If you were given the opportunity to go back to the past and change one event in your life, would you take it or not? What would you do? And if not, why not? If the idea of time-travelling has sparked your interest, then Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s “Before the Coffee Gets Cold” might be the book for you!

This novel comprises of four short stories, each of them involving a protagonist who has visited the infamous Japanese cafe named Funiculi Funicula. They were all aware of the cafe’s time-travelling capabilities and had planned which events they wanted to revisit.

For example, Fumiko Kiyokawa wanted to see her lover before he travelled to another country. Mrs Kohtake, who had wanted to receive a letter from her husband before, had lost his memory due to Alzheimer's disease.

However, the characters had to abide by some strict rules about time-travelling:

1. The only people you can meet in the past are those who have visited the cafe.

2. There is nothing you can do in the past that will change the present.

3. In order to return to the past, you have to sit in a specific seat and in that seat alone.

4. You had to stay in that seat and never move from it.

5. There's a time limit. Your time in the past will begin from the time the coffee is poured into the cup, and you must drink all of the coffee before it gets cold. When you have drunk all the coffee, you will return to the present.

While the time travel concept seems outlandish, the character’s situations are completely relatable. Their hardships convey a remarkable and profound message: that we must embrace the present, learn and take accountability for our previous mistakes and regrets, but we cannot ultimately remain stuck in the past.

Lastly, I strongly encourage readers to read the remaining four books in the “Before the Coffee Gets Cold” series. They offer many new characters, allowing us to embark on even more bizarre and fascinating time-travel adventures.