It was 8:00PM on a small lane way near Tameike-sanno station. After a fulfilling sashimi dinner at Kitokito, a small tucked-away restaurant in the same area, I decided to take a walk and get some fresh air. After all, the weather has been very accommodating for this tropical person. I spotted several men-in-black waiting in line in front of a vending machine. Well, there were buttons and thumbnail images but I could not seem to locate any products. Tokyo itself is overloaded with convenience. Every 100 meters I seem to find a convenient something, if not convenient stores then drink vending machines or cigarette vending machines. This vending machine, however, does not seem to fall into any of those categories. Imagination ran wild…. What could it be? Newspapers? Bit late for that. Condoms? Bit too outrageous for a skin-deep conservative society I guess. As I walked closer, the images became clearer. Noodle! A variety of noodle….
First you slot the money in; select which noodle you want; then get your receipt and change. There is a tiny noodle bar next door with a Japanese-size entrance where you can walk in, hand over the receipt at the counter and pick up your noodle. No words spoken. No interaction required. No mistakes possibly made. The noodle can stay silent as people immerse in their own world. I ask myself whether people are swallowing their past or chewing on their future because at this very moment, there is no present, no presence. You may as well replace that guy at the counter handing out bowls of noodle tonight with a black-suit robot. You never know!
Where do we go from here? Is silence the answer to this solitary world of ours?