The three bottles of wine and platter after platter of oysters last night put me in the way of a headache on this Saturday two weeks before my departure. All out of Excedrin and nothing for it. Headache or not, a slowly diminishing mountain of books still waits to be boxed, and the sooner the better. But I did get a slight reprieve in the matter of the box count and estimate. The shipper will come tomorrow instead of today for the look-see and price estimate, and that gave me time to pack up another four boxes of books.
Nice surprise this morning in the form of $2,600 back from the building management company. This money was my deposit when I first moved into the “mansion.” I’d better explain that lest someone get the wrong idea about me and my Tokyo lifestyle. Japan is full of mansions and very few of them are ‘large, well-appointed houses.’ For reasons I have never figured out, the Japanese appropriated the word for use in describing newer apartment buildings, and so you have numbers of apartment buildings called something like Lion’s Mansion, or in my case, Dorf Kugayama Mansion. Nothing ritzy or wealthy involved.
The downside of that return on the deposit was the $500 I had to hand back to cover the removal of furniture items I will leave behind—sofa, two chests of drawers, bookcases, table and desk, kitchen appliances, and a few sundry pieces. Among the things I am shipping to Florida is only one piece of furniture, an old (pre-WWII) handmade kitchen table from the countryside.
Backtracking for a moment, I want to relate something which is a good example of the many diverse elements that make Tokyo an always interesting place to live. The oyster restaurant in Shinagawa I went to with friends last night is called Jackpot, and one of the waiters is a young man from Ghana in West Africa. There is a friendly and relaxed atmosphere at the restaurant and in talking to this waiter I learned that he has been seven years in Japan, coming here only because he thought it looked interesting. He speaks four languages: Mandingo, French, English and Japanese. His name is Bobby and when I asked if it were a nickname, he said that no, it was his given name from birth.
The two photos are of the restaurant’s oyster-shaped business card.