role Barista, Journal Editor
region Minneapolis, Nishi-Funabashi
blood type A-
drive form Wisdom
tasting notes Wild plum, Buckwheat, Juniper
What was the path like to get here?
It’s hard to say entirely—the notion that I would have wound up in a Minneapolis coffee house for any reason at all was rather unlikely, especially in hindsight. Back when I was younger, prouder, and chock-fuller of absurd dreams as to what grown-up life ought to look like, there was no part of me envisioning a slow, neighborhood-oriented workplace. I was living in Tokyo a little while ago, and I had these wild hopes of translating Square Enix games—or car manuals, if I didn’t study hard enough. And so, I spent a great deal of time sifting through kanji and foregoing the seemingly less productive experiences of living in a foreign city.
Wait, so how did that change? That’s a pretty different life scenario to have left behind.
Yeah, it is. I suppose it just didn’t take long for that pursuit to usher a deep anxiety into me: I was losing friends before I could even meet them, and exhausting myself by believing all the other variables of my life would simply sort themselves out, if only I could only attain that professional goal—of translating, I mean. There were a lot of dark nights in Shibuya, and finally some bitter medicine came along in the form of dear friends who would tell me the truth. After a long stretch of time I discovered that I hadn’t been developing the parts of my personality that would put me at peace with my wants, my expectations, my relationships—just about everything, really.
And that led you to become a barista?
Well, not really, no. It took time to get anywhere beyond those original expectations of myself. Eventually I could only choose to try and be more optimistic about a life whose choices were seemingly less rewarding, at least from the perspective I held at the time. I dropped my Japanese studies pretty passionately, and instead invested time in making friends, sitting in temple gardens, reading books that I wasn’t assigned, and spending copious hours thinking and journaling at small coffee shops around town. When people ask me about the whole experience, I feel I don’t have too many impressive words to present for myself. And yet, in a single year I found myself able to enjoy the simplest of things around the city—hydrangea wilting by the temple stairs; cloud-laden streets in the rainy season; a blue-tailed lizard sunbathing on the Sōbu Line. Maybe those were the things that would help me to choose to see real beauty in pouring water clockwise over a pile of ground beans. No doubt: when you break it down to what it really is, it seems silly. It was an accident though, my getting into coffee—I just happened into Wes Andrews when the time was right, I guess. But I think it’s really proven itself to be right for me, actually. I’m glad for whatever this time of life is, when I can meet wonderful strangers, steep tea for them, and hopefully bring some slow back to my life in Minnesota—as a token of my home away from home.
top five Epiphyllum hookeri
Bibio — Ribbons
The Wind in the Willows