Finding The "Perfect Fit" in Tokyo




From The New Yorker

I'm not sure how it is in small families, but in large ones relationships tend to shift over time. You might be best friends with one brother or sister, then two years later it might be someone else. Then it’s likely to change again, and again after that. It doesn’t mean that you’ve fallen out with the person you used to be closest to but that you’ve merged into someone else’s lane, or had him or her merge into yours. Trios form, then morph into quartets before splitting into teams of two. The beauty of it is that it’s always changing.

Twice in 2014, I went to Tokyo with my sister Amy. I’d been seven times already, so was able to lead her to all the best places, by which I mean stores. When we returned in January of 2016, it made sense to bring our sister Gretchen with us. Hugh was there as well, and while he’s a definite presence, he didn’t figure into the family dynamic. Mates, to my sisters and me, are seen mainly as shadows of the people they’re involved with. They move. They’re visible in direct sunlight. But because they don’t have access to our emotional buttons—because they can’t make us twelve again, or five, and screaming—they don’t really count as players.

Normally in Tokyo we rent an apartment and stay for a week. This time, though, we got a whole house. The neighborhood it was in—Ebisu—is home to one of our favorite shops, Kapital. The clothes they sell are new but appear to have been previously worn, perhaps by someone who was shot or stabbed and then thrown off a boat. Everything looks as if it had been pulled from the evidence rack at a murder trial. I don’t know how they do it. Most distressed clothing looks fake, but not theirs, for some reason. Do they put it in a dryer with broken glass and rusty steak knives? Do they drag it behind a tank over a still-smoldering battlefield? How do they get the cuts and stains so . . . right?