My god the days are flying past. More earthquakes, more people shopping, and it’s getting cold here (still not as cold as Toronto). Turns out January 2nd is THE day to go shopping in Japan – and it all started here in Sendai. You can go to any retailer and see tables filled with bags – bags for 2000 yen, 5000 yen, 10,000 yen (now you can see what is in the bag before you buy it – when it first started you couldn’t and it was a total crapshoot). And it can all be yours – that is if you lined up the night before. At 6pm on January 1st, there were five guys lined up in sleeping bags and pup tents in front of Zara, hopefully lining up for their wives, girlfriends and mistresses. No I did not take a picture, we don’t need to see more guys who have no clue how to please a woman (or to say no).
I’ll admit that I’ve become a lot more comfortable with dealing with situations that involve speaking Japanese than when I first showed up. I was first terrified of going to the 7-11 down the street to for that 3am booze run. The awkward slurred speech saying “Arrrrrrrrrigato”, saying it loud enough to see the cashier jump, stumbling out of the store into the mild October night – has been replaced with having enough booze and rushing to Moss Burger or McDonalds before they close at 1am.
Google Translate is an amazing tool to translate web pages and documents and Rosetta Stone has helped with pronouncing Japanese phrases and recognizing one of the three types of writing that they have here. Complicated – yes. Worthwhile knowing – yes, especially in Sendai. There are not many people who speak English well enough to hold a basic conversation, but thank goodness for the employees at the Forus Starbucks – lots of smiling, hand signals and pointing to menus has made life a little easier. Forus is one of the big department chains here in Japan. Starbucks is a coffee shop that serves overcooked, supposed fair trade coffee and plays music that only changes every two months. Just in case you didn’t know that already.
That’s it for now. It’s almost 1am and I need sleep to make it through tomorrow. A number of the teachers at TIS are getting back in – so it will be saying hello, commenting on how much turkey they ate, how little I ate, how much fun it is to see family…..you get the idea. But there will be my last helping of sushi Wednesday night, so all is not lost.