Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Put it in the mail, and mail it to me.

I just got back from THE post office, where I dropped off my absentee US voter registration so I can contribute my two cents to the nation's decision of who the next leader of the "free world" is.  

I say THE post office because I have a favorite here.  In a country that LOVES sending mail for every occasion, it can seem like you’re never more than a stone’s throw from a post office.  But I.  I will walk 20 minutes out of my way to go to one specific post office.  MY postoffice.  The one that’s technically closest to our apartment, but is the opposite direction from anything else that’s helpful in my day to day shenanigans.

Let’s back up a bit here.  We all know my Japanese is FAR from perfect, and I so I can understand why to many Japanese folk here, I can be a little intimidating to interact with.  And on a whole, I genuinely appreciate the amount of effort that people will put into communicating with me when I need help.  Directing me to a park, or clarifying if the train I’m on is a rapid or a local, or even that one time I needed a whole bunch of help figuring out what to do with dog poop. 

That said, while I can now confidently navigate the ins and outs of necessary conversation, I occasionally miss the “fun” conversation.  You know, the pleasantries one can exchange to add a little flavor throughout a chat.  Something that displays your personality and makes an exchange more than “Noun+Verb?”  “Noun+Verb.” 

But like I said before, I can be an intimidating person to talk to.  It’s rare to find someone who will take that leap with me and try.

Case in point, at the grocery store with the good baking supplies, the cashier is less than pleased with my enthusiasm for his speedy checking skills.

Then there's the post office.  At MY post office, there is one lady who makes sure to wait on me every time I walk through the doors.  At first, I just liked her because I could tell she was excited to work with a foreigner (sometimes you can get that look when you walk up to a register which can only mean “oh sh*t.”)  Then I liked her even more because in my crappy Japanese I asked her to make me a sample of how something should be addressed, and she came out from behind the counter to show me just what to do.  THEN, I started to look forward to our interactions because I could tell she was really striving to find me the best deals on sending things to the states (y’all, it’s not cheap).  

A few weeks ago I got our “Happy New Year!” cards ready to send out (Japanese folk send HNY cards instead of Christmas cards.  I appreciated the deadline extension, so I decided to assimilate to that particular cultural idea).  I dutifully brought them all to my postoffice, addressed just how my favorite post-clerk had shown me.  (Yes, she has a name… but let’s call her H-san for internet sake).  She chatted with me while she figured out postage for each:

“These are going out a bit late for the New Year, you know.”
(Not catching the hint of fun teasing in her voice, I was so ashamed that I immediately threw The Mister under the bus)
“Oh.  Um… yes, I know.  I had to wait for my husband to finish writing his cards out.”
And then she giggled and said: 
“That’s why I’m not married.”

It took me a minute, folks.  But once I realized she was making a joke, I LOST MY MIND.  No one here had made a joke with me yet!  And that was a decent -albeit simply worded so I can understand-JOKE!  I laughed like a hyena on a bender for the next five minutes.  

A day or so later I had to mail a box of cat toys as a thank you to a friend who had let The Mister use her computer to do some Navy stuff while we were home over the holidays, and she had this great gem:
complete with arm "explosion" and "pachow!" sound to make sure I really understood the question

So we’re best friends now is what I’m saying.  Me and H-san.  Who wants a package?

Do you frequent a particular business 
because you dig the employees?  
Tell me about it in the comments!

today's little language lesson:
Kono neko no omocha wa bakuhatsu-seidesu.
this cat toy is explosive.

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