The Smoking Section is a short story about quitting smoking in Tokyo by humorist David Sedaris. You can find it in his newest book, When You Are Engulfed in Flames. Determined that he needed a complete change of scenery to quit smoking cold turkey, Sedaris—who normally lives in Paris with his boyfriend Hugh—spent two months in Tokyo living on the 26th floor of the apartment building on top of Peacock supermarket in Azabu Juban. He isn’t a Japan expert per se, but his description of the two months he spend are some of the funniest and most insightful I have read in a long time. Here’s an excerpt:
A Japanese woman we’d met in Paris came to the apartment yesterday and spent several hours explaining our appliances. The microwave, the water kettle, the electric bathtub: everything blinks and bleeps and calls out in the middle of the night. I’d wondered what the rice maker was carrying on about, and Reiko told us that it was on a timer and simply wanted us to know that it was present and ready for duty. That was the kettle’s story as well, while the tub was just being an asshole and waking us up for no reason.
“The Smoking Section”, in When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris = 5/5