原点 genten: origin
珈琲 koohii: coffee
The other day I came across an amazing find: a quiet coffeeshop nestled into a small neighborhood of Okinawa city. Down a side road, and then into an unpaved sort of parking area it stood before me.
It’s name is “Genten.” From the outside, you may think it almost looks only like someone’s house (well perhaps it was at some point). There was another customer just leaving as I entered; I was greeted with a delightful atmosphere reminiscent of another era.
Recently, I have been “cafe hopping” カフェ巡り, and have seen so many super-hip, trendy, vintage-inspired, retro-modern coffeeshops, but those were all very modern and very hipster… places to see and be seen. This was different. I had the impression of a late Meiji-era kissaten (喫茶店, coffeeshop). And while it had a charming retro feel, it was clean and bright. I was seated, and he asked “iced or hot?” This is it for the menu, guys so simple! So I said “iced” and the gentleman started preparing his special roast (from beans he roasts himself)… some minutes later out came coffee and a slice of homemade cake.
Simple, yet delicious. And so relaxing. For only 500yen.
I think even if you don’t speak Japanese, the communication here is simple. It is a nice place to relax, chat, have some coffee, and perhaps forget the modern world.
I am amazed this type of place can stay open, so hidden away. Then again, if customers and tourists were constantly streaming in and crowding the tables, it might lose its charm. I highly recommend this stop in Okinawa. It may just spirit you away.