It happens all the time. You meet someone and then you lose contact for a while and then suddenly you run into them again. It happened to me the other day. Not with a person–with a dog. I first met Jazz about 12 years ago when he was with his first owner, Ms K. The second owner was Mr Y and I knew him, too. To make a long story short, Jazz is smart, handsome, and gentle and that’s why everybody loves him and wants him. So, when Jazz needed a new home after Mr Y died, a Mrs. K whom I had never met called me and asked me if I could help her to get Jazz and she explained why she and her husband were good candidates. That was five years ago–and I had totally forgotten about it. Until today. I was on my way to Iida (largest city in southern Nagano prefeture) when I decided to turn and use an older, less traveled road. I like the surprises and the discoveries that come when you to stay off the beaten track. I saw a small hand-painted wooden sign by the side of road with an arrow pointing up towards the mountain. It said SORA KUBO, coffee shop & gallery. For some reason the name sounded familiar, but I couldn’t imagine why because I had never been this way before. The sign seemed old–beaten up by rain and sun and time–and my first thought was that probably the only thing remaining was indeed this old sign. But, I wanted to be surprised, so I followed the arrow. I stopped once to ask an old lady who was planting rice and she told me to just keep on going. and that I would find it at the top of the mountain. I drove about 10 more minutes and when I could go no further, there it was. It was a log house sitting on top of the hill, surrounded by blue sky and trees and flowers leading up to the doorway. And there he was!! Jazz! Suddenly, all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place and I knew. This is the lady that had called me and who had explained why she and her husband and their place would make a good home for Jazz.
Not only is Sora Kubo a great place for Jazz, it is a great place, period. Mr K is a potter and Mrs K makes glass beads and accessories. Their shop doubles as the gallery and if you make reservations you can try your hand at making glass beads or pottery. Mrs K will serve you a homemade lunch or dinner right there from her own kitchen. After lunch, I walked behind the house and looked down to see the whole of Ina Valley. It’s easy to see why the K’s gave up their big city life in Osaka and moved to Toyooka Village–and why they and Jazz are so happy here.
By the way, pets are always welcome at Sora Kubo.