From Fernando Street, with an appetite for two. From Hoka Hoka Ramen Shop Yamazaki Japanese Grocery, with snippets of memory; the calls for “chahan” still ringing in her ears.


Table 6: A table set for four taken by a group of five friends. Three Japanese guys and two Filipino girls take a seat and order meals for three. Matter-of -factly, one Japanese guy arm wrestles with a Filipino girl with white eye patch.


Table 7s: An old Japanese man is given a table for two with missing seat. He closes his eyes and patiently waits for his katsu curry.


Table 7L: A fairly young Japanese guy with angled cuts on his face reads notes from his cellphone while taking small portions of his ramen – omori? He stands and leaves. The umbrella inside his baggy sweat pants remains in her memory. Japanese casual, she thinks.


Table 4: A table for pairs. First, two Japanese guys, obviously friends. Next, a Filipino man and woman wherein the woman introduces the menu to the man, a curious relationship.


Table 2: A young-looking Filipino couple who doesn’t seem to have jobs but orders katsu curry, yasai itame, shoyu ramen, and then calls for a chahan later on. They know Japanese (Daijoubu? he asks. Hai, she answers. Ikaw, daijoubu? she asks. Hai, he answers). He dips the meat and vegetables under the noodles to cook them. She goes for the pancit canton looking noodles immediately. They exchange dialogues of Star Wars episode three. “Happy birthday, Lord Vader.” An inside joke. They talk about the tensed air – or the projected tensed air – and time travelling – or parallel universe travelling, the guy insists. They take the longest time to eat.


The couple from Table 2 goes home with chocolates from the grocery area of the establishment.

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She writes a note and signs it: From Yamazaki, with chocolates.