What is enjoying life?

Usually I don’t need sweets. But this autumn I was constantly subjected to stress because of noisy neighbors with their thumping music. This high stress made me lose three kilos of weight. And my ear canals were infected and it felt like sea sickness because of continuous low-frequencies from the deep bass. So I needed a lot of sweets to survive this crazy situation. I ate only two ice creams this summer, but this stress made me eat a lot of ice cream, sweet jelly, cakes and gelato.

The deep bass from the neighbor’s music kept me up all night. For almost two months, I had low quality sleep. In short, I was always sleepy and got tired easily. Usually I prefer decaf. But I needed to have caffeine to survive.

One day I found a new small coffee shop in the corner of a small department store in a secluded area of Nara. This area has a terminal bus station for crossing mountains into rarely visited regions. However many rich people have lived in this area for many generations, so the quality of goods and services are not low. Tiredness and sleep deprivation pushed me to eat ice cream and drink coffee in this small shop which had only a few seats and no doors. And also I was attracted by the eyes of the barista which was full of a sense of pride and fun.

I followed that barista’s recommendation. And unexpectedly, I witnessed not only an earnest but also entertaining attitude towards the coffee. His presence was far from serious. It was more than making people relax. When he started to roast coffee beans, I felt that my personal safe space became bigger as if I had become a balloon. And I felt that I started to feel grounded.

After his gracious work to drip coffee, he served it to me and I had fun! I have drunk many good quality coffees and they were tasty. But that was all. This coffee made me experience joy. One shot of this coffee open new world to me. Suddenly I could know how to enjoy life. This “Eureka” moment moved my heart deeply. I always loved eating and drinking but I did not have a sense of enjoyment. Especially in Japanese we don’t have an expression of “enjoy your meal”. Maybe this had prevented me from knowing how to enjoy something. I can’t describe it so well, but now I clearly understand how to enjoying something and it was really a life-changing moment.