Q1-1: What inspired you to open a cafe in Changhua?
Akiraken: It was “The Start of Future”. Prior to the establishment of Future Map Co., LTD in 2012, I had been in Taipei for 14 years, studying, working in internet business, software eduction, and then travel services. My past experiences accumulated and made me reconsider my future aspiration when I moved back to Changhua in 2011. Trip Cafe was one of the many aspects Future Map wanted to develop.
Q1-2: Why did you choose to locate Trip Cafe in a traditional market?
Akiraken:This location is my family’s old house. I came back to Changhua then hoping to reconnect with my homeland, so it seemed natural to locate my cafe here in Minquan Market.
Q1-3: What’s the biggest challenge as a cafe located in a traditional market in Changhua?
Akiraken: Location is not quite a difficult challenge really. Though Trip Cafe is in a local market surrounded by a lot of people that are not my targeted customers, I made use of my expertise in online marketing and through social network and blogspots, a lot of travelers from outside of Changhua came to Trip Cafe.
Q2-1: Does your past experience as an island tour guide overseas relate to Trip Cafe?
Akiraken: Originally, opening Trip Cafe is not about serving coffee. Specifically, Trip Cafe is established in hope of becoming a local tourists center. This idea sure derived from my many years of experiences working as an international tour guide. This tourists center of mine collaborates Travel, Service, and Design, offering locals from Changhua and ravelers from other places an unique travel service.
Q2-2. Local tourism service is definitely different from overseas tour-guiding. What kind of preparation did you do?
Akiraken: When I first returned to Changhua, I spent a lot of time exploring, reading about Changhua, and I joined the training program of Lai Ho Foundation in becoming a volunteered staff. I revisit Changhua through the literary interpretation of Lai Ho. I also took tour-guiding courses at Lukang Community College. Most importantly, the conversations I had with local elders made me realize how insufficient my knowledge was. Accordingly, I was motivated to learn more about the history and local culture.
Q2-3. You once wrote in your blog, “Running a cafe is not my dream. Travel is.” Now that Trip Cafe has been in business for three years, what do you think of this statement?
Akiraken:In the following courses, I would like to strengthen Trip Cafe as a tourists center as I originally planned it to be. After years of hard work, I recently got entitled to hang a “i-info” plaque authorized by the Tourism Bureau labeling Trip Cafe as an official stop for tourism infos. Visitors that stop by Trip Cafe will get access to more travel information in Changhua. I will also be training staff members to guide small trips so travelers to Changhua can sign up for the small trips and acquire more tourism information.
Q3-1. Is there anything interesting that you have encountered at Trip Cafe?
Akiraken:The original design of the interior decor was not like what you see now. Over the course I’ve consulted four designers. In 2013, there was the incident of the demolition of Taiwan Bank’s Japanese Dormitory in Changhua. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to preserve the dorms as a whole but I managed to save parts of the beam and minor objects of the Japanese architecture and incorporated these into the decor of Trip Cafe
so that the Taiwanese impression of the Japanese colonial period can be preserved. It serves as a reminder for all of us to look at it, talk about its stories and remember it.
Q3-2. Is there a particular moment at Trip Cafe that you would remember for the rest of your life?
Akiraken:July 2013 is the month Trip Cafe opened, and it is also the year I got married and gave birth to my kid. I thank my wife most for she then managed everything at Trip Cafe with a baby in her arms. All beverages and dessert at Trip Cafe were created by my wife so that Trip Cafe was ready to serve you all.
No.241, Minquan Rd., Changhua City, Changhua County 500, Taiwan