Sunday, August 06, 2006

peanut butter whisperer

my day began well. this morning i talked with a very cute english teacher who’s about my age about shopping and pancakes and potatoes. her english has a subtle british burr that’s endearing, and she speaks japanese clearly enough that someday i may be able to understand it. i came home for lunch and watched the only episode of Without A Trace that i had seen in the states. they’re disconnecting my English channels tomorrow (too expensive), so i may as well enjoy it. when i got off work, i was looking forward to riding my new bicycle (yet to be named) to the farther-away, but better-stocked grocery, jusco, and maybe even getting flour and trying my hand at some pancakes. i had my backpack in hand and i unlocked my bike only to find it had a very flat tire. immediately my mind played scenes of some ill-wisher flattening it for me. but is that really characteristic of the japanese? sigh. i found no tacks or nails or anything that indicated why it has so suddenly, after the virgin ride, been rendered joyless. i still needed food, so i settled on a walk to the nearest grocery, okuwa. i focused on smelling the smells and seeing what was to be seen. i smelled nutmeg and wet. as for what i saw...a pretty white bird in the canal (crane? egret?) and Old People. this seems to be a town of mostly people over 75...they totter tenaciously on their bikes, and i’ve barely been able to elicit a smile from even one of them. feel the love. at okuwa i wheeled around looking for anything i could recognize to eat for dinner. there was some pretty good looking tuna sashimi for six bucks--what the hell? i also found something that caused me much rejoicing: skippy. now american peanut butter speaks my language (but it speaks my language at a high price...this little jar was almost $4). i got some veggies and noodles and rice crackers and milk and also some mysterious popsicles, but the peanut butter made my day. i cracked that package open as soon as i was out the door and walked back home feeling oddly justified walking down the street licking skippy off my fingers.
Update: according to the company that sold me my bike (o joyful), the tire was flawed, so it was no one's fault. they kindly gave me a loaner bike while they send my tire back to the manufacturer, and it's orange! beautiful, glowing orange. if that had been available in the store i would have bought it, so i'm not too sad about the time it's taking them to fix mine.
keep it tuned in for heroic feats of trash separating and squealy bug-killing.

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