Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Encounter with a Postal Clerk

Well, this morning I gave a postal clerk an experience that neither he nor I was expecting. I decided to try the post office for transferring money to my U.S. bank account since the transfer costs only ¥2,800 as opposed to ¥4,000 from my bank.

First he asked me to write my address in the U.S.  It took several minutes to convince him that I didn't have an address in the U.S.  He kept saying the address I used when I started the account, and I tried to explain that I receive my statements at my address here in Japan, and that even my checks have my Japanese address.

Then came filling out the form.  Even though it was in both Japanese and English, I ended up having to redo it 4 times because of various mistakes - the confusion of what language to write my address in, the fact that there are about 7 versions of my name in Japan (not counting CA Edington), and the tiny spaces in which to write.

Then, every time I made a mistake, I had to use my inkan (stamp) over the error. In between each time, I had to wait for other customers, so the whole ordeal took me about 45 minutes for a 1-page form.

Oh, and during that time, the dollar rose, so I ended up paying ¥193 more!

The clerk apologized to me several times and presented me with a cheap towel.

I thought it was over, but there was more to come.  Later in the day, my doorbell rang, and it was the postal clerk coming to my apartment, bringing me the form to correct once again.  I had written US$ for the type of currency, and it was supposed to be USD.  Out came my inkan once more after making the correction.

At least now he's seen my classroom and knows that I teach English.  It would be nice to get a new student out of this!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Called to Writing

Woke up with endorphins flowing as they haven't in a long time.  I had been on the phone with not one but two different publishers (even though it was one long continuous phone call) about the possibilities of writing books.  One was a rewrite of a book I had formerly published (with a different company) several years ago called The Way I Say It, about common expressions used by Japanese speakers. The publisher called me because of the recommendation by a Facebook friend who had also written a great deal for the same company.  The other was about my journey in recovery and health.  Oddly enough, it included how I was improving my health by walking to school (which I used to do in Wisconsin, but is not going to happen here, particular since one commute takes more than an hour by subway and bus).

In both cases, talking with the editor of each book was so encouraging and stimulating that I couldn't help but babble on about all my different ideas for what the book might include.  I practically started writing the books in my head as I talked.  I also knew that it was going to be exciting working the entire staff of the publishing companies because they were so warm at all levels, from the receptionist to whom I spoke initially on up to, in one case, the editor-in-chief because he was also - to the surprise of both of us - a Facebook friend.

The phone I was using was a business phone for another company that, near the end of my conversation, was gesturing for me to get off (because they were expecting a fax and I was tying up the line).  When I finally hung up, I explained to them the reason for the call and that it wasn't just chitchat.

I was elated!

The dream probably came from an assortment of happenings, including (1) reading a novel just before bed about a journalist putting together a story; (2) a discussion with my sister about her self-publications on Amazon, including a novel, some plays, and a cookbook, and her suggestion that I could also self-publish; and (3) a promise to some friends in my support group that I would write the story of my drinking and subsequent recovery.  Also, I have a number of friends who have been writing books that have gotten published and are doing well.

There was such a strong message in that dream!  I've got to get writing!