Two Servings of Ice Cream, a Panda Puppet, and a Beached Whale: A Saturday Success Story

What happens when you get out of bed at a (reasonably) early hour in Japan?  A stuffed Power Rangers toy is just one of the many perks!

The "0 yen" bin strikes again!

10:00 a.m.- Wake up and eat a breakfast of champions: a leftover burrito and a chocolate bagel.

10:30- Use the world’s greatest invention, the Magic Jack, to call my mom and long lost friend, Cubicle Dave.  If you are an American or Canadian and are going to live abroad, get one!

11:05-12:00 Set up online banking through Shinsei bank, only the second English friendly product I’ve met in Japan (the other being for the train schedule)

1:00- Go to the bike repair shop for the third time in one month.  Through hand gestures and various grunts and groans, finally able to find a leak in the tire this time and I have my bike fixed right.

2:00- Deposit 70,000 yen into Shinsei bank, the first step towards finally sending money home. If you are living in Japan and want the most cost-effective way to send money home, let me know.  Bobby, from Ramblin’ Man, figured it out and has helped me set it up.  It’s a pain at first, but once you get it straightened out it gives you the best exchange rates, bar none.

2:05- Treat myself to a mid-afternoon Crunky bar due to my elation at putting money away.  My first ice cream of the day.


2:10- Bike the 20 minutes to the Oki-Doki thrift store to work off a quarter of the ice cream bar.

3:00- Man up and finally buy a couch and an oven to (hopefully) complete our home furnishings.  Am told it would be delivered within two hours.  Find an awesome panda puppet and stuffed power ranger in the “0 yen” bin.  Am elated!

This panda puppet could very quickly become the best English teaching tool I've ever encountered.

4:00- Bike rapidly home and wait, hoping the delivery truck would beat Heather home from work and I could surprise her.

4:45- Heather arrives home from work.

5:15- Delivery truck arrives.  Delivery guys spend 15 minutes trying to wedge a full size couch into a narrow hallway.  Finally, they decide to come in through the back porch sliding door (foreshadowing).

5:30- Heather is overjoyed with the new purchases and immediately bakes chocolate chip cookies.

That's why I bought an oven!

6:00- Drew, Heather and I embark on a trip to the Great Outdoor shop.  They do not have the pack that I want but we do find out that they sell travel hammocks for 3300 yen ($40).  I store this in my memory bank for later.

7:00- Enjoy an awesome curry meal at a tiny joint we have been meaning to try for three months.  Drew asks the owner where he is from.  He answers Nepal.  I “kindly” point out the name of the restaurant (Nepal Kitchen) as well as the five large, and titled, pictures of the mountains of Nepal that surround the cash register.

All day- Continuously refuse attempts at trying to be roped in to going to see Harry Potter 7.

8:37- I walk home wearing an awesome hat which I plan to steal from its rightful owner (shhh!).  Drew and Heather drive off in the other direction towards the theater.

Funny gaijin in funny hat!

8:47- I arrive home.  The door is locked.  I have no key.

I attempt to break in to my house through the back porch but all three sliding doors are locked (only in Japan would the delivery guys have been so conscientious to lock ALL THREE SLIDING DOORS. The one door has never been locked for the whole 3.5 months I’ve lived here!)  In the process, I do my best beached whale imitation to get over the balcony railing. *recreated below for your enjoyment*

9:00- Bike to McDonald’s, the only place I know that is 24 hours.  Befriend a gay British dance instructor named Tommii.

9:10- Buy 100 yen vanilla milkshake.  My second ice cream of the day.

9:15- Spend 2 hours reading “A Time to Kill” on my Ipad and enjoying the warmth.

11:15- Grow bored and bike to the combini.  Purchase a bottle of Morning Rescue because I like the name.  Quickly realize the name is better than the taste.

Is this a Japanese cure for a hangover or just one of their typical "lets-pair-odd-words-together-on-products".

11:20- Bike to the Wildcat’s “Dart Café” but don’t enter because the only patrons are two scary looking guys playing darts together and one girl playing darts alone.  And because its a darts cafe.

11:25- Take an hour long bike ride through the rice paddies.  Reach a state bordering on nirvana for about 10 minutes as it is completely silent except for the sound of my pedals and the whirring of my friction powered bike light.

11:35- Pass a small little church in the middle of nowhere.  I am overwhelmed by a feeling of complete peace and reminded of God’s great presence.

12:45- Return home, lay on my new couch, eat two more cookies. Decide that the two purchases have already paid for themselves.

Bliss...thanks Oki Doki!

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5 Responses to Two Servings of Ice Cream, a Panda Puppet, and a Beached Whale: A Saturday Success Story

  1. Peggy Joy Swope says:

    Hey Travis! I think that your next job should be one of story telling! You really know how to hold a person’s interest! Love reading about your travels! Are any of the Sherry’s coming to visit while you’re in Japan? Is Heather teaching too? Sounds like you’re happy and doing well and that’s what’s important! Miss you! I have your blog saved on my favorites and I do religiously read it several times a week! Miss you!

    Miss Nix (or P.J.)

  2. mzunguprince says:

    i second mrs. swope. i seriously come on here multiple times in a day, so be encouraged by that!

    to answer her question about visiting you, i REALLY want to when i graduate (next december, by the way) so make sure you stay there for a couple of years, alright? hopefully everything will work out and i’ll be able to come. i want to go thrifting with you SO BADLY.

    i’m was really happy to hear about your bike ride and that you passed a small church. are you able to go to church there? i feel like i know nothing about japan, but are you able to worship freely there?

  3. mzunguprince says:

    p.s. i love you.

    (no, not the movie)

  4. tigersensei says:

    Ms. Nix and Cody, thank you both for the encouragement. It certainly can get frustrating at times, especially when trying to learn the formatting and getting pictures posted in a way that looks ok, but it well worth it when I get such great feedback. I appreciate you both checking in frequently.

    Cody- There are churches around, although I’m only aware of a few. There seems to be plenty of freedom in terms of being allowed the worship. The hardest part for us is finding a church that is in English. We know of one, but its about an hour to an hour and a half away and requires taking a train and two different buses, which we haven’t been able to figure out yet.

  5. The Pemms says:

    Seriously Travis, I’M SO GLAD YOU MARRIED MY SISTER!!!!!!! I absolutely love the blog and lmao almost the entire day. CANNOT WAIT to read more. XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX

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