Wednesday, September 03, 2008

perplexing service people, a favorite pastime...

...second only to trying genghis khan-flavored caramels. i kid you not. actually, the meat and onion caramels were pretty good, like a tiny little willy wonka meal.

ugh. i will try to ignore how gross i feel right now and write this, because there are many little things to talk about, and i haven't really been getting them up lately.
so, in my never ending quest to make grammatically perfect japanese sentences (yeah right), or at least ones that aren't complete gibberish, i was preparing to ask the old man of ye corner office supply store what colors of plastic tape he had. was it nan iro, nani iro, donna iro? i cross-referenced my handy online dictionary to see if the combination of characters meant something other than what i hoped to say. nani is used all the time and means "what," and iro means "color." this was the result:

(nani) 何 【なに; なん】 (int,n) (1) what; (pref) (2) (なん) how many (some counter); (col) euph. for genitals or sex


(iro) 色 【いろ】 (n) (1) colour; color; (2) sensuality; lust; (adj-f) (3) various

what!? so i could conceivably be saying "what color?" or "genital sensuality!" you can see the kind of danger that awaits me around every corner.

i often order books on because japan still believes you will pay Cash On Delivery shipments. i order the books i want, and when they deliver them to my school, i pay the delivery guy. just like a pizza! the one thing i always forget is that they call me a few minutes before they deliver to let me know they're coming. usually i miss the call because i'm in class, but last time i heard my phone ring and answered. a mistake? maybe. the guy said some LOONG something about who he was (i guess?), but i heard the word "amazon," so i figured it out. he paused. i said a very tentative (if you had looked up the word tentative, this would've been the example) hai...
it seems like all people ever say on the phone in japan is hai. people have entire conversations made of the word hai! this seemed to be an acceptable answer, so he said something else, even longer!
and paused.
i tried another tenuous, hai..... he continued! what on earth could he possibly be telling me about a single book delivery!? another pause.
this time it was more of a hai? i was losing faith that we would ever reach a conclusion. i was going to be trapped on the phone forever, understanding nothing, blindly agreeing. finally he said something i did understand, so i got to say with conviction, sou desu. "that's true." and then i got to hang up.

my last story of the day is how to be lazy and solve problems with your digital camera. i always have my camera with me, always. i've gotten into the habit of taking pictures of anything i find amusing, to share with you later (see the vibrating worm video below).
i was at the home store to buy a shelf for my shower room. i found the shelf i wanted, but it was cheaper than i remembered. i realized they had replaced the old price tag with a new one, cool, a discount! but i have often found that these "new" prices don't get rung up correctly (and without the ability to really explain, i usually let it slide), so for the hell of it, i took a picture of the shelf with the new price tag. when i got to the front, sure enough, the old price came up. i was like, wait. then i showed the guy the picture. ha! he called someone to check on the price and finished ringing up my other stuff. then we stood there awkwardly, and i could just imagine him thinking, "why on earth--? how did she--?" and i just stood there and quietly smirked. and then i got my discount.

and here is some fun...there has been a massive hatch of these caterpillars all over town, and i discovered they will writhe around or vibrate if you blow on them, and i think it's dead hilarious.

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