The place I like best in this world is the kitchen. No matter where it is, no matter what kind, if it’s a kitchen, if it’s a place where they make food, it’s fine with me. Ideally it should be well broken in. Lots of tea towels, dry and immaculate. White tile catching the light (ting! ting!) I love even incredibly dirty kitchens to distraction–vegetable droppings all over the floor, so dirty your slippers turn black on the bottom. Strangely, it's better if this kind of kitchen is large. I lean up against the silver door of a towering, giant refrigerator stocked with enough food to get through a winter. When I raise my eyes from the oil-splattered gas burner and the rusty kitchen knife, outside the window stars are glittering, lonely. >> I like to hum along with the fridge in the quiet– and of course, it need not be giant. It need not be stocked either –a little fat one will do, with only a lump of shaking tofu inside, or a bowl of sad soup. A wilting vegetable, sighing. If the front has plastic magnets and receipts, even better! I will love the kitchen regardless. The tables are always special. I like when there are crumbs left from dinnertime, and shining wine droplets and dribbles of wax, set hard. Even better when the kitchen is wooden, with herbs hanging from beams and jewelled fruit in a big brown bowl. Maybe even a couple of flies in the summertime, tiptoeing over leftovers once everybody’s gone to bed.<< Only the kitchen and I are left. It’s just a little nicer than being all alone. When I’m dead worn out, in reverie, I often think that when it comes to die, I want to breathe my last in a kitchen. Whether it’s cold and I’m all alone, or somebody’s there and it’s warm, I’ll stare death fearlessly in the eye. If it’s a kitchen, I’ll think, “How good.” Before the Tanabe family took me in, I spent every night in the kitchen. After my grandmother died, I couldn’t sleep. One morning at dawn I trundled out of my room in search of comfort and found that the one place I could sleep was beside the refrigerator.