The Last Eatery in Japan

This is the last photo I took in Japan. I turned around and snapped a picture of the FaSoLa Cafe, just before going through Gate ?? at Narita Airport, down the jetway, and onto my plane.

There is something fascinating about the FaSoLa. You experience Japan as an apparently endless succession of restaurants, cafes, bistros, snack bars, patisseries, and ice cream stands — but actually it isn’t endless, and the little cafe at Narita (the FaSoLa, in this case), just yards from your gate, is the Last Station. Here you can park your carry-on bag and sit down at a clean table for one last aloe-laden grape drink and yakisoba, while the last few minutes of Japanese television you are apt to see for a while provides the backdrop. Then, you wipe your mouth, take your tray to the collection counter, make sure the table is tidy for the next guest — and leave a spiritual imprint of yourself there, while picking up a little memory in return. You walk just a few steps, through the gate, down the jetway, and through the main hatch.

The next time you walk through it, as you deplane, the FaSoLa won’t be there anymore. It will have transformed into a bank of Burger Kings, Jamba Juices, and Quiznos.’ You’ll be in America, as if you never left — except for the little bit of yourself that you gave to the FaSoLa and the little bit of it that you brought with you.

Author: Harry Miller

I have traveled and lived in Taiwan, China, and Japan and am now a professor of Asian history and author of Southern Rain, a novel of seventeenth-century China.

5 thoughts on “The Last Eatery in Japan”

    1. Yes, that look back for one last picture before stepping on the plane does convey a lot of reluctance. International travel is so easy (though expensive). Another strange moment is when the plane reaches the gate after arrival: the pilot turns off the engine and the passengers all unfasten their seat belts, producing a sound and a feeling that one has just driven to the grocery store rather than flown across the Pacific.

      I suppose you’ve done some travel too?

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I cried in the airport the first time I ever left China. There was the sense that I’d never see it again. Or maybe, it was the end of my first real international experience so things would never again be quite as wondrous. You have described well the feeling of leaving a foreign place. I like the name of the restaurant too. Here, there used to be a Solati Dough, a bakery, and I thought the name quite clever.

    Liked by 1 person

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