A view of the ocean, a tasty sandwich, and a cup of coffee. It’s the simple things in life that matter. Five years ago Hiroshi Nagahama moved his family and bread shop (Sana Bakery) from Tokyo to Nijo, Itoshima to be closer to the sea and countryside. Sana is Spanish for health, so it’s not surprising to learn Nagahama is fussy about ingredients. He uses only domestic wheat flour and no oil, margarine or butter. His “no oil” policy made us wonder if his bread might be dry, but they aren’t; they taste great, have plenty of chew and your stomach will thank you. Wanting to offer an eat-in experience, in September he opened Sandwich House, less than 10 minutes away by car along Imajuku Bypass 202 towards Karatsu. From inside the diner, you can gaze at the sea, Himeshima, and on a clear day, even Iki Island in the distance. They offer a variety of hot and crispy panini, New York style bagel, French and toasted sandwiches. From a classic Peanut Butter and Jam to a Honey and Cheese Sandwich, a Rum Raisin Milk Bread, or a Chili con Carne Sandwich, they got something to tempt everyone. Look out for seasonal specials such as Strawberry Milk Cream Bun. Beverages include organic drip coffee (Robaya Bio Coffee), soft drinks, vegetable juice, wines, cocktails, and craft beer (Baird Beer). Take-out OK and lots of free parking.
In dramatic but a most welcomed contrast to Itoshima’s domestic and rural image, we’re pleased to introduce Little Souk, Emiko Yamanaka’s new Middle Eastern cafe. Emiko is an English language scholar who became fascinated by Middle Eastern culture while traveling in the area. Inside her beautifully decorated cafe, she sells nuts and dried fruits from the Middle East, Iran, Greece, Thailand, India and America for between ¥500 ~ ¥550 / 100 grams. Alternatively, pull up a stool and enjoy one of her three exotic smoothies : Dates, Chocolate, Banana & Nuts, Avocado Pistachio, or Blueberry, Pineapple & Cashew. Other beverages include coffee from Yemen, dried fruit tea, or beer from Lebanon, Turkey, and Israel as well as Moroccan, Lebanese and Turkish wines. Also, as a first for Itoshima, any number of guests can share a shisha pipe for 30 minutes for just ¥1,000! For gift shoppers, she has a display of camel jewelry boxes, perfume bottles, Pakistani shoes, Arabian lamps, and camel milk soap. Finally, Arabian night events are held twice a month.
Kenji Oda’s Ohajiki
The new year is approaching and we could all use some good luck, right? Well, Kenji Oda, a forty-year veteran Hakata doll maker with a studio and gallery in Maebaru might be able to help. Every year just in time for hatsumode (first shrine visit of the year) he produces a limited production of cute and collectible decorations known as ohajiki. These tiny handmade and painted objects were once used in children’s games. Oda’s objects include six kyodo gangu (common toys) such as spinning tops and drums as well as the lucky god of the coming year (Benzaiten for 2019). Ohajiki can be ordered from Oda’s gallery, but most people line up to buy them at Oimatsu Shrine during hatsumode (¥3,800).
To learn more about Itoshima now, click here!
Originally published in Fukuoka Now Magazine (fn241, Jan. 2019)