Adventures in Japanese

Yesterday I went to the post office for the very first time!! Okay, maybe it sounds a little lame that it’s taken me nearly eight months to visit the post office, but it’s been for good reason. Our post office doesn’t speak English at all, and I don’t speak Japanese, so I was a bit scared to go there. Maybe mailing letters is no big deal, but trying to send a package can be a nightmare when you’re not sure if it’s going to get there, and you have no idea what you’re doing or how much it’ll cost. I mean, I have enough problems at the post office state-side and I stinkin speak English! But, as I told a friend, I put on my brave pants, which were actually just my jeans, and went to the post office!

I went in, took a ticket, and waited just like everyone else. Turns out I was actually waiting for the bank. Yes, in Japan, the post office is also a bank, a pretty good one, so I’ve heard. I was directed over to the post office lady, and she looked just as nervous as I did when she saw me coming. But I gave her letters to mail, and I think she felt relieved because that’s no language required except for the price. And fortunately, I know Japanese numbers. But then I asked for a small box. Again no problem, same deal as before. But then I tried to communicate that I wanted to send the small box right then. At that point, she got nervous and before I knew it, there was a another lady with her, taking over for her. I just said “to America” in Japanese, and somehow it all worked itself out. She tried to give me some choices on forms, but I just looked at her blankly and asked, “to America?” and then she just chose one for me. After that, there were no more choices. She weighed my package while I filled out my address form, and then the original lady told me the price. I paid, and tried to ask when it would arrive in America. I think the answer was one week, but who knows. But I did it and it all seemed legit!!

So, today, I was feeling confident, so I went back to the post office, this time to mail the package that I made for my parents and brother about four months ago. The same lady was working, but she didn’t seem so flustered today. I told her to America again, but this time, my “to” was correct. Yesterday, I was using the wrong preposition. She just handed me the form, told me the price and away I went. And she even gave me an extra address form that I could fill out at home.

Next, I went to the dry cleaners, another first. On Tuesday, dry erase marker ink exploded on my khaki dress pants, so I thought, why not at least try the dry cleaners. The lady didn’t speak English, I told her I couldn’t speak Japanese. She apologized, told me good luck, and then we tried to work out the pants situation. After a lot of explaining in Japanese that I didn’t understand, and me looking at her with a blank expression. We finally worked out that she didn’t really think that the stain would come out, but they could give it a try for 520 yen. I said okay, and I think that I’m supposed to pick up my pants tomorrow after one. It was all in Japanese, but I’m pretty sure what it all boiled down to. But this lady was so nice! And when I left she told me good luck in speaking Japanese! How great is that!

So, all of this has been a typical day in the adventures of Rachael in Japan. But thank goodness I’m starting Japanese lessons next week. Then you’ll get to hear all the crazy stories about how I said the completely wrong thing in Japanese and ended up embarrassing myself!

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