We are back to Hayao, about to hit the evening streets of Roppongi, after a blonde woman he thinks of as kinpatsu (he does not know it is Eve, though we know Eve). He is in a deeply reflective mood, of the most introspective, unaffected kind.
And I'll leave it at that. A "final edit" podcast of the section will come about in a couple days, cluing you into exactly what tone palette this all fits into. Thanks for staying up on the narrative and the ruminations of my favorite old Tokyo detective, Hayao Miyamoto.
Hayao woke with a start, the staccato tone of Miles Davis’ trumpet still lodged somewhere deep in his bones. Like many of his generation, he had come to jazz for the way it deciphered the apparent chaos of a hard-driving city on its upward march, countered by the sense of late night melancholy that pervaded older parts of Tokyo. For the sense of living in the shadows, of the invisible man biding his time––Seven Steps to Heaven. Hayao stretched and endured a few out-of-place pops and crackles. Standing up, he looked out the window as the remnants of afternoon sun carved a space between buildings, leading to an invisible, deeply sensed coastline.
Hayao ate alone, as was his custom these days. His wife was on one of her ever more frequent trips, to see an old classmate, she said. She would be gone for a week or two, maybe longer. The visits to Kyoto had started a year ago, around the time their son had stopped returning calls. Hayao would come down to the dining room table for breakfast and find his wife sitting there, half dressed. He got used to cooking for himself. Sometimes he would cook for her as well and she would eat quietly, refusing all attempts at conversation. Despite her silence, Hayao did not have the sense that Naomi was avoiding him. Quite the opposite. Her attention was directed at him, her question unspoken and insistent. A question that he did not have any answer to.
Hayao unwrapped the bento he had bought at the convenience store and stuck it in the microwave. It tasted good enough––he didn’t even really miss his wife’s cooking. Washing the rice and curry down with a glass of Kirin lager, his thoughts turned, he hoped not unnaturally, to Ms. Hirose. Her smart, understated smile, the crisp swish of skirt as she passed him in the office. With a guilty start, Hayao corralled his thoughts back to wife and son––he owed them this moment of reflection, at least.
It was not as if they were formally separated. It was not as if this was a permanent thing. Hayao had gotten used to it in a way. When Naomi returned, things would be fairly normal for a few days. Not to the point of intimacy, but bearable. Soon enough though the empty spaces crept in and ran through waking, half-dreaming hours, until no dreams came. When there was nothing more to be said, she would leave again. Hayao half-expected that on one of her trips to Kyoto Naomi would simply not come back. He was trying to prepare himself for that. He wondered if he should travel to California, find his son and salvage what was left of his marriage.
Hayao separated the recyclables and puttered around for a few minutes as the evening fell and he felt the fever of night come in through the window left carelessly half open … it was time to venture forth and retrace the possible haunts of a blonde woman and her improbably eviscerated Japanese companion. First, some Chet Baker, he was in the mood for that most noncommittally aching ballad, My Funny Valentine.
The Chet Baker and Pacific Jazz sampler album covers are from a Japanese site, Vintage Vanguard. Classic jazz is more popular in Tokyo than anywhere else I have been, Hayao's love for the music is no aberration.
All rights reserved. Damon D. Dawson of Bandito College.