by Roger Smith
[Update: Live + Rally Park closed permanently in January 2019.]
Walking through Kotodai Koen Park just across from Mitsukoshi I noticed an all-wood building surrounded by benches and child-sized tables. On this day there was a boombox outside playing American country music. A bike rack had a sticker on it: "Keep Portland Weird." What was this place?
I went inside to find out. Behind the attractive wood and glass counter I met Ryo Sato and asked him about the store. He explained, "I lived in Portland [Oregon] before, and wanted to recreate the atmosphere of freedom I felt there in Sendai." I was puzzled by the name and then I heard him pronounce it: "library." Ah, now I get it.
As Live + Rally is related to the well-regarded Sendai Coffee Stand, coffee is a strong point and there are sandwiches, desserts and other light foods. The gift section was of a high quality, with crafts from around Tohoku as well as high-quality art photo books featuring places in the region.
It's a good place to stop by and rest with a drink outside, or to have a light lunch and enjoy a bit of American ambience in Sendai.
Find it in Kotodai Koen on the west side, between Mitsukoshi and Sendai City Hall.
Address: 3 Chome-1 Kokubunchō, Aoba-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi-ken 980-0803
Working hours: 10:00-19:00