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Friday, May 26

The Modern American Geisha

God knows I love the shopping. In fact, if you ask Kimono Hubby what my hobbies are, he would be hard pressed to come up with more than that one. She likes to spend money, he says. This is disheartening though. I am not that shallow. It isn't even about being shallow. It is more of a need for me. The new dirty word. A big old monkey on my back. And it is getting worse.

We found out we were moving in late January. We couldn't have been more excited! The research had done prior to picking Japan. We knew what was there for us to see and do and experience. We knew we would love it. Now all that was needed was the indepth information. Where to live, visit, eat and stay. And there was born another perfect excuse to go shopping... we must buy travel books! Lots of them! Off to Borders and over $100 later, we headed home with four books. All basically the same, all about Japan, all with generally the same tourist traps indicated. I scanned the stack and was done by the end of the day. This wasn't going to be enough. Must buy more, the little voice said. Two days later I find myself at Barnes and Noble. This time you really need to know about the culture, the little voice says. You don't want to be the American idiot that doesn't respect their customs or is oblivious to their traditions. I purchase another three books on culture. At home, I peruse the newest accumulations and again I am done by the end of the day. But how did they come to be like this? There must be books about their history that explain this better. Another trip to Borders. While we are here, we totally need this book on Japanese phrases. The voice is ever so persistent. And I return home, now with 2,000 glorious years of Japanese history in my little hands! Success is mine! Bah! These are so boring! I just can't be pleased. One week, hundreds spent, ten shiny, new books on my shelf and I couldn't care less.

Why the burning need always for more? I try to blame it on the area I live in. Everyone is so materialistic here in this city. I wasn't like this back home. Now, I need to keep up. I need more stuff. But if I am calling it stuff, is it still a need though? And is it really even the area I live in? Is this just my problem?

I have been teased about this need. And it doesn't even bother me. I do feel like I need when I don't. And I do try so hard to control myself. I avoid the mall for a whole month. And then one tiny whim hits me and I must go to the Gap. The Gap, people! Who needs the Gap? A place that sells the same clothes year after year? If you bought it once, you bought it 100 times! But the voice is still there. RIGHT NOW!, it says. Powerless against it, there I am on the same day that damn voice spoke up, buying more things I need.

Once I was at the beach with some friends. When you are with friends, there is always a need for shopping. That need is totally justifiable. I hear you. Don't argue with me! Anyway, we came across a store that sold some of the tackiest things we have ever laid eyes on. And yet one friend stands beside me and says, we totally need those shorts. They are green... and say "bootylicious"... on the ass... but, oh, yeah! We totally need these! And we run to the counter with the exquisite goods tightly squeezed into our hands.

I cannot tell you how many times I find myself in this situation. I do swear though that it rarely is a purchase of such blatant tackiness. *sigh* I do love those shorts though. Even with the booty not so licious anymore.

Lately the voice has one great excuse. You need it for Japan. Damn, girl. You be way too big to be fittin' in their clothes. Belly shirts and minis are not a good look for someone with all that junk in the trunk.

Who can argue with that?

Off to the mall, I go armed with my one and only preciousssss credit card. (Do I sound like Gollum?) I buy shirts and skirts and shoes! Oh the lovely shoes! I buy for Kimono Hubby because certainly he can't wear their clothes either. And he totally has needs too! He just doesn't know it.

No one could ever need while I am around to stop it.

But stop it must. Not now! I'm not strong enough yet. But when I get to Japan. I'm sure I can do it. What clothes can I possibly buy in a foreign country where the tallest people only come up to my boobs? Oohhh... won't you have a pretty new house to decorate? Gah! Shut up already voice!

And the vicious cycle continues. We all want a simple kind of life. But let's be honest. It is never going to happen again. Even the simple things need to be paid for with the biggest price tag. Am I even winning if my need may be simple but pricey?

I will find a way. I want to change. I want to be as simple as I can. And there is no better place than a land that is all about simplicity and inner calm! I should probably stay out of Tokyo though. Pray that my resolve doesn't crumble when the first sign of a 4-level mall comes into view. It is time to prove to my husband that there is more to me than the shopping. He knows it. He just forget sometimes. My job in my new home, my new land, will be to bring those other interests back to the foreground. It is time to shake this monkey.

Oh, but please don't fault me for one new purchase? Pretty please with sugar on top? I must have the coveted kimono! Purple and red with dragons on it! When you come to visit, I will arrive at the airport to pick you up, dressed in my beautiful garb, and I shall calmly bow to show my respect. And you will know that, with the calm aura that surrounds me, I have changed who I am. The shorts will still read "bootylicious" on the derriere and I will proudly sport them under my lovely new kimono. But I will have conquered the need, that old monkey. Because we all have the strength inside of us to be better people.

And then I will turn around... and I will moon you with the finest of grace. And you will know what it is to be the modern American geisha.


Anonymous said...

"Brave, honest, inspiring..."

Ang Hall said...

I just started reading your blog today and after reading your most recent postings, I had to go back and start from the beginning. I was cracking up at the green shorts and junk in trunk comments and know that I am now addicted to reading whatever you write. You've got great storytelling talent girl!