Take me back in time: Before The Coffee Gets Cold book review

If you are given the chance to travel back in time, who are you going to meet? Would you rather go back to the past or see the future? What if there’s a lot of conditions? What if there are limitations? Are you still going to do it?

I came across this book via the internet, though I could no longer remember what I was searching for that I came up with this result. I was probably drawn into it because the title have the word “coffee”, plus the simplicity of the book cover worked its charm. The fact that it was written by a Japanese author also helped, as I am trying to widen the range of books I’m reading based on region. There’s rarely Asian literature on my shelf (except for the books by Filipino authors) so I figured this could be a good addition.

The hovering loneliness

Cafe Funiculi Funicula is the book’s prominent setting where all characters have met and told their respective stories. There’s something lonely about the place, being so small that only 9 customers can be crammed inside, with dim lights that gave off sepia glow and the cool air that no one knows how or why since it has no air conditioning system. I also imagined the three wall clocks being old and giant ones that their dials could actually transport a person back in time. The place definitely had an odd character in my mind, like I would likely visit it whenever I wanted to escape the cruel world and be drowned in timelessness had it existed in real life.

Back and forth in time

The way the book was written is very simple and straightforward. But then again, maybe it’s because I read it in English and the actual emotions could only be felt if I was reading it in Japanese. Translated books are like that – it tends to lose some (or maybe most) of its “magic” when translated in a different language. I didn’t even have the chance to guess what’s going to happen next. I must have read enough books to be able to predict the next act even before the pages reveal them to me.

I guess the real beauty of this piece of literature is that, it talked to me the way I would want to talk to my past and future self. It’s like a letter that says, “Dear 45-year-old Beth”, or, “Dear 17-year-old Beth”. Because as I read every story, I imagined myself travelling back and forth in time, and I am meeting my old self and future self, telling them stories on how life was used to be so plain and simple, when it became complicated, and how the complications made me who I am in the future. 

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

So if I could go back in time, I would, just to see my old self (that is if this isn’t against the many rules) and tell her, hey, don’t worry much about the future because we survived. We even lived during the pandemic.

But Kazu still goes on believing that, no matter what difficulties people face, they will always have the strength to overcome them. It just takes heart.

To my future self, well, to be thinking I’d still be able to see her is hope itself, so maybe I’ll just see what she’s up to in her time. Lol! 

Who wants cold coffee, though?

I am also glad that I am not the only one who couldn’t enjoy coffee when it’s cold. I’ve had a lot of opportunities to enjoy iced coffee (Jung Yong Hwa likes iced americano and I like him so much, share ko lang) but it never really gave me the same joy I’ve learned to expect from hot americano. Dalgona coffee wasn’t worth the hype, either (and I did it because Ultimate Crush posted his in IG stories and Kim brought me some milk). So when it was mentioned in the story that Kohtake likes hot coffee even in the summer, ah, I just knew she’d be my bestfriend.

Kohtake, though, liked her coffee hot, even in summer. She liked the aroma of it when it was freshly brewed. She couldn’t enjoy iced coffee in the same way. Coffee was far more pleasurable when it was hot.

Before The Coffee Gets Cold is a book you’d want to read on a rainy Saturday afternoon, when there’s nothing left to do but to curl up with a good book with a cup of coffee on the bedside table. I should say it was worth leaving my Kdrama backlogs for a moment and do something that I’ve always enjoyed. And with this book that I picked, it was really all worth it.

What’s the last book you’ve read?

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