Kansai Creative: Chie Fukami • 関西クリエイテブ:深海知恵

If you've already been to Lotus Roots Cafe, you would have been greeted by a friendly smile from Chie Fukami.

This November marks Lotus Root's 5th anniversary. 5 years ago, a younger Chie, just resigned from a typical office job, met the owner of an old house in Tenma Bashi. She (the owner) was interested in starting a gallery, and after a first introduction, Chie thought to herself 'what a cool lady'. Before long, the gallery/cafe was established, and now she is practically running the place.

To see just how creative Lotus Roots is, you really have to go there yourself. The renovations to the original building have brought space and an inviting warmth to the place, and details like alcloves with rounded corners, the curves of the kitchen counter and the open 2nd floor reaveal that this was no ordinary contracted job.

Chie thinks about everything she serves on the menu too. There's good organic food and coffee, and home made drinks with tasty cake. Though there are plenty of good cafes around, ones with a dedicated gallery space are still few. Lotus Roots even has an area reserved for reception (for artists to use, and during events).

Working at Lotus Roots is a great chance to connect with people. Chie enjoys sharing what she's learn with others. "When working at a company, there isn't really anyone to tell aside from friends outside the office," says Chie, "meeting people I don't know and learning things I don't know about them really fits my style." She believes that she really is lucky to work at Lotus Roots.

So who's her favourite creator? "I like all creators that exhibit at Lotus Roots. First they take an interest in the gallery space, and they contact us. Once I get to know about them a bit more, I really become to like them." This said, Chie admits that she likes things that are easy to understand. "Do you know Akino Isamu? or Wakiko Higashiguchi?"

Know any great places to visit? "Gallery Muun • 夢雲 in Miro, Nara and Blue Ballen in Yufuin, Oita-ken." I'll have to check these out!

Know any useful English? After a trip to India, she swears that "How much?" and "Really?" are two things you HAVE to know. 『英語でがんばってします!』

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