krash japan

KURASHIKI CAFFS

KURASHIKI CAFFS

In December, 2007, I came across a book in London.  It was titled, LONDON CAFFS.  I was captivated by the series of eating places called a “caff” pictured in the book.  The exterior and interior of the shops were far-out and so full of the spirit of London.  I felt compelled to visit some of the places, but none were found at the addresses listed.  Only three years after the book’s publication and already some of the shops were out of business.  At the beginning of the book were these words by the author: “I started thinking about this book ten years ago and I should have written it then -- more than half the caffs on my original list had gone by the time of writing.” He goes on to state that his book serves the purpose of being a “visual document” of the “city’s streetscape,” “social history,” and “aesthetic moment” of London, adding that it is an obituary of caffs. Incidentally, closest to a caff of all forms of eating places in Japan is a kissaten.  They serve drinks such as coffee and tea, along with simple dishes, and are locally rooted; a community of regular customers.  They also share in common that the number of these places is rapidly decreasing.   In this issue, we’d like to focus on kissatens in Kurashiki.    As an expression of grief for the world’s food business industry, which is traveling down the road to standardization, and in sympathy with London caffs, I dare to call these kissatens "caffs".  We hereby announce that from this day on, a Kissaten in Kurashiki is a “KURASHIKI CAFF.”