“Aki-chan Izakaya Bar closes at the end of January!” What? I was surprised and sad at the sudden news in the middle of January. Izakaya means Japanese bar-restaurant. This bar was not an ordinary bar. It opened only on Friday and Saturday evenings at Mairo, the bakery in my neighborhood, after the bakery closed their door at six p.m. I don’t know the reason, but Aki-chan decided to end four years of business there.
The final day was on January 31. The customers could enjoy not only Aki-chan’s delicious handmade dishes but also Mairo’s pizzas that night. They had recently built a stone oven for pizza. But they don’t usually use the oven because they need to preheat it with wood at least one hour before starting to bake pizzas and they can’t bake lots of pizzas. It’s inefficient for them to use the oven for business. In fact, they built it for pleasure.
When I arrived at the bakery / the bar around seven p.m., Oku-chan, who had built the oven, was standing in front of it and baking pizzas. Actually, he is not a baker, he is just a friend of the staff. According to the husband of one of the bakers, Oku-chan came to the bakery around noon to prepare for this event. You know, Aki-chan Izakaya Bar started after six when the bakery closed the door. It was more inefficient than I had thought…But I was lucky because I had an opportunity to try some of their rare pizzas!
Customers came in one after another to the bar to say good-bye to Aki-chan and to enjoy her food and pizzas. One of them was a friend of mine, Kon-chan, whom I hadn’t seen at the annual Halloween party in Mairo last October. We usually meet there. That was a good chance for us to catch up. I wanted to hear from him about his recent news because at Mairo’s Halloween party held two years ago, he had confessed that he had got a girlfriend at last after divorce and that he had become a groupie of Momoiro Clover Z, a Japanese idol group.
I couldn’t believe him. He and his girlfriend were stuck in a rut. He told me that it might be time for him to break up with her…Hmm…it might be…As for Momoiro Clover Z, he said, “I’m a still fan of them, but I’m now crazy about Team Shachihoko!” Oh, Gosh! He is in his mid-forties…Team Shachihoko is another Japanese girls group in Nagoya…Well, I’m happy if he’s happy…Anyway, I enjoyed talking to my friends and other customers with Aki-chan’s food and Mairo’s pizzas.
Good-bye, Aki-chan. Thank you for your hospitality and delicious dishes. I wish you a wonderful new chapter!