“I love being with people when they experience new and strange things.” This post is dedicated to Hayley and her courageousness that draws me in and pushes me farther. ^_^
Hayley was off to expand her wardrobe today and magnanimously invited the entire Green Symphony crew to come along. Angela and myself hopped onto the bandwagon for our own reasons, mine being that I don't want to get too used to sticking around my apartment. I was a big homebody in Tyler, but I am determined to use this year to explore!
EVERYONE knows I'm not big on malls. In fact, it has taken me many years to overcome a sort of dread I have of them and, in my twisted view, the hostiles that roam their halls looking for whom they may devour. Hahahaha! But this was where our little crew of three were headed today: Lalaport.
Lalaport is a huge mall! Bigger than Tyler's mall and maybe even larger than Dallas's malls, but all the same, its much like any other mall, just Asian. I loved seeing the American stores there though: American Eagle, Lush, Coach, Body Shop, Starbucks, and maybe one or two more. There was also a store that Hayley referred to as the Imports store, but its main business is coffee. I REALLY like that store! They had JAM on sale!! I bought Apricot and Blueberry. You would never believe how EXPENSIVE jam is here. I got it at a ridiculously good price. They had other “foreign” items too like Cherry Cola, salsa, and Mac N Cheese. The can of cola was roughly a dollar, so I bought one, but the others…le sigh. One shutters to think that buying Mac N Cheese is considered a luxury, roughly four or five dollars a box.
Aside from getting lost and finding ourselves three or four times, the day was a smooth progression of rambling search, discovery, and success. Hayley found new clothes, Angela got a new cd, I bought grape tea, Apple Camomile tea, and a Totoro Passmo Card holder, and we found a few natural colors of nail lacquer for Alma.
For those of you in the know, we even stumbled across a shop that sold not just anime figurines, but Asian Ball Joint Doll stuff!!!! I was so happy!! I can't wait to get my kiddoes here for a shopping spree!
Now, the day was in fact full of very normal Tyler-esque experiences, save one. We three are unassumingly walking by, I will admit that by this point my feet were pretty tired, when we are called at in Japanese. I of course was completely oblivious since I know only bits and pieces of the illusive language like my word of the day, ebi, which means shrimp in case you were wondering. Hayley suddenly stops and turns to speak rapidly to the two adorable girls at the stall we had wondered by. Her face lit up and I knew then that I was in for something strange.
I have decided to attempt to adopt a motto here, “I'll try it.” I am unwilling to say that I follow it to a 'T' exactly, but I am trying!!! So, in the spirit of this new motto, I decided to follow my sempai's urging.
Just behind the sweet talking girls was a basin or pool of sorts. It was filled about mid-calf high. Below the surface of still water were fish about the size of a pointer finger. Garra Rufa are nicknamed Doctor Fish because they essentially nibble away the dead skin from the healthy skin growing beneath. It's actually a banned practice in the US because it is considered unsanitary by cosmetology standards; it's too expensive to throw away fish. They are common to the Northern and Central Middle East countries, Turkey especially. Apparently most homes in Turkey have fountains that contain masses of these guys. At the end of the day people just dip their feet in for awhile relaxing and essentially getting a manicure for free! Hahahaha!
The experience was indeed strange but also refreshing. The little buggers tickle pretty badly at first and one cannot help but make some extremely distorted faces, but I actually liked it in the end. The booth girls were so happy we came and enjoyed ourselves that they gave us an extra minute in the pool with the little suckers. I'd do it again.
My final observation of the day came on the trek home. I find the Japanese a rather lonely set of people. As we made our way down a set of stairs stashed in a hallway, toward our train, I realized that no one was really talking. This mass of people just shuffled away home, alone. I noticed because their footfalls pounded the steps in a hollow rhythm much like the sound of the train as it echoed into the station. We might be too loud in America, but it's a loudness quieter than the silence of the people here.
Made me miss home.