I apologize in advance for the relatively boring post. To warn you ahead of time, it's about origami goldfish, an eggplant, and shoes.
Maybe it's the fact I'm just plain foreign, or the fact I'm trying my hardest to assimilate and learn the language (gaining respect?), but many times I receive small gifts.
Last week I was given an eggplant by a teacher I never talk to. He said he had picked it from the school garden. Many times I'll get served treats or a cool beverage at school, since the staff is never without snacks and drinks. Often for me, I find mere conversation a gift. Teachers are busy people, and who doesn't like to be acknowledged and conversed with? It's a bigger barrier to speak to someone who might be a little different than you and might have problems understanding you. My students occasionally give me drawings, letters, and interesting conversation, which is nice. When I was sick with bronchitis, I was given tons of food by my friends. I love and appreciate all of it, especially on the days I feel a bit bewildered or alien. By far, the most random thing I've received happened last week.
I go to a walk-in dermatologist office relatively often and it's always busy. My doctor is a nice lady, and sometimes I wonder how she handles the constant flow of patients. The Japanese aren't ones to get impatient and start showing it like we Americans do sometimes. My visits are always quick 5 minute checkups but the waiting might take time. At the end of our last encounter, she randomly grabbed the pretty origami goldfish (made of really nice paper) including a small paper pond off of her desk and gave them to me. My brain didn't quite register it... I hadn't even noticed they were on her desk until she put them in my hands. One minute we were talking skin care and I was ready to rush out the door and now... I'm walking out with 2 goldfish, a pond, my meds, and a confused look.
Now I have lovely table decoration and a delicious eggplant in my tummy.
Here are the fish swimming on my laptop:
On a totally separate note, I have to express my love for something. I, like many girls, love to clothes shop. I don't buy a lot, but a girl's gotta refresh her wardrobe once in awhile. Sometimes I'm very disappointed by how small clothing runs here, but one thing I can always find is.... SHOES! I love shoes. The shoes here follow with Japanese fashion, where sometimes anything goes. I don't buy much in the off-the-wall category, but I love to try them on. When I arrived in Japan, I only had 2 pairs of shoes in my suitcase: some sneakers and a nicer pair of shoes. I remedied that quickly:
Bought a pair of Vans in Fukuoka before Casey and I went to Korea. I'm glad I did... we did a lot of walking! This is probably why they look kinda dirty in this picture. The snazzy boots on the right were bought in Seoul. I love that they are lined and the snaps can be unsnapped to give them a bit of a different look. Casey also bought some insanely cute boots and heels in Korea.
Today I bought these beauties for about $7.70 at a local discount store called Shimamura:
I can't wait to wear these. As you can see, they still have the tags on them. I really wanted to take a picture of all the great/crazy shoes today I saw at Shimamura but I went around closing time. Next time I'll have a shoe montage, I swear.