Friday, October 23, 2009

The Bad Old Days

It's funny the things you get nostalgic for. You'd expect that it would be for all the things you remember fondly, the good times but never the bad. But this is not the case. At least, not for me.

I was talking with a Japanese friend today about numerous things, among them tea, which prompted a memory of drinking hot herbal tea purchased from a vending machine on a cold day. In case you didn't know, Japan is jam-packed with vending machines that offer drinks heated or chilled, depending on the season. Winters are cold, so often while waiting for a train home from school I would buy a heated bottle of tea to warm up with. I'd hold it in my hands for awhile before even opening it, letting it warm the skin on my hands. Then I'd drink a little, let the warmth seep inside, and then hold it a bit longer. Sometimes the train wouldn't come for 30 minutes and there was nowhere warm to wait. So I'd be standing there, freezing, with that little bottle of warm tea.

And then there's summer. Hot, humid, sticky. Just terrible. I loathed even going outside. I preferred to just sit inside with the A/C turned way down. But of course I had to go outside. And after walking around in the heat all day, there was nothing better than a mug of draft beer. I'm telling you, absolutely nothing tastes better than an icy mug of Japanese beer on a hot day. And it really is an icy mug. The beer is served so cold ice crystals form on the head. It's magical.

I remember these two things vividly, these wonderful little moments encountered amidst temperature extremes. Perhaps that's what makes them worth remembering. It's not the bad that I remember, but the wonderful good that could only be experienced from having had the bad too.

1 comment:

  1. I totally understand what you are saying.
    It's weird that I used to HATE japanese summer because it's so fucking hot. But now, what the most I long for is,,,,SUMMER IN JAPAN....!!!!
    The sound of cecade, the summer festivel, watermelon, hanabi, even just the smell of "summer"'s so nice to feel the season.