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O Fim duma Viagem

The End of a Week

JAPAN | Sunday, 6 March 2016 | Views [273]

We did have classes on Friday, which was a disturbing change of events after two consecutive three-day weekends. And, because we'd taken the test the day before, we were already well on our way to a new chapter. Complete with new grammars, new vocabulary, (and a vocab quiz!) and a new reading.

But then when it was over at 11:30, I realized that I didn't have anything I needed to be doing. No classes to get to, not even homework to think seriously about, because I had an entire weekend to do it. I had no reason not to take a train into the city.

The catch was I didn't want to go all the way back to Mondial Kaffee. But I did kind of want coffee. Clearly the solution was to find another place that had good coffee nearby. Like, in Umeda.

Since wandering around Umeda looking for anything can be a kind of daunting prospect, I decided to prepare in advance by finding a cafe with good reviews. Nord Kaffee looked promising. Name in mind and address on phone, off I went.

One of the things I have yet to get used to about Osaka is the fact that floors matter. So often, a store or cafe will be part of a large department store in a mall attached to a subway, and if you don't pay attention to what floor you should be on, you're in for a lot of wandering around near the right place. Further complicating this, it's not always easy to know what floor the place is located. The address that I found didn't say, and I kind of assumed it didn't matter.

I got off the train at Umeda, then started heading in roughly the right direction. So far so good. I circled around half the building before I realized that even through the only signs seemed to be for dentists and shoe repair, there was in fact an entire mall in there. Said mall would contain Nord Kaffee, though probably not on the first floor.

I was able to very quickly confirm that it was not on the first floor, since there was a list of businesses on that level, and Nord Kaffee did not appear. However, there appeared to be 30-ish floors, most of them corporate, so I didn't want to wander around blindly until security threw me out. I figured if I stayed in major hallways on the first floor, I’d be good, and wandering around that I eventually found a list of all the restaurants in the building in alphabetical order. Score. Nord Kaffee was on B2. So I found an escalator and went down two flights.

Emerging from that, I found a glass of dark beer. I had to go closer to the restaurant to inspect it in more detail. Yep, definitely a dark beer, both in color and in description. Not Japanese (I think the brand was German) but still… It was Friday afternoon, it had been a long week, I’d had a test yesterday… the temptation to abandon the search for Nord Kaffee was nearly overwhelming. If the food options had looked slightly better, I probably would have. But I didn’t just want to get a beer, and the food all seemed very German-inspired, so I moved on in search for the cafe.

The directory that I’d found said not only what floor Nord Kaffee was on, but what shop number it had. Once downstairs, I could indeed see that every shop had a clearly labelled number. And I still remembered the number for Nord Kaffee. That should have made the path to finding the cafe a breeze, right?

Eh… not quite. So I came out in the mid-twenties, looking for shop number 82. I followed the shops for a while, and then we came to a passageway. The passageway looked like it led away from the building, so I took a right. Now I was in triple-digit numbers, still increasing. OK, turn around and take that passage. This led to more stores, but none of them were numbered. Turn around again and try the hundreds… or the twenties again… I don’t even know what I’m doing.

Somehow, I managed to find a map for the level that I was on, so I could see at a glance how illogical the arrangement was and where I was supposed to go. Which is good, because without that additional guarantee that I knew where I was going, I would probably have avoided walking past the security guard and towards the elevators because I didn’t want to seem like I was trying to sneak into corporate offices and steal company secrets. But it turned out that beyond the elevators there was another set of shops and restaurants. Including Nord Kaffee.

Nord Kaffee was Scandanavia-inspired, which kind of makes sense given the name. I was tempted to try their straight coffee to see if it was strong enough, but then I got distracted by a creme brule latte. No regrets.

Creme Brule Latte

And, because it was just in Umeda, getting back was easy. It was a nice conclusion for the week, and made my Friday feel pleasantly longer.

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Tags: coffee, malls, trains

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