So there’s one carrot cupcake left, on the counter at Camera. Go on, rescue it. The cream-cheese icing has just the right tang, and the main bit is moist and fibrous. It’s made by Miwako Yamada, who opened this cafe-bakery-leather bag store on Kokusai Dori, Kuramae, in October, with her husband Kosuke Tamura. He is a leather craftsman. She sells cheese cookies, muffins, fruit loaf and coffee. There’s a part where you can sit down at the back. And in half the store they display his bags and wallets. There’s some original and cute things. In all colours.
Miwako is a Taito-ku local who grew up by the Sumida River. Ateliers, restaurants and studios have sprung up since she was a child. Of course there were always craftsmen and light industry around here. I just never noticed it, she says. Her parents are in the bag business too. She learned ballet and still teaches it. She thought once of making a life abroad, such as in New York. She says, But then I got to meet people who are making things around here, and I realised what a great world we have right in front of us.
She and Tamura looked hard for a place. This corner location gets the morning sun. They did some major renovation with help from Kazutoshi Shimada of Waplus
They found a beautiful terrazzo floor under the old carpet. The kitchen is sleek. I wanted an urban feel, she says. I didn’t want it to look handmade or as if I was trying to be “natural”. They named the place Camera because it’s Latin for room – a room in which people can come and go. They are thinking of holding events here, and of selling other craftsmen’s products. The coffee is good, slightly bitter. Tamura drops in from time to time, from his studio. He also likes to talk to people interested in his work.
Camera is at 4-21-8 Kuramae, Taito-ku. Closed Mondays
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