Since we live on base while we are here in Okinawa, I make a point to venture out into town several times a week. I have to take my son to school and pick him up each day, but I like to get out and see things. I don't have the confidence to go too far away yet, and I've already gotten side tracked once or twice, but not lost! Soon I think I will make my trip to the market in Naha.
My children and I found the closest Toys R Us, which by the way is NOTHING like ours in the states. But within the same small shopping center was a 100 Yen store - the equivalent of the dollar store in the states. We went in and I was amazed at all of the stuff! Way better than our dollar stores for sure! I am definitely going to have to make another trip there soon, but that's another story.
The following day, my quest for fabric brought me out into town again. Sure I can order anything I desire on Amazon.com, but then I have to wait at least a week for it to get here. Being that I'm an instant gratification kind of girl, I'd rather go on a little adventure and see what I can find. Especially with fabric. I need to see and touch the fabric to be certain it's what I'm looking for.
So I've discovered that there is a specific etiquette to purchasing something. First of all, in many places they have a little tray that I believe you're supposed to place the money on. I don't think you're supposed to place the money on the counter. Once you've given your money to the cashier, they speak for like 5 minutes in Japanese. I clearly don't understand what they're saying, so I just nod along and say "hai" but for all I know, they're ripping me off (I don't think this has ever really happened) and I am very greatful for the cash register, most of which are ancient by American standards, but they work none the less, to show me the amount of Yen due. Then they hand me back my change which is almost always in a fist full of coins, so now my purse weighs a ton. (I'm thinking I need a coin purse hint hint honey!) because my wallet is falling apart from all the coins clanking around in there. Once they've given me my change, the only thing they say that I DO understand is Arigato gosaimasu - thank you very much.
Conclusion is that I must must must learn whatever this etiquette is so I don't feel like the stupid American woman engaged in a bizarre game of charades!
Oh, and honey, if you're reading this, I'll take a either Coach or a Louis Vuitton coin purse. Either one would be fashionable enough to hold all of my Yen! Ha ha ha!!