22. 844 Store no more, obituary (Downtown Kyoto)--KenIn 2004, I visited Kyoto and had an interesting dinner at 844 Store. I wrote this post about that day.
I wanted to take Kathryn back there, since it's a veggie restaurant in Kyoto, it has to be on the list. Plus I like going down to that part of town at night.
This time, I led myself back to the place mainly by smell. It's on the East side of the canal of Kiyamachi-dori, not far from Shijo-dori. Only a few of the blocks have stores or a path on the east side of the canal so, I counted bridges and we walked around looking for it. Somehow I didn't remember all of the slick street pimps and gentlemen's clubs on that stretch of road, but they're there now.
I often remember street geography and architectural details like building layouts really well, even after years have passed. I can still remember the 884 Store window where this sign was posted:
The front door was off the street a bit, I remembered that. So when we walked past a building that looked just like my memory, I walked into the hallway. But this time, it wasn't there at all.
We continued walking South all the way to Shijo-dori, but it really, really wasn't there. So I walked us back to the place where I knew it had to be and it's now some kind of minimalist cafe staffed by 2 college kids.
At first they wanted to seat us (we would have been the only customers), but I explained that we were looking for 844 Store. Yes, this was the right place, but it closed, they told me.
The Japanese have a hand gesture where they make an upright "X" with straight hands in front of your chest and gently chop them together a few times. Like, "no you can't," or "we're closed," etc. This time it meant that another place I knew had bit the dust.
While I was having this conversation, Kathryn was transfixed by this huge-screen video game console that dominated the place. It was some kind of kick-boxing game with a giant reclining Buddha in the background.
844 Store joined Tosai, and the Maruzen bookstore on the list of revisions for the next Kyoto guidebook.
Well if one door opens when another door closes, the demise of 844 Store led us to Veggie Table.