I had just arrived in Tokyo after spending an amazing yet busy week in Osaka and was looking forward to a few days off before our shows at the Tokyo Forum. I checked into my hotel, unpacked my bag and then wandered into the shopping and eating district of Akasaka. Akasaka is a largely untouristed area itself, but quite close to the Imperial Palace, The National Theatre and other such imposing sights.

Leaving hotel with a group from our company, I needed to return hotel briefly and said I would text someone to find out where they were eating. (Digression: I’ve been thinking lately that if you can correctly say things like “I walked home” instead of “I walked to my home”, then shouldn’t you also be able to say “I walked hotel”? I’m trying it out here, but it does feel a little awkward…) That someone forgot their phone and I was wandering around without a response when I came across a little English styled pub I remembered visiting last year.

I ordered a Kirin Ichiban – marveling, not for the first time, on how good Japanese beer is and how similar to Australian beer it is, which is probably why I think it’s so good in the first place. There was a picnic table style seat outside and I placed myself in the warm, sultry, extended-summer afternoon, writing a poem, sipping beer and watching Tokyonians wander by.

A middle aged man in dark blue slacks, light blue business shirt and a dark blue cap with an embroidered Koi on it soon walked in, got a beer and came to sit outside too. As he was about to pass me, he stopped and inquired where I was from. He then welcomed me to Tokyo and hoped I had a pleasant stay. Noticing my beer was somewhat low, he asked if I would like another. I was happily drinking quite slowly and so declined, but I believe he was ready to buy a complete stranger a drink, just to welcome them to his city.

As he finished his beer he came and sat opposite me and asked me my name and how long I was staying in Japan. He then again wished me a pleasant stay in Tokyo, expressed how nice it was to meet me – several times, then returned his glass to the bar and wandered off down the road, pausing once, to turn around and wave goodbye.

September 2008 Derek Wilson

~ by Derek Wilson on April 5, 2009.

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