I bought a riceball stuffed with kombu seaweed and ate it beside the window at Iseya, the shop with the striped awning next door to the leaning metal workshop in Kyojima, near Hikifune station. The young woman pulled her mum into the picture.
They do inari sushi, pockets of rice in deep-fried tofu, and a range of wagashi, Japanese sweets, like kashiwa mochi, red beans and glutinous rice in an oak leaf. Not for much longer. The opposite side of the street with its row of white railings on blank asphalt is a mess and looks unfinished. The authorities are widening the road; they’ve done that side and stopped for now.
Mum says the store has been going 47 years this year. She says, They’re taking us one after the other. I don’t know when but they’ll knock us down too. She seems oddly cheerful. Maybe it’s a kind of resignation. Maybe that’s what keeps her calm. As Tokyo’s great historian, Ed Seidensticker, observed, the only constant here is change.
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