Joy Coffee Shop

One of the many things I love about Japan is the old school coffee shops dotted around most neighbourhoods.

We found one to sit in on the day we had to do a laundry wash around the corner from the laundromat next to the public bath in Asakusa, named after one of my sisters, Joy.


Much like my sister, Joy seems to have been around since the 1980s and, like most places in Japan, is filled with smoke. The decor hasn't changed much and little old Japanese men and women come to meet, eat, drink classic Americana style coffee made from atomic percolators and chain smoke. The waitresses, as faded as the decor serve up old favourites like egg salad sandwiches and ham and cheese toasties that seem to evoke childhood memories for anyone who happened to be living in any country that was in any way linked to that first wave of American imperial food expansion and thus has a secret penchant for soft white bread and eggy mayo (myself included).

There is nothing special about Joy coffee shop, it is one amongst many but it's strangely comforting nonethless. The egg and ham toasties are toasted to the kind of perfection only otherwise achieved by the plastic toastie imitators in the front cabinet, the coffee is satisfyingly weak and the coffee room is so thick with smoke, it seems more of a health hazard not to smoke than to abstain.




If you can't beat them join them. Hock bought a packet of what can only be described as cigarettes for non-smokers. They had practically no nicotine in them but they lit on fire and burned sufficiently enough for us to feel like part of the decor.


    that grilled sandwich looks good... the food at that kind of 20-year-old cafes in Japan have a similar appeal to a diner food in the U.S. in which they are so less concerned about being healthy, environmental, local etc. Just the old fashioned goodies.


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