Coffee and a smoke for the win (for once)

Driving one day, arriving at a red light, she noticed a woman walking on the sidewalk, drinking from a Starbucks cup in one hand, and then taking a drag on her cigarette in the other hand, preparing to cross the street.

She also noticed a man walking on the other side of the road who looked to have little or no money to his name, and who quite possibly was homeless.

When the light changed, and she was heading on her way again, she saw the possibly homeless man again: With a glint in his eye, he was now taking a drag on a cigarette in the one hand, while holding a Starbucks coffee cup in the other.


Yup… same cigarette and coffee…


Kinda makes you smile, doesn’t it?

People really can be quite silly yet sweet… let’s do more of that kind of silly love in life.

Post-a-day 2019

Smokers in Japan

Today, in a Facebook miniature back-and-forth, a few friends and I discussed the extreme situation of smoking in Japan.  I specifically mentioned how I had thought that Europeans smoked a lot.  That is, of course, until I came to Japan.

Here, in Japan, people smoke practically everywhere.  There are signs on the sidewalks declaring it illegal to walk and smoke, yet people do it anyway.  There are official smoking stops around all the public places (train stations and malls and such), as well as smoking rooms in most establishments.  However, smoking is also permitted in the main areas of most establishments (mostly restaurants and bars of almost any kind, it feels).  And, even if it is not allowed, and there is a separate smoking room, you will find your hair and clothes fully permeated with the reek of cigarettes after your meal, as the air systems just pull smoke right from wherever people are smoking, into the restaurant where you’d thought you’d be free of smoke.

Essentially, once I leave my apartment (save the grocery store and clothing stores), I am surrounded by either diesel or cigarette fumes.

And, possibly the worst part about the smoking, is that people smoke the crappiest of crap cigarettes.  You know the ones, I’m sure – the ones that just plain hurt, they’re so nasty, and which hardly even have a tinge of tobacco (as opposed to ones that uphold the original intention of smoking tobacco by smelling of tobacco).

Now, while the floor in malls with restaurants usually allows smoking, the levels with shops do not allow it.  There are usually several smoking areas in these malls, though, oftentimes indoors, but sometimes only outdoors.

Tonight, as a friend and I were wandering a mall to find food, we stopped at a bathroom on one of the shops floors.  And, in the bathroom, what to my wondering ears and eyes should appear, but a terrible smell and a grey line of smoke.  Rising from the occupied stall next to mine was an undeniable rising of cigarette smoke.

I mean, Really?!?!?!?!  Goodness gracious, Japan.

I told my (Japanese) friend when I left the bathroom, and she couldn’t believe it.  “Go look!”  I told her.

She did.  She came back laughing at the utter ridiculousness of it, and in near-disbelief.  We were both flummoxed, though I somehow was hardly surprised at it.  People here just smoke like no other.  Truly, they do.

They be crazy up in here, yo!
Post-a-day 2017

Beer & Cigarettes

Chatting with an acquaintance recently, I sort of weasled some interesting information out of him. ¬†The weasling wasn’t exactly intentional, – I was genuinely just curious – and it was more that he opened up after I shared information about my family and friends, as well as the general population in the US. ¬†But it was still some info that he was obviously super-hesitant to share.

It¬†all came from our chit-chat about nothing special, and our never-ending¬†back-and-forth about his smoking. ¬†We both agree that smoking is something terrible, both for individuals and the world at large. ¬†And we both agree that he is 100% addicted, and doesn’t really feel like he’ll fall to bits in his early- to mid-forties. ¬†So we occasionally have little goofy bits of conversation,¬†which leave us both tickled and chuckling, usually as he goes off to smoke a cigarette.

A recent¬†little anecdote was when he asked how I was doing, since he knew I’d been sick. ¬†I commented that I was doing alright, but was tired and had a bit of a cough still.
“Oh, me, too,” he said, accompanied with a¬†coughing gesture.
“Oh, you’ve been sick, too?!” I express, concerned.
“No… ¬†Because I smoke.”
We both laughed.  And coughed, actually.

And so goes our acquaintanceship, for the most part.

Recently, however, as we were chatting about the browning of his teeth, and that it does not match the obvious effort he puts into his daily physical appearance, I happened to ask him when he even started smoking.  He smiled, and got real quiet for a minute, and I wondered if he was figuring out what to say.

“Twenty,” he finally said.
I raised my eyebrows.
“When I was twenty,” he repeated.
Really?” I declared with pure doubt. ¬†(Think SNL’s “Really” skit from Weekend Update.)

He then reminded me unnecessarily that 20 is the age in Japan for smoking, I asserted my knowledge of the fact, and we moved on.  I talked about how I remember my brother discussing his secret first cigarette, shared with siblings in the backyard as kiddos.  I described the general standard for kids in the US with their first cigarettes and first drinks of alcohol, and how everything pretty much seems to happen around high school.

Eventually, this acquaintance, with a lowered voice, suddenly had a new story.  No longer was he the follow-every-rule individual he initially (albeit hesitantly) declared himself to be.  He was, in fact, just like all the kids back home.  First drinks (beer) were at 16, and the first cigarette was not long afterward.

Now, there are two main things I pulled from this conversation.  1) I wonder if this is standard for Japan, the way it is for the US.  2) Was this bit of honesty a step towards our becoming friends, instead of just remaining mere acquaintances?

I, of course, know the answer to neither of those inquiries. ¬†However, I have a mind to figure them out! ¬†Plus, I’m really glad he opened up to me with the truth of it all. ¬†Not that it’s necessarily any big deal, but with how closed off people have felt to me here, it was really refreshing to have some openness, and on something that seemed rather sensitive. ¬†(Okay, there’s a third things that came out o f the conversation: What is the Japanese viewpoint on breaking that law of ‘No one under 20’? ¬†How quiet he grew and how unsure he was at first about answering my casual question really make me wonder…) ¬†ūüėÄ


Post-a-day 2017