It’s sad that this will be the last blog before the cafe closes.
Ever since I decided to close the cafe and move to Australia, I have had such complex feelings. Part of me is very excited about going to Australia and part of me is very sad about the cafe’s closing.
Since the day that I announced the closing of the cafe, I’ve received many messages and comments which have encouraged and made me happy. Many customers expressed how sad they are, but at the same time, they thanked me, told me how much they cared, encouraged me and even celebrated my new life. Recently, I’ve been very emotional and tearing up often.
Closing the cafe has made me realize how much this cafe really means to me. Come to think of it, I established the cafe and built it from scratch. The cafe feels like my third child. I always think about the cafe (even without realizing it) and have put so much work into it over the last 4 years. We have created such a unique cafe here. It’s not only about English anymore. It has become a meeting place, a small community. It took a lot of trial-and-error, but we have finally created a place we can call our own.
Most importantly, we have so many lovely customers whose numbers have been increasing more and more. Closing the cafe is not just sad, it gives me a deep sense of loss.
However, thanks to warm messages from the customers, I think I have finally sorted out my complex feelings. I can finally feel that my effort over the last 4 years has paid off.
I had several people offer to carry on the cafe after I move to Australia. Unfortunately, none of them were feasible and didn’t happen. But, many wanted to continue the cafe because they appreciate our community and they don’t want it to disappear. I think many love the cafe’s cozy atmosphere as well as meeting with all the other wonderful customers who support the Cafe’s philosophy of cross-culture communication. These offers made me feel extremely happy and honored.
I am so grateful for meeting with each customer and all the staff here. I also learned a lot from all the conversations and from getting to know many customers. At the cafe we talked about various things and got to know each other’s background, life, dreams and stories through simple questions such as , Why are you learning English? or Where did you learn your English?.
I have also obtained a different perspective after having so many conversations. Many customers who have visited and lived in different countries, not to mention the foreign facilitators who work here, have shared their different ideas, opinions and points of view. By just listening to the conversation at the cafe, my worldview has expanded much more than I expected it would.
There are some customers and facilitators who had a big life event such as marriage, childbirth, changing jobs (changing jobs is still a big life event in Japan!), or studying abroad during the last three years and eight months. I feel so honored to witness and sometimes even participate in these important events.
Finally, I would like to thank my family. I sometimes had to sacrifice time with my family, but my boys always embraced me and showed me love when I found time to be with them. Whenever I had a tough time at the cafe they gave me strength and motivated me to get through it. Last but not least, I would like to express my appreciation to my husband. He is not particularly the sweetest husband, but he’s been the biggest supporter of Global Cafe and my passion for it.
As a farewell message to Global Cafe English learners, I would like to share a small conversation I had with our old facilitator Jesse.
Jesse: 「Your English is Amazing!」 Motoko: 「You really think so? I’ve got an accent and I still make some mistakes.」 Jesse: 「Why should you talk like us? I understand you perfectly. I like your accent.」
This conversation opened my eyes to a new idea. Speaking correct English is maybe one thing, but the passion to communicate and to learn about one another counts much more. English is a global language and so diverse. Nowadays, most English speakers around the world don’t speak ‘native’ English anyways. You’ve got an accent. That means you learnt a second language, English, in addition to the language you already have. That’s great. Learning a language takes so much effort and time! You should be proud of your English. Be confident and enjoy speaking English! Get to know people from across the globe and expand your world using your hard-earned English, whatever level it is.
I wish you all the best and I look forward to our paths crossing again someday.