Today, I found out A. A. Gill passed away.
It was perhaps the only ‘celebrity’ death that actually affected me.
If Anthony Bourdain entertained me; A. A. Gill inspired me to write.
Maybe that’s why I switched camera today.
Maybe I wanted a change of mood.
It was also coming of age day.
The formality of one’s life in Japan, be it the hundred day celebration, the seven, five, three years old ceremony, this coming of age day when one turns 20, is a way of society to inform you that you’re passing the checkpoint of life and the fountain of youth is slowly running out.
” 3000 yen??!! ”
Chika’s cousin screamed at the price of the coffee beans I just bought in the middle of Iwataya’s food street.
I wanted to explain that the Jamaican Blue Mountain beans are quite scarce.
I wanted to explain that Japan imports 80% of the beans (fun fact: Japan is the 3rd largest coffee importer in the world after the EU and America.) and also has a monopoly over the price. I wanted to say I’d actually never paid so much for coffee beans before and this is a new experience for me. But people were staring so I quickly hushed her along. I asked if she’d like to try some when we get home and she nodded like a hummingbird flapping its wings.
The coffee was weak initially, but the taste lingered for a long time. Chika’s family all said it was nomiyasui- easy to drink. Perhaps the value of the Blue Mountain beans is that it managed to pull everything – taste, body, and flavour, to the middle. Coffee is always either too acidic or too bitter, light or dark, liberal or republican. The beans I bought just tasted – neutral. Maybe that’s the most difficult flavour to achieve.
Meeting with Dave was surreal. I guess meeting anyone from high school is always surreal. Whenever the world ‘high school’ is mentioned I feel a jolting sensation of dread, a little bit of nostalgia, but mostly relief – that it’s all over now.
Dave was my senior in high school. We met at a home-economics class.
I guess we wanted to meet girls and friended each other instead.
He was a health freak then; he’s a bigger health freak now.
He ferried from Korea to Fukuoka with his friend on their bikes, with a plan to ride around Kyushu within a week. It wasn’t until the old lady at the coffee shop yelled to our faces of the dangers of riding 200km under 4 degrees Celcius then I realised, yeah that was kind of crazy. After failing to convince these young men to turn around, she gave us extra food and walked away grumbling like the grandmother we never had.
How do you catch up with someone that you hadn’t seen for ten years within an hour? I wished life is filled with Sorkin-esque dialogues but it was only enough to update our current situation (he recently got married, I recently got baby), maybe confirm some gossips on social media, mostly cracking irrelevant jokes.
What I learned from Dave as I saw him riding off to the horizon, is simply the art of obsession. When you find one thing that defines who you are, you’d spend every single opportunity you have to do that one thing.
I guess once a senior, always a senior.