‘How was the festival
up at Nikkō...
Midori is a Japanese melon liqueur, the main ingredient in cocktails like The Universe, The Mikado, Fairyland, and Dreaming of Zen. Suntory launched it into the universe during a monster party at Studio 54 in 1978, the same year the New York club was raided for tax evasion, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy, after its owner had stated that only the Mafia made more money than the club.
Robyn and I were on the Kamakura station platform thirty-six years later, leaving the Mikado and dreaming of Zen in our own fairyland, when we met the real Midori.
An elegant diminutive Japanese woman, older but ageless, Midori exuded warmth and generosity of spirit. She was lovely, like my Aunt Clarice was lovely- played the bad cards as well as she could, lost, smile still radiant in the storm. Midori was an ikebana expert, waiting on our platform for the same train. She travelled with us as far as Tokyo, refusing to take my seat, and asking delicately poised single flower questions, about why we were here. Our conversation was interrupted at stations along the route, by the kind of pipe organ fanfare music we knew from hockey games in Canada. I told Midori we were headed to Nikkō, home city to the Nikkō Ice Bucks in the Asia League Ice Hockey.
“Ah so desu ka.” She said, like I had taught her something useful. We exchanged bows in Tokyo Station, and melted apart into the crowds of men in black suits carrying satchels, divining the universe with their extended cellphones.
Robin and I found our way across the city to the private Tobu train station in Asakusa, and boarded our Spacia special express, north to the ‘sunlight’ city of Nikkō, in the Tochigi mountains. Past the half mile high white Tokyo Skytree tower, the tallest in the world, the expansive terrain of skyscrapers and apartment blocks gradually came back to ground level, turning to suburbs, then towns, never too far apart. There were fewer salarimen, sitting together like Jizō guardians, and other passengers, Green Gable Barbie Annes, women in love limbo and floppy hats. Our conductor found us in the wrong seats, but graciously changed our tickets to accommodate the better view. He turned and bowed to our carriage, every time he entered and exited. We flew by a sign in English, on a shop in a congested village. Making your dream come true.