The 500 Yen Challenges

The Zero Car

“This one is quite good, and this one too. But perhaps I should get that one instead, because that is maybe too many red cars. Perhaps a green one, one with realistic-looking wheels like this. Something with racing colours, maybe.”

A small baseball-capped boy of around seven or eight years is rifling through baskets of second-hand toy cars on the floor. His mother follows him, always three steps behind, listens carefully to his ramblings. Occasionally a cardboard box or film-wrapped plastic packet gets added to the small pile of boxes in the mother’s arms. I want to go up to the mother, apologise and tell her that unfortunately he’ll never grow out of it. But seeing as both I and a fifty-something gent next to me are going through exactly the same sorting and deliberating process as her son, I think she’s probably figured that out for herself.

Not everyone…

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