While in Okinawa: “smallest coffee shop in town”

The cafe was small – really small. True to its name, I suppose. I’d never been to a cafe the size of a walk-in closet before. I wondered about what kind of people frequent the “Smallest Coffee Shop in Town.” Locals, I’m sure… Maybe the owner’s close friends, friends of friends, wanderers stopping by to rest for a bit and share about how their weekends went.

There was no one there when I entered – I had to knock on the wall a few times, and then call out excuse me when, still, no one returned. I could hear jazz playing softly from a speaker somewhere near the back.

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A few chairs were lined up at the counter. I sat down at the one nearest me and waited. Kettles and coffee pots, stained and worn from use, sat on a gas stove against the wall.

It was a small space, but there was more than enough to look at; there were Okinawan hairbands for sale on a shelf beside me, jars of brown sugar crystals on the counter, stuffed rabbits sitting on the windowsill. I felt a little odd, sitting there alone, but comforted too. In a way, it made me feel like I was at a friend’s kitchen table, passing time while they finished preparing our meal.

A woman, who I assumed is the owner, eventually returned. She gave me a look when she saw me – I couldn’t tell what kind of look it was. Probably curiosity, or interest, or surprise maybe. Or, a mix of all three(?). She had crimped hair dyed light brown and was wearing a hat with a lace rim.

I greeted her good morning and asked for iced coffee. She poured her brew into a plastic take-out cup, handed me the cup and little cartons of creamer and sugar and charged 200 Yen. I hadn’t expected it to be so cheap – probably because I’d paid 600 for a cup of coffee at the cafe I’d gone to the day before, which was just down the street. The coffee was good too – strong, not bitter. I enjoyed it, and as I sipped my 200 yen cold brew I regretted that I wouldn’t have the chance to go back. But I’m grateful I stumbled upon it at least; it’s not everyday that I find a coffee shop – which happens to sell delicious, exceptionally priced coffee – that’s smaller than my bedroom.

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