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Chapter 1-2: Mysterious Japanese Man
The next day, a strange customer entered the store.
There was no easy way to explain what part of him made him strange.
The moment Uta saw the man’s face, he thought, “Huh?”
This felt like déjà vu. It felt similar to when someone you saw once or twice on television appeared in front of you.
When Uta’s eyes studied the man’s hairstyle and clothes, he came to the realization.
The man was what we would call a “Japanese man.” This referred to men, in this day and age, who wore traditional Japanese clothes and were extremely fashionable. They paid close attention to everything, from the tips of their hair to the end of their fingertips.
However, the man in front of Uta wasn’t quite like that. He had a roughness to him that resembled a ronin from the Edo period. His worn-out kimono was wrinkled. His hair and nails were dirty.
His appearance made Uta wonder for a moment if it was alright to let this man inside the store.
Still, this establishment didn’t enforce anything like a dress code.
When Uta said this with a confused voice while standing at the front of the store, the man stared at Uta without saying anything.
“Um, please take a seat anywhere you like.”
“I want to drink that one from yesterday.”
Uta repeated the man’s words and tilted his head.
This was the first time he ever saw this man, but was he a customer who came by yesterday? Then, he must have stopped by when the part-timer, Sungmin, was handling the storefront. But, Sungmin hadn’t said anything.
As such, Uta didn’t understand what “that one from yesterday” meant.
By the way, Sungmin was supposed to start his shift soon, but he currently wasn’t present.
“I’m sorry, but which one did you order yesterday?”
Uta opened the menu and handed it to the man.
The man inspected it, turning the menu over and back to the front, but he gave it back to Uta with a troubled look.
“You don’t know? Was it coffee?”
“Probably. It was refreshing, and it tasted a bit bitter and acidic…”
The man stroked his chin and tried to come up with the words.
“What was it? Mocha? Guatemalan…?”
Uta poured the remnants from the coffee carafes into espresso cups.
The man immediately answered after just smelling it. Normally, people would drink some, but was this man a connoisseur who could distinguish coffee from its smell? Or someone with an above-average sense of smell?
After Uta wracked his brains for some time, it suddenly occurred to him.
“Could it be this one?”
Uta opened up the container of Blue Mountain coffee he had repackaged yesterday.
“Please wait a moment!”
When Uta began to grind and brew the beans, the Japanese man sitting at the counter nodded, “That’s it.”
“Was it really this?”
Uta felt relieved when he saw the man’s toothy grin.
He thought that this guy was a strange customer, but a coffee lover couldn’t be a bad person.
Afterward, Sungmin came into work, and other customers also arrived. The store was bustling for a brief moment.
Uta became busy as he baked the galettes, but he could see the sight of the man enjoying his sips of Blue Mountain coffee from the corner of his eye.
(I’m glad that someone who can understand the flavor is drinking it…)
“Min-kun, who was the customer that was sitting there?”
That Japanese man had suddenly disappeared.
Sungmin, who was cleaning an emptied plate, looked around the store and frowned.
“I didn’t handle his bill though?”
It was the same for Uta who had been working at the stove.
By the way, there was no restroom for customers to use in this narrow store.
“D-d-d-dine and dash?!”
“Your voice is too loud. There are still other customers around…”
Sungmin tossed the dirty dishes on the counter and ran to the front.
The loud crash echoed through the store.
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