Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Soul Master's Coffee and Cafe

Back in the entry on the Shisubshi Festa, I mentioned that the local DJ at the event has his face on a line of can coffee at the konbini here in Kagoshima. I had a spare 120 yen one day, so I bought a can for the blog. The coffee itself is fairly mild, with lots of milk and some sweetener. The main point is the can. It's actually an ad for Soul Master's Cafe, a reggae bar and coffee shop in the Tenmonkan shopping complex. There's a map on the back of the can, if you need it, and the URL for the DJ - DJ Pocky. I haven't seen can coffee advertising a local business before, but it does seem to be an untapped market.

The cafe is in the same area as Infinity, Anime Bar Nana and the new JAXA museum. Initially, I just took pictures of the outside of the cafe and felt that I could leave it at that. However, a day later I started thinking that this entry would be a little threadbare as it stood, so I went back the next night and went in with the intention of getting a snack and a drink. DJ Pocky and 2 friends were sitting at the bar watching a J-League soccer game on TV. The waitress-bartender came over to my table and gave me an English drinks menu (a little later I discovered that the reason I didn't get a food menu was that one of Pocky's friends was celebrating his birthday with several other friends that were about to show up, and the kitchen was completely tied up with their meal orders.)

The operator of the cafe is a house DJ, and he has stacks of CDs all over the shelves and a turntable on the counter. This evening, though, he just played some soul music off a CD as he worked. The decor consists of posters of Bob Marley, James Brown and some of the other gang, plus autographed photos of people like Stevie Wonder. It's a cozy place, with seating for about 20 people. Which played to my favor, in that when Pocky got up from the bar and walked by my table to get to the birthday party food, he stopped to talk to me for a bit. The conversation ended up lasting for over half an hour. He'd gone to university in the U.S. for several years, and when he came back to Japan he got a gig hosting a show at two different radio stations in Kyushyu (one at the station in Amu Plaza, the other in Miyazaki). His English is pretty good, and we talked about music, living in Kagoshima and some other topics.

During this, I ordered 2 whiskey cokes from the bar, which the waitress mixed. They were very strong, which is a contrast with most bars both in Japan and the U.S. Total came to 1,400 yen ($16 USD). Eating out is expensive in Japan, and the price for the drinks is comparable with most bars here. Overall, I enjoyed myself, but it does help a lot to be able to speak Japanese, as neither the operator nor the bartender understand English, and DJ Pocky is just a regular here, not an employee. Recommended if you like earlier soul music or 80's reggae.

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