Day 310: Shinjuku

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My friend Hiromi made me a list of cafes to visit on my first trip to Tokyo in 2010. Two doors past the Calico Cafe (a cat cafe, I was to find out) is Ejinbara Coffee. The menu was in Japanese, so I just pointed to the first item. I wasn’t disappointed.

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Every cup that isn’t an espresso-based drink is prepared in a siphon. The result is an exceptionally “clean” taste, and a mouthfeel I can only describe as light-as-air. I wish I knew enough Japanese to tell you where these beans originated from, but the cup was worth the $10 price tag.

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Writers’ Blocks

Prayers on votive cards
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Marcus Young, St. Paul, Minnesota’s artist in residence, is turning the city into a book. For the past five years, he’s organized the Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk Project , challenging poets while creating moments of reading and reflection.

It’s similar to New York City’s Library Way, photos of which I found here.

The most striking examples of public confession I’ve come across were at the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo. There stands in the courtyard an old camphor tree, believed to be sacred, that’s become a depository for thousands of prayers.

Wish Tree, Meiji Shrine

People from all over the world have entrusted their dreams and desires to the Wish Tree. Unspoken but inscribed onto blocks of wood, they are accidental poems left by strangers.

Prayers on votive cards

Maybe poetry really is that. A little bit of ritual mixed with openness, and the acceptance that someone must be listening.