I am a creature of habit.
Since living in Los Angeles I developed a weekly ritual that has yet to cease.
Nearly every Sunday, I would buy a Japanese fashion magazine, and read it at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, while drinking a Vanilla Ice Blended, and smoking a Black&Mild. One of those magazines had to be Nylon Japan.
I took this very habit with me to Portland, but made a few changes along the way.
I gave up smoking cigars due to a health insurance premium, and because I felt half-assed about the whole pursuit. Smoking one gas-station cigar a month does not a "smoker" make, however I couldn’t in good conscience tell someone that I was a "non-smoker". After getting tired of the whole neither-here-nor-there business to my smoking routine, I gave it up.
Also, there was no Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in Oregon, so I had to improvise. After months of living in the city, I fell in love with a tiny café 25-minutes from my house called Insomnia. Their Iced Chai Lattes kept my Vanilla Ice Blended-cravings at bay, and their quirky atmosphere seemed a fitting place to thumb through pages of sky-high stilettos and glitters corsets.
The only problem with Insomnia is that, contrary to their name, they are not open all night. In fact, they are hardly open at all. Since they closed at 3:00 pm on Sunday, that barely gave me enough time to wake up and drive there (yes, at 26 years old I still wake up at noon on Sundays) so I changed my routine to Saturday, when they were open until 10:00 pm.
One thing didn’t change, and that’s Nylon Japan. Fortunately there is one Japanese bookstore in Portland, so I was able to continue the subscription I have had for the last seven years.
From cafés in Portland and Los Angeles, I dreamed of moving to Japan and living the life I had seen inside the magazine.
Shopping, dancing, crazy outfits, wild parties….
Now I am living in Japan. But instead of crazy outfits and wild parties, I am working full time, writing a novel, training for a marathon, driving on the left side of the road, and navigated through this country and culture with Japanese language skills that aren’t suitable for any conversation taking place outside of a bar.
But I still go to the bookstore each month and buy a copy of Nylon Japan.
And while sometimes the copies pile up on my desk unread, I still visit a café from time to time, and sit down to my usual routine.
The same routine I’ve kept since 2006, across three cities and two countries.