Friday, December 06, 2013

All Together...Now

The mustachioed man puffs out cigarette smoke like a steam locomotive, the stripes of the crosswalk serving as railroad ties.  I sit before him, on the other side of the glass, in a hip little place I found as I walked through Jingu-mae.  I had three hours to kill, so it had been a day spent moving slow, quite a luxury in a city of Tokyo's size, particularly as it was a weekday. 

From this window of San Francisco Peaks,  I spy berets and beards,  Van Dykes and VW Beetles.  A T-shirt bearing the words, "United Arrows" reminds me for a moment of the PM, and I remind myself that sloganeering generally indicates a lack of ideas.  There's more depth in the pop song coming through the speakers.  Despite that, there's definitely an increase in men in uniforms these days.  And I do hope that some of these hipsters I see passing by notice it too.     

I sip IPA from a plastic glass, which rests soundly on a denim coaster perfectly squared.  There are no other customers in here, so the waitress throws a glance every so often as she moves a cloth over metal utensils.  Waitstaff in Japan certainly polish a lot of silverware.  Every sip of my beer adds another ring to the smooth inner curve of the glass, and before long it begins to look like the banded atmosphere of Jupiter. 

Before ordering another pint, I climb the stairs to the toilet.  Along the wall are posters of San Francisco in its hippie heyday, one in particular of a crowd taken from the stage of some outdoor concert.  Psychedelic lettering above their shaggy heads reads, "All Together...Now."   And I'm together with them, the owners downstairs, with the whole chilled out vibe here.  They certainly have created a nice space.  But what they may not realize is that San Francisco Peaks is the name of a mountain range outside Flagstaff.  Unless of course it's an acid reference.  San Francisco peaking.  All together.  Now.

Out on the street, a guy in a beanie bobs his head deferently as he speaks with a tall man in a leather jacket and black pork pie hat.  I imagine them to be a struggling musician talking to a famous record producer, in a casual meeting here on the street.  In Japan, even the hipsters bow...

On the turntable:  Beck, "Mellow Gold"
On the nighttable: "The Ise Stories"

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