunami but because it is located in a no man’s land between two skiing towns in remote Nagano Prefecture and will never be featured in any magazine or guide book.
In any other country this would mean that Senjeu coffee shop would serve you a Starbucks-eseque mess and gift you a hollow corporate experience. In Japan it means that you experience a taste that compares with any “third wave”* coffee shop in London, New York or San Franscisco (and maybe even Australia if I had been).
It also makes you contemplate giving up your career, life’s distractions and attempting to emulate the focus and passion which was so evident at Senjeu coffee shop.
Senjeu coffee shop is a husband and wife operation. The wife does the coffee, well, neigh obsessively. The husband bakes wood fired bread, deliciously, in small batches. There is no rational economic reason for what they are doing. There is no easy answer for why a small town in the middle of nowhere deserves such perfection.
Well… apart from the fact this is Japan. This is a country where the apple farmers rotate by hand each apple during the growing season so there is an even spread of sunlight. Where under each apple tree reflective layers are carefully spread out so the bottom of the apple also gets to ripen. Where the apple trees have been cared and nutured for hundreds of years.
This is focus in a way which I can barely understand but which I can definitely taste.
Link to the Japanese Red Cross here.