Since I came to Japan 19 years ago, life for a gaikokujin ("a foreigner") has gotten so incredibly much easier. I'm not talking about the language problems/difficulties...because, in my opinion, I seriously doubt those will ever get fixed (Don't believe me? Go to http://www.engrish.com/ and look around...you'll be amazed!!)
No...I'm talking about the things in our lives that we have around us that either make us happy, more comfortable, or make us more beautiful.
Thanks to companies like CostCo, which came to our part of Japan about 10 years ago, I don't have to have someone ship peanut butter, refried beans, or Nivea hand lotion to Japan anymore!! I can also order turkey at Christmas, cheese of all kinds pretty much whenever I want, tortillas by the dozen, and olive oil without having to take a loan out from the bank. And also, thanks to our friend, Brendan, at The Flying Pig, we can order from Cost Co, on-line and it is delivered within days of purchase, without the 3 hour/$65 highway toll drive to where the store is.
In the first years of living here, when I would go "home" for a vacation, I would pack lightly, but carry 2 suitcases....one almost empty, inside the other....and on the way home, both would be packed "Oh, my God....it's gonna blow!!!" full. Coming back to Japan would be things like soap, cosmetics, perfume, shampoo, personal items, deodorant, taco seasoning, ranch dressing/dip mixes, underwear, shoes, clothes and whatever else we might need or want to last for the next year...or until the next trip "home".
After the boys were born, we would also hit garage sales, used clothing shops and I would buy more than enough to last a year for them. Having older cousins also meant hand-me-downs for Issei and we never turn those things down!! Most of these items were usually packed very carefully into boxes and sent on the "slow boat to Japan" form of shipping. As I would send the things to be used during the winter months, it wasn't so bad waiting the 3 months it would sometimes take to reach Japan.
*A note: A few years ago, the American Government decided that they weren't making any money on the "slow boat" service, so they discontinued it. For us, that meant, no more really great Christmas boxes...no more shipping of items for ourselves...no more because that meant everything was sent freakin' Air Mail.....right back to that idea of taking out a loan to mail clothes, coats, shoes and whatnot. Sometimes you have to draw the line.
Now, thanks to Yahoo and the Internet, the foreign population have found a way to get around the government and it's
There is a Yahoo group here in Japan that is a network of buying and selling items among the foreigners living here. Pretty much anything you want to sell, you can...to other foreigners. Or, if there is something you are looking for, put it out there....you'd be amazed at what you can find.
Over the past few years, not only have I sold stuff (clothes and books), but I have also purchased clothes for the boys, the K-man AND for myself (for things actually in MY size that fit, thank you very much!!), hair color, books, a waffle iron (that we actually used today for the first time in a long time!!), computer and game software...to name just a few things.
But the best thing I have purchased? Shoes, baby....nice shoes....shoes that I paid very little for...that had never been actually worn outside!!!
Here in Japan, I have monster feet...for a woman. Oh, men's shoes, I can find....but really...no thank you. The only men's shoes I wear, are these:
So, when I was going through some of the old posts and saw that someone was selling sandals, I had to go and check them out....sizes 9 and 10?....good....kind of dressy?....really good....3 pair for about $12?.....Score!
They came yesterday....and seriously...I was so happy...I might have actually danced in the genkan. Yes, you're right...sad to say it, but....it doesn't take much to make Debbie happy these days, does it? :-D
**Looks like a sad version of some other pictures I've seen where a group of friends get together and take a picture of their shoes.....would those green ones be worthy, I wonder? :-)
One of my dreams of summer......