I was born in Kyoto. My family always had a western-style breakfast, with bread instead of rice, so I started drinking coffee at a young age—I think it was when I was in early elementary school. Actually, it wasn't really coffee—it was milk with a little splash of coffee in it. At some point, though, I realized that making coffee had become my job in the household. I wasn't particularly interested in coffee, but when everyone said "Kenji's coffee is so good," I basked in the praise and continued to make it. I never told my mother this, but my technique for making good coffee was to put in a slightly larger amount of coffee grounds than the instructions said to.
My next coffee-related memory is from the time when the Kansai area's first branch of a Seattle cafe was opened in Osaka. I was in university at the time. The news coverage caught my attention, so I went, but I didn't really understand how to order. The place was bustling with people from different countries, too, and I don't think I actually managed to order anything until the second time I went. I ordered the "staff recommendation" written on the blackboard. It wasn't good. I thought I might be drinking it the wrong way, so I was looking all around to see what people were doing. In any case, I got a great feeling of energy from the liveliness of the cafe and from that atmosphere that happens when they're making one drink after another. I remember thinking, this is amazing.