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All over town I see them: alcoves and covered patches, abandoned garages, apartment building basements. Places where I could disappear for a while, places I could sleep if I no longer had a home. They vary in habitability from a muddy clearing under an outcropping, surrounded by bushes, to a lit and heated laundry room left unused when the two dryers stopped working.

I only started seeing them after moving away from my mother's home. There must have been some sense of security lost, a newfound urge to plan for the very worst. At first finding them was pure novelty; noticing such inconsequential shelters seemed a connection to my childhood, like looking for places to play or hide secret possessions. Each one unnoticed by almost everybody -- even though they were often in plain view few had so much as cigarette butts or graffiti to evince any human presence at all. As time went on I started seeing them everywhere I looked, shockingly common subspaces of the environment, some larger than an average Tokyo apartment. They jumped out at me, calling me to use them, visit them, smoke a joint there or read a book or take a nap.

And even though it's childish, I want to. I want my own secret places, where nobody can find me, where nobody would even think to look. I want places to take friends that they've walked by every day but never noticed, that will make them smile with me in the delight of exploration. If that makes me like a twenty-one year old fourth grader, then so be it.

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