Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tranche de vie, slice of life

Monday I had the day off. I had lots of stuff to do you know, had a productive day (aka watched the Olympics and had 4 breakfasts). After watching the guy who won the first Canadian medal on home soil (also known as the guy who studied at my High School, Collège Jean-Eudes REPREZZZENT) I went to the post office to send a package to a foreign country which has to remain secret for many reasons. I forgot to mention it wasn’t a ‘domestic’ package. So the girl weighed the package and charged me 640 yens, which sounded reasonable for an overseas package. I left and scratched that off of my LONG list of ‘to do’ things (2 things: 1- Go to post office 2- Buy yoghurt) and pressed on. At night, I’m eating the yoghurt (Achievement unlocked, 2 out of 2, I’m a grown man now) and the door bell rings. You see, now whenever this happens, I face a dilemma:

Option 1: Open the door and be confronted by:
A)a person who will feel awkward because here is a white man in his boxers and with whiskey in hand in a random suburb of Japan so he will say sorry and leave quickly
B)a person trying to tell me very politely that I must pay some bill I’ve never heard about
C)a freaking Jehova’s witness (These people are everywhere, don’t try to run away, it’s useless)
D)a friend needing shelter because he is too drunk

Option 2
(aka what I do 75% of the time): Shut the lights, the music and play dead and leave the door shut

It must have been the whiskey, I felt strong and confident and opened the door. To my surprise, I see the girl from the post office and her supervisor, they look like something terrible happened, you know the look of the kid who just smashed his dad’s car… They start bowing super low and I know something weird went down and then they explain that they didn’t charge me the price of a ‘Par Avion’ package and I didn’t fill out the customs paper. Here is the rest of the conversation (translated from my crap Japanese to a nice gangsta English):

Me: ‘Damn, I’m sorry, let me fill it right now, come in guys
Supervisor: ‘No it’s ok, we’ll freeze our asses off outside’ (didn’t wanna get contaminated by the gaijin floor I guess)
Me: ‘Aiiight here is the customs paper. I’m really sorry again, you could have called me, I would have went back
Girl: ‘It’s my fault
Supervisor: ‘Here is an envelope containing money for the trouble
(At that point I’m already puzzled but… wait for it…)
Girl: ‘Here is a kitchen set to let you know that we are sorry for the inconvenience
Me: ‘…… (sound of me being speechless) Well thanks guys, I mean, this is too much…. Sorry, I mean thanks, sorry, sorry, thanks
Then the dude closed the door and I just stood there with the kitchen set and the envelope containing 2000 yens (!!!). This, to me, represents everything that is beautiful about this country. And at the same time a bit weird. Beautiful, but weird: Japanese culture.
Now I wonder what they would have done if the girl lost the package, maybe the supervisor would have given me the kitchen set AND the girl?! Wow, now that’s a thought, she was quite cute. Anybody need anything???


Angela said...

Reminds me of the time, US Airlines lost our bags on transit and Vietnam Airlines gave us a million dongs as compensation because our luggage arrived late in Hanoi...

A kitchen set would have been nice too.

Vince said...

Excellent. Ça va me manquer de lire tes réactions par rapport à ta vie au Japon quand tu partiras.

Anonymous said...

Il faut absolument importer ce savoir être au Québec... Bell m'a facturé 450$ venu de nulle part ?hoo plus tard à parler à 6 personnes différentes et je n'ai toujours pas d'interlocuteur valable pour réclamer..
il y a aussi Air Inuit qui a fracassé ma valise... et aussi...
Bref tu pourrais importer le savoir faire Japonais à ton retour. Tes chroniques sont super..

Anonymous said...

Salut Pierre-Yves,
J'utilise ce medium car à Puvirnituq je n'ai pas ton adresse courriel...pour te dire que je t'ai écouté à Espace Musique. C'était excellent, attachant,bien raconté,relax,teinté d'humour Du bon PY.. tu as bien piqué son intérêt Ce fut très bon..
Te SKYPE ce weekend
Ton père

Mark said...

That's awesome!
I'll try that next time I pass at the post office