We have a rule in our family. In the summer, we take a vacation together and travel together. During the year-end and New Year’s holidays, we each take a day off, with me traveling with my mother and my husband traveling with Kendo Kobayashi and his comedian friends.
Following this rule, I went to New York with my husband again this summer. New York, as the title of this series suggests, is the city I love most in the world.
But I know. This time, however, I know that it is completely my husband’s New York.
In fact, it has always been that way. My husband travels abroad at most twice a year. I, on the other hand, sometimes go six times a year. Naturally, my husband’s commitment to one trip is 100% respected. However, my husband, who boards the plane after a long day of work, usually develops a fever on the second day after arrival. That was lucky for me, because I was able to leave him food for the day in the morning and go wherever I wanted by myself.
This time, however, to my surprise, he said he would sleep in our room on the first day. And after a couple of hours of sleep, he wanted to go to a nearby restaurant for dinner. (That’s only a few hours! ). (We’ve only got a few hours!)) ) I quickly laid my husband down on the bed, who was moving slowly as he gazed at the scenery, quickly put on a breathing aid to prevent sleep apnea, and left the room.
The place I most wanted to visit this time was a discount department store called “Century 21. It sells a wide range of products at discount prices, from mid- to high-end brand-name clothes and bags to interior goods and suitcases. It has appeared in dramas and movies, and there is often a scene where a worker’s first day at work is not appropriately dressed, and his boss says to him, “Go to Century 21! is often seen in scenes where the boss says, “Go to Century 21! It is a long-established department store popular with tourists. However, it went bankrupt in the fall of 2008 due to the new Corona. It reopened this spring under the Civil Rehabilitation Law, as it is called in Japan.
I am very happy to see it. I had no choice but to visit. But from my experience so far, once you go in, you can’t come out for five hours. That’s how many items there are. （Once you enter this space, you can’t stop yourself from visiting.) Once you enter this space, you can never leave without seeing everything. Shopping is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I don’t want to be that miserable person who leaves a store feeling the presence of a bag or a pair of shoes that I can’t find if I miss the “right moment. …… That is why I decided not to go this time, which was only a couple of hours away, and went to a small discount store nearby. I chose with strong determination to hold on to my pride as a shopaholic.
You are unforgettable.
On the third day of our trip, we decided to do my husband’s #1 thing to do, “walk the length of Manhattan. Starting from Central Park, we walked through the bustling Times Square, through Soho with its fashionable stores, to …… (hmm? Is that ……?) Then, at the end of the street, we saw a white winged bird. Suddenly, a building resembling a work of art with white wings spread out came into view. (That’s …… World Trade Center Station!) ). I was horrified as the dots connected in my head. Across the street from the station was Century 21. （My heart began to pound.) My heart began to pound. I had already given up on him. I couldn’t believe he was just down the street. No, no, no. I decided not to see him this time. Why did I have to go through all this? （Damn it! This is marriage!) (Damn! This is what marriage is all about!).
My husband, on the other hand, is giving his opinion on the station’s modeling. I responded in a modest way so that he wouldn’t know that I wasn’t listening (Oh, …… is finally here…). You’ve been reborn. It’s okay now, I’m happy because you’re here!) ), he spoke passionately in his mind. A large signboard painted in red, the color of his image. The words “Century 21” written in a dancing pattern. The sight of the brave figure was seared into my eyes.
And then, as I approached the store, the entrance opened with a flash. A person carrying a Century 21 paper bag came out of the store. I wondered if the contents of that paper bag was the one I was supposed to meet! I turned my eyeballs as far down as they would go and tried to peek, but I couldn’t see him. (But this person must still be clad in the air in the store!) ) I tried to look down with my eyeballs at an angle, but I couldn’t see. (But this person must still be covered with the air in the store! I breathe it in (not to miss it!!!). ) and inhale it deep into your lungs. Then, I closed my eyes and decided that my trip with my mother at the end of …… would be in New York again! I decided to go back to New York.
Aika Kanda was born in 1980 in Kanagawa Prefecture. After graduating from Gakushuin University with a degree in mathematics, she joined NHK as an announcer in 2003, and left in 2012 to become a freelance announcer. Since then, she has been active mainly in variety shows, and currently makes regular appearances as the main MC of the daytime TV program “Poka Poka” (Fuji Television Network).
From the October 13-20, 2023 issue of FRIDAY
Text and illustrations by： Aika Kanda