Tokyo Tales #2: Maki Tanabe
As the co-founder of mamma cafe 151A, wife of Koji & a mother of two kids, Maki Tanabe has achieved some, but she is already looking at next goals.
Q: How did you finally decide to open your own cafe in Kiyosumi Shirakawa?
I just thought it would be better for us to have known to some extent about a neighborhood & community, rather than going into ones we're totally unfamiliar with.
Having lived in a neighboring area before, this location clicked with me when I saw the vacancy information of this place.
In addition, the fact that the tenant before us was a kids-friendly cafe also backed us up. I assumed that there would be many child-rearing families out there, like us.
Q: Didn't you have any concern in starting your own business?
We had, of course. I have to admit that insecurity was greater than expectation because the area was not as hip & popular as it is today.
The only attraction back then was MoT (Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo), there were no cool coffee roasters or fashionable boutiques as you see today.
Q: How has your view or impression on this neighborhood changed in the last 5 years?
I still can't believe that this town is getting people's attention like this. It was really good for us, as a kids-centered family, to have been able to grow together with this community.
What our neighborhood is known for might be the ever growing coffee / cafe market but there are more to see, like an easy access to relatively large parks scattered across the area. It's such a livable community.
We'd love to work even harder to play a larger role in this friendly community.
Q: Is there any new project now you're working on or specific goal you're seeing?
We're soon launching our original ginger syrup & pickles in the store, so it would be fantastic if they would become available online in the near future.
Another dream now I want to achieve is to publish my original recipe book, which features various dishes I've taught in my cooking class over the last two years or so.
Unfortunately, there were some patrons who have left this town for their businesses & in the worst case, they moved to very distant areas where they can't easily come back to our cafe.
So I'd like them to remember our tastes & feel tangible connection with us by replicating those dishes on my future books.
Q: Lastly, please give us recommendation from your menu if there's one or two.
Try our Tamago kake gohan! (Raw egg over rice) I know it's not common for people outside Japan to eat raw eggs, but it's our long-lived culture & here in japan there's a set of strict regulations on how to keep them fresh.
If you can be adventurous enough to follow my recommendation, coupling with natto is definitely worth trying.
mamma cafe 151A
7 min walk from Kiyosumi Shirakawa Sta.
Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line /
Toei Subway Oedo Line
Produced by 3e-Tokyo PR