The novel takes place in a mysterious cafe in Tokyo called “Funiculi Funicula”. The cafe is owned by Nagare and his wife Kei along with a waitress called Kazu. However, this isn’t your normal cafe, customers have the opportunity to travel back in time. They must sit on a specific chair, name the time, wait for the coffee to pour and viola. But, there are many rules, the most important one however is “you must return to the present before the coffee gets cold. Also, going back in time won’t change the future!
Even if you return to the past, reveal your feelings, and ask him not to go, it won’t change the present Fumiko reacted impulsively to Kazu’s cold hard words, “That sort of defeats the purpose, don’t you think’ she said defiantly ‘Easy now…..let’s not shoot the messenger,’ Hirai said.
I’ve read a number of time travelling books and watched many movies on the subject, this was definitely a unique interpretation of time travel. I liked how the book was split into 4 sections focused on different characters who wish to go back in time. I was really drawn to each of the characters reasoning behind going back in time, but I think one that really touched me was the story about a woman whose husband had dementia and begins to forget her. So she goes back in time to a particular event that happens in the cafe. The story towards the end called “Mother and Daughter” though was just heartbreaking and really played with my heartstrings.
“Water flows from high places to low places. That is the nature of gravity. Emotions also seem to act according to gravity. When in the presence of someone with whom you have a bond, and to whom you have entrusted your feelings, it is hard to lie and get away with it.”
Although each story is different, I would say the central theme is the idea of closure for things we never got to do or say to the ones who mean a lot to us. This is a factor that really stuck with me. We all have those little regrets we wish we could rectify and Toshikazu made me wish this was possible, wishful thinking though I guess.
For me it was a very cosy and light read even though it gets a bit emotional at times. The story really opens up more and more as you get deeper into the story. Although, some might find it boring because it’s not one of those in your face novels. It was the kind of story where you can just sit by the fire and just absorb yourself in the journey.