A few things. Two questions at the bottom.

Every 15th. of the month I attend an auction in Nara.

This time I saw some great Meiji era Arita ware. Two sets of large matching chargers from Arita. I really wanted to buy them but haven’t sold the last stuff I bought so passed on them. I am trying hard to sell the stuff I bought last month so I can hopefully buy some more this next auction. My wife bought a set of various types of glass, all from the early 20th. cent.

To the muffins. There are 3 rings of seats. The inner ring made of pillows followed by 2 rings of chairs. We usually sit in the outer ring or I hover around where the dealers load what they want to auction off so I can get a good look before it begins its circular journey to the auction table. Directly in front of us sitting on the pillows was a couple, in their mid to late 60s, purple hat on the woman with hair to match. I had been back at the snack table and noticed an old man picking out the snacks he liked and loading them into his pocket. It was worth a laugh I thought so I was whispering the scene to my wife when the purple haired lady in front of us came back to her seat with 8 or so muffins, bananas, 5 boxes of juice, etc. and started to load them into her purse. The muffins weren’t individually packaged mind you. OK. Fair enough you think, she pays for them through the fee for the auction. About ten minutes later I was back to my hovering position and happened to glance over at the auction table to see the same woman trying to pull the item she had put up to auction out of the hands of the auctioneer. Back and forth, he pulling back, she trying to pull it away. The auction is structured so when an item goes on the table the person whose lot is up sits behind and to the left and can pull the item down if the price they want isn’t achieved. This happens quite a bit, more with some folks, never with some. Usually it happens if the piece is only fetching 1/10th or so the price wanted. If it goes within 80% or so the person just takes their lumps and sells it. Well, the muffin woman got a bid for 3,000 yen, wanted 4,000 yen, and was making  an amusing scene.

Tanaka and the bean muffins.

Mr. Tanaka drives a new two seat Kompressor Mercedes Benz . Macho. After the auction we found ourselves in the elevator down to street level with him.  Tanaka saw we had taken some of the snacks freely available to the members of the auction. Bean paste buns and some small boxed juices, one each for our children. He was really upset that he hadn’t seen them available; I thought he was joking so I suggested he go back up and get some. We got out of the elevator, 2 of us. I looked back and Tanaka, the macho man himself, had gone back up for a take home snack.

My last thing to write about is a meeting I joined in our village.

In my village there is a group starting where the goal is to attract more foreign attention to our village. They already have had reciprocal home stays to the U.S., to the state of Arizona and brought an orchestra over from Germany.

I am supposed to give input from a non-Japanese perspective. It is nice to know I have retained my non-Japanese-ness.  I am very cautious about working in bureaucratic groups. One thing I was struck with was just the sheer difference in the way I moved my body and the way everyone else did. They are all, to a person, employed by the school district, Mombukagakusha. I am self employed. I felt like a Duracell bunny in a room full of turtles.

The thing I would like to ask for comments is:

What is your stereotype of Japanese. All impressions will be greatly appreciated. That is one thing they asked me.

Actually I have one more request.

If you could ask a Japanese person anything, what would you like to ask.

If you leave your comments and questions as a comment I can gather them together.


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7 Responses to “A few things. Two questions at the bottom.”

  1. Andrea Kobayashi Says:

    Ah! The only way to level-up to a Kompressor is to snaffle all the freebie box-juices you can. That’s 80yen saved! And I need a new car….

    As for the questions…..Mr Kompressor is probably stereotypical: careful with unnecessary spending and knows the value of quality goods.

  2. Dean Kelly Says:

    Very funny post.

    My first reactions about my stereotypes about Japanese are as follows:

    Very polite. Custom and honor are very much a part of daily life. Hard working. Will party hard when the opportunity arises. Most of the men love golf and are quite passionate about it. Love of karaoke.


    • togeii Says:

      Hello Dean,
      Thank you for the comment. Very interesting to get perspectives other than my own. Living here so long makes it difficult to see sometimes.

  3. Rana Says:

    Hn. Hard working. Far more educated than me. Met a girl younger than me while I was still in school. She’d never left Japan, knew four languages fluently. Refined.

    Question: what is it with wells? Ringu, Onibaba… even Inuyasha, holes in the earth, always shown from victim’s perspective, to the land of dead, or going to other realms. Why are the wells so scary? Aside from the obvious danger of falling in… is it like our movies and mirrors?

    • togeii Says:

      Good question. If you elaborate I will give you my opinion.
      Ringu means ring, as in the round shape or noun ring. Onibaba means a bad tempered unpleasant woman, not a word you want to use in polite company or if you want to score points. Inuyash is a kind of half human half dog ghost.

  4. Rana Says:

    Un, Ringu the movie, where the girl Sadako is killed by being thrown into a well, where she comes back as a yurei. In Onibaba, a woman kills many men and throws them into a well, but she is tempted by a mask one man wore that turned her into a demon. In a recent anime my sister likes, Inuyasha, there is also a well that takes people into the past, where many demons still live. The well is used as a door between the two worlds, so demons come into the modern world through it. Un. I don’t know if it counts, but Dark Water, a girl died in an above-ground well, a water tower on an apartment building. She comes back to kill people, too, until she can trap one to act like her mother.

    So, why the well? Why is that always the scary thing in movies? Is it because of the water, the mysterious underground?

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