The dilapidated barber shop on the corner was what initially caught our attention. Old school places like that are always a treat, but it’s rare to see one so faded and forlorn looking. However, having spent the morning shivering through the first genuinely wintery weather of the year, the coffee shop next door turned out to be the real find of our day.
In business for 51 years and run by the same woman the whole time, it was a warm refuge from the cold in both temperature and the welcome we received. A place that my friend and I felt completely at home in the minute we stepped through the door.
Now 83 years old, the mama-san moved to Osaka from her native Gumna prefecture when she got married. Her husband is sadly no longer with us, but she has children in the area, and of course the coffee shop. A business that’s an extension of her personality, and as such it felt very much a part of the past as well as the present. An element that was encapsulated the moment we heard the distinctive ring of the old rotary phone. A sound and resultant scene that was the icing on the cake of our time there. Or perhaps more appropriately, the thickly spread butter on top of our toast.
Oh, and it turns out the old barber shop that was so integral to our visit has been closed for a staggering 31 years.