Climbing the Walls

I have a feeling that my neighbors here in Tokyo get a lot of mileage out of me. It’s probably a local pastime by now, gaijin-watching. “What is she up to today?” they chuckle to themselves. I give them food for gossip and behavior puzzles to ponder over their miso soup in the morning.

I know that I’m supposed to try to fit in, and do things the proper way, but in my life, things just happen and I have to adapt. It makes perfect sense to me that because I will not have time in the morning to hang out my laundry, (which had finished in the wash cycle at 8pm because I started the laundry when I got home from work, but had to do the dishes, check email, look for Elsa’s calculator and a myriad of other tasks before finally getting to the hanging up of the laundry part), now I still need to hang out the laundry on the back porch before going to sleep.

“So what is she doing now?”
“Well, you’re not going to believe this, but she’s out on the balcony hanging out her clothes.”
“You’re kidding! It’s 10 o’clock at night! Doesn’t she know that you only hang out your clothes in the morning after viewing the weather report that clearly tells us whether it is a good laundry day or not?”
“I don’t think they have a TV?”
“No TV? Well that’s just not possible.”
“No, I take that back. They do have one TV, but it’s in their car.”
“Yeah, well… lots of cars have TVs in their dashboards along with their navigation system.”
“No, I mean it’s their only TV.”
“You must be mistaken.”
“It’s true. When the Olympics were on, they all sat in their car and watched the opening ceremony.”
“They were probably just sitting there ‘cuz they’d been driving around and wanted to watch the rest in their driveway.”
“Nope. I saw them all come out of the house, get into the car, watch the show, and then go back inside.”
“Wow. That is goofy. Don’t they know how silly that looks.”
“Oh, they’re oblivious, you know. They’re gaijin… foreigners.”

At least I don’t shuffle off to the local store at night in my jammies to pick up a carton of milk. I get dressed… in shorts and a T-shirt. (I guess I’m not really supposed to wear shorts.) And take my own little plastic bag. And I bring my dog along who has learned to run alongside the bike. He puts his nose close to my leg when he has to stop and take a roadside potty break. I am ready with a bag to pick up after him. Someone is always nearby to make sure treasures are not left on the sidewalk. And this is a good thing, I think. Most of my behavior fits the norm. It’s just that things seem to happen to me…

“I think you should come over here and see this.”
“What is it this time?”
“She’s climbing the walls up to the second floor and going into her house through a window.”
“Don’t be silly. Even I know that gaijin don’t climb up the side of their houses to get in. They use the front door just like everyone else.”
“Look! She hauling herself over the side of the balcony.”
“Yikes! Look at her balancing on the railing. What if she falls? Do they have insurance?”
“She made it in. Now what’s she doing?”
“She’s letting the dog in.”
“That big dog? Into the house?”
“Yep. She crawled over the railing and into the house, just so she could let the dog in.”
“Weird. Why doesn’t she just use the front door.”
“Maybe she’s entertaining the dog.”
“Or us. Ha-ha-ha.”
“It’s fun living next to a gaijin.”

Sigh. First thing I need to do is put a key in my backpack so this doesn’t happen again.

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