The Unconventional Charm of a Hidden Gem: A Unique Café Experience in Oita

On the day we arrived in Oita, we planned to find a very nice cake shop. We initially chose this xyz shop, but as soon as we entered, the girl behind the counter making cakes said the upstairs was full, even though there were two small tables and chairs nearby on the same floor.

So, never just pray to the heavens randomly. Just because of my friend’s remark, we found this place on Google Maps, and its reviews were pretty good. However, after we went in, we were in for a surprise!

It turned out to be a rundown house from over 60 years ago in the Showa era. The owner looked surprised to see us, perhaps he had never served foreign tourists before. We intended to each have a cup of coffee and then just order a slice of cake, but the owner explained to us in simple English and Japanese that the consumption pattern here was one cup of coffee and one slice of cake per person, so we ended up spending 1900 yen like that.

Long story short, the coffee was alright, and cakes like chocolate cake and apple pie were not bad either, even had a bit of an old-fashioned taste, but the texture was harder than my fate. The old house was filled with a lot of clutter, including magazines and Japanese comics, and there was a special broken transparent plastic music box on our table. As soon as we entered, we saw a very old black cat lying in a dirty cushion, its deep eyes staring at me, looking as if it had a facial paralysis, with one eye big and one eye small. It reminded me of a few years ago, there was a weird Chinese medicine practitioner (a man), for some reason, he sent me a short video. In the video, he faced the camera, holding a black cat in his arms, both he and the cat stared at the camera without saying a word, it was very eerie! Seeing this black cat today sent shivers down my spine, reminding me of him.

Looking through the old glass door, there were two cats outside trying to come in, and the courtyard weeds grew freely, it was like a primitive art. We sat by the window, and there was another high school student sitting on the other side against the wall, he left in a hurry after finishing his coffee.

After getting the owner’s permission, I started taking photos, unexpectedly, under various filter settings, I managed to capture a very strong retro style! Before leaving, I said to the owner in broken Japanese, “This is a very unique house.” When the owner found out we were from Malaysia, he solemnly picked up a magazine and asked if we knew Lim Kah Wai, saying this well-known director had tea with him twice. We felt embarrassed, as we really didn’t know this Mr. Lim. At that moment, the owner looked at our expressions strangely, perhaps wondering how we didn’t know a famous director from our own country? This Mr. Lim should be mostly active in Japan, so it’s understandable that we don’t know him.

In short, this isn’t the kind of mainstream cafe that many people would like. It’s a unique coffee shop I discovered after visiting Japan several times. It really doesn’t seem to intend to please anyone, the owner looks like someone involved in movies or arts. Here, the house seems to be in a state of “success, failure, and emptiness” all the time!

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