Kotobuki [寿]

2016-02-25 12.45.14‘The more you know who you are and what you want, the less you let things upset you.’

Near the local fish market you will find a building of not more than two floors. Inside the building multiple small pubs and coffee houses are located. Each place seemed to be rectangular shaped measuring about 6X2,5m. What the venues lack in space is made up by the overall atmosphere each place gives off. Particularly the first coffee house you find at the entrance, just before going up the staircase.

Originally, the idea was going to one of the smaller pubs, have a drink, read a book, and if I was lucky, chill out for a bit. But as chances would have it none of the pubs were open. Most pubs do not open until 17:00. Unlike back home where you can, in theory, start early. Either way, most of the pubs did not seem to be of my liking, the majority of them were sport themed, each locale specialising in football, baseball or rugby. On my way down I saw the little coffee shop again.

Upon entering I immediately felt at home. There are times in your life when all the pieces just fall right in place. The instance I put a foot inside, I knew this was one of those moments. Soft jazz was playing and the whole venue smelled like fresh coffee and cigarettes. Behind the counter the barrista was preparing a costumers drink.

I grabbed my book, ordered some coffee and started reading. But I got distracted. The care that goes into making a single cup of coffee was hypnotic. As is expected by Japanese standards every single act carries a certain craftsmanship. It’s a way of life. Even the smallest thing is given a 100% of attention. This search for perfection in the most mundane of things is inspiring.

Once I finished my cup of coffee I lingered for a while at the coffee house. I looked outside to see if the snow had cleared up. The bicycle that was outside was now completely covered in snow. I remember it only being half covered when I entered for a coffee. Before asking for the bill and paying it, I finished listening to the song that was playing.

On my way out I looked back and thought to myself that this coffee house most definitely deserved a second visit. Just before crossing the street I checked the name of the place again, Kotobuki. The barrista told me what it meant: “Long life.”