Wednesday, August 04, 2004


Waiting for the laundry to finish. I have my own washing machine—I'd thought I would have to use a communal laundry room—but not a dryer (and even if I had a dryer, there's noplace to fit it). No problem, I thought, I've got clothesline out on the balcony, and some weird indoor clothes-drying, um, wheel thing... (I dunno, maybe they've got them in the States, but I've always had an electric dryer in the house). While I was out shopping last Thursday (my first full day in Shimane), I communicated to my supervisors my desire to buy fabric softener. We even paid a visit to Mr. Tokue's friend Yushi, who works at the Nita police station and speaks decent English; he said, "Something to make the fabric soft." I said, "Yes." So Tokue and Abe and I went to the store, where they showed me the fabric softener. I saw the package with the Snuggle bear on it, but did I buy it? Nooo, of course not. I'd already pointed out some products that, "we have in America, too," and this was one of them; but not wanting to snub the Japanese products, I went with the pink bottle to the immediate right of the Snuggle bear bottle. And it wasn't until twenty minutes ago when I thoroughly investigated this pink bottle that I found, in small letters at the very bottom on the back, "Fine-Fabric Detergent."

Sigh.... I guess it's stiff clothes for me in the morning... if they're even dry by then.

Ah, laundry's done.
At least the detergent smells nice.

So, just a few hours after I receive my first phone call at work, I received my first phone call at home. Sayuri is a kindergarten teacher in Nita, and she stopped by out of the blue last Saturday, bearing gifts of fresh watermelon and pineapple. Fruit is very expensive in Japan (I've heard rumours of $40 melons), so I was very glad. I don't usually care for watermelon, but it was a familiar flavor, and even I know a good watermelon when I taste it, which this was. The pineapple was also delicious and full of flavor. Watermelon and coffee: both are things I generally don't consume in the States, but I find the familiar flavors comforting here. I think I'm going to be a regular ol' coffee drinker by the time I get back to the US; I've had probably 8 small cups of it in the last week, sometimes two a day. They serve it to me in the Yokota BOE, and I can't refuse. I mean, technically I can, but they're so nice about it in the first place. The sugar, it doesn't come in packets, but in small tubes—reminiscent of PixyStix (wheee!), but about half the length and a little thicker. The little creamer cups are about the same as they are in the US: little plastic cup with tear-off foil on top.

Oh, but back to Sayuri: she invited me to dinner at her home tomorrow evening. Woo! First dinner invitation!

I'm going to have to remember to wash smaller loads in the future; there's only so much room on this clothes-drying wheel thing, and the air outside is quite damp and feels as though it could rain again tonight.
I wonder how much weight this thing can hold. With any luck, I won't determine it experimentally.
Actually, now that I look at it, it's really more suited for lightweight undergarments. The wet, heavy pants and cotton T-shirts weigh the spokes down, and too much cloth converging in the center makes for slow drying. I've sequestered the T-shirts to a couple of chairs now.

I had a dream last night that I met Amanda Tapping and Richard Dean Anderson. In a restaurant.
And something about Christopher Walken....

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