Slurping and vending

This morning I watched a bunch of elderly Japanese as they ate breakfast and learned how to eat the fermented soy beans with their long thin slimy threads: you keep the cup with the soybeans right by your mouth and shovel the beans in. Slurping is OK. It’s easy that way.

This morning I got up very early, my internal clock still utterly confused. I got myself a canned coffee from the vending machine down the hall – walking there on my hotel slippers and in my hotel kimono – a piece of clothing that is put on my bed daily, nicely starched with the tie neatly folded in an 8-shape on top.

Vending machines are ubiquitous here. There are several machines on each floor: one contains alcoholic beverages, another noodle cups; a third holds a variety of juices and cold teas and then there is a machine dedicated entirely to energy, holding all sorts of booster drinks and several kinds of coffees. I learned that if the label below the item is red the drink comes out hot. If it is blue it comes out cold. It seems obvious now but my first hot can of coffee came as a surprise.

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