SHREWSBURY, England -- This country town of Shropshire in the British Midlands is characterized by its crowding, crooked, black-and-white 16th century houses, clustered within a horseshoe loop of the River Severn. Narrow passages known as shuts link winding streets that keep distinctive names acquired in the 11th century. One steep street bears the name of Wyle Cop, which may have come from Welsh words meaning "a road up a hillside" and "top." On Wyle Cop is a long, narrow shop that has a name perhaps unique in Britain, one that comes from Japan: Seto-nai-kai. This shop has floor-to-ceiling shelves crammed with items of Japanese food, dishes and giftware. A staircase is hung with fabrics. Its leaflet proclaims "a taste of the Orient . . . with pride."

Misako Fedorowicz

An enterprising young Englishman and his Japanese wife, Mark and Misako Fedorowicz, are the proprietors of Seto-nai-kai. Misako comes from Hokkaido. "I come from the countryside, so I prefer the countryside here in England too," she said.