the other day i went to the post office to send a couple of packages. i had some extra clothing that i can't use anymore, so i offered them to others on a e-mail list. the two packages i had to send were going to kanagawa-ken (close to tokyo--well, closer to tokyo than fukuoka!) i was pretty sure that i needed to write the addresses on a special form, so i copied them down in pencil on a piece of paper.

when i entered the post office, the woman behind the counter had a minor freak-out. because i'm a foreigner. i told her that i wanted to send the packages by COD (addresse pays postage) but i think i said the word wrong (though mostly right, if that makes sense.) she wanted to know where i was sending the packages. i told her, and she wanted to see my paper with the addresses written on it. i handed it to her, and she had a minor freak-out again, because i had written them in roma-ji. she asked her co-worker if she could use the addresses on the paper i had written, meaning cutting the paper and pasting them to the packages. the co-worker told her no, because they were written in pencil. so, the woman who was helping me cut up some paper and asked me to write the addresses on them in ink. i was annoyed because i had written a third address on the back of the paper. obviously, i didn't want to use that paper for the addresses.

i did that and handed them back to her. she carefully taped the addresses to the packages. then she totaled up the shipping and told me the amount. i then told her that i wasn't paying! she was confused. then i told her the people receiving them would pay postage, and then she remembered what i had said when i first came in...she handed me two forms to fill out and i was annoyed even more.

i hate it when things like that happen. that people look at me and see 'foreigner' and loose their brains. like when you speak to someone in japanese (and in good japanese, not a mix of fucked-up words) and they say to you (in japanese) 'i can't speak english.'  or someone at a restaurant assumes you can't use chopsticks and gives you a fork (that doesn't happen so much, though.)

so why do i stay in japan? well, it isn't for the food! maybe it's because, if i lose my wallet, i am likely to get it back.

when my mom was here, japan celebrated a holiday, respect for the aged day. that night during dinner, we were watching the news (in english). on a report about the holiday, there were older people doing exercises and chewing gum. the repoter said, 'the japanese mastication society...' and my mother and i looked at each other and burst out laughing. we laughed for maybe five minutes. i laughed so hard my stomach hurt. i told my mom that's why i stay in japan. you never know when something's going to strike you so funny that you laugh your ass off!

there really is a japanese mastication society, but i never did learn what the benefits of chewing gum during exercise are.