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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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« last day in Japan?? | Main | cyber cafe »

fruit and navigation

Posted Saturday, Sept. 15, 2001 7:45 am Tokyo time

Today's Blathering entry is about fruit and navigation. This may sound trivial in light of what's going on in the U.S. and other parts of the world right now, but I reallyreally need to Blather about something trivial today. Jeff and I are still scheduled to fly back to Toronto tomorrow; apparently Air Canada's international operations is up to 90%, which is encouraging.

I forgot to mention Jeff's and my Subway Gaffe yesterday. We were on our way back to Alison's apartment after our visit to the Kinokuniya supermarket, and rush hour was picking up. After coming up a set of stairs in Omotesando subway station, two trains had just pulled in.

"That's it!" Jeff called, pushing me towards the one on the left. "Hurry!" Clutching our paper bags of fruit, we sprinted into nearest car. Then Jeff yelled, "Oops, wrong car! Quick, get out!" (his language was actually slightly stronger, but I've taken the liberty of editing :-)) and pushed me toward the door.

Shoving my way past a group of older Japanese ladies, I jumped out of the door. Turning around, I was horrified to see the subway doors closing. Jeff stuck his hand in the crack, trying to pry it open, but no use.

After the doors shut, I quickly motioned that I would wait in the same place for him to come back. I could see the Japanese ladies start to talk to him sympathetically (later, he told me that they knew no English, but it was clear they thought the driver should have held the doors open a bit longer for Jeff).

Jeff got back with no problem, of course (despite this one navigational slip-up, he still IS navigational king here in Japan :)), but as I waited, watching the rush hour crowds, I couldn't help but wonder what would have happened if I had been the one to be caught behind the subway doors.

I've always been abysmal at navigation. The only time I pay attention to where I'm going is if I'm travelling somewhere by myself. After many years of the Urban Tapestry ritual of going to Centerpoint Mall for dinner and then some mall-browsing, I -still- don't have a firm grasp of what store is where. :-) Anyway, after Jeff got back from his unexpected detour, we both agreed that if this happens again and I'M the one stuck on the wrong subway car, then I will meet him back at Alison's place (I always carry a card with a small map of how to get to her place as well as her contact info).

So what are you like, in terms of navigational abilities? Today's poll question has a yes/no answer, but I'd be interested in hearing details in Blatherchat. Are you the type who enjoys figuring out maps or directions? Does the idea of finding your way around a non-English-speaking country scare you or excite you?

Also, how anal are you about planning navigation? If you're setting out to do some sightseeing in the morning, for example, are the type who prefers to carefully plot our a route on a map so you always know where you're going? Or do you prefer to just wing it, with a map on hand in case you need it?

Jeff and I are leaving in about an hour to meet Ryo, who lives in the suburbs of Tokyo. I haven't seen Ryo in several years (the last time he visited my father in Canada, I was in Philadelphia), so am very glad we have the chance to visit with him. :-)

The Blatherpics today are all of produce I saw in Kinokuniya supermarket yesterday, when Jeff and I went shopping for some fruit and a few supplies. I still find some of the fruit prices astounding. Also impressed by how PERFECT all the fruit bruises or discolourations anywhere, sometimes even individually packaged in styrofoam netting.

We had a yummy udon soup last night. Jeff had found a package of a do-it-yourself dinner, with individually packaged udon, different kinds of mushrooms and vegetables, sliced meats, toppings, even pre-made broth. Delicious! Japanese supermarkets are very cool, and not everything is expensive (in contrast to the impression I've been giving so far :-)). So many interesting things that I've never seen in North America...I could literally spend hours just wandering the aisles browsing, but Jeff would likely be driven mad with boredom by then. :-)

We plan to leave fairly early tomorrow for the airport, even though our flight is likely to be delayed. Apparently check-ins are taking a LOT longer because of extra security measures being taken (which I'm glad for, of course). I'll likely be posting one more Blathering before we leave.

Hope you're all well...

Today's Blatherpics:

- Mystery fruit (I have no idea what this is, any suggestions?), about $23 each.

- Peaches, $5.40 each.

- "English" Bread, $4.17 per loaf.

- Apples for $6 each.

- Papayas for $16 each.

- Grapes, $34 per bunch. These were some kind of special grapes, I think, since the blue grapes I had bought a few days ago were "only" $8 for a bunch.

Today's Poll:

In general, do you consider yourself good at finding your way around?

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