Connie: 100 Yen

October 10, 2010

It’s hard to keep up with that when I don’t have internet in my own room. Hopefully I can make up for my recent lack of posts by talking about my 百円(hyaku en), or one dollar, finds.

When students enter into my program they’re assigned a tutor who helps them with all of the basic things that might be hard for a foreigner to do on their own. A lot of this involves finding your way around, shopping for the basics, and doing paperwork. (Japanese word of the day: めんどくさい (mendokusai), which means something like troublesome, or perhaps better described as an adjective used for things you don’t want to do.  While doing paperwork, the word mendokusai comes up a lot.)

Being a Saturday, both my tutor and I had nothing but free time. The morning was spent resizing pictures that needed to be pasted onto several pieces of paperwork and searching for campus wifi. That was how my day started out. Facebook and paperwork.

After arriving at the library we looked around to discover that several other international students were there with us. Eventually we gathered together and the two tutors with us decided to take us somewhere. We ended up in a department store near Saijo Eki.

At first I was looking for Murakami Ryu’s 「五分後の世界」 (The World After Five Minutes), but neither my tutor nor I had any luck. That was when one of the other exchange students and I moved onto the music section. Let me tell you, the music section in a Japanese store is typically painful as CDs cost about twice as much as they do in America.  Your typical Japanese album will be 3000 yen, which is roughly $30.  Probably more since the dollar is so worthless right now. You can get as excited as you want when you see a SID album, but when you pick it up your heart is going to break a little.

That was when I noticed the 100 yen bin in the middle of the store calling to me like a beacon. My tutor showed up and glanced through, telling me they were all old CDs.  True enough – they were mostly from the early-to-mid 1990’s.  That was when I thought maybe – just maybe – I might be able to find some access.

And find I did.  I picked up access’ “Misty Heartbreak Re-sync Style”, Hiroyuki Takami’s “Wall”, Penicillin’s “Into the Valley of Dolls” and Shazna’s “Promise Eve”. 400 yen for these isn’t bad. They would probably be out of my price range on the internet. Not that the majority of you will recognize these names.  My Japanese tutor didn’t either.  Just know that I’m greatly pleased.

Spending the day getting to know the people who came along with me was nice. I got to know my tutor better. I got to practice lots of conversational Japanese. There was also lots of comparing between Japanese and other cultures going on. Sometimes I love the way the world seems to get smaller.

I’ll post about the Yoshiura Autumn Festival soon, which was about an hour away from here. I’m also looking forward to the Sake Festival next week. Did you know Higashi Hiroshima is famous for its sake?


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