When Kyle told me he was coming for a visit last month [it’s been nearly a month, since!], he remained stubbornly vague about his past year in L.A. A good thing, maybe, because between bike shop visits, sushi, and burgers [yes, we did all three in the same day], we also had our fair share of coffee to sip. And stories – especially with friends – is always better over something slightly less than scorching and abundantly well-caffeinated.
And while I was supposed to [mostly] guide the way, Kyle came prepared with a recommendation via his girlfriend; a casual mention of a tiny café tucked away on the far side of Yoyogi park. We walked there on Kyle’s third day here, and found a simple exterior with a door handle wrapped in bar wrap. And much like the girl with an awesome sense of style and quiet charisma that you inexplicably find attractively inviting, I liked it already. I wanted to like it more as I slid open the door. But even I was surprised when, inside the small space complete with worn wooden floors and counters and touches of retro Americana, Little Nap Coffee Stand served up possibly the best Americano I’ve tasted in Tokyo.
The minute attention to detail at Little Nap Coffee Stand – though not unusual for smaller businesses in Tokyo – is distinctive due to its subtlety. A selection of baked goods neatly lined the counter beside the usual extras [simple syrup, sugar, etc.], primped and waiting patiently for hungrier customers. Straws were displayed in a vintage plastic container, a large world map and retro stickers playing up the comfortably worn vibe. Our beverages were served in cups that were attractive in their simplicity; the slightly mismatched furniture adding further to the café’s charm.
We swapped life news [as all friends should over coffee] at the front counter facing the street in the otherwise empty space. A young couple drove up, a small child tucked into the backseat, and upon seeing us at the window, waved hello. The reception was unusual and I glanced for a second in quick panic at Kyle before recalling that this was normal behavior in all great coffee shops. They came through the door with happy smiles as if we all hadn’t seen each other in too long and we sipped our coffee, smiled, waved, and said hello to their small daughter.
It was an awesome start to the day.