The Nakano Soba Stall

 

Tokyo, Japan 2016

words by: Kenneth Lee

Photograph by: Elvin Lee

 

On my first trip to the neon city, I was curious to the sustainability of such a minuscule noodle business. The Soba Don Stall had a space that is fitting for only four adult figures to dine in.

In my country, Singapore, a customer could easily spend half an hour on a meal at a public coffee shop. Not for long, the sounding slurps from the four salary men took my attention. Their dinner wasn't a competition but the pace at which they masticated sure felt like a contest.

Interestingly, the patron in the beige jacket by the far right was the first to arrive but he left in under six minutes. The three others left shortly after with new customers quickly filling up the empty seats.

I hoped to catch a glimpse of their faces as they headed towards the bustling train station but they never looked back.