cjsmith: (Default)
[personal profile] cjsmith
Google knows we're in Japan. Yikes! Fortunately, there's a way to stop getting redirected automatically to google.co.jp. Took me a minute or two to see it, though.

Friday morning, had a fun time trying to explain to hotel staff that we were going to be in the room until noon and didn't need anything but towels. After a hallway conversation with the housekeeping woman, then a phone call to the desk, then a hallway conversation (involving lots of bowing and me looking apologetic and saying "kekko desu") with the desk worker who was sent upstairs to deal with us, we managed to get trash and towel service -- with, of course, two additional cotton robes. And toothbrushes. And a bath mat. And some green tea.

I learned the word for "animal doctor", wrote it on a paper chopstick wrapper so I wouldn't forget, and then left the wrapper behind. Idiot.

The people here love my Cocoa Roast almonds. I brought a Ziploc with two full canisters' worth, offered them up at the pot-luck-ish events, and am now nearly out of them.

The women's bathroom at the community center has a little box on the wall whose sole purpose is to produce a continuous flushing noise until you push the stop button. (Why yes, I'm glad I happened to know the character for "stop". I bumped into the start button by mistake, you see.) My bet is that it covers up embarrassing noises. It even fades out appropriately when you tell it to stop! Rob reports that the men's bathroom does not have this feature.

I got a handmade gift! It's a tiny kimono, meant to be hung on a wall, made from fabric from an old full-size kimono.

We have now signed about four shirts - three while people were wearing them - and one purse. One woman wanted her shirt signed, obviously on the spur of the moment (as most of these seem to be), and was quite disappointed to realize she was wearing a black shirt and offering me a black Sharpie. So she brought her beautiful golden handbag to be signed in black Sharpie. We are told that this is perfectly fine, defacing clothing like this, and that these people will be proud to wear these to future events. We're some kind of minor celebrity in the tiny world of square dancing.

I wore some of the earrings we were given when we were here in 2005. Very glad: we saw the woman who gave them to us. She was immensely happy.

Tonight, Mikie's strawberry parfait contained soft ice cream, strawberries, sweet red azuki beans, small pink cylinders of rice dough, and cornflakes. I was almost sad I didn't get it, with all that stuff in it!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-29 02:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fuzzygruf.livejournal.com
Nice update. How thoughtful of you to bring those earrings!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-29 11:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cjsmith.livejournal.com
I was SO GLAD I remembered. It was one of those last minute things -- okay, who am I kidding? The whole packing and planning thing was a rushed eleventh-hour deal! The taxi had pulled up and I opened the case, snagged the earrings, and walked out. Very glad I got them.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-29 02:49 pm (UTC)
davidlevine: (Default)
From: [personal profile] davidlevine
That is all so cool!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-29 11:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cjsmith.livejournal.com
It's awesome and wonderful and amazing. I love it.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-29 03:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jwg.livejournal.com
I remember a stay in a ryokan in Kyoto where I spoke not a word in Japanese nor they a word in English but there were various necessary negotiations about when they were to serve me meals in my room, etc. It worked out just fine.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-29 11:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cjsmith.livejournal.com
It's amazing how well such things can work. Traveling in Europe, there's almost a "language" of standard tourist hand gestures. I remember offering to take a picture of a couple in France, with the Arc de Triomphe in the background, complete with "move back into the sunlight", "move a little to this side", and "one two three smile", all in gestures. (Did feel silly when they walked off speaking English.)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-29 03:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] billeyler.livejournal.com
The signatures on everything is interesting, but I can only think that written English (cursive?) must be as exotic looking to them as Kanji, Hirigana, and Katakana is to us.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-29 11:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cjsmith.livejournal.com
They're totally happy with printed names, too (which is what we did - Sharpie on cloth snags a lot). I think the combination of exotic and "a known caller" must be irresistible.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-29 05:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sandpanther.livejournal.com
On the flushing noise: Yes, it's there to cover the sound of using the toilet. It's a compromise, since before women used to just continuously flush the toilet while they were going. Needless to say, this was a bit of a waste of water.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-29 11:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cjsmith.livejournal.com
Oh my. Yes, that would use up the water quickly!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-30 05:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jb98.livejournal.com
A friend of mine was in Japan recently and had a large number of buttons on the bathroom stall wall to choose from, one of which was to actually flush the toilet. She was startled when a male attendant came into the bathroom asking if she needed anything. It seems she had mistakenly hit the call for help button instead of flush.

Are the toilet seats heated where you are? She thought that was over the top.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-30 10:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cjsmith.livejournal.com
Last time we were here we spent a bunch of time decoding the toilet seat instructions! This time we don't have heat, though we do have fancy spray-cleansing options. The community center where we spent the weekend had heated seats. They're kind of nice in the winter - we loved them in January!

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