Tagtokyo

Early Morning Tokyo

After having been unable to sleep, I decided to give up trying and head to the gym at 5am. I’ve never seen the streets and trains so deserted in this busy city. I didn’t expect to find the gym in Harajuku to be more crowded than I’ve seen full of frighteningly hulk-like creatures. With that situation, I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising that, for the first time the locker room smelled like … a locker room. Ugh. They seemed to be frantically cleaning at 7 so perhaps it’s not so common. It also stuck me that I’ve never seen a woman in the men’s locker room. This may sound an odd comment, but there’s generally a (invisible after you’ve been here for some time) little old lady scurrying about in the toilet/changing room type areas everywhere. (Really if you’re a man you should expect a woman to be cleaning up during your “restroom activities” – and I do mean mean right next to you watching). Perhaps Gold’s is not the type of place that toilet ladies think to apply. Guess little old anythings don’t generally enter in any capacity.

さあ、iPad を。

‘Well then,’ the iPad arrives and pandemonium strikes Tokyo. The trains and the cafe’s have those enjoying the new toy. It was pointless to even try to touch it at Apple Ginza, but it was slightly possible at Yodobashi Akiba – with a five-minute maximum limit. The announcement coincides generally with another anniversary (8 years this time around).

Ignorance is …

The next word in the title phrase is known to all. This weekend it was triggered by coffee. Kaldi coffee, specifically, for which a great love has developed within me. You see, my supply of mildly roasted ‘Precious Beans of 100 Years Old Coffee Tree’ was exhausted, so I was relegated to the under-the-counter jar of Nescafé Excella (it’s soluble!). All in all, the Excella is a passable cuppa insofar as freeze-dried instant varieties go. The problem, the jarring shock, is that Kaldi had thoroughly ruined me. It had informed me of heights sublime.

Perhaps the temporal proximity of the two quaffing experiences accentuated the disappointing effect of cup number two, but the damage was done and led to a questioning regret for ever having tried Kaldi in the first place. In all likelihood, I would be at least generally appeased by the Excella, had not the apple of knowledge been within my purview. I knew, and more damningly had tasted, the superior.

How could I have allowed my bliss to be so devastated? Does even the banality of the whole ‘ignorance is bliss’ phrase cry out for suspension of belief regarding its nature? A tired axiom, demonstrating by example the level of its fatigue? Its truth is certainly not in question. Living in Japan, I fear that the concept of sushi elsewhere has been ruined for all time. A special holiday sunday brunch (and the view) at Top of the Mark on the rooftop of the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins in San Francisco causes others to fall, crashing down to pedestrian level. The electric excitement of Hong Kong at night leaves lesser realms in an eco-friendly brown-out. Spain. Tapas. Ad nauseam, this could be.

Would it not be better for all parties concerned if happiness, once obtained, could be constricted to simply encompass that which is within immediate view, without pondering what may lie beyond distant horizons? While I don’t regret the mind-expanding experiences that have passed me by, a part of me feels a tinge of melancholy to be always in a state of qualitative comparison.

As I write this, sipping of the replenished supply of roasted foreign fruit (‘Café Andes’ this time around), I implore you not to let me know of anything better.