Monday, February 22, 2016

Changing Seasons & 'Spacial Reasoning'

We had some visitors from some of the North American branches of The Mister’s company this past week.  We offered to go with them on a souvenir shopping mission one night to help with translating.  One of our guests had heard about a specialty Kit Kat Bar that is popular in Japan for Valentines Day - the candies are dyed pink and packed in a cute little box that she thought would be a perfect gift for her neighbor’s little girls.  Except we went out on a mission to find these Kit Kats on the 18th of February - which you might recognize as being 4 days AFTER Valentine’s Day.  If you’re reading this from anywhere other than Japan, you are probably thinking the same thing our visitor thought: Great!  4 days after means those Valentine Kit Kats are going to be on SUPER discount!

But we’ve lived here long enough to know the truth:  Oh no.  Those Valentine KitKats?  They were cleared from the shelves the as the clock struck 12:01AM on February15th. (we ended up finding some Hinamatsuri candy kits instead.)

It’s an interesting phenomenon I realized I’ve gotten used to here.  Seasons are a REAL big deal to Japanese folks, and they revel in not only the celebration of holidays that are seasonal, but also in how those times change over to the next.

The day after Valentine’s Day, the hearts, chocolates, and roses were immediately cleared out to make room for the upcoming seasonal celebrations:  White Day, Hinamatsuri, St. Patty's Day*, and Hanami.
The blossoms are coming. Prepare yourselves for Cherry Blossom Flavored EVERYTHING.
Now, as demonstrated above, I know all of this in my brain.  I logically get what’s going on and why products change over.

Except after Valentine’s day last week, I was walking through the store and came across an aisle that had been entirely emptied - shelves cleared off, end cap tables disassembled, and clearance bins moved off the sales floor.  I guess I hadn’t had enough coffee just yet, because my immediate first reaction was notOh, they’re changing the seasonal stuff over.

No, friends. 
My first reaction was “Holy s---, there must be a category 5 typhoon coming, the people are all buying up the groceries!  IMMEDIATE PANIC MODE.”

Instead of stopping to think that empty aisle used to house heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, or to look and see that all the other aisles were just as they always are, or that no one else seemed particularly perturbed by this latest turn of events, I bought up all the eggs, toilet paper, and dog bones that I could carry.  

I am really good at being prepared for an emergency.  Clearly these are the three things that every household NEEDS when there are no lights, refrigeration or running water available (okay but at least the TP is a legit emergency purchase). 

Long story short, I came home, looked at the news, realized I’m an idiot, and then used the extra eggs to do a bunch of baking.  Also dog bones never go to waste here, so no harm, no foul. 
Dog-bone Jenga. Both his favorite and his least favorite game.

Also if you fail at Panic Mode like me, I recommend an Emergency Preparedness Kit.

What three things (which may or not be actually useful) 
would you grab in an emergency?
Tell me in the comments!

today's little language lesson
dokoni watashi wa shyamuroku no kutsushita o kaimasuka?
Where can I buy Shamrock Socks?
*Daiso.  There are Shamrock Socks at Daiso.

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