The heights and lights of Minato Mirai みなと未来 is a stark contrast from the depth and shibboleth of our conversations over matccha earlier that day on Sensei’s tatami floors back home in Togane-shi 東金市. While living out Japan’s traditional everyday as exchange students in Chiba on weekdays, we embraced its novel pop culture on weekends – this time, in Yokohama 横浜. The dancing colors around Cosmo Clock hypnotized us to stay a while longer, until the time flashing right in the middle of the gigantic wheel caught our attention. We just missed the last train home.
It was half past nine in the evening and a warm meal was demanded by impatiently grumbling stomachs. But our persuasive student budget drew us to a 24-hour family restaurant several blocks away from the posh yet snobby cafes and bars around Queen’s Square. Finally satisfied after a hamburg meal on a sizzling plate, our stomachs went to hush as our eyes started to droop.
By now, it was almost midnight. We can sit it out in the restaurant for the next couple of hours if the store attendants don’t drive us out, or stay at a hotel and use up our train fare to get through the night –neither was a viable option. A manga café 漫画喫茶 mangakissa, however – now that’s an option. Fortunately, there was one right where we got off the bus around Yokohama Station that afternoon. And more fortunately, we remembered.
Throughout the walk of almost half an hour, the harbor winds brought us shivers. A cramped cubicle with a reclining chair and a computer never felt cozier. Booked for the next eight hours; it was perfect for the night. Machines vending unlimited caffeine, shelves lending voluminous comics and Internet sharing heaps of research material – I couldn’t help but work on my culture paper. With three hours left on the clock before our booking expires, I wrapped up my work. Shutting down both the computer and my eyes, I started dreaming about strolling on Motomachi’s 元町 cobblestone streets and biting on Chukagai’s 中華街 soft manju buns in the neatest Chinatown of the world.
That Sunday morning felt earlier than any other, perhaps it was because we were in a port city in the Land of the Rising Sun. Time to catch that train ride home. But then again, the weekend is far from over. And making dreams come true definitely sounds like a better plan.
Photostream: Yokohama, Japan