The mystery of the undelivered chest of drawers has been solved! And it wasn’t nearly as painful as I thought it’d be. I was building myself up to be properly annoyed that they hadn’t delivered it Monday/Tuesday when they promised, and also to just sort of put my head down and barrel forward through all the arguing that I was sure would follow.

It turns out, though, that it was all indeed miscommunication, but not the kind I’d suspected/feared: actually, the extra ¥3000 I paid, thinking that was the delivery charge, was because I was buying the pre-assembled floor model. (I’d have to assemble it myself otherwise.) I misunderstood the woman who was explaining this stuff to me because when people use honorifics it’s almost like they’re speaking a completely different language; there’s so much extra stuff that gets in between the intended meaning and the translation of the phrase. The cost to deliver it was an extremely exorbitant ¥550–$4.60–so I gladly paid it.

They’re delivering it after 2 PM tomorrow, when I’ll be back at the BOE, and I know they’ll let me duck out to go help haul it up the stairs, since they feel guilty (or at least my boss does) for dragging their heels on getting me the leftover furniture from Dave’s old place.

There was a problem with one word: “kumitate,” which sounded vaguely familiar but which I just had no clue about. Finally, though, they gave me enough words (in Japanese and English) that hinted at the meaning that it clicked: building/construction. I was able to jump in and say, “Oh, so this cost is because I didn’t make the chest?” (tsukurimasen deshita–I’m sure there are better words out there, but “tsukuru” is one of those universal sorts of things, introduced in our cooking lesson in Japanese class, but also used to mean “build” and “put together”) to which they exclaimed, “Yes!” and we all started cheering together.

One of the clerks and I guess a delivery-type guy actually gave me a ride back to my apartment so that I could show them where it was, because they couldn’t find it on the book of Ikeda maps they pulled out. It was a really nice gesture on their part. I’ll definitely be looking forward to their call. I’m glad we can do it during the day (at least, I hope so), so I don’t have to worry about making sure to make the same train as the others traveling down to Iya, where we’re crashing so we can go caroling at all our junior highs, starting in the Iya Valley, and working our way north (coming to Ikeda for lunch–I really hope we eat at La Tavola, the awesome Italian place with a chef who actually studied in Italy) and east.

Some other good stories lately:

So every few days, they play these town-wide announcements over the loudspeakers. I can’t stand these things, because the woman drags her words out in this really annoying tone of voice and has these excruciating pauses after every few words. It’s also loud enough to drown out whatever I have on in here, since the speaker’s not too far from my building. Well, an announcement came on while I was walking home from Daily Mart the other day; I was taking a road that puts me past several houses that have dogs. As the announcement came on, every single dog started to howl. It was all I could do to not crack up, but I was grinning for the rest of the walk home.

And today, at White Background Elementary (it ended up being my last class for the term, but I didn’t realize it until after class ended; I’d told the principal I’d have to take the next 2 weeks off due to my India trip, but I hadn’t told the teachers–which reminds me, for any of you doing eikaiwa/adult conversation classes, tell your students if you have to miss class, but don’t forget to tell the people who actually coordinate the classes, too! Whoops.–anyway, they also ended up canceling the class during the week before winter holidays begin, too), I was sitting around for 20 minutes, killing time till I had to go catch my bus, and I started chatting with a teacher. She asked me what I thought of the students, and I told her I was having fun in the class, and their English was pretty good. She then told me, in a mix of Japanese and broken but very understandable English, that the students thought I was “very kindness.” It was a sweet gesture on her part to go out of her way to tell me that, and it made my afternoon a little sweeter.

Oh, and I was an idiot and bought a bunch of fresh vegetables last weekend, even though I should have known I wouldn’t use them all within the week (I’m leaving Monday afternoon for Osaka). Well, my stomach acted up overnight Monday/Tuesday, so I was going pretty easy on it all day yesterday, and ended up coming up with the perfect way to use up a bunch of veggies at once: vegetable soup. I may make it for myself every night this week–good, filling, and it empties my fridge!

A bad thing: I ripped out a hem in the bottom of my awesome swishy olive green slacks today, and I was thinking that instead of messing with sewing for the first time in many years, I could just get my mom to do it next week. (I’ll probably attempt it myself, though, and only bring it to her if I really screw it up…I have a sewing kit for a reason, right?) I really need to start packing–I’m going to be in Hyderabad this time next week!

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