Sunday, June 15, 2008

"I don't care what consequence it brings / I have been a fool for lesser things."

Today is my three month anniversary of being in Japan! おめでとうございます (Congratulations)! I had planned to go somewhere special, but when I woke up this morning I was kind of headachey and blah and wanted only to laze about and relax. So I did laundry in the morning and hung it in the sun until it was warm and sweet-smelling - I gather once the rainy season is in full swing it will be too humid so I'll have to go it all indoors. And in the afternoon I went shopping. Before I got the usual groceries, I did some clothes shopping - I think it's awesome that it's all in the same store. I bought myself a couple pairs of pants. See, all my nice black work pants were decimated by two years working in a college cafeteria. And then what I had left was rendered ineffective by a summer having mono and a winter working with the United Parcel Service. Some of the pants I brought with me will now fall entirely off if I simply stand still - unfortunately, both of my "day off" pants are in this category - and the rest hang very low and baggy in a way that I find dissatisfying for work attire. Plus I wanted just some basic "little black pants."

I headed to the store armed with my waist measurement in centimeters, measured several times over for accuracy. I was also armed with expectations of the worst - EVERYONE says how hard it is even for average-sized foreigners to find clothes in Japan, and I'm larger than average even in America. Sure enough, on the racks the highest number was still 10 cm below what my measurements called for. Deciding I'd risk it, I grabbed a couple of pairs - it wasn't a hard decision, as there were only about two in that size anyways, as expected - and headed for the changing booth. I get the impression that they don't want you to try on clothes here - you should just know telepathically or something, "This will fit." The booths are directly on the main aisle, so anyone walking to the grocery section and, worse, teenage boys browsing in the men's section across the way, can see your sad bare legs beneath the curtain, which is a good foot off the ground. Poor, poor, planning.

So, I quickly tried my ill-gotten-goods on. Much to my surprise, they were far too big. It defied all laws of common sense and mathematics, since my waist size > pants waist size - either the label or my ruler was lying to me. Before reality decided to reassert itself, I changed them for some pairs a few sizes smaller. These fit perfectly, so I bought them with a smile. Hopefully they'll still fit tomorrow, and it's not somehow an optical illusion.

Ah, and then I bought groceries. If I go late enough there's an awesome cart of vegetables on the brink of their expiration date, half-price. I got asparagus! I haven't had asparagus for the longest time, woh, woh, woh, woh. What I really long for to go with it is alfredo sauce, but I did something that wasn't half bad just with milk, flour and garlic. And I realized I could get fresh bean sprouts for ten cents a decent-sized bag. I want to try making nabe now that I have access to the real ingredients. But do I really want to risk enoki mushrooms in the interests of authenticity? Oh and regarding my cooking rice troubles - I refused to buy a cooker for more than 5000 yen, but I found a method to microwave it that turns out decently, and isn't half the hassle of stovetop.

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