Chika and her mum went to the hospital in the morning.
I played some Bon Iver and started reading a 1987 murder mystery novel – The Decagon House Murders in between Hana’s cries.

They returned at 2 pm. Dad was ok, but he suffered a hairline crack on his neck, damaging the nerves and limiting the movements of his left arm.
He had to stay for rehabilitation for up to 3 months.

We went to Ansen Shokudo for ramen.
The place is really the common canteen, unchanged for maybe 30 years.
The same 8 items on the menu, self-service water, and a big bowl of red ginger on each table, were probably what Chika needed.
I used to make fun of the place, saying the ramen is all MSG.
Then again, what nostalgic food that forms the cornerstone of our childhood memories is actually healthy?

It was also Chika’s sister’s birthday.
So we drove to Aeon again to look for a birthday present.

As we arrived home, we received news – this time Chika’s brother’s car was hit from the back.
You simply could not make this up.

So Ema’s luxurious birthday sushi dinner plan was canceled.

When they came home I suggested we take away from the famous unagi restaurant.

On the way back from pick up we stopped by a cake shop that once baked for the Emperor.
I remember a chef once said in a period movie: ” The Emperor is like miso – I’m not sure how or when it became important, I just know that we’re born with it and it will be troublesome if we run out of miso tomorrow.”

More importantly, as we were leaving, the shop owner walked out of the bakery, took out a lightsaber, and started directing traffic – stopping the cars so we could reverse and merge into the road.
That was absurd and surreal at the same time.

At 8 pm, for the first time, I heard music coming from a small speaker in the corner.
Ema said that’s their community announcement to inform them who had passed away recently.
I ate my strawberry mochi in one mouthful, linking this to Hunger Games.

I finished The Decagon House Murders before going to bed.

One thing that really impressed me, was how the Yasui family handled the two car accidents.
There wasn’t much distress, everyone just went back to their daily routines.
The youngest nephew, age 4, who was thrown out of the truck (landed in soft mud), simply went back to kindergarten the next day.
No trauma, no counseling, and more importantly, no finger-pointing.

I hate the word, but ‘zen’ is the only vocabulary I have to describe this.

The next day we went to Ichiran Mori (forest) for lunch.
The taste is definitely more refined than Ansen yesterday – the rich base of tonkotsu broth with garlic and their special chili powder for complexity.

I drove out to buy groceries to make pasta for the family of 9 in the afternoon.

I was on my way home when I realised I left my diary on the shopping cart in the parking lot.
I turned back within 10 minutes and it was already gone.
It took me a while to locate the ‘lost and found’ section to see it on the table.
I pointed to the diary, and the lady gave it back to me with a smile.

I had no time to make dinner because of the incident so I apologise to the family and promised they would have their bolognese the next day.
I stir-fried some veggies while mum prepared sukiyaki don made from Yoshinoya’s frozen pack.
I started another mystery book – The Tokyo Zodiac Murders, written in 1981.