Otaru is a land of natural beauty surrounded by mountains and sea, the streets evoke nostalgic feelings with the canal and historic buildings.
LeTAO's founder Kawagoe strongly felt the desire to build an unconventional culture of Western confectionary in a city where just a stroll down the street fascinates. That was the beginning of the story of LeTAO.
Luckily, we are able to have a store at the Meruhen intersection, which is Otaru's foremost tourist center. We built a store that looks like a big tower and named it LeTAO. It is based on the first letters of the French phrase "La Tour Amitie Otaru" meaning "The Amiable Tower of Otaru,". It was created with affection for the city of Otaru.
We sincerely hope to be loved by the people of Otaru, to become a symbol of Otaru, and to be widely talked about and praised.
Toward the opening of the Western confectionery, we developed two themes: Nostalgic Modern and Northern Sweets Etiquette.
●Nostalgic Modern means "to pursue exceptional taste in nostalgic sweets with modern ideas." It expresses our attitude toward making tasty sweets that are better than today’s.
●Northern Sweets Etiquette means "to spread the customs of northern people, which is to enjoy sweets," but also it expresses our resolution "to become a representative of Hokkaido sweets, and hope to remind people of LeTAO when speaking of Hokkaido sweets.
LeTAO's founder Kawagoe built a stone monument inscribed with a poem in front of the new store when it opened. The poem is titled "A Journey called Life" written by Takahiro Tajima who is known as the wheelchair cameraman. The collection of photographs and poems titled Uta ga kikoeru are the works of a man in a wheelchair taken from 50 cm above the ground who overcame disabilities through tireless efforts. Kawagoe was deeply moved by this collection, and strongly felt "the heart to thrive filled with gratitude toward life and nature," and committed himself to set this feeling as the spirit of LeTAO.
Every employee of LeTAO greatly cherish this poem.
A Journey Called Life
By Takahiro Tajima
When there is a lot of sadness it seems normal even unnoticed.
When there is a lot of suffering it seems normal even unnoticed.
Everyone carries around a bit of sadness, maybe more than a bit of sadness, with them in life.
When there is a lot of sadness we can notice it in others.
When there is a lot of suffering we can be kind to others who are suffering.
The written character for person ( 人 ) is an image of “leaning on” or “helping” each other.
No one can live by themselves.
We need the help of others to live.
This is perhaps, the journey called life.