The aroma of coffee was lingering on my lips. The air still retained the moisture brought along by the sudden rain, but the smell of the freshly toasted milk bread simply made the air crispy again. Sandwiched between the two slices of bread were bacon, sliced tomato, and spinach. The irresistible smell of bacon combined with the fresh vegetables became one of the best ways to begin a beautiful day. How I wish enjoyable mornings like this would come and greet me every day. “I’m starving…” When traveling, I always crave tasting the everyday food of the local people. This feeling gives me constant hunger. Food is one of the best ways to remember a place because the taste of food is always honest; the memory is, therefore, closest to the reality.
It was my first time to ride on a bus in Japan. I was hoping to experience the everyday life of a local. It started to rain once I hopped off the bus, but it was joyful even when I got soaked. A few steps away from the bus stop I spotted the round-shaped sign of Ichikawaya Coffee hanging at its doorstep. I could not wait to push open the antique looking dark brown wooden door. We entered and was led to the seats close to the cafe counter. The long and round tables looked very nice, but of course, seats facing the street offered the best view. After all, we were glad to be seated by the counter, which was the best place to oversee every corner of the cafe.
The staff standing behind the counter was also the chef of the cafe. We were watching him putting the bread into the small oven that was just the right fitting for one portion of the long milk bread. While preparing the dip at ease, he was as well chatting to the regular customer in a low voice. Was it because of the drizzle outside or was it because of my holiday mood? This scenery looked misty and I began to see it as my routine.
A cup of strong pour-over coffee is what I usually order when visiting a cafe in Japan. At other times, I would be lured by the charmingly old-fashioned Whisky coffee at the kissatens. We could see the barista carefully boiling the water; the steam rose to her eyebrows and then dissipated. After praising the delicious milk bread, I also had a bite of egg salad sandwich that my travel companion ordered. Our coffee finally arrived. I took a sip and enjoyed it from the bottom of my heart. This came off as such a perfect pause of our breakfast. I always find the first sip of coffee so satisfying.
After leaving the cafe, we took a stroll in the nearby area. Only until then I came to realize I have forgotten to ask for the name of the coffee bean. It is no big deal anyway, this is the true essence of traveling.
“I’ll come again next time,” I said to myself.