Sjors left the office a couple of hours earlier to come to pick me up at the airport. It was a wonderful sunny day in Barcelona and as agreed I stood waiting next to the entrance of terminal B. I was looking at a green parakeet, which had flown by to go to its nest under the leaves of a palm tree, when Sjors arrived, we kissed for about five minutes and he helped me with the luggage to the bus. Our new life in Barcelona had finally started.
Sjors works Monday to Friday in an office in Selva de Mar, he really enjoys the new environment and he is happy with his new colleagues. I spend the day on the beach writing this book to an end and at home I make sure that the flat is clean, the laundry is done and the dinner is ready. On the weekends we drive to my parent’s summerhouse in Rosas. We are even thinking to buy a bigger one with a swimming pool.
Yesterday I was shopping in the Ramblas and I found 無印良品 - MUJI. I did not know they had one in Barcelona and I was so happy that I bought a couple of albums for my World pictures. I paid with two hands and I thanked the Japanese shop assistant with a “どもありがとございます - domo arigato gozaimasu”. As she wondered where I did learn Japanese, I explained her that I had taken some classes in London and Berlin and I had traveled to Japan back in 2005.
Tokyo and Honshu, Japan March 2005
Olaf came to pick me up at Narita International airport, where I arrived in the early morning. After my usual post flight cigarette, we took the airport express train to 東京駅 Tokyo central station, we changed there for the Marunouchi Line, then for the Namboku Line and we got off in 六本木1丁目駅 Roppongi-itchōme Eki. Olaf’s apartment was just two minutes walk from the underground station, at the 25th floor of a modern glassy tower in the famous district called Roppongi. The porter stepped in front of the door, which opened automatically before we reached the entrance. “お はようございます - ohayo gozaimasu, Good morning!” welcomed us the Japanese man bending before us. “What’s the point to have a porter that opens an automatic door?” I asked my friend. “I don’t know, it must be extra politeness… Apropos don’t forget you have to give the banknotes with both hands when you pay a Japanese person!” Olaf apartment had a dramatic view on the never-ending megalopolis. I was in Tokyo, the city I had fantasized as a child, during those long hot summers on the Italian Alps with my cousin Marta. Suddenly I lost my balance. “Do you feel the ground moving? Is this an earthquake?” I asked Olaf. “No, you must be just tired. You should get some sleep!” He answered. I went to the bathroom and when I sat on the water closet I noticed that there were some buttons next to it. “Olaf, how does the loo work here?” I asked worried. “See those two buttons with plus and minus signs? Those are for the temperature. Do not press the button with the woman sign on it, or you would get your balls wet. The dryer button is on the left side, you need to operate that only when you are clean…” At first I was scared of the computerized bowl but eventually I got the hang of it and I started enjoying it. After urinating or defecating there is nothing more pleasant for an Italian citizen, than sitting on a bidet and wash anus and genitals. In fact every bathroom in Italy is equipped with a bidet with cold and warm water. In Japan I did not even have to move away from the toilet, I just had to remain seated and a tiny tube would have come out from the back and sprayed clean water where it was needed. After the cleaning operation was over, I enjoyed the best part: warm air to dry the buttocks.