Sunday, May 17, 2009

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 and look'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 almost empty, inside the other....and on the way home, both would be packed "Oh, my'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 more shipping of items for 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 asinine decisions.

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 other foreigners. Or, if there is something you are looking for, put it out'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 name just a few things.

But the best thing I have purchased? Shoes, baby....nice 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 thank you. The only men's shoes I wear, are these:

Granted, they are great and comfy, but.....sometimes a girl just needs a little something extra.

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, doesn't take much to make Debbie happy these days, does it? :-D

But really.....these shoes? I need to take these girls out dancing....or dinner....or just for a walk because honeeeeeee....they do make a girl feel good!!

Here's the bounty...thanks again, Kelsey!! It was great doing business with you!!

**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......
My mom, Leslie (my SIL) and I during "patio time"....could someone run to Tar-jay and pick up that furniture because I think Mom's patio could really use something like that!!!


Paida said...

Wow amazing how much has changed just since we were there 11 years ago!

And yes those shoes are coooooool.

ms-teacher said...

I'm glad that you found some cute shoes at a reasonable price. Cute shoes is one thing that always makes me smile :)

Maggie's Mind said...

Super cute shoes!

I lived there 14 years ago and remember well those extra suitcases full of stuff when I'd leave and come back. I was shocked now that I'm moving back over in July that the "slow boat to Japan" no longer exists. It means I'm packing a year's worth of happy into whatever I can carry. I does sound like it's a million times easier to get stuff now. Plus, I only got internet mid-1997, my 3rd year there, and it wasn't at all what it is now. Also, your Flying Pig link has some extra stuff in it, but I got the idea and went over there. Awesome resource that could be. Thanks!!

smalltownmom said...

Sweet shoes!

Rhonda Stapleton said...

OMG Those shoes are SOOO adorable. And I love that there's a network for you guys there!! How cool is that?!

Yarni Gras! said...

you know, it makes people (like me) who grip about where they live sound ULTRA whiny. Thanks for a peek at your life....oh and BTW, those shoes ROCK!

Busy Bee Suz said...

Those shoes are just too are your little toes. :)
I suppose you get used to having limited choices....that would drive me bonkers. I am TOOO spoiled with everything right at my fingertips. Well, almost everything.
Take care,

musingwoman said...

You did good. Awesome shoes!

phd in yogurtry said...

Hooray for you and yahoo! I have the toughest time finding shoes that fit me (wide feet, short toes), let alone comfortable. So I do appreciate the great feeling of finding affordable, cute shoes.

stephanie (bad mom) said...

We have a gazebo & patio furniture! And sometimes we even have sun! Hope you can swing a trip out here this summer :D

Karen MEG said...

NICE shoes, Debbie!

How've ya been, girlfriend? Shopping, I guess :)

Moxy Jane said...

Snazzy sandals are the BEES KNEES!!! Way to go! What a great service!

tanabata said...

I found your blog via Janet. We're living just outside Tokyo and I'd love to hear more about the Yahoo group. And if you know of a place where I can buy Cheerios I would be forever grateful! :)