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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Station

Posted by Shaun

I owe you all some real blog entries about the sorts of things I've been up to lately.
I also owe Grandpa one about toilets. I promise I'll get to these soon. My goal is to write some more tomorrow or Friday, but for now I have a fun story to tell from today.

After my class about Japanese popular culture, I started talking with the girls sitting next to me. Normally I take the subway for one stop, then catch the Yamanote line train from Takadanobaba to Ikebukuro, and from there transfer to the private line that takes me to my home station. Well, I was having a good time talking to my classmates, so I decided I'd walk back to Takadanobaba with one of them instead of taking the icky old subway. It just so happened that while we were walking, I saw another one of my friends, from my dance club, heading the same direction. I had to run to catch up with her, but I'm glad I did. We started talking about how since we performed our dance on Saturday, we don't have practice anymore, so it's weird not to see each other twice a week. We talked about getting together for lunch, and she invited my classmate too. I hope that happens sometime soon, because it's fun to get together with people from outside my program every now and then.

Anyway, we walked by Tsutaya on the way to the train station. Tsutaya is a Japanese video rental chain. They also seem to have CDs and manga, but I was primarily interested in the videos. I've been thinking lately that I'd like to watch more Japanese movies, so I was trying to figure out if I should get a Tsutaya membership. Since I usually take the subway, I don't usually walk by Tsutaya, so I hadn't yet had to face that decision head on and figure out what I needed to do.

Turns out my friend from my club needed to rent a movie for one of her classes, and she also didn't have a membership. I decided "Hey, might as well do this together," so we said bye to my classmate and went into the store. My friend was looking for a movie called "Aviator." She was checking the computer search terminal and getting somewhat frustrated because the movie wasn't there.
To be honest, I felt sort-of vindicated seeing a Japanese get frustrated by and have difficulty navigating Japanese technology with Japanese language on the screen.
We start looking around the action movie section hoping to stumble on it by luck, and I ask my friend what it's about.
"Well, you know, back in ancient Rome where they used to have the slaves fight each other..."
"....Gladiator?" I interrupted.
"That's it!" My friend started laughing. "I don't know why I was thinking Aviator, maybe because Leonardo DiCaprio's in it... No wonder we couldn't find it."
We looked up Gladiator this time and still couldn't find it on the shelves, so we had to go to the register and ask for help. I guess someone had just turned it back in, because the cashier found it easily. Then my friend inquired about making her membership, but she didn't have anything with proof of her address. I, on the other hand, being a responsible foreigner, had my alien registration card, which had proof of my identity and proof of my address, so I got to help her out so she could do her homework tonight and make my own Tsutaya account at the same time. I was really glad I had her there because I don't think I would have understood all of the Japanese, so it was reassuring to have her be able to explain it for me.
By the time we left Tsutaya, we were both laughing at how impossibly lucky it was that I had run into her while walking home. Otherwise she would have wasted a lot of time at Tsutaya and ended up not being able to watch Gladiator for her class, and I probably wouldn't have quite been able to understand the Japanese needed to make my membership account.
I thought it was a cute story about teamwork, so I figured I'd share it. I promise you some more updates soon.

3 Responses so far.

  1. Laurie says:

    Thanks for Sharing Shaun. It makes me want to sing the "friend" song, "We're a Duo" from the animated movie, An American Tail, but I did that already last night! Love, Mom

  2. Aw, how darling. Good for you guys.
    (and lol, Aviator.)

  3. Anonymous says:

    I'm humming "You've got a friend in me" from Toy Story! Two heads are definitely better than 1...happens all the time! That's a great idea... to check out videos. It's a great way to learn the language! Japanese with English Subtitles is even better!
    Love, Aunt Jody

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