Search This Blog

Saturday, September 9

A Bulk-Sized Post

It’s no secret how much I hate reality television. But it there was ever a show meant for Kimono Hubby and I to be on, it would be Amazing Race. Because we can bitch and moan and criticize with the best of them. That is precisely how we spent our day today.

We do like to explore and while not thrilling on any level, we heard there was a Costco not too far away so we decided to take our first driving field trip. What should have taken about twenty minutes, turned out to be over an hour and twenty minutes. We got lost. Again. But this time, we did actually get there.

We see the Costco sign glistening in the sunlight above all the other building and turn on to the street. The parking lot, like so many others here, is placed at the end of a steep ramp on top of the building. And it is packed. Packed like how we expected Japan to be, one on top of the other, sardine-style packed. Costco was bad on Saturdays back home but this put Springfield’s Costco to shame. After finally deciding just to sit tight and wait for someone in a row to pull out, we manage to get into a parking spot and start the long walk to the entrance. Cart in hands, off to the escalator we go… which is actually a moving walkway, on an incline, that you take your cart directly on with you and it freezes. Stops totally. It doesn’t roll into the person in front or behind you… just sits patiently until you reach the top or bottom. Another modern Japanese science miracle in our small, sheltered world. (Sorry - blurry - couldn't stop laughing.)

We have our membership card from back home but they are much more thorough here and make me turn it over and actually show them the picture *gasp* just to prove it’s mine. Then they hand us our coupons (with pretty pictures so we can read!) and we are on our merry way.

It’s just like any other Costco back home. Photo center on right, sale items on the left, electronics ahead (which would only be useful while living IN Japan), clothes in the middle (none of which would fit as usual), appliances and knick knacks down the right aisles along with cleaners. We did have a little laugh when we saw people checking out some silverware. All that technology and they are finally figuring out how much easier a fork is? Up to this point, we are feeling right at home. Even though we still couldn’t figure out which containers were trash bags so we gave up and kept moving. There is a bakery with the usual cakes and breads and bagels. And then things take a turn to the wild side.

We have been to fish markets in town and I have never been able to purchase a thing. Full, intact octopuses, complete squids, fish of all shapes, sizes and colors laying there staring at you with their big, dehydrated eyes. I can’t skin a fish! Did you know that? So we can’t purchase any of this stuff until someone decides to explain how to clean it. The Japanese just cook the whole darn thing and then pick it clean with their chopsticks. Considering Kimono Hubby still can’t hold his sushi in one piece with them, I am pretty damn sure that we don’t have a shot at fish bits.

There were some regular meats. If you call this monstrosity of a slab of bacon regular. Pork much?

On to the vegetable aisles. And not a thing that we can recognize. Luckily, as the people who own the Costco chain are American and understand that most of us are too stupid to learn the kanji, everything is written very tiny like in English underneath. While this sounds like a wonderful thing, after I read a few, I was entirely disgusted and went back to guessing what it was and trying not to notice to truth of the names. I just don’t think I will ever be down with eating smelt… not pickled, not dried, not fried, not anything.

Do you remember the aisle in Costco that always has the wonderful hummus and tzatziki? That aisle has been replaced. I am actually not all that sad because look what they replaced it with… mild or spicy Korean kimchi! I bought a tub. Yes, I did.

On in the direction of the wine aisle we went, and this is where the cultural differences really start kicking in for us. That lady right there… she is handing out Foster’s samples. The beer, kids! That is definitely something you won’t be seeing back home. Behind her is an aisle full of hard liquor. When did Costco get a liquor license? And since when did people start buying Jack by the case? That would be sake in the milk carton. Be careful in the morning when you are making your cereal, eh?

As usual, by the end of our Costco tour, we were exhausted and had to wait in the usual loooong lines. We could see pizza calling us from the other side and it kept us perky and pushing on. The food court was as full as the parking lot was and not a seat to be seen in the sea of black heads. Like we watched other people doing, we parked our cart and got in line to get our food. When we returned with the food to take our cart… it was gone. Yes… what we didn’t watch is that they have a person whose sole job is to move the carts into a logical order as they empty out. If only we would learn to watch for more than that millisecond, we could make it so much easier on ourselves.

After we found the cart, we stood and shoved in our food faces and then headed back to the escalator with our cart. Back at the car, loaded and ready to go, we pull out of the parking lot seemingly on the right track this time. As before, it is never quite that easy.

Of course, we did cut the ride down to forty-five minutes this time.

I’m just happy there is always improvement.

No comments: