Victory! This is me and my receipt for a qua-gillion yen. TA-DA!! In summary, it took three separate days of trying to get them my rent money (you’d think they’d make it EASY for me to give them an envelope stuffed with cash) and the rent was 11 days late when delivered at 4:40 this afternoon. I tried to bring it earlier today, but they asked me (via a translator at the base housing office; no one at Sanyu Housing speaks English) to come after 4 p.m. Fines? None. And as I was leaving the agency–quickly, because I’d been walking briskly in the cold so once inside my nose had started to run and I’ve been told Japanese find it excessively gross to wipe noses in public, so I for sure couldn’t use my mittens, which is gross anyway–my rental agent called me back in with the Japanese palm-down wave and gave me (drum roll!) two towels in New Year’s wrapping. My first New Year’s present! And all because my rent was late! 🙂
I went straight from there to Japanese lessons, where we practised saying “I’m so hungry my stomach makes hollow sounds” (“Onaka ga peko peko desu.” — note the onomatopoeia your tummy takes when empty: peko peko!) and “Do you have sake?” (“O-sake arimasu-ka?”) I also learned that in Japan we wish each other Happy New Year until the 15th (“Akemashite omedeto gozaimasu, kotoshimo yoroshiku onegaishimasu!” that’s literally something like, “Happy New Year, please let’s continue to be friends this year,” or something). Happy New Year!