Saturday, March 17, 2007

Safe Landing!

Safe Landing!

I usually wake before Art and John and tiptoe into our tiny dining and kitchen area to make coffee and check my e-mail. I relish the hour alone before anyone wakes but this morning’s e-mail confirms that my 3 original dragon waxes arrived safely and in tact. I shout out loudly with relief and excitement at their safe arrival! The package arrived in the U.S. sometime Thursday. It is Friday morning in Okinawa as I read the e-mail and I am already planning my day around sending a second package this afternoon before the post office closes. Art is fully awake from my loud outburst and sleepily shares in my relief.

Art’s Japanese tutor arrives at 11:00 A.M. and after pouring the two of them tea, I retreat into our small connecting living room and work on my Lava Dragon Ring with new enthusiasm. John sits on the couch typing journal entries on the computer. Narumi isn’t even out the door before Art has dressed in a suit to go to the convention center for an American Chamber of Commerce event. John and I spend the afternoon at home and at 4:00 P.M. I bicycle towards the post office. A week ago the trip to mail my original waxes was an emotional ordeal but today I am confident and light of heart. I suspect that the women who helped me last week have a different view upon my arrival, but with forms filled out and the package wrapped properly, the mailing takes less than 10 minutes. Although I will wait anxiously for news of the packages safe arrival, I am not the emotional wreck that I was a week ago.

Art returns from his day excited and stressed. He has a business party to attend tonight at the convention center, has purchased a printer and is hurriedly printing off material to promote To John’s delight, his Papa has stopped by our friend’s house in Urasoe to pick up a package mailed from California. The package contains three computer games and an Xbox 360 controller, all compatible with our laptop computers. John is ecstatic! (Thank you again Michael!)

Tonight, John and I walk up to Shintoshin for dinner with plans to shop for groceries on the way back home. This is only the second time that John and I have eaten out without Art as our personal translator. The first time was weeks ago when I needed to motion the waitress outside to point to the plastic display food in the window. I realize that we must stick to a mainstream restaurant with a glossy picture menu so John and I walk to the Naha Main Place Mall. I know we are in trouble as soon as we enter the restaurant and the hostess asks us a question? I stare blankly back at her until she asked me a second time in stilted English, “Do we preferred smoking or non smoking?” Even with pictures to point at, ordering is difficult. The waitress asks us more questions and all I can do is smile vacantly. I imagine the questions were something like “What kind of noodles do you want in the soba?” “Would you like something besides tea to drink?” John orders an elaborate sukiyaki dinner, and to compensate, I order a small shrimp and vegetable set, knowing that I will get to eat the exotic mushrooms and vegetables included with John’s dinner. Our shiny lacquered trays are delivered. John is delighted with the presentation, the cooking pot and all the meats and vegetables simmering in the broth. As I predicted, John passes the “fungi” and the vegetables to me, and then inhales every lasts morsel of his dinner. I am pleased to see him so delighted with his meal. Our two dinners are 3,100 yen, about $28.00 including tax and tip. We stop at one of the huge supermarkets on the way home and fill John’s backpack with bottled water, tea and other provisions. In addition to the backpack we carry several heavy plastic bags of groceries home. I have not yet been asked “Paper or Plastic?” It is always plastic and very much of it. Everything is over packaged. We catch a taxi back home. It’s a bit difficult to communicate our destination to the driver, but our apartment is just a few blocks from the ferry terminal and we are practiced at saying “Tomair Port”. Taxis are a bargain here and our taxi ride home is 5.40 yen, less than $5.00.

1 comment:

Susan H. said...

Marty, so glad to hear that your waxes arrived safely and that part of commerce is working smoothly. Don't blame you for being a nervous nelly. Working on setting your dad's boulder opal you gave me in wax. Going back up to Kelseyville ( on April 14 for a wax stone-setting class and definitely want to set that stone for me myself and I. Love to see your works in progress. Gorgeous.