Brand: Natural Lawsons
Cost: 129 yen
Found At: Lawsons
And as it was a Friday, and I particularly love coconut, I thought I’d treat myself to another of the fancy Natural Lawson’s chocolates that had made its way onto the shelves of my local roadside Lawsons. And I am so glad that I did. There’s nothing quite as good at the end of a long day as a sweet, bitter, and delightfully salty lump of chocolate-coconut goodness. Not only can I feel soothed by the richness of the chocolate, but I can also stuff myself in the sure and comfortable knowing that this chocolate is organic, free trade, free range, and has lived a rich, full life of self-discovery.
The only downside of this organic chocolate is that, without the host of preservatives that I know and love, there is nothing to make sure that these chocolates stay solid after making contact with human skin. And from there, there is very little to stop the chocolate from getting everywhere. No sooner had I reached into the bag, then I had chocolate on my watch, my ring, my purse, my forehead, and streaked across my cheeks. Instead of the sophisticated, climate-conscious urbanite image that I was trying to cultivate, I looked like a toddler on Halloween. Even worse, in a rush of environmental goodwill, I had refused the proffered towelette at the convenience store. I’ve been eating chocolate all my life, after all, and I thought I could handle it. Thusly caught-out, I had to make do with a black work blouse that I had stashed in my purse and forgotten some weeks before.
In the privacy of my own home, I would find no shame in toweling myself off with a piece of clothing. Unfortunately, this was one of those awkward moments when you find yourself the only white woman on the train doing a very poor job as cultural ambassador to the West. I wanted to turn to my neatly arrayed neighbor and reassure her:
“This is not my culture, I’m just an idiot.” But I was afraid that this would do more to frighten than to soothe. So, I finished removing the chocolate from my jewelry and quarantined the lightly sweetened blouse in my grocery bag. It would have been a perfect crime had I noticed and removed the streak of organic cacao across my forehead. Luckily, as I live in Aichi, the people in the train car politely left this fact unmentioned, giving me the space to discover this oversight on my own, sometime later. As I walked off the train into the bafflingly surprised crowd on the platform, I could feel the collective sigh of three dozen people on the train. They’d had to endure more than their fair share of strangeness that day and now could relax in the knowledge that, in this strange sea of foreign manners, at least they’d come from somewhere civilized.