interview with Atsushi Sakao at the new ONIBUS COFFEE

interview with Atsushi Sakao at the new ONIBUS COFFEE

Release Date: Jan 18, 2016

Vaughan: Congratulations on the opening of your fourth shop! Does this feel like the most exciting one?

Atsushi: Thank you very much. Yes, this time we’re very excited, but every shop has been special.

V: Did you want to become a train driver when you were young? Like the first Onibus Coffee, we seem to be right by the tracks again watching Tokyo go by.

A: Hahaha, it’s not that. I do like watching trains, but I prefer getting around Tokyo on my bicycle though.

V: You’ve found a beautiful spot here – it looks like someone’s house.

A: It’s an old traditional Japanese house – here’s what the place originally looked like a long time ago. We changed the entrance on the first floor there. And we’ve added the furniture on the second floor. But we’ve tried not to do much else intentionally.

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V: I love the windows here on the second floor.

A: Yeah, we didn’t touch the windows. We liked them just the way they are.

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V: Tell us about the people who you’ve involved this time?

A: I’ve had a lot of very good support this time from a lot of professionals around me, most of whom I’ve worked with previously. Kouta Hanyu & Takahiro Sugawara did all the graphic design, Kazufumi Suzuki did the architectural design, NUB made this original furniture for us, Chalkboy did the coffee story on the back wall, Kurashikata Boukenka have helped launch a new website for us where you can buy beans online, the tile’s are original inside by Tokoname, and we will serve coffee in exclusive cups here by Yumiko Iihoshi.

V: I’ve seen a lot of these people’s work – you’ve assembled an excellent team.

A: Basically, everything is original.

V: Even though we’re only a stone’s throw from Naka Meguro station, there’s this real secluded and relaxed feeling here.

A: It’s great that there’s the park just next to us, and we definitely wanted a space where my staff and I could roast beans everyday in a good environment. And of course, we hope that our customers enjoy drinking coffee in this sort of space too.

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V: I think a lot of people in Japan are excited about more specialty coffee shops opening up around town. What are your thoughts on the next couple of years?

A: It all depends on us – the current baristas, roasters and cafes to continue to create a coffee culture.

V: Tell us more about the coffee culture you’re wanting to create at the new Onibus.

A: Well, we’re putting in a lot of effort to make really good coffee here at Onibus. There’s the traceability factor from seed to cup that is really important to us. We hope that the customers who would like to drink specialty coffee will mix with other like minded people, not just in the coffee industry. For example, organic food and wine, and an overall greater emphasis on craftsmanship and small business. And through such conversation, connections, ideas and projects, I’m quite sure Tokyo’s lifestyle will change for the better.

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The new Onibus Coffee in Nakameguro opens January 21st, and will be open everyday from 9AM-6PM.
It’s located at Meguro 2-14-2, Meguro-ku, Tokyo.
You can also buy beans, cups and coffee equipment here.
Keep an eye out on the Onibus facebook page for info about up and coming workshops on cupping and pour over coffee.

 

-by Vaughan

Photography by Nik van der Giesen

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