Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I'm a sucker for old ladies

Yesterday, I skipped out of school early (legally using nenkyuu so I wasn't being bad) and headed down to Naha to run some errands. I have a list of things to buy before I leave Okinawa and hoped to knock out some great shopping. I had quite a hilarious afternoon full of strange encounters, including a random marching band playing their way past me as I sat and ate ice cream. They came out of nowhere and completely messed up traffic on the hugely busy Kokusaidori. I think it was a Sousa tune.

But the best part was when I decided that I wanted to start looking for an Okinawan version of a yukata. I didn't have much cash on me so was also searching for an ATM machine that would take my card. I hoped to find money before finding something I really wanted to buy. After having no luck on the main street, I headed down the market street of Heiwadori and stumbled across a yukata shop with exactly what I was looking for. I asked the kind lady how much it would set me back and she gave me a figure that I was willing to deal with. But, alas, I had no money. I asked (in Japanese) where there was an ATM and before I knew it, I was following this lady through the maze of the market, passing old ladies selling old lady clothes, random food stalls, zigzagging through various passageways, and all the while gibbering in pidgin. We "discussed" how I am an English teacher, how hot Okinawa is, that Chicago is big, that it's really hot in Okinawa, that the market was confusing, that I live in Chatan, that I am leaving at the end of the month, and that it is truly really exceptionally hot in Okinawa. But the lady delivered! She was a shrewd one...knowing that if she delivered me to an ATM, she would be benefitting from some of those yennies being thrown out of the machine. And she had a golden day because I followed her back to her little shop and got to discuss all of the above things with her little old lady friend at the stall next door. They dressed me up in the yukata, exclaimed "kawaiiiiiii!!!!!", and threw in a little belt for free, plus instructions on how to wear the robe. All of this happened in about five minutes and by the end, I was swooning a bit. I stumbled my way out with cash burning a hole in my pocket, the heat going to my head, and many other spontaneous purchases on the horizon.

It was a fantastic day.

Hope everyone has a great 4th of July! I am hoping to see some firework extravaganzas from the bases surrounding my apartment. You'd think that this would be the one day when my view of their ugly barracks would have benefits.


Carly said...

There's a whole episode about wearing yukata and going to a summer festival in Doug's anime series. I really think you'd get a kick out of it.

Kenneth Griggs said...

When Japanese people talk to me now, I just hand them a print-out and walk away:

I'm fine thank you and you?
Yes, there are four seasons where I come from.
No, there really isn't a "rainy season" per se, though in April in Illinois we get our share (and if we don't, my father complains)
Yes, we have sushi.
No, you don't get shot at when you go to the grocery store.
I'm 30. Thank you, yes, I look 25.
Yes, I use chopsticks well.
Yes, it's hot. You mentioned that already.
We are done talking now.

Juhi said...

hey rachel,
arent u comin to d consulate today? i was actually hopin to find u there... dave invited me, and i thought it might be interesting... anyhow... nice blog, though it deserves a pic of the yukata.. :)