6. JUN of 2012, I arrived at Narita Airport in Tokyo from my 7 months travels to Euro and Middle East with over 20,000 pictures which I’ve taken for writing my third book. In that trip I had a lot of experiences, I’ve met a lot of people and I’ve drawn a lot of portraits. Especially, I had two goals set on that trip, first was that I travel around Euro for 6 months with only $3,000, and the second one was that I’ll win the first prize in Japanese Travel Blog Ranking. I couldn’t achieve the first goal though, but I’ve traveled Euro and Middle East for 7 months with $4,500 and I really won the first prize in Japanese Travel Blog Ranking, because of all the people that I met in that travel.
On the next day, I had my welcome back party and I met my friends from Tokyo again, we drank a big quantity of alcohol until morning, even though, I had already lost my memory around 11 pm. Then on the next morning, I went to Tōhoku to work as a volunteer for the hit area of the 2011 earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tōhoku because I couldn’t do that during my travels. After that, I could sleep on my bed for the first time after I went on a journey and decided that I start to write my third book.
From that day, I shut myself up in MacDonald’s and into writing a book for 12 hours per day and after that, I published my new book in 2 months from that day. I was just supposed to do that, but actually, I went to drink every night, played football games and watched YouTube every day (I haven’t changed anything from that time) and after 6 months, I barely finished writing.
On the summer of that year, I went to the beach a lot with my book which has just been made. I put my tent on the beach and I was living and selling books on the beach for 12 days. I also started to work at some call center and I was working 8 hours per day then after my work I went on the streets and sold my books every day. At that time, I put on my goal which was to save money for my next travel and I was supposed to go to Australia and North America with that money. The aim was only one, I’ll publish my new book in English.
That summer was over and winter was coming. It was getting cold day by day and of course, it affected my business. Sitting on the street was too cold, it was beyond your imagination, but I was sitting after my work every day because I knew that people would come to me during that cold winter with warm hearts and kindness, I always met them and drank some hot alcohol on the street with them (It is legal in Japan).
But at the beginning of December on the street of Shimokitazawa, Tokyo, This day was different than usual. It was really cold, people passed by quickly and some couples walked hand in hand and looked warm, and I got confused ..What the hell do I want to do? shivering from the fu*kin cold.
At that time, a friend of mine who I met on the street and I draw his portrait, suddenly showed up in front of me. “Hey, bro! What the hell are you doing on a fu*kin cold day!!” he said, “I’m trying to draw portraits of some warm-hearted people” I said that with the shivering cold. “No way!! Let’s go to a bar to drink!!” he said. “But I promised by myself I sit down on the street, at least 3 hours every single day. ” I was supposed to say that, but at that moment, an icy wind suddenly blew to me.
“Why not!? I definitely should go to drink because I could meet you again” I changed my word by my quick wits, and I broke my own promise, for the first time since I made that vow.
His name is Tai-chan. He was living near my house at that time (I was living in Shimokitazawa for 8 years and that is a place of Japan, to which I should naturally return) and he really looks like the Rastaman and he always shouts “Jah Rastafari!!” Anyway, we walked a few minutes from the front of Shimokitazawa station where I sat drawing, and we opened the door of the strange bar.
The interior of the bar was strange, a narrow triangle, there was only one counter which is available to seat for 8~10 persons, and It was certainly not clean and large but there was the good-old atmosphere which I can’t explain, and I felt that I wondered into an unusual world. “I’m hooked on this bar these days, especially this bar’s master is so interastafari!!!” He said that and we seat at the counter.
“Thanks for coming” master said. “Yahman master!! Good to see you! I bring a friend today. Jah Rastafari!!” Tai-chan said. “Nice to meet you. What would you like to drink?” “Master, we’ll have the usual!!” “Sure, thanks always” After master said that, he picked out 2 kinds of Japanese liquor bottle from the back bar, one bottle was a Japanese sake and another bottle was Umeshu(Japanese plum liqueur). He poured them into the rock glass with hand-shaved round ice, squeezed a quarter lemon and put it into the glass.
“Here you are. This is my original cocktail called Welcome to Japan” We drank that amazing cocktail and talked a lot of things with the master. the master heard my story kindly and after a while, he suddenly put a small drink menu on the counter between me and another customer like separating me from them.
After the master said, he put something behind the drink menu, then he took a glance at the toilet.