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Thursday, November 2

The Exact Present You Never Knew You Wanted

The mailing system to Japan is a pretty fickle one. Often packages come weeks after they are suspected to have been lost or stolen and I am already being sent a replacement for whatever it was that I had ordered. Knowing how contrary the system is, I spent this morning wrapping Christmas presents so they could be sent out this week to the States in an effort for them to possibly arrive in time. It’s worth a shot.

While in the midst of wrapping, I came across some Japanese incense I had purchased for a friend which I later changed my mind about and purchased something different instead. When I had made the purchase, there was a small collection of incense in this one area of the store. In that corner I found these tiny decorative tubes, about the length of incense but as I couldn’t open them due to a seal, I asked the cashier if they were indeed incense. She said yes and I paid 600 yen and moved on.

Today I pulled the tube out and decided that this would be a little gift to myself since the original person is already being treated to something similar but nicer. I opened the tube to smell its contents, only to find… toothpicks. A tiny pretty tube of eight little toothpicks. Looks like once again, a cashier didn’t understand a single word I had said and just smiled and nodded to get me to leave. Quickly.

Anyone want six buck worth of toothpicks for Christmas? I’ll leave them in the pretty, little tube. AND I’ll even mail them today so I’m sure you will get in time for next Christmas.


Mike S said...

Were they the cute little picks with a pointy end and a couple knobs on the other? Some say those are so you can rest the pick on them if you break them off. What they really represent is the wooden dolls of the area where they were originally made.
I spoke passing fair Nihongo and used to love watching folks trying to talk to shop owners as they nodded, before offering my services, just to see what transpired. In Japan, a nodding head means "I hear you speaking and I'm acknowledging that you are speaking" and has zero to do with understanding what you said. Just being polite. After all, you're in a country full of folks who bow to the telephone while talking.

Kimono Karen said...

That's exactly what they were! Very interesting. Do you think you can move back here and guide us through this beginning stage? :)

I knew about the nodding head but when she verbally said yes, I thought I was in the clear. Will be much more careful in the future.