The Beginning of the Return Home: The Origin of 帰る [kæ·ru] Domicile

IMAGINE walking into a brand new café that you just discovered on an ordinary Sunday afternoon. The sweet smell of cinnamon and freshly ground coffee greets you at the door, along with a warm smile and a friendly, “Hello, please, come in,” from the barista. You’ve never met before, but you feel you could tell  them your deepest, darkest secrets or your sincerest hopes & dreams, and they would genuinely listen.  You hang up your coat and glance around, looking for a free table. “Ahah!” You eye your target; you know exactly where you want to sit: the over-sized armchair positioned perfectly between the fireplace, the window, and the bookshelf. You sink into the chair, and almost disappear into its plush cushions. This feels oddly familiar. The barista gently hands you a cashmere blanket and a warm drink. “How did they know my favourite drink?” Seconds later, they return with a baked delicacy that reminds you of a treat your mother used to make back when you could barely reach the kitchen counter even on tip-toes. You’re not sure why, but you feel at ease, like weight of the world has been lifted from your shoulders. Siiiiigh….. And then, it hits you. It feels like home.

Welcome to 帰る [kæ·ru] Domicile

Kaeru Domicile is an amalgamation of my two homes away from home: Japan & France.

The Beginning:

It all started in July 2015 when I was about to leave Japan after 3 years of teaching. There are some things that Japan does so right and other things that it does not, and one of those failures is BREAKFAST the way my mother always makes it. I mean eggs, bacon, fried potatoes, toast, The Works! My fellow expats can  concur with similar cravings for foods from their home countries. What we were missing was deeper than the familiarity or the nutritional benefits of these nostalgic foods. Despite purposely immersing ourselves in a new culture, we were missing that feeling of belonging- we were missing home.

In a way, isn’t that what we’re all looking for?

The Present:

12787115_10153975661924539_675755046_o I spent the last of my savings on a 3-month couch surfing journey across Europe to comprehend their various interpretations of home, a barista training course with the Canadian Barista & Coffee Academy, and a one-way ticket to Paris, which sounds drastic, but may it be a testament of dedication to not doing anything the easy way.

Now in Paris, I’m researching cafés and looking for a café owner who will take me under their wing and let me be their apprentice. My latté art isn’t very good, and I definitely need more practice, but I WANT to learn more about the café world and am willing to work hard to do so. I just need some guidance.

The Future:


being home, no matter where you are. 帰る [kæ·ru] Domicile is an ideological sanctuary for the traveling soul with the philosophy that “home” is a feeling and a state of being, not just a place, and one only needs to return within to find it.  Along the way, we will understand our core values, express our true identity, discover our intended purpose, meet genuine people, and spend quality time. Perhaps one day, 帰る [kæ·ru] Domicile will transpire into a physical café, coworking space, & small business incubator in Canada, France, Japan, or maybe all three.

In the meantime…

this café & lifestyle inspired blog will present:

  1. All About Kæ·ru: an introduction
  2. Core Values: life lessons and important insights
  3. True Identity: a collection of poems and coffee tips
  4. Genuine People: observations about people who inspire belonging
  5. Intended Purpose: updates about Kæ·ru’s 生き甲斐 [i·ki·gai] adventure
  6. Quality Time: reviews about cafés that exhibit their own home comfort

Please, make yourself at home during our #internationalcoffeejourney

From curious observer to café owner,

the return home starts here.


3 thoughts on “The Beginning of the Return Home: The Origin of 帰る [kæ·ru] Domicile

  1. I always enjoyed Japanese coffee shops but they were missing that key feeling of home… in my experience their were two flavors of coffee shop in Japan.

    1- The excessively laid back hardwood and stoneware coffee shop… like some sort of strange amalgamation of a frontier saloon and a mountain cabin… cozy, but not in a way that welcomes you or encourages you to become a part of the cafe.

    2- The try hards… be it owl themed, cat themed, maid themed, french patisserie themed etc… they are always trying to hard to conform to an overall concept and they end up just feeling kitschy… more a novelty or a place to snag a few selfies than an actual experience.

    What I missed wad that feeling you talked about at the beginning. The feeling that I was entering someone’s home… and that my experience in the cafe was far more important than the art on the walls or the cups of coffee.

    I hope you find a way to create that… I’ll be the first in line.


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