The first place I ever visited in this part of the city was a coffee shop where we had scheduled an early morning meeting. It was early, but the coffee shop was full. Full of people making a quick stop on their way to work, families having breakfast together, people lost in their own individual thoughts. The mood was comfortable, with everyone enjoying a few special moments of their day. This coffee shop, we heard, had changed this district, and the shopping street it belonged to. It had become a place for people to gather and a place where communication and relationships were born, attracting a record shop, a used clothes store, a restaurant, and many other new people who now shared this district with its longtime residents.
Traditional shopping streets like this one are disappearing from cities and towns across Japan, replaced by large shopping centers in city suburbs which provide the convenience that the modern day demands. At the same time, however, there are places where a single impetus brings about a transformation in old neighborhoods, changing them to something new.
This is one of those places, and there is something about it that reminds me of us as we underwent, little by little, our own transformation as we worked to realize our vision of a new factory that would spring from a rural Japanese production area.
Just as longtime residents and new arrivals can comfortably join forces to bring new life to old neighborhoods, we too will work to bring new light to what has been here all along, together with the community that has grown around us.