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Business / Couple brings Japanese food and culture to Lerwick with new café

Couple Terence Tsao and Emilu Hasegawa in their new coffee shop. Photo: Shetland News

A COUPLE who recently moved to Shetland are starting up a new Japan-inspired café in the premises that used to be Emma-Louise’s Coffee Shop.

Terence Tsao and Emilu Hasegawa moved to the isles from Portsmouth earlier this year.

Now they are preparing to launch their new café on Commercial Road named Showa Coffee House.

“Running the whole coffee shop, this is the first time [we’ve done something like this],” Tsao told Shetland News ahead of opening.

“But we love coffee, so we’ve got some experience of making it.”

The pair are hoping their Japanese heritage will bring something a bit different to the town.

“Because I come from Japan, Hokkaido [the northernmost region] … is a little bit similar, but of course different, to Shetland,” Hasegawa explained.

“We want to bring some traditional Japanese culture, food and drinks to Shetland.”

Photo: Shetland News

There will be a soft opening from today (Wednesday) in honour of the Tall Ships, offering drinks for takeaway or sit in.

The coffee shop will be open until Saturday from 10am to 4pm, then fully open and offering food from 8 August.

“We are not completely ready yet,” Tsao said. “We still need to wait on some stuff.”

As well as classic drinks like lattes and cappuccinos, the couple will be serving up matcha and authentic Japanese baking.

“Japan has really traditional [bakes] like mochi… it’s sweet but not too sweet,” said Hasegawa.

“But I’m mixing with the [Shetland] culture… I think it’s really good for my creativity to make something new.”

The café has also been redecorated with a fresh coat of paint and a new sign is on the way.

The newly painted exterior on Commercial Road. Photo: Shetland News

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There are spaces to sit in and a record player to listen to music.

“All the decorations are what we really like,” said Tsao of the Japanese records and figurines in the shop. “So hopefully people in Shetland like it too.”

Hasegawa said: “I really welcome any people to come to us and ask about Japanese culture…I would like to meet them!”

The coffee house’s name, Showa, comes from an era when Japan was ruled by Emperor Showa.

Hasegawa described it as a “golden period of Japan”.

After the second World War, the country saw record economic growth – the couple now hope Showa’s name will bring them some success of their own.

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