24 Sep 2005

winterkoninkje: shadowcrane (clean) (Default)

(This is part three of a series on my trip to Japan. Be sure to go back and read the first and second parts.)

Neil Young - Comes a Time plays in vinyl on the turntables as I settle in to my avant-garde couch at the Stumptown on 3rd: a somewhat lesser known coffeeshop off the main thoroughfare in a nearly more urban area of downtown. They make a mean mocha. Nothing special, nothing outrageous, just a solid straight up mocha. Part of a local chain that roasts their own beans, this Stumptown is but one of many.

The first I discovered was on Belmont— the soul of Southeast waiting to be undiscovered like the once heart of Hawthorne, bought up by big spenders. I'd walked past it countless times on my way to other nooks, until one day, no destination in mind, I decided to brave a trip inside. Smaller than this one, the front of the shop has wide pane glass windows where you can watch as kids too cool for you stare out at passers by with indifference as they suck down their cigs. But in the back, separated by an awkward aisle that serves as queue and pathway both, is where the magic happens. It has an unfinished brick wall with too small windows fighting the too harsh light from too high ceilings. A paradise of abrasive surroundings that can do nothing but inspire the disjointed prose and broken couplets of would-be writers and beatniks trying to eke out a life of stifling misunderstanding.

Still my favorite of the chain, it's a bit out of the way and so I don't go there nearly enough anymore. It was one of the first spirited kissaten I'd found once the cybernetic hole in a wall, Heaven, closed down its promises of retrotechnical elegance, of 1980s underground movements of hacker-elites resisting the crumbling of society. But it was in 京都 that I found my love again.

03. 京都 (Kyouto): Arrival )

June 2017

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