Before the Coffee Gets Cold

“When you go back, no matter how hard you try, the present won’t change.

If you could go back, who would you want to meet?

Before the Coffee Gets Cold was written by Toshikazu Kawaguchi. It was about a fictional cafe in Tokyo, Japan that has an urban legend going that you can time-travel to the past (and to the future) which gained the cafe’s popularity, but later on subdued because not many people would dare to try anymore due to the many impeccable rules that must be followed.

This book originally belonged to my 2021 reading list as a friend of mine recommended it to me last year and told me I have might like it. And yes, I did.

This book has four different stories about the cafe, Funiculi Funicula–the love story of Fumiko Kiyokawa and Goro Katada, the marriage of Kohtake and Fusagi, the sisterhood of Kumi Hirai and Yaeko Hirai, and the motherhood of Kei Tokita to her daughter Miki Tokita.

If you haven’t read the book yet, I guess you stop from here hehe as I might include spoilers. I was able to read the book for less than 24 hours as the story is something you’d look forward to unfolding. My favorite would be Kohtake and Fusagi’s story.

The cafe can indeed transmit you to the past (and to the future, you’d know once you read it) given that there are rules to follow and only one seat that will allow the said time travel. The rules are:

  1. You can’t meet people who haven’t visited the cafe.
  2. The present cannot change.
  3. There is only one seat that takes you to the past (or to the future)
  4. You cannot move from that seat (if you do, you’ll be transmitted back to the present).
  5. There is the time limit.
  6. Your time in the past will begin from the time the coffee is poured, and you must return before the coffee gets cold.
  7. This last rule was later on revealed: you can only do it once, you cannot do it again once done.

If you were not able to return before your coffee goes cold, you’d be a ghost.

The book has some touch of reality that I’d like to emphasize that sometimes, us, people, would be willing to dire change; we often forget that some things happen for a reason (or if it is, in fact, true) and that there are things that we aren’t able to control in this life–the only thing that we can get a grip on or control is our attitude and receipt towards the situation; others we can’t, no matter how hard we try, even if are given a chance to time travel.

When you go back, no matter how hard you try, the present won’t change. xx

Don’t go meddling in anythng that is going to change the present.

One thing that I have also pondered on while reading and finishing the book is that the present won’t change, but you can. Your attitude or character towards the situation you are facing, because it is true what Kei said in the book,

I was so absorbed in the things that I couldn’t change, I forgot the most important thing.

Kei Tokita

By the way, I got the book on sale on Amazon (Kindle) at $2.99 (instead of $19.99).

Author: shainnehostalero

Shainne Hostalero, MDC is a social entrepreneur (owner and founder of Happy Shift PH), a communication scholar, and a writer.

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