When I was in Tokyo to work with our agents there and visit some stockists, I would go jogging in the “hood", in the area of Harajuku/Sendagya. It was where I was staying and on one trip, around 2016, I saw a small store that had newly been converted to a tiny coffee shop. It was way too small to be real, yet somehow it felt like a cool candy store from the 90’s in some gentle and lovely cartoon version of the USA, all bubble gum and quirky Hershey bar type stuff!
It was owned and run by an equally quirky and original woman called Natalie. The 90’s theme seemed to continue into the way she dressed in a slightly crazy yet “I like that” new outfit every day. She spoke a little English, enough for us to discover that we seemed to have some mutual friends in the clothing industry, of course, she would know all the local cool people.
Natalie, lived local but was from Nagoya and she described herself as 'almost Japanese’ I think because she knows she has more attitude than is normal locally. I started to go every day I was in Tokyo, not only for a great coffee ( or 'damn fine coffee' as she would say) but also to pick up some new tips on what music I should be listened to on my morning jog. Her coffee shop was a reflection of herself, playing cool hip hop music and offering great coffee alongside strange pin badges, toys and toothpaste from small-town America. It felt like a strange throwback from a 'Twin Peaks' Japanese remake.
Even with Tokyo's tradition of small coffee bars, it is super small. Despite that, I’ve seen it used in countless fashion shoots as everyone else caught on to Natalie's super cool, elegantly naive yet authentic vibe around the place and wanted to be part of it. However when your cafe is the size of two or three high stools it's hard to do social distancing, so I guess in the last few months since I've been able to visit it's been tough times. So at least, I thought, I should be buying from her online “merch” shop. Hence now why Stephanie and I are decked out in her “souvenir" t-shirts.
So when all this is over and if you get the chance to visit Tokyo go visit the quirkiest and maybe just the best tiny coffee shop in the world!