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My Sioribi

Dec. 27, 2022.

I find myself alone in a retro cafe where just two hours ago there had been a full house. I passed this place earlier, on my way to the Yayoi Kusama Museum. It was packed, and I thought I’d just come back for it. So I did.

Now I’m sitting here with an americano (500 yen), listening to this haunting music that’s suddenly making me tear up. I’m watching life unfold from my window seat: people finding their way to somewhere (home, most likely); walking, cycling or driving; watching lights and crossing streets; carrying groceries; doing what they do on late December afternoons like this.

And then it dawns on me how perfectly content I am in this moment: alone in Matsumoto, hot coffee in my cold hands – not knowing anything, not wanting anything but to stay in this calm, unburdened space. Free to to cry or laugh, safe in anonymity.

I recognize the extraordinariness of such times. When you’re a grownup doing grownup things, it is a luxury to be able to step back and detach yourself enough to be a spectator of life, especially your own.

My life, not long ago, took a turn nobody saw coming, and I’ve had to function efficiently through it all, as we must. But here, now, I see only how good life is, despite everything – how much love holds together all the broken pieces of me. In the silence of a winter day, my heart settles: it will be okay.

NOTE: I approached the barista and asked what music they were playing. He took me under the stairs, where the speaker was, and checked the playlist: Gen Watanabe. The cafe is called Sioribi. On its walls are written:

Sioribi is a day when you gently place a bookmark on your drifting days. It’s like a little punctuation mark that that brings calmness to your mind and a smile to your face. May your today be sioribi.

1 Comment

  1. Josephine Sicad-Minerva says

    Loving this. I can imagine myself sitting across the table with you. **tight hugssss***

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