Japanese City Pop is a Technicolor ice cream cone in Saint-Tropez in 1982. It’s a sailboat being buffeted through tropical waters with an easy wind. It’s coming in from the surf in the late afternoon half-drunk and half-hungover, licking salt off your arm. So you go back to your hotel. You take a shower. You fall asleep watching an old Western on TV, you forget which one, maybe Stagecoach. It’s dark out when you wake up. Do a couple of bumps while you get dressed. A fresh button-up is in the hotel dresser where you unpacked it. The white linen suit is still in its plastic dry-cleaning bag, hung on the hall closet doorknob while you were out. Sit on the bed to put on the penny loafers you know are tacky but love anyway because they remind you of your dad, the smell of sun-warmed leather on the deck of a sailboat. Comb your hair, spritz on some Drakkar Noir and hit the boardwalk. Wind up at a different casino from last night, then at the casino bar, then dancing with smoky eyes and a coral mouth. Take off your shoes in the middle of the road outside the club. She’s laughing at you. Roll up your pants and lope down to the beach with the bottle of sake she made you buy (you prefer gin.) Try to build a fire, then realize you’re too drunk to make a fire. Smoke cigarettes and fuck badly instead. Pass out in the sand and wake up to a still-dark sky and birdsong. Watch the sky go from navy, to gray, to peach, and finally to then rosy pink of dawn. Put on your loafers and do a pocket check. You lost your aviators at some point in the night. No, she took them from you. She was wearing them at the casino, teasing you for looking like an asshole. You know you look like an asshole. That’s the point. Then you see it. You stop to turn back toward the water. The first rays of daylight paint your face coral, and for a moment, you feel beautiful and perfect. In the gray pre-dawn light, your life was full of the same little thoughts and troubles you woke up to every morning before. But this morning, for whatever reason, the spotlight swiveled its electric orange beam to shine on you, only you. The morning burst will be gone 30 seconds later, fading to the dovish light of post-dawn. But you were there for the apex. You saw the sun, and the sun saw you. It didn’t just see you. It recognized you. Time to go home. It’s a new day.