So it seems I have lost my blogging mojo, but have found the impeteous to sit in front of the pc and type today. Lots going on in Chez Sawamura, but today the biggest news to report is that I will not have to report my iphone lost/stolen or otherwise. I realised my phone was not in my bag about 4pm yesterday as we left to do a beer run to the local supermarket. Thinking it was probably on the sofa/dining table/in the kitchen I didn’t worry too much. It was only later in the evening that I realised I couldn’t find my iphone in any of the usual places I may have put it and it also hadn’t been kicked under under the sofa/the bed, or left in the laundry pile or other odd places I could have put it during the course of the afternoon. Somebody was clearly looking after me yesterday because when I retraced my steps this morning to Sun Street Shopping Centre in Down Town Kameido, a lovely security guard radioed a description of my lost property to the security people in an office behind the loading bay and sure enough there was my iphone. Left on the table at the food court by a stupid me and found by a kind, law-abiding Japanese citizen who handed it in. Big sigh from me and huge thank you to the Japanese nation for not abiding by the laws of Finders Keepers.
En-route to hoikuen this morning I had a spat with an old man in the street. He started it, but I had to bite back. I have both the kids on the bike and I am coming up behind this guy so I ring the bell to alert him to my presence. Nothing worse in my opinion is a cyclist whizzing past and frightening the life out of you or even worse you suddenly move in a different diection and the on-coming cyclist hits you. I know Japanese people do not like using bicycle bells. Why oh why are most bicycles fitted with a bell if you are not going to use it??? So anyway, this guy screams at me as I cycle passed after using my bell. I stop and ask him what his problem is. I am already is a foul mood because of lost iphone and a reluctant Alexa who doesn’t want to go to hoikuen but wants to stay home and watch Toy Story all day. I have a million things to do, but this guy pisses me off. He tells me it is rude to use a bicycle bell. Hmmm. I tell him it’s rude to not alert someone that you are coming up from behind and that’s why bikes have bells. He says you should just shout as you cycle passed and then attempts to push me and the bike out of the way. Luckily I had my feet firmly on the floor or we would have toppled over. He really wasn’t expecting anyone (least of all a foreign woman) to question his “authority” and his only response was to lash out. Next time I see him I will shout at him. Miserable git.
The not ringing the bell on a bike does get my goat. Cyclists whizzing passed and almost hitting you without so much as a warning is just plain rude and dangerous in my opinion. I really can’t see how ringing a bell is rude but nearly knocking someone over is OK or making them jump out of their skin is perfectly OK. One of those cultural differences I will never understand I guess. I have to remind myself constantly that the irritating differences that I notice living here in Japan are always outweighed by the good things. The safe return of my iphone this morning is a prime example. This basic decency far far outweighs the rude cycling rules that prevail here in Japan. Had I already known that my iphone was safe and sound when I encountered said old man this morning, I know I would have reacted differently, but alas, I was a woman who had stupidly lost her iphone and now had to retrace steps and then possibly do lots of paper work to report it missing and then have to fork out lots of cash to replace the lost phone. God Bless Japan!
Anyway, me and the kids are off to Izu for a few days next weekend. We are going to West Izu to a small place called Heda, near Shuzenji. I have a friend, Bryan who has a guest house there and I keep meaning to visit so I made a reservation and have booked the Shinkansen tickets, too. I think the kids are more excited about going on the Shinkansen. Tadashi couldn’t make it or didn’t know if he could make it, so I made the reservations without him. It’s Obon and every man and his dog is going to be going somewhere. Reservations need to be made before it’s impossible to get your bum on a seat on a Shinkansen. Tadashi claimed that he would have a few days off the following week and we could do something then as a family. Now the tickets and reservations for Izu have been made, Tadashi tells me that he probably could come along with us. Bloody men. However, he can’t be bothered to book his own ticket so he won’t be coming with us and I am not going on holiday with three children! I know the holiday will be much nicer with just me and the kids – how horrible am I? He won’t want to go anywhere when we get to Izu and if you take kids anywhere, you have to keep them happy and entertained. I just wish he would make up his mind. The one time he came to the UK with me when James was a baby, he did the same thing then. I can’t come, I don’t know if I have the time off work etc… Once I’d made the reservations, he decides he wants to come along, too! I had to change the tickets so that he could fly out with us because he didn’t want to fly out on his own the next day, even though he could only stay a week and would be flying back on his own anyway. Big baby about holidays. Always leaves everything to the last minute. Man up and act like a grown up please!
I’ve found a few good bargains recently, too. Killing time before a haircut in Harajuku last week, I wandered into a shop that appeared to be selling mostly crappy shoes and handbags and accessories, but luckily for me I decided to have a mooch. At the back of the shop were more random items – cycling helmets, alarm clocks, various beauty products and some randasell – how is it spelt in romaji? A randasell is a heavy school backpack that ALL KIDS MUST HAVE for elementary school. Not so bad you think, but these bags can cost anything from 25,000 yen to in excess of 50.000 yen. It’s a bloody school bag!!!!!! Nobody seems to question the lunacy in buying such an expensive bag for a 6year old to drag along the gravelly playground at breaktimes. Everybody buys it because everybody must be the same. My friend told me that her eldest daughter’s randasell (what language is this word from?) cost 70,000 yen!!!!! My friend was dead set against spending such a ridiculous amount of money, but who is to stop grandma when she insists that her granddaughter must have only the best. Back to that shop… There were four bags – three red (very traditional colour that Alexa has expressed a preference for) and turquoise blue – a very girly colour here in Japan. Could not be considered remotely desireable for a boy. Plus it would get filthy in no time at all. James wants a black one. I buy a red one for Alexa who isn’t going to elementary school for another 18 months, but hey I couldn’t leave it in the shop at that price. It was 5,250 yen. It’s new with a box. It’s a regular randasell and I have no idea why this shop has things like this at such prices or why oh why do other shops have the same item at such inflated prices. Then yesterday, I find a beautiful yukatta (cotton summer kimono) for Alexa. Knowing how particular she is about clothes, I was reluctant to inspect the garment further. Clothes, for Alexa, must be practical and comfy and definitely not “cute”. I show her the yukatta and she likes it. She tries it on and it’s plenty big enough – hopefull still fit next summer, too. 800 yen for a lovely unusual turquiose blue yukatta, Now we just have to make sure we find those festivals so she can wear it! I am rather taken aback that she is willing to wear it because she really likes wearing tracksuits. Yes, tracksuits. And she hasn’t really shown any sporting prowess yet. She just likes the look and feel of tracksuits. Any tracksuit. It doesn’t even have to be a famous sports brand either as long as it’s comfy and not cute. I’m guessing she sees the yukatta as some kind of “fancy dress” along with her Woody, Puss in Boots and Goseiger costumes.