"…and not for five minutes will I be distracted from the wonder…"

Guest Article: A Japanese Adventure

Uncategorized — d-ashes on October 4, 2003 at 12:43 am

My friend Peyton Pickenpaugh
is living in Osaka, Japan, teaching English for a couple of years. She sent
this email out a couple of days ago and it was funny enough that I thought it
worth sharing with the A&W faithful.

Well, it has been an interesting few weeks here in Japan. This email is probably
more for my own recollection than recipient entertainment, but here we go. I have
been introduced to Japanese bureaucracy and social mores through two very separate
instances this week.

Last Thursday I became acquainted with my downstairs neighbor when my washing
machine overflowed onto my floor and into her apartment. The frantic Ms Tanaka
burst in my apartment, wet, in tears, and speaking Japanese at the speed of
light, just as I had finished cleaning up the small pond that had formed in
my washroom. She finally left my apartment after reciting what seemed like Moby
Dick, all to which I nodded to politely. So the following week has consisted
of me visiting her apartment 5 or 6 times to view and review the slight water
stain on her ceiling. At the suggestion of my boss, she has also received three
elaborately wrapped Japanese cakes from me (the Japanese would appreciate a
used diaper as long as it was wrapped nicely). So all await to see if my conduct
was satisfactory.

However, today I was biking home after a nice day at work, when I realized
I had dropped my cell phone. I retraced my steps, but I knew it had been about
fifteen minutes, so I continued on the way home, upset that I would have to
purchase a new phone. I happened to run into a friend of mine who speaks Japanese
very well and he suggested we go to the police station. We find the station
where we meet tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum and they take me through the process
of filling out five forms, no kidding five forms, to state that something has
been lost. So after hearing PIII KEEENNNN PAAAAA about 100 times, he speaks
into his radio, and within 2 minutes, my cell phone is sitting in front of me.

Within 30 minutes of losing my cell phone, 8 blocks away in the 2nd largest
city in Japan, I had found it. But, no, oh no, it wasn’t mine yet. I had to take
another form to the guy that found my phone. However, the police said I would
have to wait in the police station for 45 minutes while we waited for the person
who found it to return home. My friend and I were stuck, we could not go outside.
This was official police business, and probably the most exciting thing that
had happened all month. After waiting an hour and returning the proper form
to the guy who found my phone, who incidentally lives in a porn shop, I was
again a cell phone user. So, I guess my lesson for the week is that these painstakingly
bureaucratic and seemingly benign rules of this country do serve a purpose.
After all I still have my cell phone. Overall it has been quite entertaining!



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