On one of my last afternoons in Tokyo, my friend Andrew came home to the apartment and found me sitting in the middle of a pile of baked goods laughing maniacally. Buns, sandwiches, and pastries were scattered across the floor in their individual baggies. “I just wanted a taste of each one without spoiling my appetite for dinner!” I whined.
“What on earth?!” was his reaction. The disapproving but somewhat amused look on his face was akin to coming home to a puppy who had strewn toilet paper all over the living room.
It also wasn’t my fault that this 27 year-old man didn’t have a dining table or a single plate in his kitchen. Where else was I supposed to store my food stash other than on the floor? To which he scoffed in true man-baby fashion, “I never cook or eat at home. I just eat out.” I had no retort. If I lived in Tokyo, I’d eat out every day too, given that my wallet is fat enough.
My laughter gradually died down into a slightly embarrassed smile, “Well…I guess I went a little overboard.” There were only two ways to explain my crazy behavior. The first: When left to my fend for myself in Tokyo while Andrew was at work, I had unwittingly turned to hoarding food to fill that huge gaping hole we call loneliness. It had started out innocently enough. At first, it was a few packs of candy from those ubiquitous convenience stores in Tokyo. Then it was, oh let’s say, 30 bags of chips and instant noodles that I told myself I was buying to share with my friends back in San Francisco. The situation then quickly escalated to hoarding baked goods. Did I mention that it runs in the family? My dad is also a serial offender of bulk buying. A creature of habit, he has the tendency to buy the same polo shirt in multiples of ten. My grandma used to own a whole separate apartment just to store all the treasures she found dumpster diving.
The other explanation? Simply that I am a greedy pig. Mont Thabor Bakery was a wicked store of gluttonous temptations. A bakery located in the Azubu-juban neighborhood, it boasts a wide selection of freshly baked goods. Like a kid set loose in a candy store, I plucked one pastry after another off the shelves and ended up with two bagfuls of goodies that weighed heavily on my arms. Where else other than in Tokyo can you find noodles wrapped inside a pastry? My favorites were the blueberry taro pastry and the Hokkaido milk bun. Just heavenly.