Tokyo Stories from Curious Outsiders

022 : Qi Rari At a crosswalk outside Yoyogi Park, Shinjuku-ku
Born 1980 in the USA, Qi Rari currently works as a vending machine maintenance man. He came to Japan on a refugee visa. Why Japan? Manners, girls, design, style, mini-skirts, and because the Chinese are too sensitive. He digs the following Tokyo bits: Natto Big Macs (his invention), Yamanote Line music, public baths, Kimonos and toilets that clean you. He, however, is a touch miffed by small portions, expensive taxis and the word "gaijin". For more info on Qi Rari you should send an email.

image: Qi Rari

“I was dead broke. It was winter.”

I was dead broke. It was winter. The owner of a small sake-ya across the street from my flat had access to promotion merchandise from the brands he stocked. Chalk it up to “nomunnication” [1] because my Japanese was really bad, but he had somehow taken a liking to me. So, after one look at me in a t-shirt, I found myself the recipient of a brand new, brand-sponsored winter coat. It was big, black, shiny, and I thought, wonderful.

To the ever brand conscious Tokyoites, however, the big red patch on the left chest that read “Wonda Coffee,” [2] while intriguing, was repulsive. Their faces reflected my binbou[3] status. Those vainglorious glares acted as a cold counterweight to the heavy lining of my coat, so every now and then I’d provide a warm cup full of a fresh brewed witticism: “I’m Tiger Woods” or my favorite, “I’m dating Yuko Ogura.” [4]

One day, as I walked out of Yoyogi Park and waited at the crosswalk, I felt a chill.  After turning to deliver my line, I soon found myself in a trance, wondering exactly what everyone else had - where did you get that coat? It was one of the homeless men who lives the park. And he was wearing my coat. Indeed, a Wonda-ful life.

referenced works

  1. Nomunnication: Nomu (Japanese: to drink) and Communication. The result is "nomunnication", that close feeling you get when drinking.
  2. Check out Canned Coffee for all of your canned coffee inquiries.
  3. Binbou: Poor
  4. Tiger endorsed Wonda Coffee and Yuko has appeared in at least one commercial.

location information

  • Name: a crosswalk outside Yoyogi Park
  • Address: Tokyo Japan, Yoyogi Park
  • Time of story: afternoon
  • Latitude: 35.66848
  • Longitude: 139.697471
  • Map: Google Maps


019She laughed at my effort and responded in English, ‘Long time, no seduction.’ — Qi Rari

018In my dreamy state, oblivious to signs and announcements I often boarded the wrong train.— Momus (aka Nick Currie)

017I was fifteen years old and it was one of those nights.— Yuko Enomoto

016That ear of corn just wanted to go home— Guttersnipe Das

015With his painstakingly coiffured mane blowing in the wind— Digits Wolfowitz

014Her voice, even across languages, betraying her worry.— Olly Denton

013I saw them drawing bamboo sticks from a silver rectangular box.— Daphné Haour

012A simulacrum of someone else's home, equal parts comfort and loss.— Adam Greenfield

011Jumbled Escheresque insanity where geo­graphy in any traditional sense ceases to exist.— Joseph Badtke-Berkow

010I could hardly make out anything apart from his glowing eyes...— Uleshka

009Shibuya was like a stroke.— Alice.d

008I cried for a while and wiped the dead bracken off my karate pants.— David Cady

007Both my tie and my disposition hang limp as I calculate the remaining distance to the station.— Chris Tobber

006I once read about a Chinese maiden whose feet were unbound by a cruel man …— Claire Tanaka

005The Bad Girl strutted off and I was left with a ham egg pie.— Guttersnipe Das

004I arrived expecting an irritated Japanese person to step out of the crowd and identify himself as Hideki.— Ashley Rawlings

003The woman at the ticket window seemed surprised to see another human being. I was the only visitor.— Andrew Douglas

002Flanked on either side by adult manga shops and the like, the smell of yakitori in the air.— Jean Snow

001For two weeks the day began with this morning walk, our shared routine.— Joseph Squier


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