Murali Kupusamy

Murali Kupusamy
Photo by Maki Nibayashi

Furla Tea & Coffee Owner/Model

Time in Japan:
One and a half year

Where are you from?

What brought you to Japan?
I' lived in London, Paris and Milan already, and Tokyo is becoming more and more of a fashion capital. So I bought a ticket for Tokyo and here I am.

What do you do?
I model part time and run my own business, Furla Tea & Coffee, full time.

How long have you had your shop?
Since March 13.

Why did you decide to open it?
I've been modeling since I was 19 years old and thought that it was about time to change my career, and I wanted to settle down and open my own business. When I was in Milan, I identified myself well with the minimalist though elegant image of Furla products. When I moved to Japan and found that Furla was doing well here too, I contacted Furla Japan and proposed opening up a fashion cafE which is now Furla Tea & Coffee.

What are some of the difficulties in running a cafe especially in an area like Aoyama?
Being the first Furla Tea & Coffee in the world, it's difficult to raise customers' awareness. But once they taste my coffee they come back! In Aoyama, customers during the week are working people who are in a rush, looking for no-frills, good-quality coffee. On the weekend it's completely different, customers who want to chat and spend a few hours in a nice atmosphere to rest from their shopping spree.

What's the strangest thing you've seen or experienced here?
When I went to buy my cat in Odaiba, there was a bowl of water to wash your hands in. I thought it was pretty sensible to wash your hands after touching a pet. But in fact the water was there so you could wash before touching the pets, and not afterwards. What's that about?

What's the one thing from Japan you'd like to take back to your home country?
Manners. They're amazing here. I've never seen manners like this in my life. Singapore is friendly, but in Japan, the manners are so sincere. Well, of course, they could always be faking it, but it's still remarkable. If they're faking it, at least they fake it convincingly! The heated toilet seats are also incredible. I've got to have one of those at home!

What are your plans for the future?
I hope to open up a couple more cafe in Kyoto and Hokkaido. Then I could travel to those beautiful places which I've only heard about and never visited before.

What's your recipe for a happy and successful life in Japan?
When in Rome, do as the Romans do... but with a touch of fashion.

Contact Murali at Furla Tea & Coffee, 3-5-20 Kita-Aoyama, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3401-9787.

Murali Kupusamy spoke to Maki Nibayashi.

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