[The American Years]

Sunday, April 09, 2006

A Bit Less Like Camping.

This is the nice man who brought in my air shipment. Service. Japanese service is amazing. The guy gave the impression that this is the job he was born to do and that he loves nothing more than carrying boxes (at a walk-jog pace) unpacking them, and reassembling bikes for strange people. On a Sunday. It's his hobby, his calling. He does it whenever he can and thinks about it the rest of the time. That's Japanese service.

I’m very excited about the arrival. More clothes so I don’t have to do laundry. More bedding so I am not curled up under one Scooby Doo blanket every night. (I have Spiderman too, now!) My bike is here! Less driving! (And I have to learn to ride my bike on the left side of the road…) And cooking utensils! I now have a pot… to cook in, thankyouverymuch. And a pan, and plates. Oh, and did I mention 37 bottles of wine, and no corkscrew? (It’s OK, If I had a corkscrew then I'd have a cork, and then I’d have to figure out which recycling category it goes in. Anyway I’ve developed a taste for Australian screw-topped wine. The taste is not so bad, and it also works great as a basin-tub-and-tile cleaner.)

The pot and pan are a huge help. In my exuberance on my first trip to the grocery I bought eggs and hot dogs. So exciting, until I realized that I couldn’t cook either one. I did skewer a hot dog on a chopstick and roast it over the gas flame of the stove. That worked OK, but the same technique didn’t work quite as well with the egg. So they have sat in the fridge until this day. This glorious day. I have declared it Hot Dog and Egg Day here in Rose Hills B-1. Let the feast begin! I can also make coffee now, rather than buying it in single-serving cans. I can only make instant, but it’s a step in the right direction. And the Japanese have good instant coffee.

The TV also got delivered. But I have no DVD’s and no cable until Wednesday. So for now it’s watching me.

And I still have no chair. Bit of an oversight on my part. I was going to have the patio furniture sent in the air shipment, but failed to get it in there. So I’m still eating over the sink and sitting on the floor (as I write this even). But now at least I have better pillows to sit on.

Cherry Blossoms in Nagoya.

After a little trouble I finally got my Japanese banking information and card. It was held at the post office because I wasn’t at my house to sign for it. It almost got sent back to the bank which would have been further trouble. So I got it. It occurred to me that at no time did anyone in the process of getting the banking set up ask if I wanted 2 cards or just one. I haven’t figured out if they give you one because the man is supposed to have control of the dough, or that the woman takes care of all the finances and errand running while hubby-san is at work. Whichever reasoning better reaffirms the superiority of men is the one in operation here, I’m sure.

Get this: They don’t do checkbooks here. And it’s Ok. Very few places even accept credit cards, but that’s growing. ATM purchase is unheard of. They are largely a cash and carry society. But they do… passbooks. I kid you not. I have a passbook for the first time since the ‘birthday money’ account I had as an 8-year-old. Some of you might not even know what a passbook is. Sure the Japanese have advanced technology and talking robot dogs and the world standard of cellphones, but they still carry and use the Jurassic technology of passbooks. And the ATM’s will update them for you. There’s a slot for cards and a slot for passbooks. You put in your passbook and it prints out your recent transactions on it. Everything old is new again. A machine that automatically prints on a passbook? You might as well have an ATM which laser prints receipts on stone tablets, or a postal drop box that automatically and robotically ties your letter to a pigeon’s leg.



Skip said...

I did know that the Japanese were a mostly cash culture, but I didnt know about the passbook. That's great. My first and only passbook was from Coast Federal Savings. It was great waiting line to give them my pennies.


Is that address you have?

Also, if your bored, I think you should check out the joys of youtube.


You may never be bored again

Angry Monkey said...


Aaah. The days! I actually ran across my old passbook when I packed up from Cincy to AA. Do they still "close" the machines at night with those rolling metal garage doors? Never could understand why you'd make an ATM and then keep the same inconvenient hours as a teller window. ( At least until I tried the teller one day with their multi-colored plastic trays and 3 waiting areas...) Bon chance mon ami!