Down and Up!

Today is the first of the month, and marks a (small) milestone for us; it has been exactly six months since we took possession of the building in Asakusa. The first two months of that span were taken up with construction of the shop, so we have thus been open for four months now, something that seems a bit difficult to believe, as it feels like just a few weeks ago that we welcomed our first customers.

Business has been quite mixed so far; we've had some very good weeks, and we've had some very quiet times too. Overall, I think we're on the right track and we'll be able to make a successful business here, but I certainly have to do plenty of cheerleading to keep everybody else believing in that!

I myself spend far more time at the shop than anybody else on our team, not just because I spend more days 'on duty' there than they do, but because I also sleep there five or six days a week. We're closed on Tuesdays, so I usually head back to Ome late Monday, with my laundry stuffed into a carry-bag, spend the next day working with the Ome staff, and then return downtown on another late night train on Tuesday evening.

I haven't prepared any proper bedding in Asakusa, because there is just no place to store it. I lay out a thin blanket on the mats in the Print Party room and roll myself in it to sleep. New tatami mats aren't particularly soft, but they are bearable (with my clothes rolled up to form a pillow) and it really doesn't matter much anyway, because I'm the type of person who becomes unconscious within seconds of becoming horizontal. The next six, seven or eight hours (whatever interval my internal clock finds necessary) passes in a blink, and no more than 'a minute or so' after lying down, I am tossing the blanket aside and getting up to start the new day.

Now, I may be 'roughing it' when it comes to sleeping accommodations in Asakusa, but come dinner time, it's a completely different story! I seem to remember back in one of these stories around the time we began the Asakusa adventure writing about the easy access to good food, and posing a question about how much weight I would be gaining. Well, after six months perhaps it's time to make a 'report'. How much change? About a kilogram.


Yes, for anybody out there who might be struggling with weight gain issues, I have some great advice for you. Start a new business. Start it while you are still running your old one. Start it without having enough money. Run here. Run there. Grab a bite whenever you can, and if there isn't quite enough time, then just ... whatever.

Now I had thought that Ioan and Lee-san and I drank enough beer during the two months of construction to float the place away, but it seems that actual calories were a different matter, because coming towards the end of the year I was down three~four kilograms from my typical weight, falling below 60kg for the first time in many a year.

But as I mentioned a moment ago, I am now down only a kilogram overall, so something must have come along to change the pattern, and that something is a little nearby place by the name of '2-chome Shokudo' Our shop is located in Asakusa 1-chome, but 2-chome begins just across the street, and 'shokudo' perhaps translates best as 'eatery'.

There's no menu, just a bunch of chairs and tables, with a few booths, and an area near the door with shelves full of plates of various food items. You grab a few of these, yell to the guy behind the counter whether you want your rice in small, medium, or large, as well as which of the two kinds of soup you prefer, and head for a seat. His assistant brings these over for you a minute later, and you get stuck in. There are a few other options - a fresh raw egg to break over your rice and mix in with a dash of soy sauce is one that I frequently ask for - but no other frills at all.

Nobody would write about this place in a gourmet magazine, or post glowing online reviews, and that's just fine with the owners. They've got their regular clientele - now plus one - and that's all they need.

And my next problem of course, is what to do once that final missing kilogram is recovered, which will probably be any day now. Stop going there so frequently?

It'll come down to one of two choices: change my rice order to 'small' instead of 'medium', or quit stopping in at a convenience store on the short walk home to pick up 'just a little something' for a nibble before heading to bed ...

63 is where I draw the line!


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