Aug 18

Shunki Matsushima: From Balloon Artist to Coffee Prince

Aheerm. Move over, Lee Min Ho of Seoul, Korea. Make way for Shunki Matsushima of Fukuoka City, Japan. I first saw him in the street near our office. He and his friends were trying to make a living, peddling karaage for Php3 each. Two years later, I saw him in a cafe – in his own Kawaii Cafe.


So what’s with this 23-year-old bachelor? Why is he already living a life that even a 40-year-old man can only dream of?

“I just have to do what I want to do. That’s all. It’s very, very “sayang” if I don’t do what I want. I just came here in Cebu because I want to have a coffee shop. After that, there were so many people who helped me. Taking action is so important. I have no talent but I am so lucky,” he said.

I feel so honored that I learned his story firsthand and I know he won’t mind if I shared it here. The journey to success was not a bed of roses for him. He flew from Japan to the Philippines with just a little in his pocket but with a big dream in his heart.

He recalled, “I was a bad student in highschool. Maybe I was the worst. Two or three years ago, I couldn’t speak English. I came here in Cebu, I still couldn’t speak English. Haha. Before, I didn’t have money. But I really wanted to go on a trip. I was a university student then. I wanted to go to the Philippines so I decided to collect money from others. I bought a box where people can put money. But, of course, no one gave me. Haha.”

I couldn’t imagine how did this handsome-looking guy survive.

“Someone came beside me. He was also a traveler and he was a guitarist. He had no money but there were so many people putting money in to his box. And then, I got an idea. I should learn something so I could entertain them. So I practiced how to make balloon art. After a week, I tried collecting money again in the streets with balloon art. So, a lot of people came. I got a lot of money. Then, I came to Cebu. Because it’s very, very ‘saying’ if I wouldn’t do anything with what I want. Having no money or no time, it’s not an excuse.”

shunki matsushima

Wow. I was already in tears when he said all that. I couldn’t believe that these wisdom all came from a 23-year-old guy. (For goodness’ sake, when I was his age, I was busy hopping from job to job, not knowing what I wanted to do with life.) And when he went on, I was impressed.

Street kids learning balloon art

Street kids learning balloon art

“I taught street children how to make balloon art because they were asking me money. But it’s not good to give money to them, right? That’s why I taught them how to earn money. And they got money. And they gave me money. Hahaha.”

Photo from Shunki

Photo from Shunki

So, there you have it. But wait, there’s more! His close friend and business associate, Aldan Cristino, describes Shunki as shy and humble. He eats “balut” like a native Filipino. He can also walk barefoot.

 his pair of flipflops was left unattended during the Bon Odori Festival

his pair of flipflops was left unattended during the Bon Odori Festival

Shunki also loves traveling and exploring other countries. And, what’s more interesting is… He’s single.

“I can talk to myself,” he joked.



1 ping

  1. A Taste of Japan at Kawaii Cafe - A Japanese Cafe in Cebu | Blushing Geek

    […] Aside from Korean tourists, the Queen City of the South has always been one of the top destinations of Japanese tourists. Aside from enjoying our beaches, these tourists come to Cebu to learn English. And one of them is Shunki Matsushima. I never thought he’s the Japanese guy I saw one time in TV, reading about his life here in Cebu and what he did to achieve his dream was really inspirational. You can read more about it here. […]

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