In midsummer the fruit and vegetable shop Ichikawa Seika seems to grow into the abundant vine as much as the vine seems to support the shop. Now the greenery has thinned, the seasons are changing. Mrs Ichikawa says, We’re getting persimmons and grapes. Soon lots of apples. She tapes together bundles of negi leeks in the cool shadows at the back. Fourteen, she calls out, when she is done, to Mr Ichikawa.
He squats on the street trimming the stems off eggplants so they look uniform. Customer service. You’ve seen him before, removing the knots and eyes from sweet potatoes. He says, My father started here in Meiji 43. That’s 1911. Gee is it a hundred years, he says.
She says, We do plan to retire, you know. We do as much as we can, we are old. We don’t have a son to carry on so after we’re gone it’s the end. That’s a bit sad to think about. It’s good to have the work, to move your body. So we’ll keep going till we can’t move.