The Caffeine Factor
I remember watching a series of TV adverts for a certain brand of instant coffee a few years ago. In them, the protagonist would follow a series of random events leading to different adventures, each one wackier than the next, such as bungee jumping, playing poker with Colombian drug lords, landing an airplane and so on. No matter how faint the actual connection to instant coffee, at the end the hero would invariably sip a hot mug, and a legend would pop up claiming that "one thing leads to the next." I thought it mass-produced corporate glamour at its best.
On Saturday afternoon I met up with some hitchikers at a Starbucks. We quickly befriended each other, so I decided to guide them around Kumamoto. We strolled around town and visited a temple. Come the evening we had a smoke and went for a few drinks. Before I knew it the sun shone straight over our heads. What's more, we had boarded a ferry and stood in the Shimabara peninsula eating french toast.
That evening we made it to some waterfalls, a hot spring next to the sea and finally Nagasaki, where we witnessed a drunken ex-yakuza thrusting his pelvis frenetically while shouting "hard gay!" at the port. One of my new friends strummed his guitar, ad-libbing about taking a dump in the fields. Another two consumed a variety of energy drinks, Black/Black branded caffeine gum and a vast array of legal stimulants available over the convenience store counter. Another played the harmonica, and hard gay danced some more. Finally, at a Spanish Art exhibition on Monday afternoon, Dali and Piccasso themselves hit the final surreal note with some of their minor works.
Later in the evening, on the ferry back to Kumamoto, I caught a glimpse of my reflection on a window. It smiled back at me, sipping a cold can of vending machine coffee.
*Picture taken by Tim.