This is the second half of the interview we had with Kume-nii, upon his “graduation” from Kurasu this month!
We had so many more things to ask, so here they are- get ready to dive into Kume world with a good cup of coffee in your hand.
Do you visit any coffee shop or cafe on your day off? You said you are staying away from caffeine at home, so maybe not?
Kume: Sometimes. I go to Starbucks too for their Frappuccino. I like having it very simple with skim milk. It’s actually good, not very heavy. I love Starbucks’s environment- how I can be “nobody” there which I need on a day off. It’s also nice to go to places where people recognize you and talk to you, but at Starbucks no one really notices me. It’s not like they ignore me or neglect me- they genuinely welcome me, make sure I’m comfortable, but without much interaction. They never fail to amaze me with how they treat everyone equally, welcoming people in at any time. I have a lot of respect for their excellent customer service, and their inclusive philosophy had a huge impact on mine. If I have a child in the future I may tell them to work at Starbucks, haha.
You always dress well. What’s your favorite color?
Kume: The color of...leather? Probably camel brown? Oh and indigo blue. I love the kind of color or material that develops a depth over time. I’d like to be a person who gets better as they grow older, instead of just fading.
What’s your favorite music to brew coffee to?
Kume: The music you can hear when I’m at the cafe is all from my Spotify playlist I made for Kurasu. I started making the playlist when I first joined the team (about 3 years ago), and I kept adding new music to it- now I have about 220 songs on the list. I love every single song, so it just keeps growing. All of the music on this Kume’s playlist makes me super happy. My new shop has a great sound system too for the great music.
Do you have any daily routine?
Kume: I dance to the playlist I just talked about at night in a park with no one else around (Shoko-san calls it “moon bathing”). Or jog in a mountain, whenever I feel the urge to.
Have a hot bath, then cold shower to reset. Cook as I listen to music.
Wait, these are all my favorite things to do rather than my routine. Well, they all help me keep myself happy and in a great condition to do a great job.
Have you ever thought about quitting being a barista? We’ve never heard of your episode of giving up on something.
Kume: Never! I also never stopped liking coffee! There is no “giving up” nor “failure” in my dictionary! lol
I never find anything about this job negatively affecting me. People often say it’s my calling, and I think so too. I can’t imagine having more fun than doing this, and I never thought of quitting but I thought “I really don’t want to stop doing this” countless times.
For example, there may be a situation, like baristas are underpaid in Japan compared to other countries and I need to find another job, or unforeseen circumstances like how COVID is affecting the society and the job market. Whenever I imagine losing my job like that and picture me quitting, it almost brings me to tears. That’s how much I love this job.
- Was there any time you wanted to quit Kurasu?
Kume: Hmmm, I may have done it if I found a better offer. I’m businesslike in that sense. But there isn’t a better place. Maybe, if I found our coffee not good enough I may have thought about quitting, but Kurasu’s coffee always exceeded my expectations. The coffee Yoshihara-kun roasts is so delicious and fun.
- no difference in opinions between you and your teammate?
Kume: Nope. Because I don't own Kurasu. It’s wrong to quarrel or have a conflict on someone else’s stage. It may sound like a fence-sitting, but what I wanted to be was an experienced soldier. I have worked in so many cafes, and I came to this philosophy. A good football player can switch a team and instantly adopt to their new team's strategy and fit right in. If you can show some unique strength on top of that, that would be perfect.
Tell us about your new shop!
Kume: The address is Ogawa-dori, Maruta-machi Agaru. The name of the shop will be “common.”
My wife is a hair stylist, so she will be cutting your hair while I’ll be serving you a nice cup of coffee. Of course, you can just come to cut your hair, or come for a coffee.
I probably won’t use this catchphrase personally, but she was saying “com’on to common”.
We are planning to open the shop on August 18th. I will be mainly serving Kurasu’s coffee and occasionally several other roasters’ coffee, along with my favorite non-coffee drinks.
- We may be able to taste the legendary KUME BLEND again!
Any future plans or goals?
Kume: Stay fresh, honest, and hardworking. Give everything to each cup I brew. And my goal is to continue doing that for as long as possible- I hope our shop will be full of like minded people.
Bewteen March and November, we will be opening early at 7:30 (with my nap break in between), and between December and February when days are short, we will be opening in the morning, without my nap break. Naps are important though.
- Sounds exciting! We will be asking for more details when we visit your shop!
Kume: I’ll be waiting!
What fun this interview was!
It was great discovering even more about our beloved Kume-nii- we know for sure that his legacy of kindness, inclusive and fair attitude will live on here at Kurasu.
We wish him the best of luck on his new journey, and we are so looking forward to visiting his new shop soon!
Stay tuned :)