After leaving the Imperial palace grounds in Kyoto, I discovered the “Kawa Coffee” cafe, just across the street from the South East entrance.
I’m always up for a hot cup of coffee, even on a scorchingly hot day like today, when most would prefer it iced. The name also intrigued me. In Polish, “KAWA” (pronounced Ka-Va) means COFFEE. So I read this as ‘coffee coffee’, which seems quite funny! I was sure that a Polish person was running the shop. I had to investigate!!
Once inside, I was greeted by the owner, who I quickly realized was not Polish. Instead he’s a craftsman of fine leather products. In addition to running the cafe, he also makes and sells these products.
After placing my order for a pourover coffee and some delicious sweet beans on toast, I spent some time with the owner. His level of English is about on par with my Japanese. Pretty much ZERO. With the aid of Google Translate, I told him about the ‘coffee coffee’ Polish/English name. He laughed and told me that he wasn’t aware of this when he named the store. He simply wrote the English sound to the word Leather, which in Japanese is Kawa.
It took some time, but it was a slow day with few customers. We spent half an hour “talking” about various things. Why I came to Japan, how long he’d been in business, etc. etc. Quite a good experience, but typical of all the stories I’ve heard from friends spending time in Japan. Initially a bit shy, the Japanese open up quite quickly and before you know it, you’re having a laugh and sharing stories as if you were long lost friends. (I’m told that alcohol consumption speeds up this process.)
I’ve got to spend more time in this country!
If you’re in Kyoto, you’ve got to go to the Imperial Palace. And if you’re going to the Palace, why not stop by and have a coffee at the Kawa Coffee cafe?