Thursday, April 7

Post Office in Narita, Japan

No great and high-falutin story with this one. We were in Japan for a seven-hour layover, between Jakarta and Minneapolis, so we got out of the airport and toured a calligraphy museum in Narita. The curator spoke almost no English but tried to explain to us the first floor was only an exhibit of high school students practicing kanji in Japanese and Chinese--the good and ancient stuff was upstairs. She also declined to make eye contact and rather than coming off as rude it was somehow adorable.

After touring an actual Japanese garden, we tried winding our way back through the streets to the bus station (we'd taken a taxi to the museum but the station wasn't far at all). When we got stuck at one point I called out to a nearby teen who was walking by with his head respectfully down. "Sumimasen," I was able to forage from my scant Japanese, "Narita-eki wa doko desu ka?" I felt proud of myself but then the instructions, naturally, came to me in Japanese which I couldn't understand. I did get his hand gestures, and we found our way back in plenty of time to go back through passport registration and catch our flight.

But before that, we wrote quick notes to ourselves on postcards from the calligraphy museum, and I mailed them to ourselves at this airport post office.