Very ‘Special’ Waves

, , , | Friendly | August 13, 2017

(I am sitting on a bench outside of fast food place, eating food I have just bought from there. A woman bumps into me and I instinctively apologise.)

Woman: “I should think so! You bumped into me!

Me: “Actually, you bumped into me.”

Woman: “You have disrupted my special waves and my aura is now mauve instead of opal!”

(She then made a grab for my fries and stormed away when I grabbed them before her. She then bumped into a couple of few benches further  down who were also eating, and said her aura was now shamrock, before again trying to grab their food.)

A Not-So-Vicious Cycle

, , , | Hopeless | July 30, 2017

Today I had my bike serviced. The shop adjusted the brakes and gears, etc. and made it run well. Really good job. They also inflated the tyres to full and hard.

I leave the shop, headed home, and the bike rides really well so I go a bit faster, feeling really pleased. It is raining but it feels fine.

I get to the first roundabout and I realise that the combination of wet roads and rain, plus tyres that are blown up much higher than they had been before and thus have much less grip than I am used to, is a bad thing.

I slide sideways and roll over on the road, cutting my arms and legs, and initially being a bit shocked and shaken.

Immediately, the lady driving the car behind me parks her car, blocking the road to prevent anyone crashing into me, and then gets out and helps me up. Another lady in a different car drives straight over and parks up, introducing herself as a trained first-aider. She also helps me get to the side of the road and asks me medical questions whilst inspecting my injuries. A third lady appears from somewhere, introduces herself as a nurse, and also checks that things are ok, whilst also holding a huge umbrella over us to keep us dry.

The first lady then leaves as she is blocking the road and can see I am in safe hands, and traffic gets moving again.

The lovely first-aider stays with me on the wet side of the road, puts plasters on me and cleans me up, before then asking how far away I live (just under a mile) to see how I can get home.

At that point yet another person pulls over to check I am ok and to ask if we need any help, although we are fine by then.

The lovely first-aider then loads me and my bike into her car, insisting she drive me home.

We get to my house, and she passes me over to my wife and son, who then start fussing over me, too, in the wonderful way that they do, and she makes sure that they will look after me and keep an eye one me.

She then leaves, completely refusing to accept any kind of reward for her wonderful help, despite me trying to give her a bottle of wine or something.

To everyone, but especially the first-aider: thank you so much for the wonderful help and concern for a complete stranger.

Faith in humanity definitely restored. 🙂

They’re Never Above Your Station

, , , , , | Hopeless | July 24, 2017

(This happens a week or two after I have just arrived to Japan for a student exchange program. I have yet to have my phone connected to the Internet at this point, so I have to rely on memory to get around. This, coupled with my liking to walk rather than go by transport, results in me getting lost a lot. This time I’m trying to walk home from university, but end up in a different part of the town altogether, and it’s getting late so I decide to just find the nearest subway station. Luckily, I at least speak some Japanese.)

Me: *walks into a convenience shop* “Excuse me, could you tell me what the nearest train station is and how to get there?”

Clerk: “Well, it’s a 20-minute walk from here and it’s a little complicated… Hey, [Coworker #1], there is a foreign customer asking how to get to the train station. Can you explain to her?”

(Coworker #1, an extremely nice middle-aged lady, calls Coworker #2, a young man, and together they try to explain the way to me in half-English, half-Japanese. Unfortunately, I am not yet familiar with local landmarks and find my Japanese vocabulary significantly lacking for words such as “highway” and “T-crossing”. Eventually they draw me crude map and, having thanked them, I walk out with it. They had even offered to walk part of the way with me, but that seemed like an obnoxious thing to accept, so I refused. As I am trying to follow the hand-drawn map, I hear footsteps behind me, and see a young man dressed like a typical office worker trying to catch up.)

Young Man: “Excuse me! I heard you talking to the clerk in that convenience store, and was wondering if I could help you find the way? Where do you want to get?”

Me: “[Neighbourhood where my dorm is], but I’m fine with just finding the train station.”

Young Man: “Well, if you keep walking like this, you’ll end up in Nara!” *a town over 20 miles away in the opposite direction from where I need to get*

(He then walks with me to the train station, making polite conversation as we go. I assume he just needs to go in the same direction anyway. As we get to the station:)

Young Man: “Do you know which station you have to get off at? I can look up on my phone.”

Me: “Oh, thank you, but I know. It’s [Station].”

Young Man: “Than you just need to board the next train from [Platform]. Here, use my train pass.”

Me: “Oh, no, thank you. I have the money.”

Young Man: “Are you sure? It’s [fare]. My pass is unlimited, so it’s okay if you use it. My company pays for it anyway.”

Me: “No, no, but thank you. Thank you very much.”

(As I head to the ticket gate, I see him waving and turning to walk off.)

Me: “Aren’t you going?”

Young Man: “Me? Oh, no. I actually live in an opposite direction; this isn’t even the station I have to board from. I just wanted to make sure you were all right!”

(Young man, thank you so much for helping me get home that night! This encounter meant so much to me back then, especially since I was in the middle of adapting to the new country!)

Their Love Is (On) Special

, , , , | Romantic | July 4, 2017

(I work as a pharmacy technician and wear barcode stickers on my hands to easily identify myself to the computer. Today I forgot to take them off before picking my husband up from work resulting in obligatory “what would you cost if we rang you through the register?” jokes. Also important: we recently announced I’m pregnant.)

Husband’s Coworker: “I’m sure whatever you ring up for it would be too high for [Husband] to afford you.”

Husband: “It’s true. I got her on sale.”

Me: “It’s a two-for-the-price-of-one special.”

The Great Zucchini Heist

, , , , , , , | Friendly | July 3, 2017

My grandfather is a landscaper and gardener, so my grandparents have a massive vegetable garden in their backyard. It produces way more food than they actually need. My grandmother has a deal with one of her neighbors, who is an amazing cook and baker as well as a good friend to my grandmother, where she can come over at anytime and take as many vegetables as she wants and she’ll bake my grandparents several loaves of chocolate zucchini bread in return. She is the only person they have this deal with, though my grandmother will sometimes give free vegetables to neighbors who ask for them.

One day her friend comes over for some zucchini because she is having a get together and decides to make some bread for the dessert table, only to discover that the plants are completely barren of fruit. There aren’t even any unripened, not quite ready to pick zucchinis on the plant despite the fact that it’s peak season for them. She asks my grandparents about this, wondering if they’re having a bad year with their plants, but my grandmother shows her a zucchini she just picked the previous day and claims there were dozens more at least.

A week later, someone takes most of the tomatoes and digs up almost all of the carrots, which is discovered because the neighbor came over for a couple of onions for a soup she’s making for a dinner party she’s hosting. After the theft is discovered, her husband, who is a retired, disabled Vietnam vet who doesn’t really do much other than stay at home and entertain friends because his disabilities make it difficult for him to walk or travel, sits outside for two days, watching the garden while my grandparents aren’t home, until he catches the thief.

It turns out another one of the neighbors saw that my grandmother’s friend was going in and out of their garden and just taking vegetables whenever she wanted and decided that meant it was open for anyone to just take whatever they wanted. He was stealing the vegetables and selling them at a local farmer’s market.

When my grandfather confronts him, the guy tells my grandfather that it was his own fault for not telling him that he couldn’t just take all of them for profit. He never asked if it was okay or even indicated that he was doing it in the first place…

He later got arrested after security footage revealed he was the one who was stealing another neighbor’s prized, show-quality lop rabbits from an outdoor hutch and it turned out he was butchering and eating them. He had even cut a lock they had installed to try to prevent the theft. I guess she never told him that he couldn’t just take and eat her pets, either.

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