Day 20: Koji

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This is Koji. I met him in his clothing shop in Daimyo, a neighbourhood of Fukuoka dotted with little boutiques and bars.

He says he was born in 1965 but I can’t really tell if he’s joking or for real. I spot one or two white strands hidden in his jet-black ponytail, so, who knows.

He likes rock climbing and has never been to New Zealand but he’d like to go. They have good rock climbing there, right? he asks. I think so, I reply (I hope I’m right?). Good surfing? I think so, I reply. Good snowboarding? When conditions are right, it can be very good, I say.

Koji’s shop is pretty cool, the kind of shop that can afford to space out the clothes hanging on its racks, the kind of place that makes you feel a bit special just looking around. Koji goes to London, Paris, New York for buying trips. (So lucky.) Paris is his favourite. At night, it’s a magical place, he says. I don’t disagree.

I ask Koji what his favourite food in Fukuoka is. He thinks for a moment:

In Fukuoka, everything is delicious. Fish, vegetable, rice, everything. Can you eat noodles?Then Ichiran. You write your order, and then, (he gestures handing a slip of paper over the counter). Everything you can choose: noodles hard or soft, soup strong or light, white or green sliced negi, how much garlic.

He tells me the name of a good cafe (do you prefer a cool place with not-so-good coffee, or a not-so-cool place with really good coffee, he asks; I pick the latter) and the name of his favourite restaurant and asks me to add him on facebook. If you weren’t flying off to Korea I’d say you should come out for dinner with some friends tonight, he says. Maybe next time.

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