Bar Owner Reviving A Rural Town
It is only a matter of time until nature reclaims the land entirely in many of the rural regions of Japan - as younger people move out to bigger cities. After training as a cook in Tokyo, Takahiko Kuwashima came home with the hopes of revitalizing the community - by opening Osteria e Bar Recad.
Published March 13th 2018 on the former blog
Japan is one of the oldest countries in the world with a median age of 46.5. A big percentage of the older population can be found in rural areas where the average ages are even higher and the younger people usually leave for one of the big cities and never come back. For many of those towns it is only a matter of time until nature reclaims the land entirely.
Against all odds there are some places where a new generation is at work, putting all their energy into the revival of their home. One of those people is Kuwashima Takahiko, owner of Osteria e Bar Recad. He is from a small town called Taketa in Oita prefecture, Kyushu. He left the town when he was 18 years old for Tokyo where he trained as a cook and came back with the hope to revitalize the community. Opening Osteria e Bar Recad in 2014 was his first approach to that. The short documentary by NHK posted below will tell you more about that as well as other initiatives he has been involved in. Alex Kerr, architect and author of the amazing book “Lost Japan” is guiding you through it.
For the restaurant he remodeled the building for it to reflect more of the historical background of Taketa and made it fit seamlessly into the city scape.
For his second project he bought a beautiful building right by the station and worked with two local couples to build a bakery / guesthouse. The owners of the guest house love traveling and they are passionate about connecting travelers to the community and create a kind of experience that stays with you and inspires you going forward. More about the guest house can be found on their site.
The couple that owns the Kitchen Usuda, the bakery, moved out to the countryside to enable themselves to have a better balance between work and life. This is their second branch and their main bakery can be found surrounded by beautiful nature in the woods.
The remodel was done with good friends of them that own a construction / interior design company Medicala Design. What I really love is how most material they use are from demolished houses which they reuse to create beautiful rustic interior designs.
It’s always exciting to see how, even if it’s few, some of the younger generation is realizing how they have the power to change the story of their town. Can’t wait to visit them!
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STORIES BEHIND THE PIECES
Kiyoko Matsuoka, 4th-generation shibori master
Shibori, meaning “to wring, squeeze or press” is the process of shaping cloth before dyeing to create various designs on the textile. Rather than using the cloth as a two dimensional surface, the Shibori textile has a three dimensional element, given that each technique requires years of experience to master.
Hiromichi Nakade, Maker of Oryoki Bowls
Meet Hiromichi Nakade and Kazuya Fujimoto, the makers of the Oryoki and Kodaiwan bowls. A master craftsman sits with his former apprentice to speak about their hope for the declining crafts industry in Japan, as well as the appeal of craftsmanship.