Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Challenge 16: No Balloons for You, American!

It's been raining almost nonstop for the last 6 days. I think it's safe to say we're officially in the rainy season now. It's very gray and dreary outside, so this tree caught my attention as I was driving by.

When I got closer, I saw it was a balloon shop, and as I've never been inside one of those, I stepped in. This place had any kind of balloon that you could want-- balloons in jars like candy, balloons hanging on the wall, even balloons with skull and cross-bones.

I inquired about a balloon for my friend who is leaving Okinawa soon, and the sales lady answered in the strangest way, "You might want to buy your balloon on the base. There's more selection and they're cheaper there."

Hmm...was this Japanese humility or a cultural misunderstanding? I've never been encouraged to shop somewhere else before. Anyway, I did buy a balloon and left. As I walked across the street, I noticed this bar with this sign on it:

When I turned around, a Japanese lady was standing on the street watching me. When we made eye-contact, she gave me the peace sign.

Can anyone explain what happened? Did I stumble into a anti-American part of town? Did the Japanese woman feel sorry for me? 

Wherever you are in the world, have you ever experienced something like this?


Grayquill said...

Very interesting the sign did say, Japanesse only hmmm...maybe an American is okay but keep out all you...hmmm can't think of who they might be.

Carrie said...

Hmmm...that's really odd. I never saw anything like that while I was traveling through Japan. You'll have to let us know if you discover anything new.

Anonymous said...

well Okinawa is a very special place. Americans and Okinawans can't get along well but sometimes people remind the stupid things drunk young military do. That's why sometimes the sign "only Japanese" in bars.

Anonymous said...

sorry about the comment above. I meant " Americans and Okinawans CAN get along well" :)

Mary and Sean said...

I'm going to ask my Okinawan friend about it and get her take on the whole episode...and will update.

I certainly know there is some tension with young irresponsible military kids here. I just never saw such a strong "keep out" sign here before...

Anonymous said...

Those type of signs(Japanese only) are very common in Naha. But only in bars. Okinawans are very friendly with Americans.

Mary and Sean said...

I know! I love Okinawans!


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