Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Adventures at the Dry Cleaners (Part Deux)

Ok, I admit it. The last post wasn't all about the dry cleaners, and this post isn't either. It's about other things. Like my surplus of apples.

I have so many apples.

Where did they come from? I haven't bought apples in a couple of weeks. I went apple picking over a month ago.

Monday I had an elementary school visit. As the vice principal was getting his car to take me back to my main school, the principal disappeared into a closet and came out with a big paper bag full of apples. I carried them around with me all day as I went to the electronics store (to get this adorable humidifier,
except that mine is white. The bottom ring even lights up in rainbow colors! It's awesome!) and had to take three buses to get there and back again and banged the apples around in my bag so every time I moved it smelled like I was lighting an apple candle. Today I forgot my socks so I couldn't go to the gym (excuses) so I took my film to get developed. As soon as I was leaving after looking at the expensive flashes and antique cameras and asking what a lens hood was, they old guy called my name, "Kinbarii! Have some apples! They're big! Here you are!" so I opened my bag and he put them in and laughed really hard for some reason and slapped me on the shoulder. I don't even really eat apples. I eat persimmons. Which reminds me that I should pick up the persimmon core that's sitting in a bowl on my floor where I was eating it this morning for my breakfast while sitting in front of my awesome kerosene heater, which is pointed on my legs right now even though I haven't taken off my coat yet and it's only December what am I going to do it's going to get so cold...

And this time, I was so proud of myself. I said no to a Japanese person! Japanese people never say no, it's almost like they don't know how to. I took my dry cleaning in yesterday, and asked to get some pants shortened, and my sweaters cleaned, and could you please fix these two pockets of my coat that have ripped open inside, that'd be great, it'll be how much?! Although it was more like this...
"Please fix my pants."
"Ok. That'll be 1500 yen."
"Wait. Please wash this sweater."
"Ok. That'll be 2000 yen."
"No, I'm not done yet. Here, I have more sweaters."
"Ok. That'll be 3000 yen."
"No, stop trying to take my money! I have more. Please wash and fix this coat."
"Oh, that'll be.......lemme look at this price guide for a long time. Hrm, that might be 3000 yen. We have to rip open the lining and go in from the inside."
"Can't you just make it ugly and do it from the pocket side? Nobody's going to look at it."
"That's not exactly how things are done, you see."
"Ok. Then I'll just do it at home."
"What? We'll call you and let you know how much it will be."
"Ok. If it's too much I'll just hold off."

So today I went back.
"The pockets will be 2100 yen." (This sentence took about two minutes to say, she was being so polite.)
"Hrm, that's a lot. I'm going home soon so I'll just do it there."
"..............I see.................."

One thing that kinda got to me though was that I felt that I couldn't just say no, I don't want to do that now, because they wouldn't understand. If someone takes something in to get repaired, why on earth would a person change their mind? A Japanese person would just suck it up and pay. So I was a little annoyed that I had to give a reason for wanting to do something (that I was going home) and that was the only way I could get out of the situation. If the reason was that I was poor and couldn't afford to fix the pockets, what would I have done? I can't say I'm poor, and just saying no would be met with utmost confusion. This is the land where everything has to be smooth and....right. Perfect. Coat pockets must be fixed no matter what the cost (and indeed it does cost, because Japanese tend to not say no even when a price is too high), for the same reason that an elementary school student would do their connect the dots with a ruler. I've seen it.

But today I did say yes to an impulse buy of peach and strawberry juice. Yummy!


Anonymous said...

I love that little humidifier! The Japanese really love cute things, don't they. I also love your story about the dry cleaners and the apples. Your life there seems so interesting and different. Everything is an adventure. I would be grinding my teeth if I had to be so perfect all the time. xoxo mommy

Anonymous said...

This is the funniest post ever!! You are a great writer :)