Cool! Shiribeshi

We have invited people who have immigrated from abroad and are now living in the Shiribeshi region of central Hokkaido to contribute columns from a variety of perspectives. The columns appear in Japanese in the morning edition of the Hokkaido Shimbun newspaper every other Monday. https://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/series/s_cool_otaru
In this section, the columns are posted in the author's original text.

Special feature

【Column】A shop where visitors and locals interact

Written by Emmanuel Dzeamesi; GCM2 LTD F&B Director of Operation and Cafe 54 manager. Born in the Republic of Ghana. Studied abroad at a language school in Japan, and worked at a foreign hotel in Tokyo after graduation. Works in current position after gaining experience in fields including restaurant management.

The country of my birth, the Republic of Ghana in West Africa, is known for natural resources like gold and diamonds and cacao for making chocolate. Dr. Hideyo Noguchi, who died in Ghana while researching yellow fever is highly respected among the people of Ghana. And I was very pleased when his portrait went on the one thousand yen bill.

I began living in Rankoshi Town in the summer of the year before last. I was raised in an urban area of Ghana, and lived in Tokyo for about 20 years after coming to Japan as well, so a countryside lifestyle where you can drink water straight from the tap was a pleasantly new experience for me. I was originally stationed here as an employee of an American-owned firm planning to develop a resort in Rankoshi, and fell completely in love with this area.

In addition to myself, there were about 15 other foreign employees at first, including people from places like the US, Germany, and the Philippines. However, everyone went back to their own countries after the spreading of the novel coronavirus started to become more serious. As the only foreign employee who remained, I proposed to the company president that we open a cafe-bar, and we wound up doing just that.

We removed the second floor of an old traditional style wooden house that had been used as a warehouse and transformed the interior into a stylish vaulted ceiling space. To make local customers feel comfortable, we try not to use English as much as possible, and wrote the menu and outdoor signs completely in Japanese. Word of mouth has spread about “the shop run by a talkative African,” and now there are even regular customers who take trains and buses to visit us from surrounding towns and villages like Kutchan and Iwanai. I have had great conversations with all sorts of people, so I have gradually come to understand what local people think about things.

I feel that there are not many establishments where foreign people and locals can interact naturally in the Niseko area. After the coronavirus pandemic has abated, and my company resumes working on its plans, I want to actualize a resort area that local residents will also be able to enjoy.

Location

Cafe 54

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