Yasushi Ogura opened Cà phê Cực Bắc or the northernmost coffee house in Lo Lo Chai village which is a must stop for visitors on their journey to the
Lung Cu Flag Tower.
“I like the northernmost coffee house very much. The decoration is nice and the drinks here are so tasty. The shop owner said that her family’s living conditions were much better after opening this coffee house. Many tourists have come to this region so the locals here have more chance to learn about new things from other places. As a Vietnamese person, I am so thankful for what Mr Yasushi has done for the people living here.”
Hoang Thi Pao, a tourist who is enjoying her drink at the northernmost coffee house said, “The northernmost coffee house is very unique. It was upgraded from the oldest house of Lo Lo Chai village which is around 200 years old.”
“The original architecture of the house has been maintained with a fence made of stones and a thick wall that keeps it warm in winter and cool in summer. What I also like about this place is the drink here is tasty. I love coffee and green tea here,” he added.
Yasushi Ogura is not a businessman, but this long-term visitor to Vietnam invested his money to help a farming couple in Lo Lo Chai open a coffee shop named Cà phê Cực Bắc or the northernmost coffee house.
Mr Yasushi said, “I first came to Vietnam in 1995 and visited only Ho Chi Minh City. I came to the northern region of Vietnam in 1999. I love to travel around the south East Asian region but 20 years ago, Vietnam was not very popular among most Japanese people, so I wanted to find out more about Vietnam. I was so amazed by the beauty of Vietnam and the hospitality of the people here.”
Every year, Mr Ogura has spent a week traveling around Vietnam. He has visited Ha Giang very often since 2002.
He said that he especially love Ha Giang for its pristine beauty and unique culture of local ethnic communities.
Mr Ogura said, “Ha Giang has many ethnic minority groups. I decided to support a Lo Lo family as the population of this ethnic group in Ha Giang is small and they do not have many opportunities to introduce their culture. Lo Lo people are very friendly and open. They can speak fluent Vietnamese so it is easy for me to communicate with them.”
Yasushi’s interest is not in earning a return on his investment, but to help preserve the indigenous culture of ethnic minority communities in Ha Giang Province.
He invested VND200 million to open the coffee house. The northernmost coffee house is an upgrade of Chien’s house.
Chien and his wife Luc Thi Van, were farmers who couldn’t speak English. So in the early days, Yasushi taught them English and the basic skills needed to manage the cafe.
They were keen to learn new things and were fast learners and things went smoothly. Yasushi’s dedication has won him a special place in the hearts of the ethnic minority residents of Lo Lo Chai Village.