Today I went shopping for new glasses, as the superglue that was holding mine together gave out yesterday. I went to a chain mall in a neighboring city. I find that if I shop in Tokyo, or in some of the stores around here, things are way too pricey for my budget. Plus, I had been to this mall previously to buy cooler clothing and I noticed there were like 3 glasses stores in this one mall.
|The new glasses. No matter how I took the picture I looked silly. So don't mind me.|
Anyways. I really like shopping here because the experience is so much more pleasant. The sales associates are very attentive and helpful, and they wrap your purchased items so carefully. Also, going shopping helps me practice Japanese with people a little more formally than I do with my host family.
Sometimes though the shopping experience is so different that it makes me uncomfortable. For example, often times the sales associate will take your bag for you and walk you to the store exit; they will then hand you the bag, bow and thank you. I really appreciate this, it is very nice of them. But since I am not used to such formalities, it makes me slightly uncomfortable to have someone else carrying my shopping bag for me and thanking me so formally.
Overall I prefer shopping in Japan more than I prefer shopping in the US though. It's so much nicer to have the sales associates acknowledge your existence, even if its just a shouted 「いらっしゃいませ！」I don't know, that's probably why they do it. When get comfortable they are more likely to make a sale (>.>)
|Won this at an arcade at the mall. It's adorable. The machine had a whole bunch of miniature desserts.|
Through shopping outings, and other random places I've ventured that haven't been tourisized, I've found that there are several kinds conversational-reactions that you get from the Japanese people you run into:
- The I-will-speak-to-you-in-English-whether-you-like-it-or-not-person: This kind of person will adamantly speak to you in (very frequently broken) English, despite you responding in proficient Japanese. I appreciate this, as I am sure they are trying to be accommodating, but sometimes I can't really understand what they are trying to say in English. Also, if I cave in and stop responding in Japanese and switch to English (because having a conversation in two languages seems strange) they usually have to request that I slow down. At first I was surprised that very few Japanese people I met (outside of school, mind you) spoke English well. I assumed that since they were required to take it all throughout school that they would have some functionality. Since then I was told that the English program in Japanese schools is based on translating, and often the teachers don't and/or can't speak English.
- The best kind of person: My favorite reaction is from the nice person who will try to speak to me in English, and then switch to Japanese when they realize I understand it. The guy at the glasses store was this kind of person. He said something to me in English about the glasses I was looking at being something or other and then I launched into how I was looking for new glasses because I broke mine, but that I wasn't sure about the prescription. He was really nice and later said, "日本語は上手で、びっくりしました!” [I was surprised your Japanese was so good] And I was like, "Haha, it's really not good at all." a
- The person who doesn't even acknowledge that you are foreign: This reaction is self explanatory, and also nice. Although sometimes I think sales people do this to get a sale. This one time a sales-woman said to me in Japanese, "Oh look at these headbands, they are on sale," and I just responded with, "Ah." The single sylaball response had barely left my lips before she was rushing to say, 「日本語が上手ですねえ！」I just kind of gave her the shifty eye and said, "Heaven's no," because she was clearly just being nice (considering I hadn't even really said anything in Japanese yet).
|It is a cell phone charm >w<|
I know I said I would post more of Higashiyamatoshi, but it's really overcast today. Which is good and bad I guess. It's awesome because I woke up this morning actually cold. COLD. Oh it was amazing.
|Yes. I bought these because they are adorable and cute and probably rather tasty.|
I know that this entry is really lacking in any Japanesy-type pictures. But I wanted to post the fruits of my trip today.