News Sushi #67: Morsels of News from Japan and Beyond


News Sushi #67 And we keep serving News Sushi!

Editor Note:It is Friday and that means it is time for the World Famous, soon to be Intergalactic Famous, News Sushi from our very own, Hamish Downie. Hamish brings us a decidedly different slant on Pop Culture as viewed through the lens of a non-native living in Japan.

Thank you Hamish, for your insights.

It’s story-time today. I entered a competition recently for Writers in Kyoto, and while I didn’t get selected, I really enjoyed being a part of it, so I’m sharing that story with you today.

“Memories of a writer in a Kyoto Teahouse”

by Hamish Downie
13 March 2019

I remember being introduced to the teahouse by a friend of a friend. Now that I’ve been introduced, I could probably introduce you now (technically), but I don’t think I could afford to walk in the door. So, this will have to do.

Ascending to the floating world, in modern Kyoto. Leave your expectations at the door. First, I remember the Geisha women were wearing normal clothes, but not being normal. I had to mask my disappointment. I was there to study for a cartoon I was writing. So, I needed to watch everything. The differences were not going to be so great at first glance. But, the subtle differences ran deep, if one took the time to notice.

Drinks were poured silently. The women spoke, but the liquid turned elixir was muted. The glass met the wooden surface of the bar like it was honey. I didn’t add much to the conversation, because I wanted to notice everything. Trying to find out the truth with someone who wants to adapt the truth in order to please you makes conversation circular. I’d miss the little things if I focused on the big things. Such as it being winter, so the room was heated, but neither too hot or too cold. The warm air formed condensation on the glass, but the dew was wiped away. They were deciding whether to attend the Gion Matsuri. We were entertained.

Finally, being given name cards the size of a thumb, which just had their name and a flower pattern. Outside there was snow falling on cherry blossoms. Sludge underfoot. I understood the difference as I floated back down to the real world. I had been introduced.

“I am a homeless”

It’s so rare that people in general, but especially Japanese people, to live differently to the norm. I don’t think what this guy is doing can be done forever, but it’s going to be interesting to follow.

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