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Jan 15th, 2020
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  1. “Ugh,” he groaned as he stood up from his cubicle to steal a glance at the time. “Damn,” he uttered, noticing it was one o’clock already. He grabbed his suitcase and headed out the door. As the bright skyscrapers hovered over him, he signed in disappointment. It was understandable, for a city flooded with opportunities like Shinjuku, settling with a tedious desk job wouldn’t be anyone’s dream.
  3. “Strange,” he thought. Though it was past midnight, the clusters of neon seemed to burn brighter along the skyline. The man, tired of these blinding lights, kept his head down and continued walking. “Was it worth it?” He thought to himself, “moving from Takayama?” The man continued walking, seemingly with no sense of direction. Going home was almost depressing. A home is supposed to be a comforting place, not a place to dread visiting.
  5. The man’s stomach growled. He looked forward and spotted a few lanterns. Out of curiosity, the man approached the lights. Iit was a ramen bar. The bar is quite tiny. Inside, two tables are pressed against the window and the kitchen, leaving just enough space for the customers. Frankly, quite a cozy place.
  7. “Irasshaimase!” An old lady shouted, “what can I get for you?”
  9. “Shoyu ramen please.”
  11. As the man sat down, the woman placed some noodles in the strainer.
  13. “Not many people come here at one o’clock.”
  15. “Work came first.”
  17. “Why not go home?”
  19. “Don’t really have a home to go to.”
  21. “Ho?” The woman questioned as she prepared the soup base. “What’s that mean?”
  23. “I moved from the countryside, father wanted me to see the cities.”
  25. “Not finding it well?”
  27. “Not at all,” the man sighed. “I don’t know how you guys do it.” He paused for a brief moment, “Home’s just not the same when you’re there alone.”
  29. “Well, home is not a place, it’s a feeling.” The woman said as she chopped up some green onions.
  31. “Hm?”
  33. “I lost my husband five years ago, and just like you, it was never the same for a while.” The woman said as she slipped the noodles into the broth.
  35. The man fell silent.
  37. “I was sad, and I was sure I’d never find home again, till I started cooking. What can I say? It’s what I loved to do.” The woman sprinkled some green onions on top of the ramen. “So I opened this shop. To honor my husband, and to honor my passion. Eventually? It became my home.”
  39. The woman placed the ramen in front of the man. “I’ve found my home, I hope you’ll find yours.”
  41. The man stared at the warm bowl of ramen. His eyes were getting moist, and his thoughts were racing. He had lots to say to the old lady, but only one word came out.
  43. “Arigato.”
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