October 11, 2006

It's that man again

There he is standing outside the bakery at the station exit, occasionally puffing on the cigarette pinched between thumb and forefinger, his head bobbing up and down to the music from his headphones, his foot keeping time to the music no-one else can hear and a slightly crazed grin spreads across his face showing a few gaps in his teeth. His spiky hair is dyed a kind of dirty orange colour and he's wearing an oversized black sweatsuit complete with a big white logo on the front and a small leather pouch is tucked under one arm. He has deep laughter lines and a tan that suggests he spends a lot of his time outside. He is perhaps in his mid-to-late 30s. He seems to be waiting for something, though what exactly is not clear.

A few hours later he might be seen lurking outside a convenience store drinking canned coffee. Or later still he might be seen riding past on his bicycle. Or perhaps unlocking his parked bike, moving it a few metres and locking it up again. If the weather is nice, he'll be wearing a jimbei. Another time you might see him standing across the street from the convenience store watching a couple of young guys chatting in front of their car as if he were summoning up the courage to go and chat to them. Or he will be standing outside the tiny police box next to the station talking to the officer on duty. No matter what time of day it is (from sunrise to the small hours of the morning), you're sure to see him somewhere along the shotengai (shopping street) near where I live. That is until about a month ago, since when I haven't seen him at all.

I wonder what his story is ...

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