Feb 22, 2016

Changing Seasons & 'Spacial Reasoning'

We had some visitors from some of the North American branches of The Mister’s company this past week.  We offered to go with them on a souvenir shopping mission one night to help with translating.  One of our guests had heard about a specialty Kit Kat Bar that is popular in Japan for Valentines Day - the candies are dyed pink and packed in a cute little box that she thought would be a perfect gift for her neighbor’s little girls.  Except we went out on a mission to find these Kit Kats on the 18th of February - which you might recognize as being 4 days AFTER Valentine’s Day.  If you’re reading this from anywhere other than Japan, you are probably thinking the same thing our visitor thought: Great!  4 days after means those Valentine Kit Kats are going to be on SUPER discount!

But we’ve lived here long enough to know the truth:  Oh no.  Those Valentine KitKats?  They were cleared from the shelves the as the clock struck 12:01AM on February15th. (we ended up finding some Hinamatsuri candy kits instead.)

It’s an interesting phenomenon I realized I’ve gotten used to here.  Seasons are a REAL big deal to Japanese folks, and they revel in not only the celebration of holidays that are seasonal, but also in how those times change over to the next.

The day after Valentine’s Day, the hearts, chocolates, and roses were immediately cleared out to make room for the upcoming seasonal celebrations:  White DayHinamatsuri, St. Patty's Day*, and Hanami.

Now, as demonstrated above, I know all of this in my brain.  I logically get what’s going on and why products change over.

Except after Valentine’s day last week, I was walking through the store and came across an aisle that had been entirely emptied - shelves cleared off, end cap tables disassembled, and clearance bins moved off the sales floor.  I guess I hadn’t had enough coffee just yet, because my immediate first reaction was not “Oh, they’re changing the seasonal stuff over.

No, friends. 
My first reaction was “Holy s---, there must be a category 5 typhoon coming, the people are all buying up the groceries!  IMMEDIATE PANIC MODE.”

Instead of stopping to think that empty aisle used to house heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, or to look and see that all the other aisles were just as they always are, or that no one else seemed particularly perturbed by this latest turn of events, I bought up all the eggs, toilet paper, and dog bones that I could carry.  

I am really good at being prepared for an emergency.  Clearly these are the three things that every household NEEDS when there are no lights, refrigeration or running water available (okay but at least the TP is a legit emergency purchase). 

Long story short, I came home, looked at the news, realized I’m an idiot, and then used the extra eggs to do a bunch of baking.  Also dog bones never go to waste here, so no harm, no foul. 

Dog-bone Jenga. Both his favorite and his least favorite game.

Also if you fail at Panic Mode like me, I recommend an Emergency Preparedness Kit.

What three things (which may or not be actually useful) 
would you grab in an emergency?
Tell me in the comments!

today's little language lesson
dokoni watashi wa shyamuroku no kutsushita o kaimasuka?
Where can I buy Shamrock Socks?
*Daiso.  There are Shamrock Socks at Daiso.


The name is Kp or KpMcD (Kristin, actually, but for the sake of continuity let's stick with the nickname, shall we?) Hailing from the Midwest US and living in Nagoya with my husband (The Mister), my dobermutt (Mac) and an elitist marmalade tabby who answers to no one (Bubba).


  • DaveJpn

    on Feb 23

    If I'm at home, fully clothed, smartphone in pocket ... spare contact lenses (rock n roll!) cigarettes (with lighter) passport

  • KpQuePasa

    on Feb 23

    @DaveJpn You are a far more logical person than I in this instance!

  • DaveJpn

    on Feb 23

    @KpQuePasa Probably more of a base physical need: Can't see without my contacts. Can't handle a crisis without cigarettes (I'm not proud). Can't face the trouble of getting a new passport.

  • SalarymanJim

    on Feb 24

    In an emergency: Filofax, Blackberry, business cards! More seriously: probably passport, work bag, and a book? If panic buying: big bottles of water, portable phone charger, nuts (sorry, I'm not an expert on this)

  • KpQuePasa

    on Feb 24

    @SalarymanJim I think the definition of "panic buying" is that you're not really in the proper mind-frame to be logical. That said, I feel like that list you've got going on is pretty good!

  • SalarymanJim

    on Mar 1

    @KpQuePasa So in hindsight, would you still go with eggs, toilet paper, and dog bones?

  • KpQuePasa

    on Mar 2

    @SalarymanJim Great question. We've got an emergency kit at the house with everything the humans of the house would need... so actually I would probably run to the pet store and grab cat food, dog food, and of course, some dog bones.

  • SalarymanJim

    on Mar 7

    @KpQuePasa Did you buy your emergency kit 'ready made' from Tokyu Hand or somewhere like that, or is it something you put together yourselves? Do you keep it 'updated'?

  • KpQuePasa

    on Mar 10

    @SalarymanJim I put together one from scratch- the kits were so expensive, and almost everything on the list of kit suggested items from the US embassy were available at Daiso. It seemed an easier way to go. Plus I had to throw in a few things for the critters - extra pet food and water, plus litter solutions for the cat - which wouldn't come all nicely contained in those pre-made kits.