If you take away the coast, the city reminds of Denver. There are several microbreweries, a Hard Rock Café, and a various mixture of shops and restaurants strewn through the city. A few areas, especially once I get closer to the mall, remind me of the 16th Street Mall in Denver. As I walk around, I’m unsure if there is any actual similarity between Yokohama and Denver. Perhaps I am finally getting homesick? After a few moments of reflection I realize that I’ve been homesick before, and this is nothing like that feeling. IF anything, Yokohama is the kind of city I could find myself living if I stayed in Japan long-term.
I spend a relatively short amount of time in Yokohama, enjoying the port and tourist ships that float in the bay. I look around for a place to eat, but notice that the main mall is filled with mostly Western restaurants, none of which stick out as appetizing. While navigating the several floors, I come across an interesting shared workspace area. You can apparently purchase a monthly pass, kind of like a gym membership, and come to this quiet space to work, have free espresso and coffee, and collaborate with co-workers 24 hours a day. Armchairs with small end-tables line the walls of the workspace. Small tables fit in the center of the workspace. There are so many outlets in the room that I doubt anyone has ever had to go without their charger while working. I immediately envy this kind of workspace, as coffee shops and libraries can get repetitive after a while. I am not someone who can do work at my house, so having a quiet place that is separated from a public space would be optimal for reading, writing, or even occasional quiet contemplation.
Unable to put a space like this to use on my vacation, I keep walking and finish exploring the mall. I realize that I am starting to get hungry, but I don’t want to eat at the burger and beer places that are around. I make my way back to the train station and go back to Kamakura. I walk back to the hostel and take my laundry off the line and fold it into my bag in preparation for the trip to Nara. I try to walk to the restaurant where I had udon a few nights ago, but the sign indicates that they will be closed for the next week. I go back to the hostel and decide to take the bus back to the downtown tourist areas in hopes of finding some good grub. I walk up and down the same street that leads to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. I settle for a place that has nishin udon, a filleted fish that rests on top of the noodles. I use the chopsticks to break off a few pieces, and find that the fish is oddly sweet and tangy. It balances the warm udon nicely and adds an unexpected flavor to a dish which I am at danger of getting used to. No matter how many times I consume Japanese food, the flavors stick out and linger on my tongue. There is no habituating to the flavors, leaving the first bite of every meal to stand out like new. I will deeply miss the Japanese food when I leave.