My trip to the grocery store.
18.12.2012 - 19.12.2012 11 °C
Greetings from Japan!
Yesterday might have been the first day I felt a little stir crazy in this apartment.
I rolled out of bed around 9:00am...this took effort. After a little breakfast, skyping with my sister and a few cups of coffee I looked at the clock, 1:00pm. There I was standing in the middle of our apartment with my pijama pants on, an old tee shirt around my neck and bed hair. I comtemplated for a few minutes as the 4 cups of coffee began to settle in. "Did I sleep in too late? Is this vacation catching up with me? What have I accomplished today?"
With no patience to sit down and too small an apartment to walk off the caffeine buzz, I thought about jumping out the window and doing a cannon ball onto the street. Just before taking a run at it, Ana suggested I take a walk to the grocery store. "Good call," I thought. I threw on a cap and a quick change of clothes. She handed me a short list of items and smiled as I walked out the door. The list read: eggs, onions, toilet paper and quit acting wierd. Well said. "Back in 20 minutes!" I yelled, and closed the door behind me.
After A few seconds out the door and I became inspired. A little fresh air was just what the doctor ordered. Birds were singing, the sun was shining and the neighborhood park was buzzing with laughter and children. I'm pretty sure a bird even landed on my shoulder and wished me a good morning.
I strolled into the neighborhood co-op and grabbed a red basket from the stack near the door. I walked right past the gray jello and straight to the onions. Onions...check! The TP was not next to the paper towels or anywhere nearby. Seeing that I don't know the japanese word for toilet paper, I imagined flagging down an employee, pointing to the paper towels and then to my butt. All the while making a silly "where?" face while shrugging my shoulders. I decided against that option and figured it would turn up sooner or later. Besides, i'm much more comfortable flying under the radar when traveling.
On my way to the dairy section I got a little distracted by the snacks for 100 yen, before I realized it my basket was full of items not on the list. By the time I made it to the dairly isle the eggs could barely fit in the basket. Near the check out line I spotted a pyramid of toilet paper on sale. I swiped a 12 pack off the top and hit the register with a full load. I sighed with relief as I unloaded everything on the counter, a wave of accomplishment washing over me.
I placed my money in the tray, put the change in my pocket and turned to the table nearby to bag my groceries. That's when it hit me, the co-op is BYOB...Bring Your Own Bag.
My inspiration was waning rapidly at this point. The fresh tee shirt I pulled off the clothes line earlier was now soaked with perspiration. The internal panic button had been pushed. Writing this now I realize l could have just bought couple bags and chalked it up to poor planning. Instead, I decided to act like this was all part of the plan and load up. Drawing attention to the fact I speak little to no japanese was not an option, and my skill at cherades wasn't good enough to explain leaving the groceries on the table and coming back with bags. I NEEEDED to make this work.
So much for flying under the radar. Once the 3 pack of onions was stuffed into the rear pocket of my jeans, heads began to turn. With a bag of potato chips under both arms, several 100 yen bags of sweets hanging out my front pockets, a 12 pack of TP in one hand and a carton of eggs in the other I headed for the door. By now I could feel the half dozen sets of eyes trained on me. That explained sweating through my 2nd shirt. "Relax Keith, you can make it!"
Most people mind their own business around here and don't pay any attention to the next passer by, no matter how wierd or different they might look. Staring is just as impolite here as it is there. I must have looked ridiulous, because on the way home I drew a lot of attention. Nearly every person I passed on my way home took a moment to look me up and down. By the time I walked in the door, the 20 minute trip had lasted just over an hour. Rather than recount the details of my journey with Ana right away, I took a different route. I swapped the two sweaty shirts and blue jeans for pijama pants and an frayed old tee shirt. I climbed the ladder into cubby space, and took a nice long nap.