I get to Shibuya Station a little early to meet a friend, and suddenly I’m so hungry I think I’m going to die. Whipping inside the handy Tokyu store, I buy a miniature bag of chocolate cookies to wolf down before my friend arrives.
Nom, nom, whew, ravenous feeling assuaged. Oh no, unanticipated pitfall! Now there is chocolate all stuck to my teeth. I’ll look like a hillbilly at the nomikai. Must find vending machine with drinks. Ferret around station, find machine. Glug down a half bottle of tea, swishing around to dislodge fake-tooth-gap-looking cookie sludge. Inspect teeth in chrome trim around shop window. OK, safe.
But what am I going to do with the rest of these cookies? Bag is too big to fit in tiny purse, but thanks to the Aum Shinrikyu terror attack in Kasumagaseki Station – in which deadly sarin gas bombs were NOT hidden in trash cans, but they could have been! – there have been NO PUBLIC TRASH CANS in Tokyo for 16 years.
Now I’m five minutes late. What to do, what to do? I know it’s wrong, IT’S SO WRONG, but I conceal the bag of cookies in my hand as I push my empty pet bottle through the perfectly drilled hole in the recycling bin, quickly shoving my garbage in after it.
Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Tokyo
Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!