FINDING
Atsushi Matsunaga 2022.11.16

A new community is born in a traditional Japanese textile production region!
FabCafe Fuji Opening Party Report

On November 6, 2022, FabCafe Fuji opened its doors in the city of Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi Prefecture.

Fujiyoshida is a town at the foot of Mount Fuji and has been a famous textile production area for more than 1,000 years. The region has come to be known by the nickname ハタオリマチ (hataori-machi) or “The City of Weaving”. Recently, local factories have increasingly launched their own original brands and developed direct sales strategies that are bringining a breath of fresh air into the town.

FabCafe Fuji invited local residents as well as people involved in the local textile industry and local government to their opening party, which took place on the day before the official opening. Visitors enjoyed a selection of foods prepared in the kitchen of FabCafe Fuji, and listened to different talk sessions that covered different topics related to FabCafe Fuji and Fujiyoshida, such as the ongoing collaborations between local craftsmen and outside creators. Mai Miyazaki, from the PR team of Loftwork, reports on the opening party in this article.

Text: Mai Miyazaki (Loftwork)
Translation: Aya Bergkamp (FabCafe)
Photos: Atsushi Matsunaga, Mai Miyazaki (Loftwork)

The opening of FabCafe Fuji in Fujiyoshida, “The City of Weaving”

Mount Fuji seen from Honmachi-dori, where FabCafe Fuji is located
Takeshi Yagi from DOSO, founder of FabCafe Fuji

Takeshi Yagi from DOSO, who is also the director of Saruya Hostel and Saruya Artist Residency in Fujiyoshida, opened the party with a speech where he talked about his motivation for wanting to start a cafe where people can gather, connect, and make things, and how this all came together at FabCafe Fuji. He also expressed his gratitude towards everyone involved in the opening of FabCafe Fuji and their hard work in the days preceding the event. 

More than 80 visitors, mainly local residents, people from the local textile industry and local government officials, attended the opening party
FabCafe Fuji has been trying out different recipes as a preparation for their food menu and served a selection of delicious meals

During the opening party, guests enjoyed a variety of delicious dishes such as vegetarian lasagna made with soy meat, Danish potato salad, Indian keema curry and carrot cake. FabCafe Fuji uses only carefully selected ingredients that are healthy, and they include locally grown, pesticide-free vegetables in their food menu. This results in enjoyable foods that are nutritious and flavorful at the same time.

The local people of Fujiyoshida enjoyed the different foods of FabCafe Fuji
Bread brought as a congratulatory gift by Cafe Naturalrhythm, located in Tsuru City
Hot dogs with homemade sausage

What can you do at FabCafe Fuji?

FabCafe Fuji is a cafe where visitors can use a digital fabrication machine for their creative projects. Even with no prior experience, anyone is welcomed to visit FabCafe Fuji to try out digital fabrication while enjoying a cup of coffee.

FabCafe Fuji has a Risograph machine, which is a silk-screen printing machine developed by the Japanese company RISO in 1980 as a copying machine intended for office use. The ink developed by RISO is characterized by its excellent color reproduction. This is one of the reasons why it has been attracting attention in Europe, the United States, and other Asian countries as an equipment that can also be used for creative expression outside of the workplace context.

The Risograph space at FabCafe Fuji

Weaving fabric with thread and printing on paper have much common: both the application of different weaving techniques to manufacture fabric, and the printing of overlapping layers of ink on paper allow us to express ourselves in complex and beautiful ways. FabCafe Fuji aims to create and nourish a creative community that explores playful combinations of the traditional textile craftsmanships of “The City of Weaving” and the Risograph technique.

Mr. Akamatsu, who was involved in the opening of Saruya Hostel, and local residents chatting and viewing the artwork.

One of the exhibitions that were displayed at the opening party was a collection of risographs called Don’t Pay For Me

A special exhibition utilizing the back of the cafe space

Above are the works by Daniel and Siranee Caulfield-Sriklad, two residents at the Saruya Artist Residency. On the right is a hand-woven garment usually worn under kimono from the late 19th to the early 20th century. When looking closely, one can notice the hand stitching methods that have been traditionally used to repair the holes in this garment in an elegant way. The wall on the left features a series of photographs which explore the different ways of wearing a kimono as a form of expression.

The eye-catching book shelves at FabCafe Fuji

A variety of books on art and architecture fill up the book shelves, which can spark the creativity of visitors while they enjoy a delicious meal or beverage.

Ceramics and lacquerware selected by Saruya

One of the blankets from the collection created by a collaboration between Saruya Hostel and Watanabe Textile, a local weaving company.

Watanabe Textile uses a combination of cupra made from natural cotton and wool threads for this blanket collection, which makes the fabric extremely soft to the touch. The blankets can be bought at FabCafe Fuji.

Coffee, weaving, risographs, art, books… Who are the ones connecting it all?

A two-part talk session was held at the opening party. In the first part, the panel talked about the changes that have occurred in Fujiyoshida’s landscape and community as a result of the simultaneous progress of collaborations between locals and people from outside of Fujiyoshida. Another topic that was covered was that local factories have increasingly launched their own original brands and developed direct sales strategies.

■ Panel speakers
Takeshi Yagi (Director of DOSO Corporation (Saruya Hostel / FabCafe Fuji / Saruya Artist Residency) / FUJI TEXTILE WEEK Executive Committee Chairman)
Satoshi Akamatsu (Representative of OULO)
Keigo Arai (Former Fujiyoshida City Hall employee / Facilitator)
Yuta Sugihara (President of CEDA / FUJI TEXTILE WEEK Deputy Executive Committee Chairman)
Tatsuyasu Watanabe (President of Watanabe Textile)

During the second part of the talk session, the panel discussed what the future could hold for FabCafe Fuji in Fujiyoshida, where craftsmanship has been passed down from generation to generation. The panel envisioned FabCafe Fuji to be a hub where the city and its people, including local residents and foreign visitors, are connected. One of such projects aimed at strengthening this connection and bringing talent from outside is Shigotabi, a “workation program” managed by FabCafe, Loftwork and DOSO that designs local creative tours and workshops and helps connect creators to local guest houses.

■ Panel speakers
Daiki Kanaoka (COO and CTO, FabCafe Tokyo)
Mariko Takeda (Creative Director, FabCafe Tokyo)
Yuhi Yanagawa (former senior producer at Loftwork)

Take a break at the café and immerse yourself in art and creativity at FabCafe Fuji

FabCafe Fuji is located on Honmachi-dori, or Honmachi Street, which is a street that runs through the center of Fujiyoshida towards Mount Fuji. Another reason for visiting this neighborhood is to enjoy the lively experience of meeting the local people who endeavor in different fields to make Fujiyoshida a great place to be. 

The Fujiyoshida City Tourist Guide includes not only an overview of tourist attractions, but also shares information on “FACTORY SHOP OPEN“, which is held on the third Saturday of every month. It takes place in the Nishi-ura area in Fujiyoshida, where visitors can experience lots of unique restaurants, workshops, events, and much more! Why not drop by FabCafe Fuji as well?

FabCafe Fuji Store Overview

Located on Honmachi-dori, in addition to the café FabCafe Fuji features a library corner with books on topics like art, architecture, textiles, a space to make risographs, and a co-working space.

About FabCafe

FabCafe is a place to accelerate creative serendipity with a nice cup of coffee and collaborative peers. As an open creative platform, FabCafe aims to empower everyone to take the initiative to make anything, turning their ideas into reality and sharing those ideas in a more tangible way with local and global communities.A single FabCafe can be a creative hub for designers and the local community to share and experiment with innovative ideas. A network of FabCafe communities worldwide can create an ecosystem that kick starts the next mass customization movement from the bottom up! https://fabcafe.com/

Loftwork magazine Subscribe for stories in designs and innovation monthly.