Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Business of Saturday

Ted has to work a lot of weekends, going on field trips or doing camps with students.  This weekend was free, so we planned to do some shopping and errands together.

There is a free bus that goes to the shopping mall every two hours from near us starting at 8:38 am. The 10:38 am bus is always crowded with the grannies and their shopping carts, so it is better to go at 8:38 am. The mall opens at 9:00 am and the bus gets there a few minutes before.  While waiting for the doors to open, I noticed this sign in kanji and English. Do you see the symbol for fire (the person running away)? There is one strange symbol in common with all three of these warnings.  I’m going to have to ask someone what it means.

In the US you don’t often see pay phones anymore, but here in Japan they are common.

We walked through the stitching store without buying anything on the way to the pet store.  Last time they had no cats, but today there were three fluffy expensive kittens. Kawaii desu. The real reason we went to the mall was to look at curtains for the bedroom.  We found a set we wanted to buy, but we didn’t buy them at that time because we were going to another shopping area and didn’t want to carry them all morning. We would have to come back here to catch the bus home, so we thought we’d buy them then. Our next stop was to be the Hyaku Yen store that opened at 10 am, but it was early yet, so we had a coffee break at Mr. Donut. Free coffee refills are normal in the US, but not here.  Mr. Donut has good coffee and they refill your cup.  So, after two cups of coffee and a donut, we started walking to the other shopping area.  While walking we met up with two of Ted’s students who were riding their bikes to another town 15 miles away!

This second shopping area has a Home Mac store (kind of like Home Depot), a Big House grocery, and the giant Hyaku Yen.  At Home Mac we bought a big bag of dirt and looked at gardening tools because we are going to have a patch in the community vegetable garden when the snow melts. Ted carried the heavy bag of dirt in the backpack the rest of the morning.

At Big House we bought some groceries.  It’s cheaper than the neighborhood Haruki, but it’s far away and not so easy to get to from where we live.  At the Hyaku Yen store we bought some vegetable seeds and a pack of sunflower seeds. Ted’s going to get them started growing in tiny pots so that they will be ready to plant when the snow is gone. By the time we got back to where the bus stop is, it was almost 12 noon, when the bus would be coming. We didn’t want to miss the noon bus because we’d have to wait until 2 pm for the next one. We raced to get to the upstairs store and buy the curtains and made it to the bus stop with a few minutes to spare.  One thing you can count on here is that public transportation runs on time. 

After lunch at home, we went to the library. I filled out a short form and gave the librarian the form along with my alien card and received my very own library card.  Even though the form and my alien card spell out Pamela clearly, she typed my name into her computer as Pamera.  I didn’t correct her.  I checked out one book in English.  I’ve been reading from my iPod so long, will I remember how to hold a book?  We took the long way home to check on the remaining snow and see the flowers that have just started popping up.

The business of Saturday was taken care of.

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