⟨ Secret Place ⟩

Kasumigaoka Coffee

Regular customers welcomed

Text and Photography / Ron Lam
Translation / Iris Heung

「粉紅粉紅的,很可愛呢。」我們喝著咖啡,吃著Chocolate Terrin時,坐在我們對面的男人,與咖啡店的老闆娘談起家裡的檸檬樹。他說,每年開花時便期待結果,但結果時,不愛檸檬的家人都感困擾,所以他總把一箱箱檸檬送到這裡來,讓老闆娘泡泡店裡供應的檸檬水。

長桌另一端,五十來歲穿著黑色碎花連衣裙子的女士,看看手錶後,突然慌張收拾桌上的小說與筆記。「噢!夠鐘了嗎?你路上小心啊。」老闆娘對女士說,女士剛才才說起自己今天得往另一個城市看演唱會,大概是突然發現時間迫近了。「那明天見!」女士拋下一句而奪門離開。

五月中,風和日麗的日子,我們坐在霞ヶ丘咖啡店裡,百無聊賴地注視如同森林的庭園飛來的一隻山雀,不經意地聽著老闆娘與客人的對話。這家位於住宅小區內的咖啡店,來的都是常客,為的是老闆娘以親自烘焙的咖啡豆煮的咖啡,也為跟老闆娘見見面,閒話家常。好幾次到來,我們遇到相同的客人,坐在相同的位置上,就明白到,他們對此地的歸屬感如此濃厚。就像我們在家裡,有習慣了的沙發與靠墊,客人們對彼此的位置有了默契,就不佔用彼此的。

在SNS盛行的時代裡,往稍具特色的咖啡店時便覺心靈難以平靜,太多的興致勃勃,太多的急於傳達,店裡的氣息便活潑跳脫起來。還是在霞ヶ丘咖啡店般,幾乎只有常客光顧的店裡,才感到安穩。咖啡好幾種,點心則只是一款,它們味美而不咄咄逼人,像店裡的內裝與氣氛,只是剛剛好而已。驚艷過後會感泛味,唯獨平平淡淡的,剛剛好的,才長長久久。

“This pink color just looks so adorable.” We were enjoying a coffee with chocolate terrine when we heard the man opposite to us talking to the cafe owner about his homegrown lemon tree. He said he was always looking forward to seeing the tree blossom, but his family was not a fan of lemon, so they were not particularly happy about getting the harvest. He would always end up bringing boxes of lemon to the cafe for them to make lemonade.

On the other side of the long table was a lady in her fifties wearing a black floral dress. After checking the time, she instantly packed her notebook and her novel in a rush. Seeing this, the cafe owner asked her, “Oh, it’s already time? Have a safe trip.” The lady mentioned about watching a concert in another city, she must have almost missed the time to set off. “See you tomorrow!” The lady said as she headed out of the cafe.

On a beautiful day in mid-May, we were sitting in Kasumigaoka Coffee, relaxingly watching the Japanese tit that flew into the forest-like-garden, while listening to the conversation between the owner and her customers. This cafe is in a residential area. People who come here are usually regular customers. They come not only for the tasty coffee brewed by the owner but also to have a chat with her. We have come here for a few times, and every time, we saw the same group of people sitting at their regular spots. It felt as if this was their second home, where everyone knew where exactly to sit without taking other’s spot.

Cafes with a particular theme can rarely be the place for you to loosen up, as people around can get rather excited about sharing their experience on social media. Kasumigaoka Coffee is usually occupied by regular customers, so the atmosphere is generally calm. The shop offers a few varieties of coffee and one type of snack. Everything is so tasty but not overwhelming. Be it the interior decoration or the food and drinks, everything about this cafe is just optimal. Exciting things can get dull once you get used to it, but ordinarily good things are what can last.