(an adventurous fiasco from day 1)
I was really excited for Mom and Gary to visit Japan. Until they got here. You see, I realized, as soon as they arrived, that I don't know nearly enough about this country to get myself, let alone them, around safely and efficiently.
Thus, the fiasco began at landing time, 8:00pm (Nagoya Central Time).
1. On the way home from the airport, the navigation system that I was using fell out of my hands, and (which we didn't know until later) the cd (that guides via satellite) became dislodged. So, as we were getting ready to merge from one highway to the next, the entire system stopped working.
(Side note - I really am not kidding when I say that you can't just 'take a wrong turn' or 'get lost' in Japan. The end result would be to be lost off o the planet forever. Only this time, It was going to be myself and my parents to never be heard from again...)
In a series of miscalculated judgement errors, I, at that time, took two wrong turns. Panicked and nearly crying, I called my friend Daniel (the master of Japan) who effortlessly led us home. If you've ever seen Apollo 13, it was like trying to get to Earth from the Moon with no computer to guide me. Daniel was my steely-eyed missile man.
2. When we got to my apartment, Gary immediately fell into a grate that was about 2 feet deep. You see, these large canal-like grates are built between the building and the parking lot to collect rain water during storms. In most places* they are not covered with metal bars, but are merely large, cement holes. Not only did he scrape his leg and elbow and twist his foot, he hit his head and mouth on the side of the cement. I mean, I guess I hadn't thought to say "Hey Gary, watch out for that really deep and large and dangerous and dark grate that is behind my car. It's a killer."
*most places = my house
3. We carried the 4-50 pound bags up to the second floor and inside. Although I had kept the air-conditioning on (only a luxury I would afford my parents), it was about 650 degrees inside my place. My apartment is plenty big for one, but is a bit of a stretch for 3 plus 4 suitcases full of stuff. But, we got fairly sorted quickly, and started packing up for the next day's journey. Except that one of Gary's suitcases would not open. At all. So we had to cut it apart. Which was sweaty and frustrating. But, at least we were down to 3 people and three suitcases.
the rest of the night (thankfully) proceeded pretty uneventfully (considering it was bedtime), until I found out that:
4. Earlier that day, Mom and Gary had to 'lighten' the two suitcases they were bringing for me by about 10 pounds upon arrival to the airport in Des Moines. Before they arrived there, anticipating such a need, Mom and I discussed that whatever she needed to take out would be fine, not life or death, and to not worry about it. Upon the arrival in Japan, she presented me the list of things that she had taken out. Obviously, when I said 'anything you take out is fine', I meant 'anything but the five things you took out'. Here is an abbreviated list:
my brand new hard drive for my computer
the shampoo from a set of very expensive, huge sized, salon style hair care (but hey, at least I have the conditioner, right?)
a bottle of shampoo that a friend asked me to bring (since she wasn't going to get to America this summer)
You know what did make it though? Four jars of homemade jam, three unnecessary towels, and a huge blanket that I didn't even want to bring in the first place.
All of this, and they had only been in town for 3 hours.