Making new friends and eating sweet treats are surely two of life’s greatest pleasures, but how awesome would it be if you could brush up your language skills at the same time? This is the concept for Cocofulu and Melissa—bilingual baking classes in the heart of Tokyo, right next door to the lovely Kyu-Furukawa Gardens in Kita-ku.
The two women behind the business are Yuiko Murata, a trained Japanese pastry chef who also worked in Paris for a year, and Melissa Uchiyama, an American writer and teacher with a passion for languages. They also both happen to be busy moms with young families. The duo has combined their respective talents to offer fun-filled classes where people of all nationalities can practice language skills as they whip up sweet treats while forming new connections and friendships in the process.
Melissa and Yuiko talked to Savvy Tokyo about their respective backgrounds, how they came to launch their business, and what participants can expect from their classes.
Meet Melissa and Yuiko
Melissa hails from South Florida but has called Japan “home” for 12 years now. She arrived in Tokyo just six months after her marriage to a Japanese national who grew up in the United States. “After decades in the USA, my parents-in-law had settled back in Kita-ku in Tokyo, and just around the corner from where Yuiko’s cafe would later be,” she says.
In the early days, in particular, food played an important part in her cultural adjustment. “While love and a sense of adventure brought me here, homesickness was very real at times,” …continue reading