It began strangely. Even bizarrely.
On a whim in Shinjuku I had gone into a Turkish restaurant for dinner one evening, in that mood for meat richness and flavour. And when the first order came, the waitress (I was the only customer ) came over, and wondered, politely, if I wouldn’t mind taking a look at this picture:
I sat there at the table, a strange rabbit hole of recognition and bafflement. Why was this lady giving me a picture I knew so well and had used, here, myself on the Black Narcissus? For a second I felt I was in the middle of some cosmic trick, before I realized that she had written a poem to the picture in order to practice her English and wondered if I could check it. Yes, of course, I said, I am a teacher, I would be glad to; but first let me show you this (and I got out my phone, batteries about to die, and showed her this blog post on Creed’s Iris Tubereuse; I am a perfume nut, and I write about scent. Oh my god she said, clutching her hand to her mouth, so am I. You have no idea how many vintage perfume shops there are in Tokyo. Oh yes I do, I said, look at this Chanel in my bag, and look at all these amazing samples I got today from Parfums Satori. Well look at this, she said, and proceeded to look for a picture on her own phone of the very same Coty Chypre perfume I have written about before myself, still in the shop, still unaffordable for us both.We should share secret places, the recycle shops no one knows about, I said, or then maybe we shouldn’t, maybe we should keep them to ourselves. Oh no, she said, much better to share.So that is what we are going to do, me and Zubeyde. I will take her to the fleamarket and some boutiques she doesn’t know. She says there are a whole load of boutiques selling old unwanted scents in the snaking, urban labyrinth that is Shinjuku. And yesterday : a picture came from her, like a secret agent, taken in the shop, of a boxed parfum of Guerlain’s Nahéma. There is virtually no other parfum I want that badly. She is going to go back and check the price again, scope out the joint further.
We are in cahoots.
I love it.