Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Closing Time

It wasn't enough to sit by the river tonight, watching the moon phase in and out of the hazy clouds, the long blades of grass dancing in the gentle breeze.  Surely this scene could exist elsewhere in the world, but the muted nostalgia that seems to accompany such hours in Japan is unique.

Yet in my peaceful sitting, a voice in my head started to overtake me.  "Soy milk," it said, "the store will be closing soon, and then no more soy milk."  The moon generously departed behind some clouds, giving me a grace period to take my leave, but I knew I had to bike fast to make it.

As I walked quickly through the store to get my soy milk, eggs, and tofu, my ears met with another one of Japan's everyday sentimental customs: the playing of Auld Lang Syne to signal closing time.  It was breaking my heart, the end of this store's working day–if only this moment of pondering cheese could last forever!

Sometimes, it's a wonder that time moves forward, but even in Japan, it does.  The moon is higher in the sky now, and the workers have all gone home.  Tomorrow will be another day, and we'll be one of the first to see it.

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