Hello, and nice to meet you all. My name is Miyu Higashi.
I’m an ordinary office lady (23-years-old) and I work at a certain company in the city.
I love Shinjuku, my home town, beyond all else.
It’s a town that births Tokyo culture, where you encounter many people, where you repeatedly see people off, where all kinds of stories are written.
To say the least, it’s the greatest place.
What kind of people come here, and what sort of things are they thinking about?
I decided to start this featured article series in hopes it serves as an opportunity to find out, if even a little.
I hope that you―you are who are kindly taking the time to read this article―pays a visit to that person you’d like to visit the most.
With all that out the way, here it is―the first article in the series! Yippee!!
This first one is set smack bang in the middle of Shinjuku and Harajuku.
(Which is, by the way, in Shinjuku Ward. Higashi’s. Favourite. Place.)
It seems this store has been around for over 10 years and is greatly loved by the locals…
It’s a shop of deliiicious products, where a Ganko Oyaji is said to work!
Ganko Oyaji…? (…”Stubborn Old Man”)
Huh? So what exactly is delicious about that???
I’d best find out, time to go and meet him!!
We’re off to Sendagaya!
Come to think of it, this place also became famous because of the film Your Name.
“Right, I wonder where we’re off to today then! Right?”
All jokes aside, I know where we’re going. It’s about a five-minute walk from Sendagaya Station.
Ah… there it is!!
The place with the stubborn old man who sells sweet products is Monmouth Tea.
(Not Mammoth, Monmouth!)
I want to meet him already, but first thing’s first.
Since I’ve come all this way let’s get one of the shop’s famous “Monmouth Teas” and have a chat.
Looks tasty! Milk is being poured into the cup.
Here’s the famous Monmouth Tea.
The balance of the amazing aroma of the tea and milk make for a perfect match.
It’s sweet and delicious that you have to take a breather after taking a sip.
I can’t get enough of the rich taste of the tea and milk.
This takes away my routine fatigue in one fell swoop… I’d like to dedicate this sweetness to all the office ladies around the country.
Just as I’m thinking this…
“It’s tasty, right?”
A voice addresses me all of a sudden.
There he is… there he is!!!
Are you, perhaps, the stubborn old man of delicious products!?
I wanted to meet you!!
Please tell me your story―in detail!
“I suppose I’ve got no choice,” the kind owner says to me, and lets me in on it.
Higashi: “Why did you open this shop?”
Owner: “I originally set out to be a rock ‘n’ roller in my hometown. I moved to Tokyo with a guitar and worked hard to make my dream come true, but in the end it didn’t work out. After that I worked as a salary man at a firm, but I quit ten years ago and took a fling to open this shop.”
Higashi: “I see… but why a tea shop owner?”
Owner: “A while back I was obliged to the owner of tea shop in Shibuya. He took me on as an apprentice at that shop and taught me about tea. That’s what made me decide to open this shop.”
Higashi: “What a wonderful relationship. Your dream changed from wanting to become a rock ‘n’ roller, but now you’re pushing forward with a new dream and goal.”
Owner: “Well… the truth is I play music while working this shop. I make music with an acquaintance of mine. They’re actually in a record company. I even released a CD some time ago. If you’d like, you sure give it a listen.”
He looked happy as he told me his story and gave me a copy of his CD.
He’s actually an active musician and performs live periodically.
Higashi: “Wow! I’ll give it a listen!! So right now your dreams and the road you are taking are different from the past, but in coming to work as a tea shop owner, your former dream to become a rock ‘n’ roller has come true. If somebody admired you and waned to open a shop like you, what would you say to them?”
Owner: “I’d tell them to forget about it [laughs]. People who imitate what others do will only ever be imitators. I thought that back when I climbed Mount Fuji. I thought that no matter how much I climbed I’d never reach the top. That at this rate, I’ll never arrive. But step by step I walked, and I got there. In other words, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. If you properly take it one step at a time each day your dream will come true some day.”
The owner spoke looked at me intently as he spoke.
When I looked at him, I felt that the flavour and sweetness of my tea came to fruition out of his many life experiences.
I’ve actually been coming to this shop since elementary school.
Whenever I ran out of energy.
Whenever I felt down.
Whenever I was plugging away.
Whenever I wanted a little more power.
It’s strange, but when I see the stubborn owner of sweet products and Monmouth Tea, I feel like I want to work hard tomorrow too.
You should visit next weekend too!
See you next time, owner!
The owner looks good in his hat with cherries on them and his apron which says oyaji (“old man”) on it.
I made them red like the Monmouth Tea, but the wonderful owner, who looks good in red, had bought friendly pink.
Model/Writer: Miyu Higashi
Monmouth Tea (Sendagaya)
Address: 1-21-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya, Tokyo
Business Hours: 7:00-Midnight (No Fixed Holidays)
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