It’s been 14 years since I last saw and stepped my foot on you. How have you changed? Do you still have that steak restaurant open late at night? My papa loved your sirloin, I always had your baked potatoes with extra cheese and broccoli. Your door entrance was made of wood, I remember it being red and there were descending steps leading to the pavement. I think I stumbled on them, once. Those friday nights were your busiest time of the week, happy kids flooding in your place and go ballistic along with their contrived parents. There, I recall, was always a server with beaming smile, she took our orders ever so meticulously and she would give away some plastic action figures to me every time I visited, thanks to my tomboyish look. My papa said she was employee of the month, I wonder if that red apron still hangs on her tiny body.
What about your koen, your community park? There was one around my then neighbourhood with the tallest, widest and longest slide I’ve ever encountered in my life. In the summer, we would cover our little bums with thick cardboards to curb extra heat from excessive friction. Imagine gliding on the whole twenty seconds on a slide made of white stone with no protection. I think sparky children rears isn’t the best idea for your summer. There were sandy corners with buckets and spades so we can build sandcastles, two sets of adult swings and one set for babies – I remember it had all the safety straps and whatnot. My God, I so need a time machine right at this second. I’ll go slide and scream and giggle with my sister like mad all over again.
And your morning TV series, what about them? That one that always started at 8 am on Fuji Television, ‘Ponkikki’? Such a shame if they’re off now because that Gachapin-Mukku duo were like the coolest heroes for us pathetic kids. Gachapin is a 5-year-old dinosaur boy and his friend Mukku is a red yeti, if you don’t remember. They would always impersonate the weirdest acts and sing the most peculiar anthems in the programme, but it was amusing us to no end. Would you believe it if I say I still have their soundtrack CD? You better, I store it in my iTunes. No kidding.
Your popular gratin in Family Mart, your delicious pancakes on lower ground at Daiei supermarket, your old yakimo song, your buzzing summer parade, your reserved neighbours, your cynicism on women with prams on the street, your unicycles, your sheer winter snow. Perhaps most of them are all gone by now, but I know that your Disneyland will always be my favourite recreation spot for life and I’m not even exaggerating.