Orenji (series: kissaten reviews)
I spend a lot of time alone. I live in a foreign country and can't speak the language beyond a basic level. I work from home, sitting against my bedroom wall. I miss conversation. I miss it for this reason: I can burn off or test ideas. As it is now, material that would be used up in conversation circulates and I waste my time writing things like this. When I sit in a kissaten with a notebook, I can try to burn through some ideas. If I go back to the notebook, the idea was valuable. When I sit down with the notebook later, I can do the actual work of smoothing down the raw idea and grafting on already refined small ideas. Kissaten are a good place to work. They are meant for long aimless afternoons, scribbling in a notebook, flipping through a book, watching the street outside. Orenji is a good choice. If I walk in Joyful Minowa, I stop there. It's between the Toden Arakawa Line's Arakawa-itchūmae Station and Minowabashi Station and before the overpass with the Jōban Line thundering overhead. The alley has a genuine ancient dagashiya, an Italian restaurant and a few coffee shops. The melon soda is syrupy, with a good scoop of vanilla on top.