I like coffee shops. Why? Probably because I love coffee. I like to visit the shops of a famous coffee shop franchise like some other coaches do, too. It has the big advantage that you know that you will get quality even before you enter. The products are being constantly checked for their quality and consequently improved in all the branches of the franchise. It is just nice to know what you will get.
But I love the small little Japanese style coffee shops喫茶店. I just love them. Why? I believe the main reason is that for me as a foreigner coming from a country that holds individuality and self reliance in high esteem, a part in me always keeps looking for the individual style in my surroundings. And it is often said that Japanese culture is much more based on conformity, not individuality. That maybe so, but in my long years in Japan I found a lot of individuality, too. The Japanese style coffee shops喫茶店 are a place where I found a lot of individual style. They all offer the basic drinks like, naturally, coffee, a nice, reasonable breakfast called “morning service”モーニングサービス, often some snacks and sometimes even a really nice, homemade lunch.
So, when I started teaching here in the Smith`s school of Englishスミス英会話 in Fuse, Higashi Osaka東大阪布施 last year, I immediately started to try out the various coffee shops in this area. So far, I have already been to quite a lot, but there are still quite a lot that I do not know yet. One of my favorite I like to frequent on my way back from morning flyers is the cafe La lune de l`est ラルーンドエス in Hirano Ku平野区 and eat the reasonable morning service モーニングサービス. The name could be translated from French as “Moon of the east”. Like many Japanese style coffee shops, they are build with an image of French coffee shops in mind. Many bear a French name, too.
From the first visit I could talk with the friendly owner Mr. Masatsugu about a hobby we both share – that is Mangas漫画. He also immediately agreed to put out some Flyers of the Smith`s school of English スミス英会話 in Fuse 東大阪布施 as the school is only two to three stations away from the nearby JR Shinkami station JR新加美駅 on the JR Osaka East line JR大阪東線. (Jr Eiwa JR英和 station is quite close the the school)
It is always a pleasure to talk to him. As he knows quite a lot about that topic, I always use the possibility to get some information from him. For example, he told me once that the area around his coffee shop was all fields and paddies when he was young – and now it is a dense industrial areas of Osaka. As it lies in Hirano Ku大阪市平野区 in the city of Osaka, it is just a the border between of Osaka city大阪, Yao city八尾 and Higashi Osaka東大阪 – famous all over Japan for being the area with the highest population of small and medium sized industrial companies. I knew that Osaka is a fast changing city, but I`d never imagined that Osaka changed that fast in the last couple of decades! I thought that the industrial belt was already much older.
The interests of the owner are mirrored in the design and interior of his coffee shop – on one side you can find a book shelf full of Mangas (with some of my favorite in there as well), and all around the shop, plastic models are being displayed.
I used to build plastic models when I was a child as well, and especially the two models taken from the famous Manga “One Piece” caught my interest. So last time when I visited his Japanese style coffee shop 喫茶店, we actually talked a lot about the plastic models. I am not into plastic model building anymore, but there is not fixed group of people interested in building plastic models meeting every Saturday evening in the coffee shop. Foreigners a explicitly welcome, even thought that the English Conversation ability of most of the members will not speak English fluently.
By the way, my favorite morning service モーニングサービスat La Lune de l`est ラルーンドエス is the D set, as I like a hefty breakfast after two hours of Flyers. The D set comes with a fresh fried egg sunny side up on bacon, a salad and a thick cut slice of toast. Click here if you want to have a look! I just love it!
Coming back to the beginning of the article when I wrote about franchises and individual schools, I found that our own franchise, the Smith`s school of English スミス英会話, actually combines the positive aspects of both. Having the support of an able and experienced head office in the back, common material for advertising and teaching which gives the students all the support they need, there is actually still an amazing amount of space for the individual style of the different owners. All the branches I have seen so far have the original personal note of the owner and the teachers. Many owners actually develop extensions to the curriculum and are so nice to make it available to all the teachers (We do live T.E.A.M.!). Head office is always open to new ideas.