There’s something about the cold air at night in Tokyo. It’s not every night, but there’s a sort of fragrance. It comes like the smell before rain or snow. Often mixes with the smell of cooking fish, sesame oil, or garlic as you walk down quiet residential streets. It feels nostalgic, but I can’t really tie the smell to any interesting event. It brings me comfort, but I don’t really know why.
On our way to the station there was a really nice bakery that focused on “high quality shokupan”. The kind of bread you use to make sandwiches. It was so delicious and I've talked about it in the past. When the shop went out of business late last year, we were incredibly bummed about it. Looking to the positive with: well, at least there’s one less thing keeping us to this neighborhood.
Lately, the thing around the station we’ve been keeping an eye out for is the apple truck. However, my first encounter with the apple people wasn’t near the station. I was on my way home from a walk. And a small blue car pulls up to a corner as I am walking. The lady rolls down her window as I walk past. Asks if I like apples? Huh? As I’m processing if this random car really just stopped to ask me if I like apples, she hopped out of the car and popping open the back presenting a whole display for apples. There’s a gradient of apples1, juices, jams, dried apple chips. I’m confused, but also apple chips sounded really good. I then spend a bit too much for the chips2, thank her, and I start continuing back home still confused about the interaction. It’s not super uncommon for people to be selling things from cars here. But they’re more of a food truck situation. For them to be driving around and then stop to sell you stuff. That was a first.
Since our preferred bread shop closed down, we were on our way to the other side of the station to go to another bakery. We noticed a man selling things from the back of a truck. Often moving around enthusiastically to keep warm. I recognize the apple chips label as the same one from the blue car I bought from months before. He continues his dance asking if anyone wants a sample. They give us a few different slices and we end up picking one for our breakfast. We try to have at least a little bit of fruit every day with our breakfast. Something I was pretty bad at when I was single. Lately, we’ve been craving those apples, but every time we go by the station we haven’t seen the truck.
As a way to relax after a chaotic week, we decided to go to a sentō3. Our bath tub isn’t too bad, but it’s nice to be able to have a much larger space to breath as you take a bath. They also have some sort of special water4, and a variety of jet baths, a sauna, and such. On our way to the sentō, we notice a small shop which was none other than the actual store for the apple truck! We were excited. We go back to the store after our bath and vending machine ice cream. We try some samples, talk to the apple lady for a few minutes, and pick a yellow 金星 (Kinsei, also the word for Venus) apple for our next breakfast. I wonder if we’re going to be able to move again.
Japan really likes selling big apples. They’re huge compared to the ones back in the US. ↩︎
How much are those normally? I feel like those can get expensive. They were like 980 yen which is a lot. But they were also really good. The apples themselves were priced similarly to what we see at the grocery store. ↩︎
Sentō are public bath. They’re similar to “onsen” except it’s generally not hot spring water. This one was maybe more fancy than a “classic” sentō. The one we went to had more of an overlap with a spa. ↩︎
Sometimes they do hot spring water, sometimes it’s a milky color, carbonated, or in this case a black water. There’s usually nice long explanations on the walls explaining what’s in the water and some suspected health benefits. I don’t usually have my glasses with me to be able to read most of the signs. ↩︎