The Candy Store
Inside a hard shell,
honeyed welcome, sweet tooth grin.
Favours for strangers.
Monday afternoon and the kids are tired, hot and grumpy. We spot a candy shop on the map and set off to search for neon signs, marshmallow branding and the kind of boost that can only come from artificial flavourings. But this is Japan.
We walk past the candy shop twice. It looks like an office, all bamboo blind and polished window. But then we catch sight of the little bags. We bundle in and are met by a shopkeeper with a beaming smile, holding out a stick dripping with honey.
We try pretty much the whole shop, from meringues to soya beans to little bags of pure sugar and we fail to find an unnatural flavour. As we leave the owner holds out a basket. I go to put in a tip. But it is gifts for the kids. Sometimes, folded within the hard edges of a city, you find a soft centre and you just let it melt in your mouth.