Japan


4:30 AM, Downtown Tokyo / June 25, 2005


It's 4:30 am and as usual I am looking for something to eat before I go to sleep.


Of course, there's nothing in the fridge. None of us eat here. Devin's never around, Asami apparently doesn't like food and I am too busy to worry about something as mundane as eating.


So I hastily put on a shirt, shorts and sandals, grab my keys and go out in the streets of downtown Tokyo.


The 7/11 is right across the street. I look at the ready-meals, the sandwiches, the onigiri.


Everything looks disgusting. I've been eating from this goddamned 7/11 for a month now. I stay up all night, I work on this site, I write articles, I play games, I take pictures. I edit other peoples' writing. I am learning how to use HTML, PHP, databases, Flash. I don't have time to cook, no matter how much I'd like to make myself a decent hot meal. And I can cook like a motherfucker.


I sleep in the day - I work at night.


At 4:30 in the morning there's nowhere to eat in downtown Tokyo. The ramen place next to Kanda station shuts down at 3. On Sundays, they shut at 2.


My only choice - a conbini. 7/11, Family Mart, Lawson's, Sunkus. They are everywhere and they all sell the same shit.


Hey! The first time you eat from there the shit tastes nice. But try eating it twice a day for a month and you'll get sick of it too.


Sick sick sick. I am sick of eating this shit. Fuck.


I walk out of the 7/11 and catch the reflection of the store attendants on the sliding door.


The new guy is telling the old guy:


"This dude came in and left without buying anything."


The old guy just shrugs. He isn't puzzled by anything I do anymore. After seeing me walk in at 5 am on a freezing, snowy December morning wearing a light t-shirt, my boxer shorts and sandals - nothing in life will ever surprise him again.


I head towards the station. Kanda JR. West Exit.


Yes I am sick of my life. But I have no one to blame but me.


Still, summertime downtown Tokyo at 5 am is something beautiful to behold. I cherish every moment. I wouldn't wish to be anywhere else.


The sun's coming up fast now. By the time I get to the station the color of the sky has gone from pitch black to dark blue. There's garbage men and taxi drivers but no regular passerby. Just me.


I go into one of the late-night eating spots, hopeful. They are cleaning up and counting money. Gomen nasai. I come out and a woman approaches me.


"Massaji?"


What does she look like, this woman who comes up to me and offers to give me a massage at 4:30 am in downtown Tokyo. Is she dressed in a sexy outfit? Is she wearing too much make up? Does she look like a slut?


No.


She looks like someone's mother.


If I was younger I'd get embarrassed and depressed at this world that forces young and old women to go out in the streets at 4:30 am and offer to give massages to complete and total strangers.


Now I am just hungry.


I smile a sincere smile and tell her no thanks. I walk around for a few more minutes. Soon, I give up hope.


The blinding neon light of the 7/11 welcomes me again.


At least I won't starve to death.