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Amparo Bertram

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06:21 am: A capital time
Yesterday I took a trip to Otsu, which is the capital of Shiga Prefecture. My object in going was to locate Kinokuniya to pick up some reference materials for studying for the Japanese proficiency test and to check out the main branch of a craft store located there.

I found Kinokuniya without a problem, but finding the reference materials proved harder. Were they with the other language-learning reference books? No, that would be too obvious. Were they with the test-taking study guides? Nope. Were they even in the reference section at all? Not a chance. I finally broke down and asked someone where they were. Turns out they were on the complete opposite side of the store from the reference section, over by the magazines. Why?!

After that, I lugged my purchases across town to the location of the craft shop...only to find that it was closed. Now, generally, Japanese stores are closed one day per week, but--not being Christian--they have no obligation to make it Sunday. They usually choose a day like Wednesday or Thursday, for the convenience of people who work all week and go shopping on the weekends. Not this store, apparently.

Since that proved to be a bust, I went instead to their branch shop located inside a department store in Kusatsu. That, luckily, was open, and I had a chance to browse their goods. They had a semi-decent yarn collection, though they tended to focus on specialized yarn such as mohair or yarn with shiny metallic threads added. What surprised me the most was that they had a section devoted to Hawaiian-style dresses and skirts. Why?? They were pretty, but...why?

Since I was in Kusatsu, I used the opportunity to visit one of the restaurants my students recommended, a place called Carnival Buffet. For $10 ($13 on weekends) you can go in and have all you can eat and drink. (It kind of reminded me of a small-scale version of South Quad at U of M.) Considering that Japan is the land of No Free Refills where each glass of soda costs around $3-4, just having two refills means you've already gotten your money's worth. The food mostly had meat in it, though there were fries and au gratin potatoes and plain pizza (and a salad bar, not that I touched it). The one weak point was that there was no ketchup for the fries. ;_;

Comments

From:(Anonymous)
Date:September 12th, 2004 06:46 pm (UTC)

Japan-Hawaiian connection

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What surprised me the most was that they had a section devoted to Hawaiian-style dresses and skirts. Why?? They were pretty, but...why?

In watching the hula competition in Hawaii last summer, I was surprised to see that several of the hulaus represented were from Japan. They take their hula studies very seriously. ( Some were also from California and other parts of the mainland.)

Maybe there is some connection. Maybe they have a hula school in Kusatsu.

On an unrelated, but similar note, I know that Shoko was able to find all the things to go along with her square dancing costumes in Japan. They have a pretty big club, so they must sell the stuff somewhere.

Glad you were able to find the reference books you needed and that you enjoyed the buffet.
Love, Mom
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From:spacealien_vamp
Date:September 13th, 2004 01:44 am (UTC)

Re: Japan-Hawaiian connection

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I know Moriyama has a sister city in Hawaii. Perhaps Kusatsu does as well. I just couldn't figure out why they were selling clothing at a craft shop.

I have yet to find any store that carries plastic canvas in anything other than kits for making tissue box covers...I'll keep looking.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:September 16th, 2004 07:28 pm (UTC)

Re: Japan-Hawaiian connection

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I have yet to find any store that carries plastic canvas in anything other than kits for making tissue box covers...I'll keep looking.

If you decide you'd like some sent to you, let me know. It's usually pretty easy to get here, and it shouldn't be too expensive to mail.

Love, MOm
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From:wednesday_10_00
Date:September 12th, 2004 07:42 pm (UTC)
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They had...au gratin potatoes...with no meat!? It's like a miracle or something!!

I had the same problem when I was buying my application. The other stores I'd been in had the Japanese study materials out on display, so I had no clue where to look. Finally, after wandering around the store for a while, I asked at the counter, and the lady there went off to get it. So I still don't know where they were hiding them.
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From:spacealien_vamp
Date:September 12th, 2004 09:02 pm (UTC)
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It's like a miracle or something!!

That's what I thought. There was the occasional mushroom, but I think I only got two in the serving I took. It did need a bit of salt, though.

So I still don't know where they were hiding them.

It must be a conspiracy.
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