There are some interesting places in Japan

I’ve gone shopping at various shopping centers ranging all the way from huge outlet malls to both large and small street/strip malls.
And in those various places I’ve seen some very strange stores. Including…

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This liquor store that’s produced by a second hand store…

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This adorable Alice in Wonderland themed accessory store where you have to crouch to get through the door.

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The store of unabashedly double standard-ed clothes…

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And this place…

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That had most all of its items on display in treasure chest bins…

Japan is festive!

So I was driving along yesterday when I saw the most surprising thing…

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Someone dressed up a historical Japanese statue as Santa!!!!!!!

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What.

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The.

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Flip…
I can’t handle this ridiculous amount of festivity, guys. Wow. Just wow.
Good job, Japan.

It’s Christmas.

I got sent home from work a bit early today because everyone else had left and the manager didn’t seem to want to stay any longer if she could help it. I’m entertained. This is not the first time that the office manager has just been like “Melissa, go home.” (Her words exactly, from at least one day last summer…)

So now I’m home, and I don’t have much planned…

AND NOW I HAVE A SUDDEN INSPIRATION TO DO SOME CLEANING. I HAVE A BOX-CUTTER. RECYCLING, HERE I COME WITH A MOUNTAIN OF USED CARDBOARD THAT’S BEEN PILING UP. LET’S GO.

Merry Christmas, everybody who celebrates it. Happy holidays to everyone who doesn’t. I hope your winter holiday is splendid. I’m gonna go clean a bit. And then I’ll blog more because I have stories!

Update!!! I demolished all the cardboard in my spare/storage room, and here’s the body count: a freaking lot of cardboard boxes…
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Mahjong is difficult!!!

So the mahjong that I knew is totally not a real real thing. That doesn’t surprise me at all, but still. So now I’m trying to learn how to play Japanese mahjong so that I can play it with my coworkers.

I even got a cellphone app of the Japanese version of the game so I can practice. And it’s stupid hard and it annoys meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

I’m sure it won’t be quite as difficult if/when I actually get a chance to play it in person with people who can explain to me as I go what I’m doing right/wrong/how I can improve.

Gahhhhhhhhhhhhh…

So you remember how I said rural Japan can be scary?

Driving home the other night, I had to keep an active count of the wildlife I saw and made sure not to accidentally encounter with my car.

It wasn’t a particularly long count, but still:

1 marten

2-4 deer (I could only see 2 for sure, but I think there were more)

1 HUGE wild boar

The wild boar was the scariest encounter, because it was VERY close to the side of the road, and this thing was really big. I only saw it briefly, but I think it was about as tall as a full-grown Labrador retriever, and at least 1.5x as long as the same.

Bahhhhhhhhhhhh.

Rural Japan can be super scary…

So my friend and I were taking a walk in the early evening this past weekend. It was kinda cold, and definitely dark by that time.

As we were walking along a cliff-side road, enjoying the view, we suddenly heard a high, sharp animal screech. It startled us, but we kept going on.

Then, after the next bend in the road, we noticed movement a distance ahead of us. There were a bunch of MONKEYS in the middle of the road! We counted about 8 or them at least.

Now I love going to zoos and seeing amazing animals, but it is completely different when there’s no glass or anything separating me and the animals. Since there’s no such thing like that here, I am even more respectful of animals and their space.

Soooooooooo, we stopped. We watched for about a minute to see if the monkeys would just pass on by and clear off the road… Instead the younger ones started tousling and playing the the very center of the road… So my friend and I turned back. We were not going to chance it with the monkeys. Also, what I can only assume was the monkey parental unit, started watching us, further prompting us to respect their space and make a slow, steady retreat.

We then went back into human-made dwelling areas and vehicles. Because in a car, the monkeys will respect my space.

Rural Japan is freaking scary sometimes…

That super scary and also amazing moment when things go horribly wrong but are also miraculously ok at the same time.

I woke up the other morning to see that my alarm clock was flashing. At some point in the night my power must have flickered or something. Regardless, my alarm clock wasn’t blinking at the right time, and it definitely didn’t emit ANY sort of alarms to help me wake up…

However I discovered this at a time of the morning that was honestly still an ok time for me to be waking up. I wasn’t late for work or anything. It was both terrifying and amazing at the same time.